Making your perfect Android, iOS or web app may seem to be a tricky and confusing adventure.
This blog post intends to clear up that cloud in your head and help you figure out the important steps from start to finish.
You will learn the detailed process of how to properly prepare yourself and what you need to do while taking every little aspect under consideration.
Steps you need to take to build your perfect app:
- Refine your idea and what you want to achieve with it
- Define the looks and how you structure it
- Start app development lifecycle
- Publish in the app stores
In this guide, you will get a better understanding of the necessary steps you need to take during the app development process.
So let’s begin!
What are your goals?
Your goal may be to develop an app for iOS out of an existing website or help yourself with some tasks, hobbies, etc. The app idea may come from all sorts of everyday situations. Keep in mind that it should be useful.
It should look good and have enough potential users. It is a good practice to plan ahead in the building process. You need to take care of three main areas: Product, Growth, and Profitability.
The product goal | What need does your mobile app fulfill?
The goal of mobile app development is to make profits by fulfilling the needs of users. Today’s businesses are in high competition with each other. By the use of Android app development software, they get into app development.
By submitting mobile apps for Android and iOS to the stores, users can download them easily.
What problems will your app resolve for the users?
What features will be included?
What is the general demand for your app?
What is the future of the app? Are there any improvements to be done?
After you answer these questions you will have a better understanding of how to make your own app.
How about the market for it? What obstacles do you need to take into account, and what number of users do you plan on acquiring?
Working on the strong support of the users is essential in a way that they will guide you for all future app updates.
What tactics will you use to convert users from your competitors’ apps to yours?
What will you offer to keep them engaged and interested?
What promotion will you use to market it to potential users?
What demographics do you need to target for the biggest success?
Now that you have a better general idea on how to create an app for Android and make money, let’s talk money. Funding for Android and iOS mobile applications takes resources. Mobile developers need to get paid, some of the best app builders cost money too. You may develop your product for your business or as a freelancer for another company.
The finances may be sourced via start-up funding, bank loan or other sources.
To have a better understanding answer these questions:
- What revenue streams are possible? Subscriptions, advertising, freemium, etc.
- Are you creating an Android app for a non-profit organization or commercial company?
- How can you cover your costs? What funding is available?
Answering these objectives will help you answer how to make an android app. Faster development will lead to faster results and more downloads of the final software application. It is also possible that you can shift objectives along the way after you realize better options on how to create an Android app and make money.
A detailed look at the targeted users
Do you know the main reason that businesses fail?
CB Insight in their conclusion state that 14% of startups had not analyzed their client. This is common with cross-platform mobile app developers too. Many starts with an idea, just to figure out that only a few use their app at the end.
You may come up with the best idea to code an app but that will not do. The aim of your efforts is to provide real help and value to a group of people. That is why it is fundamental to invest time in research of your target audience before spending money and time. Remember that app development and promotion do take a lot of cash.
What is your audience? How to define it?
In general, you need to define two groups of audiences, by category of the app and secondary research. For example, if an app lists all BMW dealerships in the US we may come to the conclusion that all BMW drivers in the US are the main target users.
Secondary research defines in more detail your competitors, sub-categories and pricing strategies.
Locating a target audience for your app may be easy if it is specific. That is not the case if you target a large, more general audience with it.
You also need to take into account the demographics and answer for yourself:
- What is the location of your users, do they use Android or iPhone mobile phones, and what is their average age?
Behavioral patterns will help you target better. Questions like, what websites do your users regularly visit, are they willing to download and install apps, etc. Gathering all such data will help you define the potential user persona.
The concept of the App
After all, research is done about the potential user and what needs are there to get fulfilled. You need to focus on the concept. The way we use a concept in here is to answer, can we monetize by charging for use or by ads inside the app?
The shareability of the app can also be a key factor. Can you make a fun and good-looking app that features content friends can share with each other? Can you award users for sharing your content?
An idea gets shape | Prototyping
At this step of the development process, you are drawing the structure and looks on paper. You may use free tools to create a wireframe where you roughly define the navigation inside the app.
The sketching process of your app will provide you with a solid ground for the interface. By doing this you will have a better chance to better plan and make fast changes if needed. The communication with your team, as well as the client, will be smoother too.
Walking the walk | Development options
After a successful wireframe design of the mobile app, you are starting to figure out how to finalize the project. Basically, there are three options to go about.
