In the 21st century, capitalists no more invest in buildings and machinery. The race is to occupy a prominence in the digital world.
The YoY (year on year) growth in the number of mobile application downloads and generation of revenue at Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store is evident enough that there is always a scope of a new idea or a concept.
Most recently, the Moncton based money savings mobile app, “Quber,” raised 4,50,000 USD in financing. Venture capital entity New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) invested to the tune of 200,000 USD whereas the balance was made up by a mixed group of angel investors and some of the founders.
Founded in 2016, Quber, addresses a universal concern, i.e. to save money in a funny and innovative way that has appealed to its users. Who would not love something that encourages you to save money to meet their financial goals and that too through a series of fun filled challenges!
That above is a dynamic example of how, people benefitted from an idea with a mass appeal, and then went ahead to monetize the same.
You too can, convert your mobile app idea to mint revenues. Here’s the process to do it:
Is there actually a need for this product in the market?
You have to conduct a thorough market research like whether there is actually a need for the proposed product/service, what are the existing offerings in the same segment by different players needs to be studied.
Loopholes in the market should be scanned and examined, so that your mobile application in can offer the necessary upgrades to fix the gaps and also new features.
For example-- Google’s social media platform Orkut had a blistering start when it launched in 2004. Though Facebook was launched just two weeks after Orkut, it could not become popular in large markets like that of Brazil and India where Orkut enjoyed huge subscriber base.
But Orkut was not multilingual and in a diverse country like India, Mark Zukerberg offered Facebook in a host of regional languages like French, German, Spanish etc that instantly connected communities.
Finding your target audience
Your mobile app service should stand out in the market over its competitors. Customization is the key to success. You have to design the interface of the app keeping in mind, the customer segmentation, local tastes and preferences , sales channels etc. Like what may work for Dallas may not work for the users of Los Angeles.
For example, Spotify banked on the users’ frustration over not being able to pick their favorite songs for online streaming, as was the case previously with app like Pandora.
By contrast Spotify allowed access to the user to any song on demand at a nominal price of flat $ 10/month. It also offered a free option for simple radio styled streaming.
What is the unique selling point of your app idea?
Defining the Unique selling point of your app idea is very important since there are a plethora of apps available at the app store that serves the needs of the user.
This does not mean your app idea is not of any use. All you have to make sure is, that in the given circumstances your app can serve the niche you want to.
For example: Founders of Instagram was successfully able to convey the message to the users that image was at the centre of storytelling. People value beauty and are inspired by it.
Choosing Hosting Environment
Based upon your decision to host the app API and database, factors like hosting costs, scalability, performance and reliability also come into play.
You can pick from a plethora of hosting services like Amazon Web Services, InMotion, Bluehost etc.
Choose your hosting service provider wisely so that it can accommodate and scale up as the user base grows. In this regard it is highly recommended to go for cloud based solutions as it allows you to pay for the resources and scale up or down as needed.
Database backup, server uptime and OS updates are some of the add-ons that come with a cloud based service.
MVP as means to test app idea
Once you have conceived the idea of the product and the market fit, the next logical step is to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that solves the problem and addresses the need for a consumer.
Development of MVP is easy in theory but difficult in practice. Often there is an attachment with app features that creates a deviation from the core idea behind the app. The MVP should reflect both your product/service feasibility and your unique offerings.
In this case the story of multimedia social app Snapchat is most apt. You would not believe that the entire idea of disappearing photo within 24 hours was actually brought in as a test or MVP that had an instant connection with the millenials.
As CEO Evan Spiegel described in 2012,
“Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotions — not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.”
Glitch Free User Experience
You can correlate app architecture as a baby step, as this is the stage where you feed in, all the data and functionality your app would consist of— primarily.
In a typical situation, it is done by writing down the list of features that you want your app to have and the placement of the same.
Consider this as the building block with which the wireframe is built.
Must-have features in mobile app:
You definitely want your mobile application stuffed with features, both native and advanced for the ease of usability. Though there is scope for adding more features for better user experience, below are some of the must have features for your mobile app.
- User ID/Password
- Security (like fingerprint/voice matching)
- Push Notifications
- List of the items
- Feedback system
- Social integration
- One click contact
- Location/ GPS
- Payment gateway
The next step is to create screens and assigning each functions and data. Having a feature in multiple places is fine but you must ensure each item has a home.
Since this process involves a lot of trial and error, it is advised to carry it out on pen and paper or white board, since it is rather easy to erase any changes than to re-write a code.
The workflows should commence immediately after you have finalized the screens for the app features.
It’s basically referred as the route through which the user navigates across the app.
It also allows you to gauge the time taken and the number of clicks that are needed to complete an action. If you encounter any problem with the workflows, you have to update your wireframe and try again.
Ensure all the features in every interaction work fine and have no difficulty while executing.
Designing Interactive User-interface
The style guide is the foundation on which the app is built. It will help you increase the usability of an app. For example, you might not want to have the call to action button at the end; to the contrary, you might want to have it at multiple places in different colors.
It is a well-established fact that an app with a consistent design is more likely to garner loyal users than otherwise. In the style guide, the answers to some of the basic questions can be found- that goes a long way to determine the life cycle and acceptability of your app.
Your app is the way you want the world to know about you and the way you want to connect with the users. Questions like, are the users more likely to use the app at night? In that case, you need to consider featuring the dark mode theme.
In this phase, the output will be fonts, a set of colors, and widgets including buttons and forms that will help you design the app.
When you take your wireframe design and implement elements from your style guide— the process is called rendering.
Every wireframe screen must have their respective rendered screen ready.
The idea is to stay true to your style guide but not rigid. Any positive best fit change is a welcome. Just make sure your design is consistent when this stage is complete.
