Everything that you need to know about app development

Mobile apps are a recent invention, from Candy Crush to Instagram, apps have taken a hold of the digital conversation and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

As experts in the field of software development, we decided to break down everything you need to know about apps – from the early process questions, to the pivotal aspects that may go awry, to the subsequent end result.

The basics

When you’re in the early stages of app development, there are questions that will be on your mind – two of which are: how much the process is going to cost and how long it’s going to take.

Unfortunately, both of these variables depend on the intricacies of the app you have in mind.

A mobile app can take anywhere from three to six months to develop, sometimes apps may even take years depending on the capabilities that they have to offer. The cost of an app differs, in some cases, an app can cost as low as £3,000 while in extreme instances, the bill can rack up to hundreds and thousands of pounds – sometimes even more.

Once you’ve clarified the basics like timeline and cost, then you can explore which platform will be most suitable to host it on; for example, IOS, Android, Windows. However, keep in mind that each platform will charge a small fee to publish your app. For those exploring the creation of mobile apps, then more likely than not, you’ll want to understand the details of native apps – as opposed to hybrid or web-based.

Native apps are designed with mobile users in mind, meaning that they are downloaded through an app store and are able to take full advantage of a device’s features, think the camera, contacts, locations, for example.

The ins and outs

Now that you understand the basics of app development, let’s move on to the ins and outs.

If this is a large-scale project, then it is likely that you’ll have a team of creatives and professionals behind you bringing it to life. The sort of people involved in this type of project may include: project managers, UX/UI designers, account managers, developers. However, keep in mind that these are the people who will build the app. If you have the budget for it, it may be worth considering those who will strengthen it, perhaps a marketing team, copywriters, or even, animators.

Ultimately, it all depends on your overarching goal and what you intend to offer.

Whether it’s a game, a social media platform, or a specialised service, they all have a purpose and once you understand what that is, you’ll be able to understand your target audience.

By understanding who it is that is going to get the most value from your app, you can then go on to understand how to make the app not only successful, but also profitable.

There are a few ways that you can go about monetising your app, for example, you may be able to ‘lock’ certain features and offer a premium service to users, or if targeted correctly, you may be able to create a working relationship with other businesses who may want to buy advertising space.

If not, another popular option is to charge a small fee in the app store itself. Many companies establish their professional credibility through this tactic, especially, if there are apps similar to your own. Just because an app is free, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best option for the consumer.

Finer details

Once your app is ready for launch, there are only a few more things remaining that will need to be concentrated on before release into the public domain.

Arguably, the most important one is security. The updated 2018 GDPR law means that you’ll now need to ensure that you follow the latest data protection regulations, this is something to bear in mind if users need to input any contact details such as email.

Either way, your user’s personal details need to be protected at all costs, and the best way to achieve that is by protecting your own. While you can cover plenty of the legal requirements in the terms and conditions, it is important to ensure that your security features can withstand any attacks from hackers.

Digital security can be tightened by encrypting your data, writing with secure code, and using authorized APIs and high-level authentication.

It may be beneficial to run beta tests on your app, so to ensure that issues that arise are dealt with in a fast and monitored manner.

The final stage is the exciting bit: delivering your app to the masses.

To ensure you get the hits you need for success, you’re going to want to look at the optimum ways to be featured on your chosen app store (Google Play, Apple’s App Store, etc). Obviously, the higher up your app is featured, the more chance of success.

This ASO (app store optimization) strategy will tie into your marketing plan. As it stands, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches, so it’s paramount that you’re utilising this avenue.

A few key things to look at when developing an ASO plan is:

· The title of your app: Does it contain user-friendly keywords?

· Description: When users go to read more, are their questions being answered and how does it fair against your competitors?

· Ratings and reviews: This is a fundamental feature to any new app on the market, and this element will be the part that creates a direct relationship between you and your user.

· Total number of downloads (and the uninstall rate): You may not be able to have much control over this, but it will be a factor into how high your app ranks versus your competitors.

Apps, like anything else, still need promotion, so it is key to put a marketing strategy in place. This may mean advertising through social media channels and influencers, or even relying on word of mouth through your clientele; however, this latter option cannot always be controlled or monitored.

At the end of the day, there are more to mobile apps than just the HTML code or the operating system that it lives on. Currently, there are over 3,000 apps released every day, it’s a saturated market but one that can reap benefits when done successfully; just ensure to keep the user at the heart of it.

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