Preparing to Mobilise: Developing a Mobile Application.
So you are looking at how to develop an app to boost your business, or perhaps you’re an entrepreneur with a big idea and not much else. Mobile web and app usage has overtaken the web browser in the competition for media consumption and is building an impressive lead.
An app has become a valuable piece of business promotion or even a business itself. The time has come to streamline your content and mobilise for your device of choice.
To help you on your way, we have put together an outline to get your idea off of the page and into the App Store.
Evaluate: What’s the big idea?
Central to every application is the idea behind it. As a streamlined piece of software the idea is essential and the essentials need to be right. Evaluating your ideas, with as many sources as possible, is essential to finding a valuable concept for your app. It can be tempting to be over-protective of your fledgling tech start-up but a good idea only gets better with help. Dare to share.
Going over ideas with developers and marketing professionals will help back up your intuition and that you’re on to a winner. Before you go any further, there are some key questions that are essential to evaluating the strengths of your application:
Does it solve a problem?
From keeping an eye on the tide table to programming your smartphone of choice into a universal remote control, apps are built to make life easier. Being able to identify a problem and then a solution is vital.
There are plenty of examples of how apps have been developed to streamlining room bookings or hail taxicabs. When developing an app for your business, a little bit of business insight goes a long way.
Who is it aimed at?
You might develop the most comprehensive mobile ranking system for Gloucestershire Pigeon Fanciers. There simply isn’t the volume of interest to make your application pay for itself.
Is it fun?
Sometimes fun itself is reason enough and killing a couple of spare minutes on the tube is the only problem an app needs to solve.
Over a fifth of sales through the App Store are mobile games. A fun and engaging app is always going to spread better via word of mouth.
What’s it similar to?
Doing your background research is essential. Bringing an app through development, only to find there are a number of near identical solutions is not ideal. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Look at what solutions are already available and how recent.
What does your solution bring to the table and how can your in a competitive market?
Free apps are far more popular than paid. When searching for an app, users are unlikely to pay for your app when a solution is already offered for free. Many paid apps offer a limited ‘trial version’ for free as an incentive to invest. There are many creative ways to monetise your “free” app.
Mobile marketing is fast becoming one of the largest advertising areas in the UK. Google’s AdMob offers a hassle-free way to integrate paid adds into your app. Perhaps you are simply counting on the your app to pay for itself through the boost your business revenue.
Whatever the method, keep in mind the costs of developing your app and how this is going to be addressed.
Finally the design of your app is a lot more than how it looks. Shrinking your big idea to the size of a mobile screen might seem like a challenge. Creating app sketches can help visualise your app and fine tune functionality. The size, function and overall flow of information are vital elements for the design of your app. A pad of paper and series of drawings can help achieve this.
Know your device. Mobile phones have a number of built in features including microphone, GPS and camera. Some of the most inventive applications make use of these in novel ways to create DIY digital devices: spirit levels, speedometers, tape measures. Amazing!
Finally, there are bound to be short-fallings in even your developer knowledge. Don’t be afraid to outsource. When it comes down to development be sure to assemble the A-Team. (App-team, that is.)
Got any tips of your own? We are keen to hear your views on app development so tweet us over at our Twitter, @JérrardWayne!