• May 28, 2023

10 key steps to turn your mobile app idea into reality

Many people and companies are coming up with new mobile app ideas to succeed in their field. They want to reach a new audience or better serve their existing customers. However, people are relatively unaware of the steps or process involved in turning a mobile app idea into reality. Due to the lack of capacity and information between startups and established companies, most of them don’t know how to give shape to the app idea.

I have helped several companies to create their mobile application. These are the 10 key steps that I have followed in my 6 years of experience. I believe my list can help anyone from any industry bring their mobile app idea to life.

Step 1 – Write Your Feature List

Conceptualize your idea Start by taking some notes. Before doing anything, you should write what comes to mind. Writing the list of features on a piece of paper helps you focus on your idea and expand on it. I recommend writing your idea several times and in many ways. This list will also come in handy when discussing with your co-founders, designers, investors, or developers; everyone will ask for it. Please note that you must have an NDA signed before sharing your feature list. Your feature list should be clean and easy to understand. Also make sure it has popular and unique features, which will play a big role in the success of your product.

Step 2: Do the market research

After writing your strong list of features, you want to do some market research to find the competition, trends, and market needs. Make sure there are no similar apps on the market. If there are, find out their reviews, ratings, comments, and what’s missing from them. Add features to your app that make it unique and more appealing to your audience. After doing some market research, you need to update your feature list.

Step 3: Identify the users/audience

It is very important to find out who would use your app and who would be the audience for your product. Your users belong to a particular industry, gender, region, age group, existing customers, income group, profession, or any other group. Once you identify some demographics about your audience, you can find out what people in these demographics prefer or like. Knowing your audience helps you redesign your app and the features in it to serve them. Your entire project revolves around user engagement. You can also conduct focus group studies to find out what your audience might like or dislike. Your audience will decide the success of your product, and this insight from the focus study can go a long way in defining product success.

Step 4: Identify the monetization strategy

Earning money is the biggest reward and energizes your idea. You can earn money from your app idea in various ways: subscription fee, in-app purchase, in-app ads, user data, sponsorship. You want to know which one works for your app, audience, and market. Launching a paid app doesn’t work these days, but you can make the app free with the in-app purchase option for more features. In-app ads are also losing their shine these days because of the user experience. Having user data is becoming a great monetization technique as you can use it to earn indirect money. You can find sponsorship for the app; this works for an app with a social mission. It is important that you select 1 or 2 techniques that will give you a good return on investment.

Step 5: Create a Rough Sketch/Wire Frame

You may not have done it before or you may not know how to do it. However, the rough sketch or wireframe helps you define the concept and refine your product requirements. You can draw a rough sketch with paper and pencil, while a wire frame can be created with online tools. When you start to sketch/wireframe, you will be able to further refine your app idea and feature list. Also, this helps you to decide the correct navigation of the application. You don’t need technical skills for this step, but you do need to have a common-sense understanding of how navigation works. Your wireframes, along with your list of features, will create very good specs for you to build your mobile app.

Step 6 – Approach local mobile app developers and get estimates

Once you have your first version of the feature list and framework, you’ll want to start identifying vendors who can build your mobile app in a high-quality, cost-effective manner. You should search for local providers and some global providers and contact them. Once you have shortlisted 5-6 good vendors, ask them to sign the NDA and send them the project details. A good provider should verify your details and ask you lots of questions. You need to be sure to answer them in detail so that your idea is fully communicated. A good provider should also be able to give you some suggestions to improve your idea. You need to get proposals from multiple vendors, with time and cost for development, and compare them. You should ask vendors about past performance, process, price, time, testimonial, and their enthusiasm to work for you. Finally, you should be able to select a provider and start working with it.

Step 7 – Complete the UI/UX

Once you have selected the company, you need to work with them to create the UI/UX of the application. You must first have them create the detailed wireframe of the app so that you can visualize every screen, feature, and flow of the app. After the review, you can decide to add or remove features. Once the wireframe is complete, you want them to create the visual design of the app. You need to give the color, theme, fonts, and visual appeal of your idea. This step will give you a near final picture of how your mobile app would look and flow. After completion, have your vendor re-evaluate the development plan, time, and cost. If the first time/cost estimate has increased, get more funding or remove some of the features. You want to pay the correct value to your mobile app developer.

Step 8: Develop and test the application

Have your app developer start building the app for you. They should be able to send you the (in progress) app every week and you should be able to test it and give them feedback. It is very important that you QA the app as they develop it, as this helps you to control the quality, cost and schedule, and to know if the mobile app needs some adjustments. You can also involve your friends in the tests. If you come up with new feature sets during development, discuss them with your app developer and get an estimate of time and cost. If it fits your budget, do it right away. If not, wait for the next phase.

Step 9: Launch the app and market it

Once you’re happy with the app, launch it on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. You also need to start marketing the app. Get advice from app marketing experts. You can also do self-marketing. Get started on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as this is an easy way to get the word out about the app. You should also reach out to journalists and bloggers who might be interested in and write about your app. A press release about free or paid sites can be very helpful. If you have more in your budget, you can hire a public relations or app marketing company.

Step 10: Gather market response and prepare for the next phase

After the first launch and commercialization, you can collect user data, market response and demand. If you get a good response, you can plan the next phase of the application. Repeat steps 1-9 for the next phase. This time, you should be able to do it much faster and more efficiently. If the app is not well received in the market, find out what is hindering growth and have a plan of action.

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