Design to development handoff
It has been observed that despite putting the best efforts by the development team into the form and function of the app, the vision behind often gets diluted.
Part of the reason is lack of coordination and harmony among the development and design team member.
Therefore, it is highly suggested to deploy a team that provides both design and development services.
It takes a lot of effort by the design team to ensure all the app elements are in proper alignment. It is the duty of the development team to implement.
High-level Technical Design
Your development team can undertake a certain approach to build the app from the number of technologies and programming languages available.
The recommendation would be to use a technology that is contemporary in nature, else you may end up paying premium to developers. For this it is important to have a trusted developer’s team.
Here comes Developing the App
Now that you have ideated the app and has fairly decided upon the tools to deploy that would help popularize both the app and the business associated with it, the time is ripe to embark upon the development of the app.
While most developers would like to build an app from scratch, the option to build on platforms like Shopgate and GoodBarber also remains open. However, the flip side of this is, in the latter case, the options for customization will not be available. As a result there can’t be any value addition.
Typically, mobile app development is a series of activity that is divided into phases, wherein each phase is subject to/ include planning, development, testing and review.
The developers, having understood all the basic requirements, will then estimate the time required for completion of each phase and the even distribution of the tasks and responsibilities to the resources.
It is now when the development team begins to implement the style and the functionality of the app. It is the developer who is mostly in sync with the feature of the app he is assigned to develop.
There are applications that allows you to track progress, to securely distribute the in-development version of the app to testers, clients, and other developers. If there are crash reports then the cause can be immediately identified and eliminated.
Following are the three approaches to front end development:
#1 Platform specific Native – This is one of the most tried and tested and probably the most expensive approach.
It simply means, specific codes for each separate platforms, i.e. Android and iOS. The look of the UI should be native and the app should work smoothly.
#2 Cross-platform Native – This is a middle ground wherein an app if built with this approach for two different platforms, will have some or entirely shared code.
Common technologies used for this are React Native, Xamarin, and Native Script.
Web API & Server
In this case, there’s not much difference when it comes to the technology used for a mobile app. It is the same as applicable to web based app.
Here are some of the points that you should consider before formulating the code:
There are numerous frameworks from which you can choose.
You must well think through this. Out of the two databases, SQL and noSQL, the former is more traditional in nature and has emerged as the best choice of the developers.
In general, common SQL implementations include MSSQL, MYSQL, and PostgreSQL.
Apart from database selection, you also have to design the blueprint of the same.
It is crucial for the success of the business to have reliable data source.
What about Testing the app?
This should be done by parties other than your primary developers. Typically testing are of the following nature:
Functional Testing: To test whether the features are working as intended or described. There are a checklist of parameters that is prepared by the QA team, that notifies any deviation from the checklist.
Usability Testing: The race all over the world is that of user friendliness. It is helpful if first users are brought in the picture.
Performance testing: In this phase, the primary lookout as a user will be, how good is your app in loading and navigating as you sift through the features.
Fit and finish testing – In this testing you will realize why it is important to have a single agency for app design and development. Designers should review each feature to ensure that their vision corresponds to the final product.
Regression testing: It is not sufficient to test one feature and then sit back because it worked properly then. The QA (Quality Assessment) team must test features from an earlier phase and time to ensure smooth functionality.
Device-Specific testing: Given the multiplicity of devices, their screen sizes and the OS combinations, you should always conduct the testing of your app in as many available combinations out of these. Applications like Google’s Firebase can help you to automate this process.
User Acceptance Testing: After all, your app is the result of the hard work put in by the design and development team. All goes in vain if the final product fails to appeal to the users for whom it is built. This is the overall testing of the app done by the owner and some users for who it is targeted.
How to ensure Effective Monetization
Once your MVP passes the initial hurdle, it needs to be developed further. This is exactly when many app startups go for monetization. But the makers’ core focus should not deviate from growth to making money; in a situation like this, in most cases the app dies down from ever achieving scale.
Monetization may require redesign of your app but that should be a gradual process. Any major modifications may not be well accepted by the users.
Getting your app noticed
There are many apps in the app store of both Apple and Google respectively that may have all the answers just like your app does, but they have either not been utilized or has been completely ignored by the entities. This happens largely due to no efforts to popularize the product among potential users. Hence, a wonderful app disappears in the oblivion.
- One of the most effective ways of making your app get noticed is to aggressively go social and establish contacts with developers and entrepreneurs. Having your company pages on almost all the social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIN, YouTube) are an absolute necessity.
- Prior hype build up is a must: You need to go creative with the publicity approach of your app; pitch some short catchy lines that will help attract the attention of the intended users. Write a press release, establish contact with tech bloggers and journalists.
Optimum Use of analytics
For a mobile app based startup, tracking the performance can only happen on the digital platform with the help of analytics as soon as the app is published at the App Stores.
One can use startup friendly analytics like the Pirate AARRR metrics by Dave McClure. Tools like Facebook Analytics, Apptentive, Google Analytics, and Appsee can help you measure them.
Much of your business performance will depend upon a measurement plan that should include the following:
- The objectives that are primary to the nature of your business. This includes increasing your user base, incentivizing the loyal users/customers, earning more profit and introducing new technologies in your app.
- Elaborate strategies to achieve these objectives.
- Clear goals for your metrics to measure your strategy’s success.
What follows, is the deployment of the app in the App Store and Play Store after several iterations and reviews from the stakeholders and focus groups.
To develop a mobile app start-up that intends to make a breakthrough in the consumer market by providing services or products like never before is quite a challenge in itself.
If you have a brilliant app idea or is stuck up midway in the development part of it, feel free to contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org, as we have a team of highly experienced and professional app developers in Canada.