Do you have a great idea for a mobile app? Before you jump right in and start developing it, take some time for a few considerations. There are lots of decisions to make: who is your app for, how will you sell it, what platform will you choose, how will you monetize your app, and countless others. Plan as much of your strategy as you can up front.
One of the most important considerations when building a mobile app is to determine your audience. This may require usability studies and group testing to nail down adequately. What is the age range of your app user? Is it primarily aimed at men or women or both? What are the expectations each of these groups will have when using your app? Answers to these questions may affect decisions you have to make in regards to things like style of user interface and overall branding. You want maximum appeal for your target audience, even in the design phase.
Check the app marketplaces for similar apps to what you are developing. Thoroughly examine the top selling apps in your genre. You’ll need to improve upon existing apps with a better user experience or enhanced functionality if you expect your app to rate and sell well. What can you add to your app that the competition does not have? Read the reviews to see what features users of current apps are suggesting and consider incorporating those. Or, can you make your app faster, easier to use, or use less resources? You’ll need to do research and differentiate your app from the herd.
App users today expect their apps to work flawlessly, quickly, and to be easy to use. While a lot of these factors get addressed during the development phase, you’ll need extensive testing to make sure your app is firing on all cylinders. This will mean ensuring you build in provisions for things like crash logs, and ways to monitor CPU usage and battery consumption. Any real time analytics you can build in will also go a long way to making sure you adequately test and monitor your app. Test everything–navigation, help files, display, error messages and general user experience. Everything will need to work virtually perfectly if you are to expect 5-star reviews which are critical to the financial success of your app.
There are several possibilities for monetizing your app depending on what fits best. Do you want to show ads and offer the app for free, or sell it outright? Another increasingly popular option is to offer the app with a monthly or yearly subscription fee. Still another possibility is in app purchases. Which one you choose will depend on the functionality of your app and its target audience.
Maybe one of the least pleasant aspects of building a mobile app that you will have to consider is legal impacts. Generally the main concerns are if the user is adequately notified of any charges that might be incurred by the app, and how any data collected about the user is going to be used. These two areas will require clear communication to the user and an indication of their acceptance in order to stay clear of any legal problems.
While a lot of your time and effort will be spent designing and building the app, don’t forget about the launch and marketing. This will take a strategic and integrated approach that is best planned and prepared for well in advance of the planned launch date. You will want to line up journalists at app review sites and blogs to send press releases to as well as early access to your app so they can play with it. Have your social media campaign ready with all the tweets and Facebook posts you will need. Get a landing page up with an email signup form so you can get a list of interested users who will be advocates for your app and possibly share it with their friends. It is critical to get a lot of downloads and reviews in a short amount of time.
Building an app is definitely a worthwhile endeavor and if done correctly can be financially rewarding as well. Just make sure you are taking everything into consideration and plan appropriately.