How To Ensure Successful App Development
There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a piece of software that no one can use.
It might be buggy, slow, or even unfinished. To make a bad situation like that even worse, there’s no way to easily fix software that’s poorly done.
But, fear not, we’re here to help ensure your app moves in the right direction.
Laying the foundation of a successful app
To get started with your app, decide what issue you’re trying to solve. Are you trying to teach a new skill, manage employees or customers, or offer a service?
Now look at what solutions are currently on the market. If there already is a solution, what would yours do differently?
It’s also important to think about your target audience. Let’s use the Advantage4kids app as an example. It’s an app that teaches math and reading. The creators knew their target audience would be kids between 2nd and 6th grade, so the app’s visuals, user interface, and curriculum are all designed to be a perfect fit.
If you’re not quite sure about your audience, try to find statistics. Statista.com is a site that aggregates statistics from all over the internet. You can also try using a service like Survey Monkey to gather data about your target audience.
Clearly define what functions the app requires.
When you have a clear understanding of your apps purpose and who will be using it, you can move on to some of the more technical aspects. Start by creating a detailed outline of your app. Ask yourself questions like:
- What platforms do I need to support? iOS, Android, or both? This is also where research into your target audience will help you determine which age group, from which location, prefers which device.
- Will it connect to any external hardware? The developer will need to spend time with it, whether it’s something commercially available or not.
- Do I need to store information on a database? An app will likely need somewhere to securely store information for its users.
Try to be realistic in terms of functionality. Do your research ahead of time to ensure your idea is possible. If you’re still unsure, then ask a developer to help clarify.
Visualizing the app can also help. There are a ton of free wireframe programs you can utilize to build a simple click-through of your app. If those are too technical, then good old pen and paper will do.
Define your budget
App development is not simple. There are no real shortcuts. You may have seen no-code app builders out there, but they’re very limited. There are a lot of freelance developers, but they come with their own set of limitations.
An app developed by a professional, established development company will consist of a team ranging from 8 to 12 engineers. You should expect this development service to cost at least $40,000. A venture capitalist firm may fund app development if budget is an issue. We have an article about how to get your app funded by a VC firm.
Also, be wary of low bids just to win your contract. They may leave you with unrefined code and then charge you more to fix it.
The reality is that you need to find a team that can stick with you for the long term, and that means having an open and honest relationship on both sides.
Consider the timeframe
To ensure a quality app you need to have realistic expectations on how long it will take. The more you push the limits by reducing calendar time, the worse your app is likely to be.
The time to develop an app can range from 3 to 9 months. This development time depends on how complex the app is, how many changes occur during development, and how fast you communicate feedback to the developer. That of course goes both ways – your developer needs to stick to a predefined schedule.
When you bring your app outline to a developer, they’ll be able to provide you with a timeline for delivering you a finished product. They will break down the timeline into what are known as sprints, where the developer sends you periodic builds of your app for review.
Don’t forget to include time for release on app stores. Your app will need approval to appear on the App Store and Google Play. If your app gets denied, you’ll need to set aside time to fix it. This could add weeks to your release date, so don’t delay!
Decide who to hire
Eventually, it will come time to decide who you want to hire to build your app. Of course, you’ll want to check online reviews and ask for references, whether it be a freelancer or a company. You should also be able to download examples of their work. If their work is slow or crashes, you’ll get a pretty solid idea of how your app would perform.
But as I previously mentioned, an app should really be created by a diverse team. A good team will assign engineers with specific talents to produce each part of the app. Those parts include the client-side, server-side, database, graphics, and QA teams.
Regardless, the vision you’ve established for your app is what will guide the developer to deliver exactly what you’ve asked for. Be sure the developer can commit the time for your project and scale the team size if needed. In short, don’t choose a developer until they’ve earned your confidence.
Your app now and into the future
As I mentioned, when you develop an app, you need to think long-term. Eventually, you’ll want to add new features as the user base grows to keep those users coming back for more. If the coding is done properly, this should be a pretty seamless experience.
Proper coding means using relevant technologies with functions broken down into small chunks of code. This is the best way to ensure a smooth experience for the user while also making debugging easier.
Also, don’t wait until it’s time to release your app to start thinking about the app stores. You’ll want to do keyword research to find the keywords that accurately describe your app while talking to your target audience.
Equally important will be images for both your logo and app. Some apps just show screen captures straight from the app, while others get more creative in using the space they have to highlight key features. In addition to app images, you can also showcase a video. While every app has screenshots, not every app has a video. This is another area where you can stand out.
Don’t get stuck with software that can’t be used. If you do plenty of research and planning, you should be able to avoid any major issues during development. If you have an existing project that’s not going well and want to switch developers, you should be able to no questions asked.