Mobile apps are a common part of our daily lives: many of us open up apps as soon as we turn off our alarms in the morning. There are more than half a million iOS apps and more than 300,000 Android apps, with the average user spending three hours a day on their phones.
We are more mobile than ever, making it necessary for businesses to develop mobile apps if they want to reach customers. However, mobile app development is no more simple than designing a website, requiring research and planning. Even the decision to develop an app is not one that should be taken lightly.
Here at TeknaByte Consulting, we know how overwhelming this process can be, so we’ve compiled this guide to help you decide if an app is right for your business and how to develop one.
There are few businesses without mobile websites today, as the average time spent on a desktop computer is down to just 30 minutes a day. People are viewing online content from their phones, which means businesses must optimize their sites for mobile viewing if they want to keep up.
If you’re considering developing an app for your business but aren’t sure if one is necessary on top of a mobile website, you should consider the nature of your business, its objectives and your target audience. For example, if you’re looking to provide information about your business to a variety of people, a mobile website may be sufficient. However, users have high expectations of the functionality of mobile websites, quickly becoming frustrated with any performance issues.
Mobile apps tend not to have as many problems with usability, making them a great way to engage and interact with your customer base. Mobile apps also allow for significant personalization, amplifying your brand and creating more customer loyalty as users get to know your business.
Once you’ve decided to develop a mobile app and have come up with an idea, the next question is, Will this work or will it be a waste of money? Before you start pouring money and time into your mobile app, it’s important to make sure your idea is feasible and viable.
In the mobile app development world, there are three different ways you can accomplish this. These processes allow you to increase the likelihood of your app’s success by helping you avoid common errors and gain important insight into how people respond to it. The first process is called proof of concept (POC) and its goal is to determine whether or not your app idea is feasible. A POC is the first step in the technical implementation of your idea, proving that your idea is possible from a technological standpoint and creating a starting point for development by transitioning you out of the design phase.
You can also validate your idea through prototyping, a process that allows you to conduct user research about how your app will function in today’s market. A prototype is a preliminary image of your working app, meant to validate the design direction of the project. Prototypes will help you understand the app’s look and feel and test how customers use and react to it, allowing you to remedy design issues before it’s too late or expensive to make those changes.
The third validation option is a minimum variable product (MVP). MVPs allow you to identify and improve the core functionalities of your app by understanding its user experience and responsiveness. An MVP should be the most minimal form of your project to be released and tested in the app market, a process that will pinpoint user issues and the necessary functions to fix those issues over time. Insights gleaned from this process allow you to productively allocate your resources and not waste valuable time or money on an idea that isn’t feasible or viable.
Once you know that your mobile app will function, you need to determine how the app will benefit your business. The most common strategies for making money from apps are advertising, pay-per-download, in-app purchases, “freemium,” and subscription services. What strategy works best for your business depends on the purpose of your app: subscriptions work best for music and video apps whereas in-app purchases are more lucrative in gaming or shopping apps.
If the purpose of your app is to complement your main business, then you’ll want to pick the strategy that is most likely to drive traffic towards your business. Researching and selecting a monetization model won’t guarantee success, but it will increase your chances and allow you to focus on other aspects of development.
When the time comes for the actual development of your app, you will have to decide who is going to build it. Here are some questions to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource development:
• Is your internal IT team able to keep up with changes in app development and implement the latest trends?
• With the number of current internal projects, will your team have adequate time and resources to prioritize app development?
• What does a cost-benefit analysis tell you about outsourcing app development?
Answering these questions will allow you to determine whether or not you need to outsource the development process.
Building an app is a marathon and not a sprint, and your app hitting the App Store is not the finish line. Once it’s released, you will still have to make updates, add features, fix bugs, and constantly be improving functionality; an app cannot remain static and be successful, especially with day-to-day technological developments.
Once your app is launched, you will need to closely monitor analytics in order to identify areas for improvement. If you pay close enough attention to these metrics, you will learn how to expand your app for lifetime value. Be sure to have a plan in place for post-launch maintenance of your app for optimum success!
Now that you know what it takes to ensure the successful development and launch of your mobile app, it’s time to get started! Our application development service can help you build either native Android or iOS apps. We’ll help ensure that your mobile app is the best it can be! Contact us today.
TeknaByte is an IT Consulting & Managed IT Services firm in Indianapolis that provides quick, high-quality, and effective managed IT services to businesses everywhere.