This is a guest post by @araesininthesun. Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.
Mobile applications have an undeniable popular attraction. They are fun, useful, and–when done correctly–profitable. The size of the app market continues to expand, downloads are enjoying double-digit annual growth rates, and the industry as a whole is expected to hit $100 billion by 2021. With all that money on the table, everyone wants a piece of the action.
As you take your app idea from a concept to reality, there are steps you need to consider along the way to give it the best chance for success. From prototyping to the stages of iOS mobile app development to optimizing for the App Store, here are the following tips to keep in mind along your app journey.
What to Consider to Launch a Mobile App
With the wide variety of automation tools for building mobile apps and a pool of marketers and developers on tap to produce them, the development process can appear simple. While it is straightforward in framework, it is a long process with often unknown factors, especially for those new to the field.
The best way to plan a successful app is to treat it like the business service it is. Approaching the app with development, execution, marketing, and management planned from the beginning can help position your idea for success.
1. Research and Refine
So, you have a great idea for a mobile app. Bear in mind that, combined, Apple’s App Store and Google Play offer over 5 million apps. With that level of competition, you need to make your app idea the best it can be.
Truly original app ideas are getting harder to come by, so you should focus on executing your idea better than your competitors. Look at who is winning the downloads, what their designs look like, and what reviewers like and dislike about it. Incorporate the good points and work to solve their downsides to make your app stand out. Then, polish that idea to keep succeeding and growing.
2. Understand the Markets
The mobile app market is still expanding, especially in non-US countries, with China being a major force. Decide whether your app will be localized by geography and language, and what that means for its content.
Market research works for mobile apps as it does from any other business ideas. Try to get a handle on the interest in your idea, the size of that potential consumer base, and the ongoing need. Use industry data, your own clients if you have an existing business, or online testing through websites to gauge reaction.
3. Design From the Competition
Take a good look at competitors’ designs. The biggest factor for success beyond your core idea is user experience (UX). Essentially, UX design means creating an interface that is appealing to look at, intuitive to use, and logically laid out.
Test your ideas manually at first using paper and pencil or a whiteboard. Don’t worry about being sloppy or confusing; this phase is intended to get everything out of your head.
Once you have a workable layout, make use of prototyping software that can produce a basic look-and-feel version of your app. Play with these designs, seeking out feedback through customer surveys, or by placing samples on a website for micro-testing.
4. Outsource Development
You can have the best idea in the world, but if your design fails, the idea does, too. If you are not a developer, designer, or very tech-savvy, reach out to professional app developers who can take your preliminary work to the next level.
Look at developer portfolios, compare their services, and evaluate their successes and failures. Many agencies exist that will do the daily grind of maintaining and upgrading your app. Understand that developers are interested in developing–not taking–your ideas. Reputable ones want to be partners with you, not competitors.
5. Market Your Mobile App Design
Once you’ve built a working app, work on refining your content. Content is king in the online world, and those who provide quality content succeed the most. Learn how to get noticed in the App Store and Google Play, make sure you optimize your app so that users can find it easily, and keep getting the word out through advertising and social media promotion.
6. Build Bigger and Better Versions
You should always include some kind of analytics software in your mobile app. By their nature, mobile apps demand a user interaction through tapping, clicking, and scrolling. These are all measurable metrics.
Analytics will help you track all of this information to evaluate how your app is being used and how it isn’t. Use the information to improve the app’s functionality and develop content that builds on popular existing material.
7. Respond to Feedback
User feedback provides valuable information you need to improve your app. By incorporating ways for users to comment or review your app, you can discover important insights to make it better. Include ways for people to share their enthusiasm for your application. Essentially, let your customers be your marketers by encouraging social media sharing.
Research at every point of development is critical to a successful app launch and future maintenance. By keeping aware of trends and data, incorporating new ideas, and establishing a regular pattern for review and improvements, you can position your app for ongoing success.