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How a mobile app is created

The ultimate guide to creating a mobile app. From idea to solution.

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By Sol Hardy

Read time: 19 minutes, 18 seconds

So, you have the next best app idea….. But, how do you turn this great idea into an amazing mobile app?

Below, is the ultimate guide to creating a mobile app. So you can turn your app idea into something that could compete with the likes of Uber, Instagram and Youtube.

Whether you are looking to build the app yourself, or find someone to do it for you, follow these 8 steps to watch your idea grow into something special.

What do you need to know to create a mobile app.

  1. Stage 1: Requirements
  2. Stage 2: Planning
  3. Stage 3: Analysis & Design
  4. Stage 4: Implementation
  5. Stage 5: Deployment
  6. Stage 6: Testing
  7. Stage 7: Marketing
  8. Stage 8: Future development

By the end of this blog, you will understand the full process of creating a mobile app, allowing you to make wise decisions throughout the development process.

  1.  

Stage 1: Requirements

Decisions you must make before building an app

How much money will I make? 
When will facebook buy out my idea for billions?

These are fantastic questions, but this thought process is what holds back so many great entrepreneurs (like yourself) with a good app idea.

Want an app that changes the world? Then the requirements stage is the most important stage for you to focus on. Because it has got nothing to do with you.

The requirements stage is all about the people who are going to use your app.

Too often, entrepreneurs get overwhelmed with, what should my app be called? What language should my app be coded in? Who will invest in my app idea? etc etc. They forget the most important questions:

  • – Who will use your app?
  • – How often will they use it?
  • – Have you done appropriate market research?
  • – Are you aware of your competitors?
  • – Can you prove how your app will make money?
  • – How will your app retain its users?

For your app idea to work, you need to do your homework and get the basics right. 

Only then, you will be ready to start creating your app.

Conclusion 

The key to the requirements stage is remembering that everything you sell is medicine to pain your customer feels. If your app doesn’t achieve this, then your idea won’t grow.

Try not to get too technical until your idea is bulletproof. You should be able to answer the above 6 questions before you are ready for stage 2.

Stage 2: Planning

How will you build your app and how much will it cost?

Ok, so you have an idea that the world will love. Now what?

It’s time to plan the development and marketing process. Fail to plan and it doesn’t matter how good your idea is, it will struggle in the marketplace. The planning stage is designed for you to highlight 3 very simple questions.

  1. 1. Who will build your app?
  2. 2. Who will fund your app?
  3. 3. Who will market your app?

 

Who will build your app?

According to Evans Data Corporation, only 0.5% of the world’s population knows how to code, which is a very low percentage.

If you can’t code, no worries, but you are going to need to find someone who can turn your idea into a working mobile app.

It is easy to get overwhelmed when choosing a developer. Ultimately, you need to find someone who you trust, that has the experience to build what you require and will be able to release it on the app stores you require.

 

Who will fund your app?

Unfortunately, apps cost money to make. Fortunately, build it well and you will make way more money then you spent on it. There are a couple of different ways to get hold of money to build an app.

  1. 1. Self-fund it.
  2. 2. Get Investment 

However you fund your project, please make sure you don’t let money make all the decisions. In tech, it is easy to remove important features to keep the cost down. If you completed stage 1 correctly, then we know your idea is bulletproof, so try not to cut corners that will affect the end-user (people using your app).

The good news is you don’t have to release the finished product straight away. You can start with a simpler version of your app and add more features in the future.

If you are going down the investment route, you will need to spend some time producing content and information that will excite an investor. You may want to speak to an app developer, so together you can produce wireframes, detailed spec documents, prototypes etc.

Lots of developers will charge for this bit of work. So It is easy to get scammed at this stage of the process, be careful. We are always happy to give you a second opinion or help you produce spec documents and prototype etc.

 

Who will market your app?

There is a naive culture in software which is, build it and the people will come. Life isn’t that fair, unfortunately. To have a successful mobile app takes time and energy on marketing. The best apps all have one thing in common: a great marketing strategy. All designed to build traction and get early buy-in from users.

Marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought once the app is built. In the planning stage, you should have a strategy with a clear route to market, as this will affect the development process.

 

Conclusion

Remember, the planning stage is about answering 3 simple questions.

  1. 1. Who will build your app?
  2. 2. Who will fund your app?
  3. 3. Who will market your app?

