I Have An Idea For An App, Now What?
Ever since mobile phones developed into smart phones and continued evolving, the profitability and popularity of applications has grown way beyond anyone’s initial expectations. As there are now over 5 million apps in total available on the App Store and Google Play Store, there seems to be nothing slowing down the app train.
With this in mind, perhaps like many entrepreneurs out there, maybe you have an amazing idea for an app.
What do you do next? How do you take that potentially amazing idea and turn it into a tangible, working app that people can use on their devices?
That is what we are going to discuss in the following article.
IT ALL STARTS WITH A PROBLEM
Vinod Khosla, the billionaire infamously stated that if there wasn’t a problem, there wasn’t a solution and therefore, no reason for a company to exist as no-one will pay for a non-problem to be solved.
When it comes to any service or product, in this case an app, to be successful it has to solve a problem. Let’s put it this way – if the idea for an app you have doesn’t in some way, even just a little, make life better for people or add value in some way, no-one is going to want to use it.
WHAT DO YOU DO FIRST WITH YOUR IDEA?
Write as much down as possible onto paper in the clearest way within a product requirements document, or a PRD for short. The most important part of the app building process is ensuring that everyone on the development team understands the business goals you have and how the app will support them.
From the notes you’ve scribbled for your app idea, understand the main business goals and specifications. The idea concept will be translated into the app’s functions, features and flow. This step is incredibly important to meet end-user’s needs, for instance – solve one of their problems. To get this right, you need to follow the Discovery Phase of the app building process.
GOAL AND REQUIREMENTS IDENTIFICATION
In the beginning of Discovery phase, any existing product outlines, documents and data is reviewed and your goals for the product and business are investigated. This helps with the translation of your vision of the app first into a prototype and then in an actual product.
The Discovery Phase at Cider involves the design and business analytics teams gathering together all the details about the product and your business to make the best technical recommendations for your app. This Phase aligns your team with our experts and addresses the needs your app will serve for your customers.
It is important to look at your target audience, industry niche and eventually work towards the functionality of the app and what your preferences are for the interface. The Discovery Phase normally takes anywhere between 4 and 6 weeks.
During Cider’s Discovery Phase, together with you we outline the functions and features your app needs to work properly. This also includes an outline of user stories that describe how and why features are used. Which is done by taking each feature and identifying the action they should perform and how they provide user stories with value.
Basically, this is similar to ‘Who, What and Why’. For instance, what is the goal achieved by the widget a college student clicks on and how does it give him value? What does that feature need to do after that and how does the functionality differ whether you are an at home mother, employee or executive?
Cider produces a clickable prototype to help map these features out. Prioritisation of what is going to be included in the first version helps to determine the project’s scope. This in turn helps to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength and eliminate as much as possible any uncertainties about how features will work. It also helps to give direction and assistance to any other decisions as they are discussed during the rest of the development phase.
In just 4-6 weeks of Discovery Phase, you will get:
- Detailed project plan
- Clickable prototype of your product;
- Feature description via user stories;
- MVP feature identification;
- Functional Flow Diagrams;
- Technology stack recommendations;
- Project estimation.
Discovery Process is essential for minimizing risks and ensuring your end product is dynamic and robust.
HAVING AN MVP IS CRUCIAL
The MVP or Minimum Viable Product is the most bare and stripped back version of the app, that has the essential features and can be released to get feedback from people, before developing and launching the full app. It is important that an MVP provides users with enough value, so that they might want to buy it when you launch the full version.
Finding the right team is vital to building an MVP.
HIRING FREELANCERS OR A FULLY MANAGED TEAM
One of the biggest dilemmas you will face when designing and creating your app is whether you hire freelance software developers or a managed team. Although you should base the decision you make on the needs of your project, you need to understand what each option offers.
Toptal.com, Fiverr.com and Upwork.com are just three of the freelance platforms that are popular and you should consider if you decide to go down the route of building whole team yourself by hiring software developers this way. Although freelancers are often great for smaller projects, they are risky for bigger ones.
Hiring a managed team of software developers is in a lot of ways a safer way to go, because there are structured levels of management in place, meaning you don’t have to deal with that side of things. There is also less risk, because the company’s reputation rests on doing their job well.
Obviously, it depends a lot on your budget, time frame and goals. For longer term projects, it is definitely recommended that you look to a managed team rather than a freelancer.
Cider is a Software Development Company based in the heart of Silicon Valley. We combine business domain knowledge and technology expertise of more than 50 development studios spread around the world.
We specialize in both: mobile app development and web development, which includes building mobile optimized websites, custom web development, as well as customization of CMS based websites. We have experience in building websites and mobile apps across different verticals: from eCommerce to Healthcare.