Businesses think that setting up a website is enough. However, if you want to take your business to new heights,it’s time for you to build your very first app! This is an exciting time for any business, and in today’s modern techy world, getting an app build for your customers is a great way to improve brand loyalty and even boost sales if that’s what your business is into.
What’s in an App?
Mobile apps come in all shapes and sizes, from the social media apps we all know and love to productivity assistants, games, entertainment, lifestyle, and of course, shopping. Whatever the theme of your app, there are a few questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you get started. Finding out the answers to these questions will help you build an app that your fans and followers will like and want to use, and it will as mean you have a better understanding of your own business needs before you dive into the app creation process, saving you money along the way.
Let’s get started with the six most common questions you need to answer before you design and build your first app.
· Does Your Business Really Need An App?
This may be a simple question, and your first answer is probably “yes! Of course, we do!”, but do you really, really need an app? Building an app for your business is a lengthy and expensive process, and it may not be worth it in the long-run, so it’s important to ask yourself why you need the app and what you want it to do?Sit down with your team and decide if you really need that app, and take into consideration app failures before making your final decision.
Some things to think about include:
- Do you need it for your customers?
- Are they members of the public, or are they B2B customers? How will they utilize the app
- How useful will it be for them?
Another reason to build an app is to help your own internal business, ordering supplies, stock taking, tracking, etc. These are all good reasons to build an app and worthwhile investments.
· How Will You Handle In-App Notifications?
At the heart of every mobile app is the users, and getting the users on side is critical in ensuring the continued usage and growth of your app. With that being said, how will you handle in-app notifications?
Notifications can make or break an app’s popularity. Too many, and you risk annoying your audience and driving them to uninstall it or block notifications, too few, and you risk your users missing out on important information. Look at this one thoroughly because it is an important factor in your app’s useability.
· How Will You Brand Your app?
Colors, fonts, logos, music… there’s so much to think about, and all of this on a relatively small screen like a mobile device. In simple terms, your branding should be consistent across everything you do, from your website to your advertising, your social media feeds, and, yes, your mobile app. It’s not that easy, though.
Apps need to be used by humans, and they can be easily turned off or uninstalled, which means you need to create an app that looks good and works with your brand without making it too flashy or annoying for users to actually use.
· What Will Your Update Schedule Look Like?
There is zero point in putting time and effort (and money) into developing an app if you’re just going to leave it with no updates. It will eventually break and stop working, leading to a poor user experience.
Factoring in your update schedule will help you to cost out the price of your app as well as plan a roadmap ahead. It might be that your first app iteration doesn’t have all of the features you’d like it to have, especially if money and time are tight, but in future releases and updates, you can improve it and bring new features to your audience.
This is also an important time to consider updates for security. Most software companies suggest monthly or bi-monthly security patch updates in addition to core updates that are perhaps more infrequent (every six months or every 12 months,for example).
· What Devices Will Your App Be Used On?
This is a great question to consider not only in terms of which operating system it will be used on (Android or iOS are the most popular) but also what size and type of device?
Will your app be purely mobile-based, designed for 5-7” screens, or will you scale it up to be suitable for tablets too?
If you’re designing an industry app to be used in a B2B situation or used in-house by your workforce, what kind of devices do they use, and what outside considerations should you think about? For example, are they working outside and need big quick to select buttons, or will they be using tablets to fill in multiple form parts? The same goes if you’re working with an IoT software development company to create something like a smart home application – what is the most common type of device used in the home, and which would be best to focus on?
Thinking about the devices your app will be used on is about considering your users and your users’ environment and designing an app that fits both.
· How Will You Test Your App?
Alpha testing is usually done by your software team. They will go through the app and put it through its paces, looking for faults, bugs, and holes and fixing them before the app is released for general usage. Most companies prefer to also have a beta testing scenario, where a select group of users can use a testing version of the app and explore the new features that will be available in a general release.
Beta testers don’t necessarily have to be software experts (in fact, it’s usually better if they aren’t), and most companies like to gather feedback from beta testers to help improve the app going forward. This is also a great opportunity for marketing outreach, as you have the ability to choose a “select” group of fans and users to be part of the process, letting them get the updates first before everyone else.