The market for mobile applications and their use is growing rapidly. There is still a lot of potential here. Nevertheless, many people are not aware of which areas need to be considered. This article describes 10 tips for developing apps.
Many founders and entrepreneurs are interested in creating mobile apps. Not without reason, because the market for mobile applications and their use is growing rapidly. There is still a lot of potential here. Nevertheless, many people are not aware of which areas need to be considered. This article describes 10 tips for developing apps.
1. The concept
In the opinion of many, the concept is the most important part in the creation of a mobile application. Without a thorough elaboration of a concept, the subsequent steps make little sense. Questions like:
- Who is the user?
- What does the customer really need?
- How do we create high added value?
- What do we have to do to keep the app on the smartphone and not delete it?
As part of the concept, it is advisable to write a specification sheet. This can be done together with an experienced developer or an agency. It also makes sense to involve potential users from the outset.
Some agencies generate interactive PDFs before programming, on which the buttons and screens are already visible. The user is given the opportunity to see the application before it is finished and can therefore provide valuable feedback even before programming has started.
2. Mobile versus native
Not in all cases you need a native app based on Android or iOS. If no device-specific functionalities are required, browser-based applications based on HTML5 can also be used.
The big advantage is that once developed, they run on all devices. This reduces the development costs enormously, because Native operating systems have to be programmed separately for each one.
For online magazines, for example, HTML5 already provides the ability to use the touch and storage functionality of smartphones and tablets. However, if you need functionalities that use a lot of processor capacity or the motion sensor (called gyroscope), you should use native operating systems like Android or iOS, because they are better adapted to these functionalities.
In terms of costs, programming for mobile browser solutions is much cheaper. However, long-term thinking is needed here. Questions to ask yourself in this context:
– Will users be satisfied with the limited functionality of HTML5 or other browser-oriented solutions?
– Will functionality be needed in the future that is not covered by HTML5 or similar solutions?
– Is the application to be developed very computationally intensive and does it require many hardware components?
– Does it make sense to calculate higher costs but to have long-term investment security?
3. Less is more
The screens on mobile devices are small, so it often makes sense to concentrate on the essentials. The flirting app Tinder, for example, which connects flirting partners in the simplest way, proves that it can also be successful with reduced functionalities.
Whether a reduction makes sense, however, should be considered individually. In an online shop, this could even lead to a competitive disadvantage; higher functionality can help to stand out from the competition.
4. Plan for the long term
Usually, the full application is not created immediately, but a first prototype. Advantage: The app can only be expanded after receiving the first customer feedback. This approach has the advantage that long-term planning and expansion is possible at any time.
5. Usability and performance
Every application should be easy to use for the user. Therefore, enough time should be allowed for the design of the user interface.
There are usability experts who can design such an easy handling before the whole thing goes into development. The potential user group can also provide important feedback in advance, which can be used to make further improvements to the workflow (also known as paper app testing).
Another important point: Nowadays, users demand applications on their mobile phones that are easy on memory and batteries.
6. Press and marketing
The marketing sector is underestimated. With so many different applications, it is no longer sufficient to have only the best programming. It also needs a good marketing concept.
One way to generate a lot of attention with relatively little effort is to work with the press. There is currently a lot of interest in reporting on the latest mobile applications. This can be used in marketing.
In order to get the necessary attention, it is particularly important to contact the journalists close to the industry. Every PR campaign should also be planned for the long term and carried out by experienced staff. Press work should be a top priority!
An exciting press release can also arouse further interest. A suitable PR kit covers the following areas:
- Name of the app
- Distinguishing features of the application
- Link to the website
- Link to the App Store page
- Screenshots of the main functionalities
- If possible an explanatory video
- Sales pitch or short description
- The press release, if available, should be added after the short description in the email.
- Free activation code so that the journalist can use and evaluate the app in advance
- Contact details
- Links to the social media sites
Other exciting areas in marketing: App Store Optimization (the optimization of keywords in the App Stores to positively influence the ranking), online banner advertising, Google AdWords, blogging & social media, contact and cooperation with the platform operators Google and Apple.
In addition to providing a new and groundbreaking user experience (user experience), the topic of monetization is also in the foreground for every founder. There are various approaches for this. The most important are briefly described below:
- Payment apps: The application can only be downloaded against a prepayment. However, this is only worthwhile if the application offers very strong added value and is tailored to a specific customer segment.
- Free applications: The goal with this form is to achieve as many downloads as possible. From time to time, users will see advertisements. The operator receives a small amount for each click on this advertisement.
- In-App Purchase: This is currently the best way to monetize mobile applications. The user can buy additional functionalities or levels in games. The initial program is usually provided free of charge. This increases the chances that the user will make the in-app purchases if he likes the program.
For larger projects it makes sense to seek legal advice and to have this contract reviewed with third parties. Many programmers only give the rights to the application, but not to the source code. This can lead to high follow-up costs. Therefore one should inform oneself in advance to the legal topics exactly.
Appropriate advice can be found with lawyers specialising in IT law. They have the necessary knowledge from the areas of copyright law, trademark law, contract law and many others to provide the future operator with competent information.
The rating in the various stores is significantly influenced by the error-free functioning of the application. Therefore, the app should be tested in advance by various groups.
10. App Life-cycle
Programming the application is just one of many tasks. Areas such as marketing, maintenance and the further expansion of programming are further very important components. The various sub-areas should be taken into account as early as the design phase.