Mobile apps have been around since the early days of the iPhone. Now they’ve expanded to every smartphone operating system and tablet on the market. And as the app market matures, it’s becoming increasingly evident that business apps aren’t going anywhere. If your brand doesn’t have one, you need one.
Benefits of Mobile Apps for Business
Mobile apps are more than just trendy brand extensions that you can point to as interesting digital assets. They provide tangible value. Consider that:
- 90 percent of all time on mobile is spent on apps.’
- More than 1 in 4 people actively search for apps in a search engine.
- Business app downloads are projected to grow by 16 percent over the next couple of years.
While some businesses are more conducive to mobile apps than others, there’s value lurking beneath the surface for almost any company. Benefits include increased visibility, enhanced customer loyalty, improved brand recognition, push notifications for on-demand engagement, and even an increase in profits through app monetization.
How to Develop Your First Mobile App
If you’ve never headed up a mobile app development project, you might be a little intimidated. But have no fear – you can do this! Here are some useful tips and suggestions:
- Do Some Research
The first step involves careful research and competitive analysis. Take a look at the current app marketplace and see what similar apps exist. (You should also study any other apps that your biggest competitors have developed, even if the app itself doesn’t intersect with yours.) When researching these apps, consider things like:
- What are the best features of these apps?
- What are some obvious areas for improvement?
- How can you position your app so that it delivers a better visual experience?
- What do the positive customer reviews say? What about the negative ones?
The more detailed your analysis, the more informed you’ll be as you enter the app development process.
- Keep it Lean
Diving in headfirst and developing a sophisticated app right from the start is one of the worst things you can do. This first iteration of your app should be a minimum viable product (MVP).
Identify the core functionality that you want your app to possess and work on perfecting these features without worrying about all of the extra noise. A simple app that adds value is going to outperform a flashy one that has nothing under the hood. (Plus, there’s always time to beautify your app later.)
- Start With a Wireframe
Wireframing is the process of taking your idea and putting it on paper. It serves as the bridge between your vision and the actual app itself.
“There are many free wireframing software solutions that can help you get your ideas from your head onto a functioning visual prototype. Make sure you select one you are comfortable using so that you can fully think through how your app functions,” Smart Insights mentions. “What makes sense in your head may not make sense when you are looking at it. This step will solidify your navigation plan.”
- Hire the Right App Developer
Unless you already have a skilled mobile app developer on your team, it’s time to outsource the project to an experienced developer who can bring your vision to life.
There are plenty of different ways to hire an app developer, but we recommend working with a custom development service that has plenty of experience developing mobile applications for businesses. You don’t want to be the guinea pig!
- Invest in Testing
No mobile app will be perfect right out of the starting gates. The secret to a successful launch is to invest in ample testing before, during, and after the release. Gather as much feedback as you possibly can – positive and negative – and systematically work out all of the kinks to create a smooth and highly-functional experience that your target audience finds engaging. Sophisticated usability testing always delivers a better quality solution.
Adding it All Up
App development is a process. You can’t expect to hit a home run on your very first swing. It takes time, patience, and a willingness to keep on iterating. Stay focused on the end goal and do everything within your power to create a useful, high-value solution that engages people and develops positive engagement among your target market.