If you need someone else to build your app, we recommend contacting more than one developer. As you want to get your ideas out there and see how different developers could turn them into a viable solution.

If you need someone else to fund your app, be prepared to spend a little bit of money on building app wireframes, detailed specifications, prototypes etc. So you can wow investors to get the money you require.

If you are doing the marketing yourself, you should have a clear strategy with how you are going to get people to download your app. You should also think about creating a website, social media profiles and start building interest to get early adopters before your app is built.

Stage 3: Analysis & Design

What will your app look like?

So by this stage, you have a bulletproof idea and a detailed plan explaining how you will build it, fund it and market it. But what will your app look like?

It doesn’t matter how great your idea is, if the user interface and experience is low quality, you won’t succeed. The analysis & design stage is where you visually turn your requirements into a concept.

There are two things you should focus on when designing your app:

  1. 1. The User Interface (UI) 
  2. 2. The User Experience (UX).

 

What is UI and UX?

There are mountains of blogs on this topic. We found this blog insightful.

In summary, UI/UX uses design techniques to make your audience find your app easy to use. The aim of the design stage is not just creating something pretty. But instead, creating something that will keep users loyal to the product or brand.

 

How does the design stage work?

Get involved in the design stage. It is usual to have lots of meetings around the designs of your app. Be ready to go back and forth with whoever you are designing the app with.

If you require, you can approach external designers instead of using your app developer. Make sure you find someone with mobile UX and UI experience.

Of course, your app needs to look amazing, but it also needs to work as a mobile app. If you are designing your app yourself, you need to be aware of iOS and Android development requirements.

Depending on your developer/designer, at this stage, you will receive a variety of different screens, with how your app will look.

More recently, designers have started using prototyping tools that will give you a clickable prototype. This is an interactive model of your app, perfect for you if you need to approach investors or get trust from early adopters.
(Really push for this if you need investment, they look great)

 

Conclusion

Make sure that your app doesn’t just look good, but is focused on the user. Use a developer/designer who understands mobile app UX and UI Design.

If you aren’t designing the app yourself, be engaged in each stage of the design process, so they can shape the final designs according to your expectations. And most importantly, remember to put your users first, speak the language of your audience, not your expertise.

Stage 4: Implementation

Building your app.

At this stage, you will have a great idea, a detailed plan and a well designed mobile app.

Now you are ready to start building the app. Depending on who is building your app, this process could look and feel very different.

Most people building mobile apps will look to build it in a few phases. They do this to spread out the cost, but it also gives you time to test your app, allowing you to get users interested early on. This is helpful for prioritising the next features to add.

The phases could look like this:

Phase 1:
  • – Only the main features 

  • – Majority of the UI so it looks and feels good

  • – and launch the app

Phase 2: 
  • – Less important features

  • – The rest of the UI and UX

  • – Any tweaks you have learnt in testing phase 1

Phase 3:
  • – Further changes after testing phase 2

  • – New exciting features to wow users

 

Conclusion

If you can, consider building your project out in phases. Some app developers will try and sway you away from this, as it is less attractive to them, but it considerably reduces your risks.
In our opinion, these are the benefits of why you should build your app in phases:

  1. 1. It reduces your risks, as you only need to focus on the main features.

  2. 2. It reduces the upfront cost you will need to pay.

  3. 3. It allows you to test your app and see what is working and not working well.

  4. 4. It allows you to focus on marketing your app, which ultimately, is how you are going to get users.

Stage 5: Deployment

Releasing your app.

By this stage, you will have a great idea, a detailed plan and a well designed mobile app, and hopefully some happy users.

If you are building your app in phases, stages 4, 5, 6 and 8 of this blog will coincide. But we will keep it in order to make the blog simple to read.

Deployment is releasing your app onto the appropriate app stores. 

The two most popular app stores are the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. However, don’t forget other providers including, Samsung Galaxy Apps, Huawei App Store, Amazon Appstore plus many more, if this is new to you, we found this blog helpful.

Like any marketplace, these app stores are built on algorithms that make it as useful as possible for the user. That means, you need to be aware of some rules to make sure your app will be found and visible to get downloads. 

These rules include adding sufficient; keywords, customer reviews, descriptions, images of your app, videos, number of downloads etc.

The more time you spend creating your app store listing, the higher chance your app will be visible.