You are a coder | Develop it yourself
This way to go is if you have basic or advanced knowledge in programming. If you wish for the app to work on Android, iOS, Windows platforms you have two options. You can develop native for each platform, then you will need good experience with several programming languages.
The other option is using a cross-platform development framework, to write your code only once and share it across platforms. You will get a closer explanation of the differences shortly.
There are many frameworks to choose from. If you need help choosing one, 2188 developers shared their experience to rank those tools based on many factors. Felgo is leading the largest evaluation of 40 leading cross-platform app development tools, in terms of easiness to learn, biggest time savings and best support.
You are no coder | App builder solutions
There are many mobile app builder services available online as Appy Pie and Buildfire, that let you create apps with drag-and-drop interfaces. The trade-off is often that the features are very limited, or not customizable to really fit your use case. Also, it’s often very hard to create great UI experiences, based on the templates provided by the services. Overall, while this is an easy way to start, you’ll most likely hit the hard limits of this approach very fast.
Outsource it | Hire a developer
You may choose an independent developer or agency to make your app. Many options will show up if you do Google search for this but pay attention that they hugely vary in cost. Picking independent developers may be a good choice if you don’t want to develop the app yourself, but likely also the most expensive way to get a customized application.
Felgo also offers app development services to create your app for you. Contact us to get your free quote!
Technology of choice
The main technologies to pick from are Platform Native, Cross-Platform Native, Hybrid and Web. Each has pros and cons. Let’s see for each:
Key Pros and Cons of Platform Native Apps
Platform Native apps are created for a single platform only, using the platform-specific development language and tools. If you want to release your app for iOS and Android, you will have to create two completely independent apps.
Full access to native device features
Platform specific UI/UX
Multiple languages and tools required to build apps for different platforms
Native apps development is more costly since they are more complex
High effort to create custom designs
Key Pros and Cons of Cross-Platform Native Apps
These are apps that are created with cross-platform frameworks that output native apps. This means that you can share one source code for all platforms, and the framework takes care of translating the code for each individual platform.
Apps that are created this way can have full access to native device features and very good performance. It is worth taking some time to choose the framework that fits your needs the best.
Felgo uses this approach to offer top performance and easy access to native device features like camera, sensors and much more. It also offers native platform UI/UX out of the box, to create stunning iOS and Android apps in less time.
Access to native device features
Run native, thus also very good performance
Less code because it’s shared across platforms
Depending on the framework, platform specific UI/UX may require a bit more effort
Key Pros and Cons of Hybrid Apps
Hybrid apps try to bridge the gap between native apps and web apps. They use web technologies to create the user interface and offer ways to also access native device features, which is not possible from a web app running in the browser.
If you are familiar with web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JS, it will be easy to learn the basics
Performance is nowhere close to native apps
Creating platform-specific UI/UX can be tedious, but this can be essential for users to like your app
Limited access to native device features
Key Pros and Cons of Web Apps
Web apps are basically websites, that mimic the UI/UX of native apps. Users visit such apps with their browser, instead of downloading and installing it through the app stores.
Traditional web technologies can be used
Web apps are not submitted to the iOS and Android app store, they can be updated at any time and do not rely on users installing updates
Web apps have no access to native device features, as they just run in the browser
There can be major differences how various browsers display your web app, which can make it very tedious to deliver an equal experience to all users and devices.
The publishing process on Google Play and App Store
You may open the champagne! It is the moment every developer waits for: publishing the app!
At first, you need to open a developer account with both iOS $99 per year and Android $25 one time fee. The app submission process is independent for both stores.
Your Application on iOS App Store
iTunes Connect is used for your App publication and management. Apple is strict with the developers and what applications are published. Normally it takes three days in average for Apple team to review your submission. If everything is fine, you can make it available and downloadable.
Your application on Android Google Play
You will use the Google Play Developer Console to upload the binary APK file. Pricing and description are next to where you define the details. There is no review process by Google so you can upload it fast but you are obliged to follow their guidelines. Apps not following the rules will get removed from the Google Play store.
Publishing Web App
This one is easy to do since you just need to host it on a server, just like a website. There are no regulations and guidelines to follow.
Congrats! You should now have a basic understanding on how to make an android app for free, and which steps are involved in the process, from start to end.
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