Questions to Ask Before Developing a Mobile App
Questions to Ask Before Developing a Mobile App
When we, at PlusInfosys, talk to busy mobile app development businesses they tell us one of their biggest challenges is getting the mobile app build project properly scoped. Often projects become too organic with new requirements emerging through the life of the project. And, sometimes there are too many ideas on what the app should do. App Developers and Clients then find it difficult to really define what success looks like.
At PlusInfosys, what we’ve found is that if you can get good insight into the project by getting answers to these few questions right at the start of the project, it’s more likely to be a success. A project that starts off in the right direction has more chance of ending up in the right place. So, for Business of Apps readers, here’s a few questions you need answers, before you start your next mobile app build.
Why Do I Think I Need an App for My Business?
The most important question you can ask yourself is why your business should develop an app in the first place. While it’s true that there’s a certain prestige that comes with having your own mobile app, that doesn’t always translate to profitability or even increased engagement.
Ask yourself these sub-questions to better determine why your business needs an app specifically:
- In what ways will a mobile app help our business that a web app can’t?
- What evidence do we have that customers will use our app?
- Do our main competitors have apps, and if so are their reviews positive or negative?
- Will a mobile app fit in with our current product line?
What is the Goal?
To help guide your thought process as to why you think your business needs an app, ask if your firm: what is the primary goal of this application?
Stating a clear goal at the outset of the project will help keep your team members focused–all working cohesively towards a common objective.
Here are a few key reasons you might want to create an app for your business in the first place:
Current customers are asking for an app.
- You want a compelling mobile platform where people login and socialize with one another in real-time
- You want to send push notifications to increase engagement.
- You want to streamline your sales process (especially true for E-Commerce/M-Commerce)
- You want to sell an application easily on the App Store or Google Play.
Is my business a good fit for an app?
Be honest with yourself here – while the idea of seeing your company logo up on the Apple App Store or the Google Play marketplace is probably quite tantalizing, it deserves careful consideration. Certain types of businesses by their very nature lend themselves quite well to a dedicated app. Anything retail is a naturally good fit as you can center your app and its functionality around your various products. A flower shop would have no shortage of opportunities for users to scan a QR code on a pot to learn more about the plant inside. An electrical supply store, however, might struggle to find creative ways to make their products interesting to the average consumer.
Nothing is outside of the realm of possibility however – you might just have to get more creative in your thinking. If the answer to it forms a yes, then creating an app is the best solution..
Should the app be outsourced or not?
While developing in house or outsourcing are viable and can result in a great end product, the strategic advantage of each rests with the nuances of a business and the specific objectives for a project.
Your options here fall into three basic categories: finding someone on staff with the requisite skills and knowledge to develop your app for you; outsource the work to a professional or team of professional app developers; or look into one of several third party “streamlined” solutions that allow you to create your own app with little technical expertise (think of it like building a website using WordPress instead of hard-coding it).
Doing it yourself might seem like a daunting task, but as app distribution exploded in popularity, some smart folks out there realized there is a huge market for people wanting to create a small-scale app but don’t have the requisite programming experience. There are now a wide variety of streamlined software solutions given by PlusInfosys Mobile App development that allow you to drag-and-drop elements into their proprietary software to create functioning apps.
Developing apps through an in-house team provides greater control and direction over a project. Increased collaboration inevitably results from a team working in proximity. However, in-house mobile development teams are typically more expensive than an outsourced equivalent, so you can hire developers from PlusInfosys to carry on with mobile app development.
Which device to develop for?
The global tablet ownership is increasing day by day. Within Americans the multitude of options, choices of devices is huge hence the challenge of the major mobile project can elevate within no time. Initiating the existing traffic to a company website will help with assessing the users in terms of device preference.
The majority of people across the world access the website from android devices, the mobile app in this should be built on android, but iPhones are in the market too, hence the likelihood of apple share is lesser but of considerable range. The larger transactional punch to the market is through the iPhone, so that also should be kept in mind.
A few of the major differences are:
- Native apps can access the phone’s other built-in technology; not just it’s screen. A native app will have full access to features such as swipe gestures, accelerometer, the phone’s microphone, camera, GPS and much more. Simply put, they offer a much tighter and feature-rich experience.
- One the main benefits of having an app is the ability to send free, unlimited push notifications. Unfortunately, web apps just can’t provide this same level of functionality and an app without push notifications is a bit like a pencil without its lead: pointless!
- If an app has native support, it will also work like people expect it to. The feature will be much more intuitive and user-friendly.
What Is My Revenue Model?
Is the goal of your mobile app to make money? If your app just needs to reproduce an already existing process on the web, then you probably already know the answer to this question.
If you’re unfamiliar with the monetization methods of app development, here’s a breakdown of the most common strategies:
- Premium (Pay to Download)
- Subscription Model
Are there Integrations I need to consider?
The question of integration is twofold: Do you currently have a database or other technologies in place that you’ll need to integrate with the mobile app? OR are you aware of existing technologies that you want to leverage to simplify or expedite the app development process?
In many cases, leveraging existing technologies through an API can be helpful for users. Integration can also potentially save you money compared to rolling out your solution. For instance, a small business m-commerce app might benefit from integrating a system for distributing and processing virtual gift cards, rather than rolling out their own custom solution.
How Is The App Going To Be Found When It’s Ready To Go Live?
You have to think of this at the design and development stage. Make sure it confirms the design guidelines of each store it’s listing in, if it doesn’t follow the rules it’s going to be tricky to get it listed. You’ll also need a good app store optimization tool to ensure you’re targeting the right keywords. Carefully think about future releases, as this has a huge influence on discovery. An App that’s continually being developed will rank better in the store.
What About Post Launch? What’s The Ongoing Plan To Learn & Improve?
You’re also probably not going to be able to deliver all the features your client wants, within the budget they have to spend and the timescale you’re presented with.
Making sure that there is good data coming from the app is also critical. In addition to crash reporting & diagnostics, using data & analytics to know how the app is performing particularly focusing on recency, frequency, duration and lifespan. Getting your client to predict up front what is the expected “Norm” and tracking variance from that will help your and your client prioritize the remedial work that will be needed to get the app downloaded, used, and reused frequently.
What’s My Ideal Budget and Timeline?
What is your ideal timeline and budget for your project? The answers to these questions will vary widely depending on your feature set, budget, and the development team you work with.
When it comes to your development timeline, make sure to set reasonable expectations for yourself as well as the development team. Keep in mind that throughout the development process you’ll do a round of internal testing (sometimes referred to as Alpha testing), internal Beta testing with a slightly larger group, and external (or public) Beta testing to a larger group of potential customers before release.
Collecting feedback, planning, and pushing changes during the development phase can cause delays to the project launch, so planning ample time to dedicate to your app project is a necessity.
Generally speaking, app projects can range anywhere from one to three months, three to six months, or six months to one year depending on complexity, planning, and testing. The cost of apps developed in the U.S. can range anywhere from $5K to $100K+ depending on the feature set, infrastructure, screen views, or other factors.
With the right product or service, creating an app for your business can be a rewarding and profitable investment. However, just having an app for app’s sake isn’t a practical or financially sound approach.
Customer discovery phase, and it’s crucial to determine whether or not you have the right app idea in mind! Look at your top competitors. Do they have a mobile app, and if so what do the user reviews look like? They’ve already spent a lot of time and money going through the app development process, so you can learn a lot from their mistakes and successes to expedite your app discovery process. Asking yourself the questions raised in this article will help you evaluate whether or not you should develop an app for your business, PlusInfosys is here to help you in everything.