Building a mobile app is essential and any business that is future friendly and has the intention of surviving in this competitive environment needs to have their own mobile app. However, just because everyone is getting an app made, does not mean that it is easy to make one! The issues and decisions that need to be taken about the app crop up even before you start building. There is definitely a lot of research that you need to do, before you begin the actual app building process, but that’s not all. There are quite a few arenas that you need to focus on.
Penguin Apps Builder has been building apps for their customers for quite some time now and has thousands of happy customers in their kitty of clients. To help you get started with the process of building an app for yourself, we have put together this list of things that you need to know before building an app.
#1 The Cost Incurred
This point deserves a post by itself and let us tell you it is not so easy to put a tag on the app that you are planning to build. There are multiple factors at play when it comes to calculating the costing of your mobile app and they vary from app to app. Hence the cost to build an app would also vary. List down the factors that impact the cost of an app and then get an estimate from professionals to get yourself started in drawing up a budget. Penguin Apps Builder’s list of factors impacting the cost of building an app should help you here.
- Choice of Platform
- Research & Analysis
- Features & Functionality Of The App
- Range Of Devices That The App Would Need To Support
- Native Or Cross-Platform
- UI & UX
- Specialized Elements
- App Infrastructure
- Data Integration
- App Security
- Exploiting The Device Hardware
- Prototyping & Demo Versions
- Support & Maintenance
- Data Storage
- App Design
- Marketing Costs
When there are so many factors at play, there are bound to be variations in the kind of budgets different apps would have and the final costs might even vary when you go for some mid-project changes, which are bound to happen!
Some of the big players are known to have invested a whopping $500,000 top $1,000,000 in building their app. However, it doesn’t mean that building apps is only for those with deep pockets, the smaller retail stores or fashion houses are known to have spent $50,000 to $100,000 in building their apps. This disparity is a little confusing for most people who are new to it, hence one simple formula that can help you calculate the cost of developing an app can be:
Cost Of App Development = Development Time (in hours) X Hourly Rate
This, however is the cost of developing an app from scratch where a huge team of professionals works dedicatedly to help you build your app. Penguin Apps Builder has a whole team that has been helping their customers custom-build their apps. However, for those who do not have these deep pockets, DIY template apps from Penguin Apps Builder is a great way to go too!
#2 Choosing The Business Model
If you are like me, then you definitely want to build an app with the intention of making money from it, right! You must explore the different ways to make money from your app, much before you begin the development process. There are great number of ways to do that including but not limited to
- Price Tag On The App
- In-app advertising
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- In-App Purchases
Whether you decide to charge people for downloading your app or not, is one of the biggest decisions that you might have to encounter before the launch or development of your app. If you decide to offer your app for free, then freemium model or in-app advertising can be great for making some money. However, if you want to charge the users for downloading your app, you must then decide how to price your app. If the tag is too high you might not get enough users, and if you underestimate the pricing then you are losing out on potential profit and it is going to be very difficult for you to raise the prices later on. While putting a tag on the app, remember that the platform you are going to release your app on would charge you a percentage of the revenue as well, for example Apple charges 30% of the revenue.
#3 Designing The App & Its Layout
The design of your app and its layout would define the user experience and the way the user is going to interact with the different aspects and features of the app. It is the design and interface of the app that determines how your users are going to perceive your app. The basic idea is that the design and layout of the app must be kept as simple as possible. It is absolutely imperative that you focus on helping the users find and buy the products that they are looking for in a seamless fashion without much effort or distraction. Aim for a design that is simple and intuitive, something that the users are familiar with, yet it must offer something new as well. The design guidelines set forth for iOS & Android is a good place to start with, but you may also venture out and explore the designs and layouts of popular e-commerce apps.
#4 The Different Features Your App Needs
The type of features you want to include in your app will depend on the kind of app you want to build. Choosing the right set of features is of the highest importance when it comes to building a mobile app. If you fail to put the right set of features in place, then even the best of services or brand image is not going to do much for the success of your app. Here are the top 3 features that you must consider for your app.
4.1) Push Notifications
Push Notifications are the single most effective tool in raising the efficiency of the app and building a strong connect with the new users and re-establishing a connect with the existing user base. This is one of the strongest marketing tools for a mobile app that can help you reach out to your users and announce any upcoming events, product launches, promotions, deals, sale, and even offer them personalized discount coupons or codes. It has been established that the push notifications can be surprisingly effective in increasing the revenue generated per user over a period of time.
4.2) Security Updates
There are bound to be certain bugs in an app and hackers do not refrain from attempting malicious activities. When you provide and opt for security updates in your app you make your app a lot more secure because each update would offer protection from the latest bugs and threats. The e-commerce apps require users to enter sensitive data and most of the apps today need the users to login with their social media or email credentials. With this kind of sensitive user data in your app, it is your responsibility as a developer to ensure the safety and security of your users who have entrusted you with their information. When you have a secure app, you invoke a strong trust among your users and win their loyalty as well.
