Getting Started Building Your App
So, you have an app idea. But you don’t know where to start.
Having had many preliminary consult calls with clients with app ideas, I thought I’d write this blog post to give you concrete action steps that you can take to start the process of creating your very own app.
Creating apps is a roller coaster ride with so many highs and lows. Buckle up and let’s get started!
Find the closest solution to your app idea that already exists.
Download and try out the app or apps. During this process, you’ll want to take note of what’s working and what’s not working for you in the app. Pay special attention to what’s not working and what’s frustrating you about how the app works.
You can find similar examples of your app idea by doing a simple google search. For example, if one of my projects was a travel planner app, I might do a search for “Travel planning apps” and see what’s out there already.
Next, as you try out the apps, you’ll want to compare the existing apps and their features. The best way to do this is to write out the apps and list out their features in a chart as you go through them.
This is the beginning of your competitive analysis. You’ll want to also pay attention to usability, navigation, what you think is frustrating you about the app. These are all potential selling features for your app when you go to build your app.
Talk to Potential Users
The next action you can take is find potential users for your app and interview them. Ask them questions about their problems to see if the features you want to launch are actually worth investing money to develop. Apps are expensive: even for no-code apps, costs can build up rather quickly. You want to make sure that the time being spent to develop these features are actually going to address the frustrations that users are having.
A previous project we worked on, the client had already taken the time to amass a small list of potential users for her app. You don’t need too many to start with, just a few.
While you’re interviewing your potential users, you want to take notes of what makes each of them tick. Everyone will tell you something different, so make sure you take good notes on this.
Second, start to compile your list of features you think you’ll need for the app.
List Your Features
Then, split your features list into a few categories: Must have, should have, nice to have.
Must-have features are features that are the most basic components in the app. These are features that are the core functions to the app.
For example, one app we previously worked on was a business plan combined with a diary, so having a “journal entry” feature was central to the app. This is a must have feature for the app.
Should-have features are features that are potentially going to be the selling point of your app. These are the features you want to create that will help your app be different from what’s already existing.
Nice-to-have features are features that are not essential and won’t make or break the app, but will help improve the experience of the app.
The most important categories are the Must-have features and the nice-to-have features, as this will help you determine which features need to be developed first.
Think About Content
As you dive deeper into creating your app, start listing out the “content” that will go in the app.
One of the best examples of app development that we’ve completed in the studio was with a client who had listed out ALL of their app content, well, at least 90% of it. This client sent us a full pdf of all the content they wanted in their app and we were able to use that to create wireframes and mockups.
What is app content? App content is all the info – text and imagery – that will become a part of the app. If you’re creating a directory or listing of sorts, you could list out all the fields you’ll need for the app. So examples would be: name/title, description, summary, price, etc.
Once you have the above information, you’ll be more well-informed to make the design decisions needed to create your app. If you find a studio to work with, you can also present the initial research you’ve done, which will help speed up the design process and also make it easier for everyone on the team. Feel free to book a call with us if and when you have done some initial research!
A quick note: App development takes a minimum of 3 months and can take up to a year to develop depending on the complexity of your app. And this blog post is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you’ll need to begin to do to create your own app.