Many business owners are faced with the same dilemma: they recognize the increasing importance of the mobile market, and the need for their business to have a presence on popular mobile platforms like, but are intimidated by the process, potential costs, and uncertainty involved.
Developing a mobile app can be a daunting experience, but let’s simplify it by breaking the process down into seven, easy to digest steps and looking at what happens at each stage of the journey.
Step 1: Define your goals for the app.
While many people have a broad idea that they want their app to do “everything” they can imagine, it’s best to start by narrowing it down to a few specific goals: increasing sales, building brand awareness, soliciting customer feedback, and so on.
Step 2: Envision potential use cases.
This step involves consideration for who your customer is, and how they will use the app (which may be different from how you want them to use it). How often do you expect the customer to open the app? Will, it be useful at home or the office, or only when doing business with you? Will it provide consistent value, or just be installed when needed, and then uninstalled immediately afterward?
Step 3: Make a list of features and functionality you want to include.
Now that you have a clear idea of what you and your customers need your app to do start thinking of features to accomplish those ends. Once you’ve created a list of features, lay out a sketch showing the flow of how you want users to navigate the app from one feature to another (a process known as wireframing).
Step 4: Find and hire a developer.
This can be the most stressful part because if you’ve never done anything like this before, it can be tough to know where to find a good developer who will offer you a fair price. Make sure you check their history as if they were any other hire: find reviews of their work online, ask for references, and request samples of their previous work.
Once you’ve selected a developer you think can provide you with a solid Android app strategy and create quality work, provide them with the information they need to get started and let them get right to it. Schedule regular meetings with the developer to receive updates on the status of the project and provide input where necessary.
Step 5: Test, make modifications, and re-test.
Once the initial development stage is completed, it is absolutely imperative that you thoroughly test everything. You obviously need to make sure all the features work as expected, but also make sure all the buttons do what they’re supposed to, envision ways a customer might incorrectly use it, verify that layouts look right, and so on.
Once you’ve done this, have your development team make any necessary fixes, then repeat testing. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to ensure that everything is working to your satisfaction before it goes out the door.
Step 6: Release the app to the public.
Finally, it’s time to release your mobile app to the public. Submit it to your app stores of choice, and once approved, they go live and are immediately available for download. Don’t assume that people will find it on their own, promote it via whatever communications channels you have available, including email campaigns, information on your website, and social media promotions.
Step 7: Solicit feedback and make improvements.
This is the part many people forget about but is one of the most critically important. Customers may find bugs you missed during testing, have ideas for adding or changing features, and so on. It’s important to offer them an easy way to provide this feedback and use it to plan your strategy for future releases.
App development is by no means an exact science, but by following these steps, you have a much higher chance of producing a well thought out, well-designed mobile app that provides value to both you and your customers.