There is lots of confusing content available on App Store Optimisation (ASO). It will never be as effective as other forms of marketing, but it still needs to be a priority when building a mobile app, because you want your users to find you on the app store.

 

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter how good your app is, if your customers can’t find your app, then they won’t download it.

We have all tried downloading apps on app stores. It can be frustrating and clunky, which will annoy your users. You can’t do much about the app store itself, but you can make sure you stand out.

Make sure your app is easily discoverable. And make your listings look as clear and exciting as possible. Just because a user has searched for your app name, doesn’t mean they will download your app. Your competitor may steal your customers if they have a better app store listing.

Stage 6: Testing

Does your app work properly?

Apps with bugs and bad user experience directly ruin retention rates.

To us, testing should be the second most important priority of building a mobile app, (after the requirements stage). It is key to creating a great mobile app.

For a little experiment, search for your favourite apps on an app store. Click version history, and see how often they are updating their app. For example, on average Facebook updates their app weekly.

There is a reason great apps get so many happy users, because they have a culture of test and try. They are constantly testing their app, then finding ways to improve it.

You need to prioritise testing from the start. Just because you know how to use your app, doesn’t mean your users do. 

Make sure you integrate tools that will monitor how your users are engaging with your app, you can then use that data to improve your customers experience.

Make sure whoever is building your app is up to date with testing tools, so you can analyse how your users are finding your app. 

 

Conclusion

If you are serious about having a mobile app, then you need to be serious about testing. 

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” be aware of what you want to measure to prove growth, then measure it constantly and prioritise bugs or confusing elements of your app, as this will affect your users engagement.

Stage 7: Marketing

Is your app visible?

Build it and the people will come.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy. In the modern world, creating a good app isn’t good enough, you need to build it, market it, and then the people will come (download your app).

There is lots of content available on app marketing strategies. Ultimately, it is best to spread your marketing into different strategies. Below are a few examples, but depending on what you are building, it could look very different.

 

Pre launch

It is good practice to have already built excitement with a pre launch. This gets users interested in your app before it is ready.

You can do this through social media, your website, email, in person, but plan it, as you may require building a basic app that helps improve excitement until launch day.

 

Post launch 

Is about driving people into your app. Open up your marketing funnel and get out to as many people as possible who will love your app.

For example, you may find that your download rate (CTR) is 5%, so to get 1000 people onto your app, you would need to make sure your marketing is reaching 20,000 people.

 

Conclusion

Marketing shouldn’t ever be an afterthought. If you are new to marketing, we would recommend either spending some time researching good techniques, or approach a professional.

Make sure you have a plan to get out to ideal people and get out to them ASAP. Even if your app hasn’t even been built yet. If you are solving problems people face, they will be happy to talk to you.

Stage 8: Future development

What isn’t working well? How will this app keep growing your brand?

So now you have an amazing working app that people love. It’s time to sit on a beach in sunny mexico. 

Unfortunately not. 

Once your app is built, unless it is for a specific purpose (e.g a one off event) then it is good to think about how you can keep improving your app.

Technology is ever changing, IOS and Android are constantly bringing out new models and new updates. If you don’t keep up to date, you could lose interest from users.

Here is a good example, in 2020 foldable devices launched, this will change the user experience on mobile apps. If you adapt and move with the times, you will keep in the forefront of people’s minds.

But, If you build an app once and never touch it again, the chances are problems will occur. 

 

Conclusion

Technology is ever changing, and you must change with it. Make sure you budget for regular updates when creating a mobile app.

What now?

Are ready to turn your idea into a solution?

Thanks for reading our ultimate guide to creating a mobile app. From idea to solution.

If you are anything like us, then I am sure after reading a document like this, it has created more questions than answers.

Sorry, that wasn’t our intentions, but building a mobile app takes planning.

Don’t worry, we have been building apps for a long time, and love helping people turn an idea into a mobile app.

See what one of our previous customers have said:
‘’They have taken the bare bones of our idea and made it
so much more than I ever dreamed it could be.’’

So…. what next?

We recommend 2 things, firstly you can book a meeting with us. We will not charge, but happily talk your idea through with you and help you create a plan to build a mobile app.

Secondly, if you haven’t already yet, you can download our PDF below to stop your business from falling behind when you are ready to build your app. 

All the best, Blue Sparrow Apps

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costs and mistakes.

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