There are a lot of mobile apps out there. With them, you can do almost anything from learning to play the piano to raising dragons. Each of these apps (and every future app) had to go through the process of being built and developed. If you’ve had an idea for the next big app, I’d like to give you an overview of the process you can probably expect to tackle in order to move forward with building and developing your idea.
Identify Your Goal
Having a great idea is just the beginning. That idea needs to be refined, honed down to a clearly defined purpose. If you don’t identify exactly what you want your app to do, you could end up wasting both time and money in pursuing aspects of your original idea that may not be part of what your app actually needs to be. Besides, if you don’t identify your goal, how will you know when you’ve reached it?
Put It on Paper
Make sure you write down your idea and goal. It can also be useful to do a rough sketch of what you want the final app to look like. A visual idea of your eventual interface can help you to communicate your idea to your team.
What apps already exist that are similar to what you want to create? What are the technical requirements for your app? How can you make money with your app? What do you want your app to look like?
Each of these questions need to be answered before moving forward, and research is necessary in order to find these answers. With over 1 million apps out there, you’ll want to make sure to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Designing and Prototyping
Next, you’ll want to start working on the initial design of your app. This involves wireframing, storyboarding, and defining the back end of your app. All of this helps you to better communicate your idea to others involved in developing your product. Your wireframes can be created with prototyping tools like Balsamiq or HotGloo so that the wireframes can be tested by people you know. Their honest feedback can help you find and address issues with your design before you proceed to development.
Develop the Back End
Once you’ve got your app pretty well designed, you’ll want to set up the back end of your app. This includes servers, databases, APIs (application programming interface), and storage. You’ll also need developer accounts with the marketplaces you are developing the app for.
Skin Your App
Your wireframes now need to be developed into high-resolution screens for your app. This often means involving a designer. Make sure you include any feedback about the visuals from your prototyping stage.
Implement Your Design
Now you need to put your designs and back end together to make an app that works. You can use an app like Solidify to import your designs and add links to test the flow of your app. At this point, you will want to test the app with other people to gain insight into what works and what still needs to be changed.
Modify and Finalize
Using feedback from your testing, make changes to your design and back end to make the app better. If possible, test the app in a live environment to look for bugs.
At this point, you need to make sure you know the rules of the marketplaces you’ll be working with. Google Play and the Apple App Store have different policies, and it’s important to know how to go about launching your app.
If you don’t have the know-how or contacts to follow this process, I have good news: There are alternatives to this process. Many platforms have been developed in recent years that you can use to build an app relatively quickly and inexpensively. Platforms like appery.io and Mobile Roadie can help you create an app when you otherwise would be shooting in the dark.