Howdy, people! Hello and welcome to yet another edition of AppBoard Tuesday – your free weekly e-newsletter. We had initially thought about discussing some programming techniques in this week’s ABT. But then, I came across this thought-provoking quote from the great Steve Jobs about how 90% of the hard work involved thinking up good, viable ideas – and how it was a waste that most people either shied away from the prospect of working on their ideas. In many cases, even when the idea is worked on – the end-product comes out to be rather different from what had originally been conceived.
Contrary to what many laymen believe, anyone (and yes, that could be YOU) can think up a great idea for a mobile app. The trick lies in not letting your thoughts go to waste, and actually adopting a systematic way to give shape (literally!) to your idea. Here’s how you should go about it:
- Do not play around with multiple app-ideas – Thinking is good, procrastination is bad – it’s as simple as that. Concentrate on a single app-idea, and find out how you can progress with it. If you mull over too many ideas (how innovative each of them might be), you’ll only end up wasting your time, and probably the time and resources of the mobile app agency you contact. And in all probability, none of them would see the light of day either. Focus on a single thing at one time.
- Start searching for a suitable app development company – The task ain’t as daunting as it might sound at first. Visit the iTunes store or the Google Play Store (depending on whether it is an iOS app or an Android app you wish to develop), and browse through the featured apps. You will find the company names on those app-pages. Send along your app-idea, and request for a free quote from at least 4-5 companies. Select the one that seems to be competent enough and is offering the best deal. Ideally, go with a company that has expertise in cross-platform mobile app development. Why stay limited to a single platform in the long-run?
- Check out the viability of your idea – Just because you are absolutely in love with what you have thought up does not mean that others would be similarly impressed by it too. Professional mobile app developers generally conduct surveys before starting any app development process – but it would be a smart option to test the idea on your own. Share your idea with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, other acquaintances (basically, anyone you know who owns a smartphone!). There are plenty of mobile app forums online too, where you can submit your app-idea. If the feedback isn’t exactly positive, take the hint – and proceed to your next idea.
- Be wary about intellectual property violations – Your idea is, well, your own. Do not let shady Android/iPhone app development companies take you for a ride (and the promise of a free quote and affordable costs is not enough). Make sure that all the requisite non-disclosure/non-competing agreements are signed by your chosen developer, before the actual work starts. Once the app creation is complete and it is delivered to you, you should be the sole owner of all intellectual property rights on it.
- Stay in touch – This is where many perfectly good app ideas go awry. Any decent app development company would mention the number of weeks within which your app will be ready – but that does not mean you should contact the firm only AFTER that time-span. Stay in touch with the developers on an ongoing basis, ask for the mockups and prototypes to be shown to you, and if you have any suggestions – do share them. You won’t like it one bit if you had thought up the idea of an ‘apple’, and the company hands you an ‘orange’. Remember, you are a part of the development team too.
- Have patience – It’s easy to lose hope if there are inordinate delays in the app development process, or you are not quite satisfied with the service the app company is providing (for instance, the text they write on the app screens might not appeal to you). Don’t get frustrated, and keep working as a team. It would be a folly to switch companies midway through the application development process as well. If you constantly share your inputs, and if your mobile app firm is worth its salt – things will sort themselves out eventually.
- What about the mobile app designing? – This is something you need to ask at the very outset – particularly if you have availed the services of a freelance app developer. Only an experienced, creative-minded graphic designer can lend that elusive visual charm and elegance to the UI/UX of an app. If a developer claims that (s)he can double up as a designer too – smile a bit, and start looking for other companies that have separate mobile app designing departments.
- Make sure there isn’t a duplicate app at the stores – Once again, this is a task both you and the app development company should do separately. In fact, even before you hire a mobile app agency, carefully browse through the apps at the App Store/Play store (it will take some time, for there are over 1.3 million applications at either store). Find out if there already exists one or more app that uses the same ‘core’ idea as yours. If yes, there is every chance that your app will run into problems during the approval stage. Its popularity levels would also be hit. The key to success lies in having a unique idea, that can be transformed into an app that would have a wide enough target marget.
- Don’t shy away from risks – For every aspiring mobile app entrepreneur, being prepared to take calculated risks is an absolute must. There is a tendency among many people to wonder whether their app-idea would be viable, whether companies would agree to take up the project, and if the revenues from the mobile app would be adequate. There are a lot of things that can go wrong for first-timers, but don’t let such setbacks thwart your ambition. Take risks – for the potential payoffs can be huge. iPhone app developers worldwide earned more than $5 billion last year – that should give you an idea.
- Think for the long-run – Neither mobile app development nor nurturing app-ideas are one-shot games. Do not feel too satisfied if your idea has been well-received by the people you have shared it with. Remember, there should be enough scopes for upgrading your app over time. For that, you should be able to develop/expand your initial idea further. Otherwise, you idea’s (and the app’s) charm will fizzle out pretty soon.
- Divide the app development project into milestones – And make sure that each milestone is: a) being completed on time and b) being managed according to your preferences. There will be a feel-good feeling as each milestone gets ticked off, and you approach your goal of seeing your idea in the form of a nice and functional app. You can find out the importance of dividing the app development process into milestones right here.
- Inquire about whether the app has been properly tested – Ideas, by definition, cannot have ‘errors’. Software programmers and mobile app developers are humans though, and they can very well make mistakes (‘to err is human…’ and all that). Ask about the mobile app testing procedures that the company you have selected follows. A buggy app can ruin a ruin a perfectly great app-idea. Get all the bugs fixed before the application is submitted at store(s).
One out of two things can happen after you take the plunge to transform your idea into a mobile app. The first is the rosy picture – the app becomes hugely popular, and maybe bags a couple of awards as well. Spend a week feeling happy (you deserve it), and then move on to your next big app-concept. It’s vital to not rest on the laurels of a single win.
The other option is the bleaker one. Your idea was promising enough, but the app created from it fails to generate enough interest amongst the target users (even after extensive mobile app marketing). Remember, this does not make your idea a bad one, and your next endeavor might very well be a roaring success. Even the best mobile app companies in the world have had their fair share of failed products – you don’t see them losing their sleep over that.
That wraps things up for this week’s edition of AppBoard Tuesday (ABT). We are currently giving the final touches to an interesting image-based social networking app called ‘Doo’l’ – which would be released at the store pretty soon. Wish us luck on that one.
The next edition of AppBoard Tuesday will be up in…you guessed it…exactly a week from now. Till then, you have to stay zapped with apps – just like we do!
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