10 Essential Steps To Developing A Killer App
Many individuals and companies are looking to release apps at any given time. Of these, many are empowered by the relative ease of putting an app together, and the deluge of information available online that tells you just how straightforward it can be.
However, putting together something quickly just to say ‘I have an app,’ and developing something of real purpose and value that will endure for many months and years is a million miles apart. We explored the ten essential steps you will need to make to ensure your app falls into the enduring category, rather than be launched and get lost within a matter of days.
1. Know Your Goal
Whether your app is a game, for business users, or something lifestyle related, it needs to have a purpose. Usually, it will form part of your marketing strategy, so you need to know the reason for doing it, and what you hope to achieve.
2. Know Your Audience
A key part of this is to know the people you are marketing it to. If you are putting an app together for parents aged 25 – 45, then you need to put together an app that is relevant to them, not something that teenagers will download for fun.
3. Use a Focus Group
As such, you should target people in your agreed demographic to become part of a focus group who can advise on your ideas, tell you what is good, bad, and indifferent, and give suggestions themselves. A great starting point here is often to have an existing app in your category, and ask for feedback around that.
4. Do as Little as Possible
What is the minimum you can put into an app prior to launch? This may sound counterproductive, but it will enable you to get your app onto the marketplace and ensure consumers look forward to your updates.
5. Plan Ahead
Speaking of updates, you should always have a schedule of new updates that you work to. Don’t look to charge for updates or you will soon lose customers, and never deliberately withhold a development from an update just so you have material for a future release.
6. Balance Your Model
What customers want and the direction businesses take are often two completely different things. Yes, you have your business plan, but you need, as much as possible, to ensure this is balanced against a consumer-led culture throughout your company.
7. Know the Competition
We touched on this earlier, but you should be aware of every app currently available to a greater degree than any focus group. Is there a gap in the market because a particular app is iOS only, for example, and are you well placed to exploit the opportunity on other platforms?
8. Use IT Professionals
Having ‘the IT guys’ working with you from the off should be a no-brainer, lest you wish to come up with a number of great ideas only to hear that it is impossible, or impractical, to implement.
9. Which Technology?
The purpose of your app will impact directly on the technology you use, especially when it comes to functionality and how ‘deep’ your app will be. You may use HTML for something simple, or other platforms if you are looking for a wider ranging app experience.
10. Look at Everything
The final step is one that you should repeat at every other stage of the process. Always analyze what you are doing and ask whether it is effective, whether your customers will want it, whether it will help drive revenues, whether enough people will download your app to be profitable, and any other metric you wish to apply.
Building an app is easy, doing it right and to a high standard, not so much. With work and perseverance, however, it is well within reach.
Robert Rayford is a technology writer with an interest in the development of business applications, such as inventory management software and customer relationship management platforms.