Having an app can be very beneficial for your online business. It’s great for creating loyal customers and increasing customer retention.
Having your own app is like bringing the customer to your private shopping mall. You get to show them your great products and you can make them feel good and spend well.
This comparison is most accurate for ecommerce apps, but it also works for travel, education, healthcare apps etc.
By having your own app you bring the customer to your business, and you have his exclusive attention for few minutes. That is not a small feat these days!
You can also push notifications and draw their attention to your app and you can use their location data to better sell them products.
There are many things that can be done better with an app, but also it’s harder to get users to download your app than it is just to visit your website.
Do I Really Need an App?
This is the crucial question! It should be thought out well before getting into app development because it’s a complicated and timely process (and a bit expensive too).
So, do you really need an app? Or, you can finish the same job with just a good old website?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What problem does my app solve?
- Who is my target audience?
- What are the unique features of my app?
- What makes my app different from the competition?
You should have an app if the app will bring a good advantage over your website, and will solve some problem that the limitation of the website can’t solve.
For example better and more secure buying experience, better location tracking, fingerprint sensor usage, GPS usage, camera usage, better conversion because of the whole shopping experience, better more immersive entertainment experience etc.
Your target audience is also a big part of your app making decision. If your target audience is not that tech-savvy you wouldn’t really profit from making an app for them.
Also if their goal is to spend less time on your website, they wouldn’t make the decision to download your app so they can spend more time there.
You have to know exactly what is your target audience and what is their behavior with your product/service, and does having an app helps that or just makes it more complicated.
The unique features of your app are important because they will separate you from your competition and give you an edge over them.
This is the trickiest part about building an app, you need to always be one step before the competition.
And since app development and updating is an ongoing process you must always be on the lookout for new ideas and new ways to make better user experience and make your product more easily available.
This all ties back to the problem you try to solve with your app, which should always be your starting point.
By carefully analyzing the problem and finding the best solution with an app, you will be able to answer all the other questions too.
How does Actual App Development Look?
Having a clear idea of what your app is all about will help you through the next (technical) phases of app development, which are:
Choosing a Platform
Decide on which platform you want your app to be available.
The two most popular platforms are iOS and Android. There are others like Huawei AppGallery, but they are not so popular.
You need to consider your target audience and their preferred platform when choosing the platform to develop for.
This is all presuming that you chose to do native app, which means an app that runs on mobile OS.
You can also go for the Progressive Web Apps which is a website that when opened through mobile phone acts as an app.
Like the Twitter PWA and the Twitter app are very similar, but still the Twitter app, which is a native app offers a better user experience and more functionalities.
The main benefit of PWAs is that they can work on both mobile operating systems without any additional change. And the user experience on both will be similar.
The downside is that the access to mobile functionalities is limited.
Although that gap is closing and PWA apps can have access to some mobile phone features, still mobile native apps have great advantage.
Designing the User Interface
The user interface is a crucial part of your app’s success.
You need to create a mockup of your app’s user interface, including all the screens and features you want to include.
Mockups will help you better visualize your app functionality and how it will operate in real life.
After the design of the user interface (UI) you should work on the user experience (UX)
UI is the design of the buttons, colors, and layout of the app, while UX is the overall experience a user has while using the app, including how easy it is to navigate and accomplish tasks.
The UI design should be intuitive, user-friendly, and visually appealing.
The UX design should be focused on creating a positive user experience that meets the needs of the users and helps them accomplish their goals.
Developing (Coding) the App
Once you have the UI and UX design in place, it’s time to start coding your app.
The first step in app development coding is choosing a programming language that is suitable for the app’s platform and requirements.
For example, Java or Kotlin may be used for developing Android apps, while Swift or Objective-C may be used for developing iOS apps.
You need to follow best practices to ensure that your code is clean, efficient, and secure.
You also need to use version control tools such as Git to track changes and collaborate with other developers if you are working in a team.
You can also try to develop your app with “no code app”. No code app development is a newer approach to building apps that does not require knowledge of programming languages or coding skills.
Instead, no code app development platforms use drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components to allow users to create fully functional apps without writing code.
The problem with no code apps is that they lack flexibility and limit you to the available choices of functions and blocks that you use to build your app.
Testing the App
After developing your app, you need to test it thoroughly to ensure that it works as intended and is free of bugs and other issues.
You can use automated testing tools such as XCTest or Espresso or manual testing by hiring a group of testers to ensure the quality of your app.
Usually the best kind of testing is to test the exact same .apk file you would like to publish by downloading it and installing it, and later going manually through all the functions.
Google Play and Apple Store both give you the option to do this and test your app in as close conditions as your users would later use it, so you can detect even the smallest bugs and fix them.
Publish the App
After testing, you can publish your app to the appropriate app store(s) for users to download and use.
You need to ensure that your app meets the app store’s guidelines, including functionality, design, and security.
For Android app, you must have a Google Play Developer Account and your app must be built and uploaded as an Android App Bundle
That is Android’s publishing format that includes all of the app’s compiled code and resources.
This format ensures that users download only the parts of the app they need, which can result in smaller app downloads and faster installations.
Your app must comply with Google Play’s content policies.
This includes not containing any sexually explicit or offensive content, not infringing on any intellectual property rights, and not promoting hate speech or violence.
For iOS app, you must have an Apple Developer Account and your app must be built for the iOS platform and meet the technical requirements specified in the App Store Review Guidelines.
Your app must comply with Apple’s content policies, which are similar to Android’s, and also Apple has specific requirements for certain types of apps, such as gaming apps, finance apps, and healthcare apps.
These requirements may include additional security or privacy measures, as well as specific design and functionality guidelines.
Updating and Maintaining the App
After launch, you need to continually update and maintain your app to fix any bugs, add new features, and improve the user experience.
You can update your apps as many times as you want, but you need to also think of your users, will they want to update your app too frequently?
It’s good to have at least 4 updates a year with new functionalities, bug fixes and performance optimizations.
Also, always keep up with the new OS developments and new functionalities given, and accordingly update your application.
You can use analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Firebase Analytics to track user engagement and feedback to identify areas of improvement.
Customer Support is a huge part of good app maintenance.
You need to have a channel that will enable your users to talk to you and give you feedback on your app and solve problems.
You need to do that before they leave a bad review on your Android or iOS app store listing.
You can do this in many ways, the best is to have a Live Chat Support paired with FAQs and troubleshooting tips.
When you are users are having a generic problem that has happened before they can consult the FAQs, and if they can’t fix it then they can control your live chat.
Customer Support is a great place to get ideas about new features for your app and further development.
Creating an app is a complex process that requires time and expertise, but if done right it can be very beneficial.
Having the right idea for solving a given problem is the best place to start when creating an app.
Everything else from there on is just building on that foundation and a lot of work and patience.
Ultimately building an app is a great experience that helps you to serve your users better and find new ways to expand your business.
If you are new to app development, and need help with your app contact our app developing experts today.