The mobile app industry has already crossed the critical figure of billion dollars. Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices make a considerable chunk of internet users. The determining factor for the success of an app is the quality and user experience.
Setting the Benchmark: Designing
Make new user your benchmark for design.
The design should be simple enough for a new user to navigate easily. Test your app with a few friends or ideally a larger group of people who are not well versed in cell phone use. See how they perform, where they get stuck, are these intuitive, attractive and fun to use? Change your design accordingly.
- Similarly, people who are less educated and young users (kids) are a big market sector. The design must be intuitive enough to help them use your app without hassle.
Keep different operating systems in mind.
Mobile internet market is divided among different operating systems. Consider these differences before designing the app. Use responsive design to ensure that your app appears as intended throughout different platforms and operating systems.
- For making an app for Android your need Android Studio and for making an iOS app you can use XCode Development Kit.
Make sure your app works across different platforms seamlessly.
Use responsive design strategy to create an app that is flexible and customizable for different platforms. Responsive design refers to the idea that app or website changes its layout, fonts, and graphics according to the hosting device. Don’t go for the strategy of creating a trimmed down version of your site for cell phones. Instead, first build the site for the small screen and then enlarge it for the bigger screens.
Don’t ignore grids.
The grid is an excellent tool to keep your app design consistent and on the track across multiple pages. Consistency in graphics, fonts, and icons create a professional look. Not to mention, it reflects your brand image.
Don’t forget the offline experience.
Not all areas have network coverage. Decide on offline usability factor of your app. Make sure that most of the features in your app work during offline sessions. In some parts of the world power outages are a regular feature of daily life, so ideally your app would be usable even if you don’t have an internet connection.
- For making an offline experience, you need to learn serverless computing. It will be helping you in creating an offline software application.
Digging Deeper: Planning
Decide what your goal is.
Clearly, set your objective about your app objective. E.g., Find petrol stations on a highway in a particular state or country.
- The best apps are those that solves a big problem. So if you find it hard to pick a goal, think about your problem first.
Do some paperwork.
Visualize how your app will look on the screen. Draw a rough diagram of screens or skins. What are the functions and everything in between?
Research the market.
Know if your idea is already used. Find out what users are looking for? How to tap the market financially? Chalk out a marketing plan. Marketing isn’t the last step in app making. It should be taken along in every step i.e., pre-production, production, and post-production.
Storyboarding helps you have a blueprint of app functionality. Similar to storyboarding for movies, the more elaborate storyboard is, the more lucid the process becomes.
Make a prototype or wireframe.
Prototyping tools let you see and test your app in real time. You can check and modify accordingly. Ask your friends and family to check your app and give feedback. Incorporate their feedback in your modifications.
Build the backend.
Now after testing the prototype, begin your work on the backend. It is the developer’s’ side of the application. It includes storage, APIs, setup servers, and databases.
App store requires you to get registered as a developer. You don’t need to be expert in programming but it requires a fee. Check out the sites for more info.
It is the actual creation of the skins or screens that the users will use. You make UI at this stage.
Building Your App
Using an App Builder Service
Consider using an app builder service.
App making usually requires a lot of hard work and money. Not all can afford it. Here is a solution. You can use app builder platforms abundantly found on the web. They start from free and go to monthly/yearly subscription. Moreover, they don’t need you writing code. They offer graphical user interface. You just need to drag, drop, upload photos, checkboxes, and your app is complete. Bingo!
Search app builder online.
There are numerous sites offering app building services. Go through some and read content and testimonials. Consider intuitive and easy interface. Some offer free services while others charge fees.
Make sure you have read the above section on digging deeper. Do some paperwork and visualization before starting the process. Storyboard how your screens and functions are going to work.
Start building your app.
Most of the sites are very easy to use. Anyone with some basic knowledge of computers and internet can do it easily.
Apply the “Setting the Benchmark” tips.
Read the above section titled “Setting the Benchmark”. Your app should have enough features that work offline. Make an intuitive design, so new users can use it easily.
Consider visual elements.
Consider text, typography, colors, icons, tabs, etc, beforehand to give a consistent look.
Doing it Yourself
Do it yourself if you’re game.
The famous apps and websites are results of coders’ blood, sweat, and tears. You can’t get all the features with app building sites. So if you have some brilliant idea for an app, learning to code isn’t bad. This is the usual way of making apps:
Get a system.
Research the market to get an appropriate system for your work.
Apply tips given above.
Read the above sections: Setting the Benchmark and Digging Deeper. The first sections are the tips by ace developers. The later outlines the basics of successful app making.
Build the environment.
Set the environment for app development. Install the environment according to your system and app.
Create your app.
After you have thoroughly done paperwork and you have clear cut idea of look and functions employing the tips given above, now begin coding. Create project source code, resource files, manifest files.
Debug and test.
During this stage, you build your app in a debuggable package. Use SDK tools for a testing app.
Publish and test.
During this phase, you once again check your app in release mode.
Now the actual app is ready. Check it using app test app (there are apps for checking apps).
You can either publish it directly through your iTunes or Google Play app stores developer account or submit it to the site you used to build it. Now, wait and create buzz about your app.
Market your app.
The marketing process you started from pre-production through research and continue with a blog and social media, now gets momentum. Make microsite for your app. Use promotional videos. Advertise on social media. Run some contest or other marketing tactics to gain attention. You should have a business model too.
- Analyze useful and famous apps for inspiration.
- Know the psyche of your target audience. Children like bright colors, men prefer shades while women are more inclined to tints.
- Use a group of tester for testing your app or site.