Build Your App

Build Your App

Now that you have done all the preparation, it’s finally time to get started with an app developer who can turn your idea into an actual product. There are plenty of app development companies out there, but you’ll need to consider what’s important to you and your business to make the best choice.

Time, Quality and Cost Tradeoff

In product development, there is a trade-off you will have to wrestle with – namely between time, quality and cost.
Essentially, you will inevitably face an ultimatum in dropping one of the three, since it is impossible to achieve all three at once. You will need to decide what you value most in order to make this decision. Keep this at the centre of your mind when you choose your app developers.

Understanding Your Project

App developers will need to understand your product before they are able to give you a quote for your app, but you should provide a briefing document that outlines the following:

Lean Canvas Business Model

This will give your app developers a good snapshot of your business.

Marketing Plan

This includes your persona reports, but should also include a specific strategy surrounding how you will reach your audience.

Specifications

What features are necessary? What are the user goals and how does the user achieve these goals?

User Experience

You may want to start with presenting rough hand-drawn sketches of the app’s skeleton. What is the the general user journey you envision for the app?

App Development Buzzwords

When you’re talking with app developers, here are some definitions you’ll find helpful when you’re trying to understand their language:

MVP

Stands for Minimal Viable Product. Eric Ries defines it as a “version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

SOLUTION DESIGN

This is the first stage of app design and development. After requirements are gathered and understood, a user experience specialist will work with you to design the bare-bones of app’s interface with a wireframe.

WIREFRAME

This is the app’s skeleton. It is usually a black-and-white derivation of the app screens, defining the element interaction and user flow.

NATIVE APP

This is a mobile application that you download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, that uses iOS and Android proprietary development tools.

HYBRID APP

This is a mobile application that you download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, that uses web development tools.

OFFLINE/ONLINE DATABASE

This will determine if your app’s data is available offline or requires a data connection in order to access. As the names suggest, an offline database will not require a connection, whereas an online one will.

LIVE SERVER

You will need a live server if you require the response time on the app to be in real-time (e.g. live chat). Without a live server, there is a wait time or manual action required for a refresh.

Working with your new partners

When you have chosen who you would like to work with to build your app, it’s time to make sure the knowledge transfer process is as seamless as possible. Along with the original brief that you provided you will need to ensure a few other aspects are covered in the handover process.

Do your app developers understand your purpose?

Share with your app developers the vision for your app. What do you want to achieve creating the app? It’s important to have everyone on the same page here so that there is a palpable goal to work towards.
Your app developers should also have a copy of your persona reports you developed detailing the characteristics of who your app should be targeting. This will be a paramount reference during the solution design phase and visual design phase of the process. Considerations around user experience, app flow and app aesthetics will be heavily influenced by who the app is targeted to.

What features are on your wishlist?

Share with your app developers the vision for your app. What do you want to achieve creating the app? It’s important to have everyone on the same page here so that there is a palpable goal to work towards.
Your app developers should also have a copy of your persona reports you developed detailing the characteristics of who your app should be targeting. This will be a paramount reference during the solution design phase and visual design phase of the process. Considerations around user experience, app flow and app aesthetics will be heavily influenced by who the app is targeted to.

Functional Features

Functional features are those that outline specific behaviours your app should be able to perform. Examples include login, booking, search, and displaying profile information.
You can further split functional features into the core and noncore features. This is especially important if you are developing an MVP.
Your core features are your ‘must-haves’. You will want to put some semblance of an app in front of some potential users as soon as possible. As a result, it is important to prioritise the features you will need to deliver some value to customers, so that you
can gauge its validity as a viable app.
The non-core features will be the ones that you would like to have but are non essential, so can be held off until after initial user testing. It is good to raise these at the beginning, so you can find out the technical feasibility of such features, and your specialists can keep these features in mind when designing the user flow. However, for the first stage of your product, you do need to be careful about not bloating your app with too many features. You’ll increase the cost and energy if you try to copy the features other apps have and let grandeur visions get in the way.

Non-Functional Features

Non-functional features determine how the behaviours should be facilitated by the app, defining the overall qualities your app will have. Here, you will have to consider issues in usability and accessibility. Examples include text-size, use of colour and type of navigation.
It may be the case that you are unsure about these features at this point, and you will usually be establishing these with your solution design specialist, but if you have general ideas surrounding this, it will aid this conversation.

How do you plan to measure success?

In order to properly design an interface that optimises your app’s potential, it is important the user experience specialist understands the project success metrics and priorities. Would you like to offer in-app purchases? Would you like to maximise sign ups? These priorities determine how your app is structured and how the user flow is designed.
Your app developers can also help you identify some useful analytics tools for your app’s success tracking. However, to choose the best tool for the job, they will need to know what you want to get out of your app.

Have you sorted out your branding?

You will need to provide your app designer the logo and brand palette. This will define the overall look and feel of the app, which is integral to the overall quality of your app. If you don’t have your branding ready prior to starting with your app developer, you can work out it out simultaneously with solution design.

Protecting Your Ideas

Conclusion