Without a mobile app, your company doesn’t reach the number of customers it could reach. That may seem like a bold statement, but when you consider the scale of users whose only access to the Internet is a cell phone, the picture becomes quite clear:
Your business needs a mobile app
And mobile apps can not only make it easier for consumers to purchase your products and services. These types of apps can enable your staff to work more efficiently in more locations. The benefits of adding a mobile app to your company’s offerings are incredibly numerous (and, in most cases, quite obvious).
Getting to the point where your developers are ready to start creating those apps is not so 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 creating those mobile apps.
The Right Tools
This must come first. Why? Because, without the right tools, your development team won’t even be able to start the mobile app creation process.
First, your developers will need Java, because Java is the “official” language for Android app development. Since Android is the most widely used mobile operating system on the planet, you don’t want to miss out on this market. You should complement that with Kotlin (since many Android apps are also written in this language). You’ll also want to make sure your developers know Swift, since that’s the official language used to write apps on iOS.
Since your developers will be creating a combination of mobile and progressive web apps, you’ll also want to employ the right frameworks, such as Swiftic, Native Scripts, React Native, Xamarin and Ionic.
While your developers may not directly use market research in their process, everything they do (from start to finish) will be based on that information. That means it’s up to you to dig deep 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 are customers saying 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 get off on the right foot. However, it is important to note that this research should be extensive. Spend as much time as you need to gain a thorough understanding of your market.
Don’t go to your developers with a general idea of what you want for an application. You need details. The more detailed you are, the more likely your developers will be able to give you exactly what you want.
For your definition, consider:
- What is the primary function of the application?
- Why would consumers want to use your application?
- Is there added value in using the mobile app compared to your company’s website?
- How will this app help your business?
- How will consumers benefit from using the app?
- How will the user interface be distributed?
Be sure to answer the above questions before approaching your designers. Be as specific in your answers as possible because, if you come to the team with generalities, that’s exactly what you’ll get: a general application that won’t really benefit your business. Also, you want an app that offers very specific functionality, something that consumers and customers can’t get anywhere else.
Know The Type of App You Want
This is where you should 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 must develop one for Android and one for iOS (if you want to reach the widest possible audience). Web apps can be created much faster and at lower costs, but they can’t be installed through app stores and can’t take advantage of all native features. Hybrid apps use a device’s native environment and features, but offer slower performance than native apps.
Understand how you will monetize the app
This is a very important aspect to consider before getting started. You don’t just want to develop and distribute an app to make things easier for your customers. While that’s one of the main reasons (as it will help build brand loyalty), you want to be able to see a return on 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 decide that monetization is preferred, you need to know how it will happen. It will be:
- Premium paid in-app features.
- In-app purchases
- Monetizing your app is a crucial element, one you should think long and hard about before approaching your development team.
When you have the specific answers to these questions, you’ll be ready to start your developers off on the right foot. Give them details and be prepared to answer even more questions as development begins. Remember the role this application will play for your business and give it the time and consideration it really needs.