A complete guide to building an app
You have decided to make an app. Congratulations! You have a killer idea for a new app to help your business or the next idea that is going to be the no 1# app in all of the stores.
Here are the most straightforward and essential steps to ensure your app will be created in the best way possible to achieve your goals.
1. Define the app
What is the primary function of your app? In two sentences or less, describe what it is your app will do. Do you want to connect people? Solve a problem for your business? Provide an outlet for entertainment? These are broad questions with many answers, but only you can answer them! It's also a good idea to check and see if someone else also has had your great idea and research into existing or similar apps. If your idea already exists, don't let it stop you. Just make sure you make it better than what is already out there.
2. Who will be the end-user of your app?
Deciding or your target audience will inform all of your next decisions. For example, if you are building an app as a tool for employees to use, the requirements won't be the same for an app designed for customers. Your employees will want a device that is useful to them and streamlines processes, and the customers will want their own specific needs fulfilled. Understand what your audience needs. What you know upfront now will help with your design, feature implementation, and marketing plans.
3. Define and set a budget
It is essential to set aside a realistic budget for your app. A custom-built app is going to cost money. It is an investment. If you are building an app for your business, the money you spend here should see a significant improvement in other areas of your business. It could help generate revenue, save time and resources, or completely replace outdated methods of working. If you don't have a big budget, there are other pre-built apps that you can consider; however, your great idea is likely going to need a custom build.
4. Set a project timeline
Budgets and timelines always go hand in hand. Use your app definition to determine what your app needs to be able to do and by when. What needs to happen first and what can wait until a later release.
5. Host a discovery and definition session with Baseflow
You may not even realize the potential your idea has. We can help you connect your ideas with available technologies and turn your app into a fantastic success story. We can review your approach, budget, and timeline and set your expectations about what is possible. We can work together on different scenarios to make your idea come to life.
6. Choose an app advocate
Communication is everything when building an app. You need an advocate within your business to help realize the implementation of the app. Your advocate or project manager can outline and set clear expectations and responsibilities for the project within your business. We will help you every step of the way. It is also essential to identify who the final decision-makers are and the approval process that is in place.
7. The design
Do you know how you want the app to look and feel? The design of the app is a critical part of the app's success. Is it easy to navigate, how does the content show, what happens after every action. All actions have to have a nice flow. We can help you put your design together and review and give feedback on your designs for the optimal user experience.
8. What sort of features do you want it to include?
Building and planning your app is a journey. If you don't know precisely what you want, that's fine. You can figure it out along the way. However, you do need a clear idea upfront about what the app needs to do. Perhaps something changes within your business, and you need a new set of features. Sort your elements into the following categories. You can plot these desires out across your project timeline.
- Must have
- Nice to have
- Needed in a later release
9. What platform do you want to use?
Android, iOS or Cross-Platform
Depending on your end-users, the technology you have in place, and your budget and timeline, we can help you make the best decision about which platform to use.
10. Are you ready to work in an Agile method?
Are you ready to work in an Agile method?
When you work with Baseflow, it is a partnership. We work together for the duration of the project and beyond. Working Agile means you are able and willing to work with our teams and incrementally complete tasks and the project. We begin the project with a 'Sprint Zero.' Sprint Zero seeks to offer an opportunity for clarity, to plan a framework for success and ensure a working Sprint environment. The scenario is not that you ask us to build an app for you, and three months later, we deliver that app. You will never get the desired app if you work in this way. Your internal app advocate works with the Baseflow team to ensure on a weekly basis your project is on track. Are you willing to let go of how you have run projects before and work with a new methodology? We're ready to help talk you through it.
App security isn't a feature or a benefit; it is a necessity. It is one of the most critical aspects of your app. Rule #1 for security is always to not reinvent the wheel, there are plenty of standards in place. For our backend communication, we use JWT tokens in an OAuth-like flow. We ensure that your app is built with the latest security requirements to keep your data safe.
12. Testing and Quality Assurance
Don't give your users an excuse to use your competitors' app. Perform regular testing and quality assurance to stay ahead of the competition.
We can help you set up a plan. We have a dedicated QA team that has experience testing mobile apps on a variety of different platforms. We can do automated, manual testing, or both!
13. Deployment & Maintenance
Once your app is launched in the store or within your business, it is an exciting and momentous occasion to celebrate, but note, it is not the end of the project. The app will require updates and maintenance. It is essential to consider the level of support and maintenance that you will need and ensure that your developers can provide this. Do you have a plan for releasing frequent updates to the App Store and Google Play? What happens if your entire team upgrades its technology? Things change, and it's best to be prepared for that.
14. Improve Your App With User Feedback
Real user feedback is vital for making improvements to an app. Use a mix of app analytics to gather quantitative data and ask users directly with surveys or interviews to get qualitative data. Review your comments and ratings in the app store. Check-in with your employees using the app. You don't have to solve everything or cater to every request, but it is a useful measuring tool to review your expectations of the app with how people are interacting with it in the real world.
If you made it all the way here, congratulations! That was a lot of information, and I wouldn't be surprised if you are feeling a little overwhelmed. I recommend you figure out where you are in this app making process, and then get in contact with Baseflow.
We can help you with every step of the way.