4.3) Real-Time Sync
It is important to maintain consistency all across the portals. It is there for only natural that you must incorporate the feature of auto syncing your website with your app, so that all the users across all the platforms receive the same information and equitable user experience. This becomes even more important of yours is an e-commerce business. Syncing the web store with your app will mean that there would not be any inconsistency in terms of inventory and the users will be offered a consistent shopping experience.
#5 Beta Testing The App & Its Significance
The importance of testing and retesting your app cannot be stressed upon enough. It is important that you test, retest, and keep testing till you are satisfied with the test results. While it is a good idea to get your friends and family to use your app and give you their feedback, but is that enough? Certainly not! You need to hire a team of beta testers to actually get any kind of constructive feedback. A strong network of beta testers is critical for an app developer and you can develop your own by going through specialized platforms like Erli Bird, BetaList, Betabound, BetaTesters etc. The number of beta testers you hire is important, but it is equally important to hire the testers who are suitable to you and provide you genuine feedback instead of just going through the app in a jiffy and giving you a go ahead!
#6 Spreading The Word
In other words, marketing your app is imperative. In this day and age, having a stellar product in your hands is not enough, you need to market your product well in a way that it gets exposed to a wide audience. Build a strong marketing strategy that is specially designed to suit the features, and functionality of the app while highlighting the problem that the app is designed to solve. The marketing effort needs to begin way before the launch of the app. To be able to create a buzz for your app in its development stages, it is important that you have a well-defined marketing strategy for your mobile app in place.
While most of the app developers do formulate a good strategy, it is rarely well executed, which is why they fail to reap the benefits of it. The timing of the marketing campaign is very important and the developers in all their focus and attention on development might miss out on it. Hence it is important to build a clear schedule and timeline and stick to it.
#7 Picking The Right Platform
The choice between platforms viz. Apple, Android, Windows or anything else is a tough one to make. Android and iOS are the two leading platforms and to begin with, it might be a good idea to build for one of them. This is the most basic step while beginning to build an app. The final decision about your choice of platform defines everything else about the platform right from the developers that you would be working with, the UI, scope, and even the flexibility of the mobile app you build. It is essentially because, the coding, the guidelines, the target user, and the devices are completely different for both the platforms. Finally, it is the coding of the app that would decide the utility of the app and its adaptability of the offerings of your mobile app.
#8 Defining The Reason For Building The App
It might not seem to be of much importance, but the reason why you are building the app needs to be defined and then justified. This is important because you would have to brief the developers about your app, and to be able to do so means that you would have to properly articulate the particular reason for building the app. It is important to clearly indicate how the app differs from the existing portals (website, brick & mortar establishment, etc.) in terms of pure functionality or services. You must, concisely provide clarity on how the services offered by the app are different from the ones being offered through other media. You must have a clear, distinctive, and strong vision before you begin building your app. Apart from this distinction in functionality, it is important that the app stays aligned with the business goals and you should have an understanding of the way in which the app would help you accomplish them.
#9 Defining The Target User For Your App
Any product or service must be designed on the basis of demands of an identified target user. Before you embark on your mission of app development, conduct a thorough research and identify your target user. This user group or persona that you identify must, in principle dictate the development of your mobile app. If you do not pay attention to the user, you might have an excellent app in your hands that no one wants!
#10 Formulating An Effective App Description
The app description that you write on Google Play Store or Apple App Store is effectively your introduction to the user. The old adage “First Impression Is The Last Impression” holds true even here! A visitor will go through this app description to understand what the app does and will decide on that basis whether they want to download the app! Also, you must remember that both Google Play Store and Apple App Store display only 2 to 3 lines above the fold and the rest can only be read when the user taps on the “Read More”. This means that these top lines are of great value and must be lucrative enough for the readers to be converted to customers.
#11 Adaptability of The App To Multiple Devices
In this day and age there are a huge number of devices for the users to choose from, while some may use just one, there are still others who would use multiple devices to access your app. It is therefore important for you to respect the choice of the app user and opt to target multiple devices. When you are developing an app that is targeted at multiple devices there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration including screens sizes and resolution, network bandwidth, connectivity, storage capacity, and more such configuration details of the device. The choice of platform will also have a bearing on the device types that you would target. The main thing to remember is to explore and utilize the inherent functionality of the device that you are targeting for your app before you begin custom – coding for it.
#12 The Size Of The File
When you are designing an app for mobile, remember that the storage space afforded by a mobile device is a lot lesser than that of a desktop computer, hence you must keep the number of files fewer and the size of each of the files as small as you can without hampering the experience. Keep in mind that you do everything possible to make your app fast, and cut down on the amount of data that your app would consume so that the users can enjoy the best possible experience for a longer period of time.
#13 App Localization
Restricting to one particular language limits your audience, and if you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, you would definitely not like to miss out on an entire market simply because of the language barrier. Localize your app in a planned manner to encourage the adoption and penetration of your app. Make your content available in appropriate language as per the location of the user to expand your user base.
#14 Establishing Priorities
There would always be a million things that would demand your attention when you are planning to build your app. The trick in building it successfully is that you prioritize your tasks in an effective manner deciding which tasks need immediate attention, and which ones can be handled later. The priorities you designate might even change depending on a multitude of internal as well as external factors, hence, it is important that you remain firm, with a measure of flexibility for better results.