A basic guide to developing an App
on January 9th, 2007 Steve Jobs released the original iPhone with a few pre-installed apps. Apple didn’t provide the ability to create or install any add-on apps. Instead, developers were urged to create web apps that users would access through the built-in Safari web browser.
The Apple App Store shows no signs of slowing down, despite the fact that people seem to limit the number of apps they use regularly to just a small handful. But developers keep building, so the apps keep coming. According to new analysis out this morning from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, the App Store is expected to more than double its size over the next four years, reaching 5 million apps by the year 2020.
What does the app market look like?
What Is Innovation in App design?
New apps come in many different forms that can be broadly categorised as follows:
Disruptive apps are innovations that offer simple, low-cost solutions to customers’ problems with the potential of significant growth. They disrupt market-leading products by simplifying existing applications and lowering the price customers pay.
Innovative apps with a technological breakthrough that sets them apart from the rest. These products come on strong in the market, then quickly drop to a lower level of performance as other manufacturers catch up.
In 1979 the author of this article was a co-creator of what became the world’s first laptop computer, the Dulmont Magnum. A fundamental need at that time was applications that could run on a PC, however, Microsoft had not created ‘Word’ or ‘Excel’. Between 1979 and its launch in 1984 the company created two applications ‘Magicalc’ and ‘Magiword’ a word processor and a spreadsheet that was embedded in the hardware. By the time it was launched all Dulmont Magnum laptops were shipped complete with an operating system, a word processor and a spreadsheet. History shows that within a few years there were many other applications of this type.
They reduce costs, improve existing products, create new markets, or are an addition to an existing platform.
They establish the basic architecture for a next-generation product. They are larger in scope than incremental products.
Are you ready?
Before you start to build a new app ask yourself some questions:
- Do you have the skill sets in the company?
- Does it solve a problem for someone?
- Will people buy it?
- Is it scalable?
If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then set about the following tasks:
- Research the market trends
- Define the customer benefits and acceptance data
- Define the technical concept
- Create a product specification
- Create a costs and revenue estimate
- Create a development schedule
- Determine your staffing and skill set needs
- Create a business plan
- From your cost analysis and business plan decide whether it is a ‘go’ or ‘no go’ situation
Questions to be resolved about the proposed product
- Who is the customer?
- How will customers use the product?
- How does it satisfy customer needs?
- How will the product be positioned in the market?
- Do we need more technology to support the product?
- What are the products ‘unique selling proposition’?
- How much will customers pay?
- What features will initially be included?
- How will the product be marketed?
Skill sets that a mobile app development team must have
- User Interface (UI) design—the ability to design an app that has an attractive, easy-to-navigate, and responsive design.
- Database and hardware computing— the ability to create databases with an optimal data structure, specify interaction of the app with the device hardware, minimize power requirements, ensure security of the app against external threats like viruses and hacking, and allocate memory efficiently.
- Programming—Programming languages translate business logic into a machine-readable language.
- A knowledge of using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for various mobile application platforms.
Steps in producing an App
Step 1: The Idea
- Identify a problem which can be resolved by your app.
- Decide the features of your app.
- Describe its benefits.
Step 2: Identify
- Target market.
- Mobile platforms and devices to be supported.
- Revenue model.
- Funds required.
Step 3: Design
- UI design.
Step 4: Identify development approach
- Native: Native apps enables in delivering the best user experience but require significant time and skill to be developed. These apps are basically platform specific and require expertise along with knowledge. Native apps are costly as well as time taking to be developed and deliver the highest user experience amongst all the approaches.
Step 5: Prototype
- Basic functionality.
- Sufficient for end users to grasp concept.
Step 6: Integrate an analytics tool
- incorporate appropriate analytics which gives you a detailed picture of how many visitors use your webs, how they arrived on your site and how can they keep coming back.
Step 7: Beta testing
- Identify Beta test potential clients.
- Ask for user feedback.
- Eliminate bugs .
Step 8: Launch phase
- Plan deployment programme.
- Schedule releases
Step 9: Measure
- collect accurate metrics.
- Funnel analysis identifies why users are failing to complete desired user actions including in-app purchases or ad clicks.
- Social sharing metrics signifies what aspects of your app are capturing the attention of your users.
- Correlate demographic data with user behaviour.
- Tracking time and location .
Step 10: Upgrade features as required
- Add new features
- Comply with new guidelines
Step 11: Maintenance & Support
- Check for and remove errors.
New developments occur regularly with some of the most recent being,
- Augmented Reality
- Machine Learning
- Artificial Intelligence
- Data monetization
- Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Irrespective of the sector you are operating in, the technology you will deploy or the strategies you will use to monetise your app it is very important to be aware of the market developments, they are happening at a speed unlike anything previously seen.