Without a mobile app, your business isn’t reaching nearly the number of customers it could. That might sound like a bold statement, but when you consider the scale of users whose only access to the internet is a mobile phone, the picture becomes quite clear:
Your business needs a mobile app.
And mobile apps aren’t just capable of making it easier for consumers to purchase your products and services. These types of apps can empower your staff to work more efficiently in more places. The benefits of adding a mobile app to your company offerings are incredibly numerous (and, in most cases, quite obvious).
Getting to the point where your developers are ready to start building those apps isn’t quite as simple. There are a few steps your company (and your developers) should take before diving into the world of mobile app development.
Let’s take a look at what your developers need, to start building those mobile apps.
The right tools
This must come first. Why? Because, without the right tools, your development team won’t be capable of even starting the process of building mobile apps.
First off, your developers are going to need Java, because Java is the “official” language for Android app development. Given that Android is the most widely used mobile OS on the planet, you do not want to miss out on this market. You should supplement that with Kotlin (as many Android apps are written in this language as well). You’ll also want to make sure your developers know Swift, as that is the official language used to write apps in iOS.
Since your developers will be building a combination of mobile and progressive web applications, you’ll also need to employ the right frameworks, such as Swiftic, Native Scripts, React Native, Xamarin, and Ionic.
Although your developers might not directly use market research in their process, everything they do (from start to finish) will be informed by such information. That means it’s on you to deep dive into the market you plan to serve, so you can get answers to the following questions:
- Who are your competitors?
- What are your competitors doing in the mobile app space?
- What do customers say about your competitors?
- What have your competitors done right with their mobile apps?
- What have your competitors done wrong with their mobile apps?
- What can you bring to the market that your competitors can’t?
The answers will help your developers start on the right foot. It’s important to note, however, that this research must be extensive. Spend all the time you need to come away with a deep understanding of your market.
A clear direction
Don’t go to your developers with a general idea of what you want for an app. You need specifics. The more detailed you can be, the more likely your developers will be able to deliver exactly what you want.
For your definition, consider:
- What is the primary function of the app?
- Why would consumers want to use your app?
- Is there a value-add to using the mobile app vs. your company website?
- How will this app help your business?
- How will consumers benefit from using the app?
- How will the UI be laid out?
Make sure to answer the above questions before you approach your designers. Have as much specificity in your answers as possible because, if you come to the team with generalities, that’s exactly what you’ll get back—a general app that won’t truly benefit your company. Besides, you want an app that offers a very specific functionality, something consumers and clients can’t get elsewhere.
Know the type of app you want
This is where you need to spend a good amount of time and deliberation. Do you want a native app (something that runs on Android and/or iOS?) Or do you want a progressive web app (that doesn’t have to be downloaded or installed)? Or maybe you want a hybrid app, which is downloaded from a mobile app store, but relies on the rendering engine with a native browser?
This decision will be important because each has its pros and cons. For example, native apps offer the fastest and most reliable experience but you need to develop one for Android and another for iOS (if you want to reach the largest possible audience). Web apps can be created much faster and with lower costs, but can’t be installed through app stores and can’t take advantage of all the native features. Hybrid apps make use of a device’s native environment and features, but offer laggier performance than native apps.
Understand how you’ll monetize the app
This is a very important aspect to consider before starting working. You don’t just want to develop and distribute an app to make things easier for your customers/clients. Although that’s one of the primary reasons (as it will help foster brand loyalty), you want to be able to see a return for your investment in the app.
Or maybe you don’t care about monetizing the app. Either way, you need to know the answer to this question. And if you do decide monetization is preferred, you need to know how that will happen. Will it be:
- Paid premium features within the app
- In-app purchases
Monetizing your app is a crucial element, one you must give plenty of thought to before you approach your development team.
When you have the specific answers to these questions, you’ll be prepared to start your developers off on the right foot. Give them specifics and be prepared to answer even more questions, as development begins. Remember the role this app will serve for your business and give it the time and consideration it truly needs.