9 Steps to Begin Your Mobile App Development

September 27th, 2016

Mobile / Product Development // Natalie

9 Steps to Build Your Mobile App

Today, having a mobile app for your business needs is a must-have, just like having a website was about 5-10 years ago. However, when you create a mobile app, the level of competition will be quite high and this is something to keep in mind. At the same time, building a good mobile application has much more chances to succeed if certain steps are taken before the actual development.

You not only have to study the market, competitors, and your potential audience, but also take a few more steps. You need to understand what factors should influence your development, what platform to choose, what price to set for your app, and how to promote it.

We have worked with numerous mobile apps built for various platforms. Check out our experience.

The number of mobile gadgets has long exceeded the number of desktop and laptop computers in the world. Even more so for wireless Internet traffic - the percentage of wired internet connections is becoming smaller and smaller every day. Customers are increasingly choosing smartphone and tablets for daily access to the Internet. As a result, mobile apps get their share of attention.

Check out the ratio of Internet usage below, presented in a KPCB report.

Even if one considers the number of apps at the popular app stores, it exceeded 1.5 million for App Store and Google Play each. However, the interest for mobile apps is far from being extinguished in users. Many people install numerous apps to try, spending a certain amount of time on using them. Some apps end up getting deleted, so it is important to thoroughly prepare for your own mobile app creation so that your audience remains interested.

We have collected the steps you need to take before you go talk to your developers. These checklist items can be done either by you or in cooperation with an outsourced company that will implement your ideas into reality. Without much further ado…

Evaluate your budget

Development of mobile applications takes the money and it’s usually not a cheap endeavor. Knowing your budget as well as properly distributing it between each of development stages is important. From the onset, if you consider outsourcing, you need to decide on the scheme of cooperation - choices include fixed price and time & material. This is an important step which will help you avoid unpleasant surprises. (You can read more about the differences and which method to choose here.)

Study your market

Another step to take before the app development is conducting a proper market research. A thorough analysis will give you an idea about your competitors, their strategies as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This information is very useful - learn from mistakes of others and do not repeat them in your own business.

Researchers often overlook customer reviews, but they can also be an invaluable source of information about the user's likes and dislikes for a specific type of application, their interests, and preferences. This analysis will allow to identify potential pitfalls and winning points as well as give you an edge over the competition.

Define your customer

Try to portrait your user in your mind. Try to answer questions such as “Who will use this application?”, “How will this application enhance user’s life / business?”, “Why should people use my application instead of competitors?” Besides trying to answer these questions from your side, find a few people (friends or someone you don’t really know, but who fits your target audience) and ask them a few questions. Knowing your audience and their expectations will help you identify key points of your app to built it appropriately.

Aside note: don’t stop asking these questions even after you launch your app - continually learn about your users and adapt to their needs (or create a need).

Name the price

Determining the price for your app is one of the most difficult tasks. Nevertheless, this is something that should be considered before the app development. Proper pricing will allow you to cover your expenses and earn money without scaring your clients away. There are a number of factors that the one should take into account before determining the app price. Research what are your competitors asking and evaluate the functional features of the app. You might find that some apps are popular but users are lacking one or several features that would be a great value-added. If you work on those features, there will be users who will be happy to pay for the app that has that special feat.

Create a Unique Offer

Have you ever thought about why newly opened fancy restaurants love big and nonconventional launch events? It is in the nature of people to be curious and they like to visit new places and restaurants because they are looking for something different and fresh.

Same applies in the case of mobile apps - users want to try something new (or, an enhanced retro). Thus, you have to create something interesting to attract the users’ attention and inspire them to use your mobile application.

Don’t make your users wait

Apps that take forever to load usually die soon. That also applies to apps where nothing happens on the screen while it loads because users might think something has malfunctioned and creates a negative impression about the app in the minds of consumers.

One of the ways out is to use load animations that will show users that mobile application is working and the possible delays might be due to poor network connection. When it comes to indicators, progressive ones are more practical because the user can see how much of the boot process is left.

Don’t let the product out without testing

An important step for the success of the application is the quality analysis to check its performance as well as identification and elimination of all errors and UI/UX troubles. Quality assurance engineers are not just checking the quality of the code itself, but they test all the workflows from the user’s point of view, which helps to make sure your end product is a good one.

Besides QA, you can also organize the beta testing, where you can work with a limited number of beta-testers to help you find non-obvious shortcomings.

Write creative descriptions to increase the number of downloads

The market description that accompanies your app in Google Play or App Store plays a very important role because it directly influences the user’s decision to get or not get the app from the store. The other important part about the app stores is that you should invest in quality screenshots for your app because while some people will look at the text description, most people will look at the screenshots, deciding whether they want to see the same on their own smartphones.

Google Play store and Apple App Store, as a rule, show only the 3 lines of the description. Each line consists of 120 characters (including spaces), therefore optimize your description to fit 360 symbols max so that the user will get the gist of your app right away before having to press “More.” Then, it is good to list 5 or 6 key features.

Think about the marketing strategy beforehand

One of the common mistakes business people do is leave marketing and product / service promotion planning until after the product is developed, thinking “Well, now we’ve got the product, how are we going to sell it?”

Since you’ve studied your competitors anyway, use the information to understand what drives your target audience to action. Find out what messages they react to the best and think how your app can help them fulfill their passion (or do the job they don’t really like an easier task).

Be sure to plan a budget for marketing and advertising also in the very beginning. If you have included only development costs into your preliminary budget, you will be in for an unpleasant surprise when you discover that promotion also costs money. Consider these costs as well when you will be planning the price of your app (if any).

Activate your marketing campaigns at least 2-3 weeks before the official product / service launch so that your audience is warmed up and waiting. (Another “Capt. Obvious” remark here: make sure you launch on the day you’ve promised because failed expectations will cost you a lot of users.)

Plan your launch date thoroughly, not just based on the product development, but also based on seasonal time and holidays.

Ready to begin your app development?

Author: Natalie

Natalie is a Project Manager who is a great team leader for her mobile development team. She is an expert when it comes to iOS and Android development and to building apps that win markets.

Tags Native Startups Marketing Management Cross-Platform

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