If you are coming to this article, it means that you have an idea for an app or are looking into the process of app development. We are experts in this field and sharing this valuable information can help you on your journey to entering the technology world! Our process typically involves 8 steps that take you from idea to marketing your completed application.
It is important to note that not all of the steps mentioned throughout this article might apply to you. If you are coming to Clear Function with an already validated idea for your application, you will be able to skip ahead on the timeline.
Starting the process by talking with a development agency, where you can discuss the idea with a business coach, is the best way to begin (and save you valuable time and money!)
Step 1: Ideation Coaching
The first step in developing a mobile app actually doesn’t involve any technology. Ideation coaching is the process of finding new problems to solve in your area of expertise. When you break down your experience and the problems that you and others like you deal with, you can find possible solutions to create.
Throughout the ideation phase, you will constantly be validating. This process includes validating the problem, the solution, customer group, and even whether or not this solution is even needed. Validating early on is essential to have a successful, marketable digital app.
Step 2: Brand Identity Coaching
The next step is to develop your brand identity. The way you market your company to the public and the language used can make or break your product. If you start with a strong brand identity from the beginning, you will already have customers who know your mission, values, and beliefs by the time you launch your product.
Step 3: App Feature Audit
Now that you know the solution you are going to build and who you are as a company, it’s time to audit what features you are going to include.
It is important to note that the first version you release to the public will be a minimum viable product (MVP). This version of your app will have a small number of features and cost less to develop. To determine what features your product needs to include, ask the people who experience the problem! Ask them questions like “what would you need in a solution for the problem?” and “how could a solution make your life better?” Record all of the answers and brainstorm with your business coach to determine which features you should include in the first version.
Step 4: Detail Scoping
As you get closer to design and development, you will want to make sure that every detail is planned out and that you aren’t missing any gaps in the plan.
Here are a few things to go over before the next step:
- Determine who the user types are for the product. This is everyone from the admin behind the curtain to the customer using your app at their home.
- Where are your customers located? Are they local or international? Do they live in rural areas or big cities?
- What integrations are necessary for your product to work? This could be as simple as Google Calendar or a more complex system you will need to build out.
- How are you going to earn revenue? Will you use in-app ads or a monthly subscription rate?
- How soon will you recover the expenses of development and what does your first-year income look like?
Step 5: App Design
Now that you have done the hard work, the fun part begins! During this step, you will begin to craft what the actual product will look like. The designs you create during this step help guide the development of your app.
The design of your app should be done in phases. Throughout each phase, you share the designs with a select group of target customers to gain feedback. That feedback will guide the next version until it is perfect.
- Phase 1 – Wireframes: a visual guide that represents the skeletal framework of an application.
- Phase 2 – Mockups: nicely designed outline of the app used for testing
- Phase 3 – Graphic design: a more detailed version of a mockup that looks and feels like the final version.
- Phase 4 – Clickable prototypes: the final phase of design where you incorporate all the feedback and previous phases. This version should be clickable and easily navigable.
Step 6: App Development
The biggest question people have at this stage is: how much will it cost to build my app? The price of development is a unique variable and can vary from each agency. At Clear Function, we strive to find the best price for our customers by using different development packages like coaching + development.
Coaching, brand identity, ideation, and design all have fixed prices. You don’t have to put a lot of work into how much it’s going to cost you because you already know. As you get towards the end of design you will have a better understanding of how many hours you will need for development. Some projects could be simple and cost around $10-20 thousand while other more complicated projects could cost as much as half a million.
We recommend starting small and building an MVP. It will save you money and allow you to test if the product has a chance for market success. If you are looking for other ways to save money you can consider going offshore for the development with a local project manager. You will still have someone looking out for your and your product’s best interests, but with a much cheaper hourly rate.
Generally speaking, development can take 3-6 months depending on the size of the project. This can be a big investment, so it’s important to talk with your agency to find the best plan for your product.
Step 7: Consumer Testing
Once you are done with the initial phases of development, it’s time to begin testing. Use the same group of people you have asked for feedback during the earlier steps. Ask them to be detailed and record any bugs, improvements, or design flaws. Create tickets with the needed fixes and send them to the developers throughout this step.
Step 8: Launch
Time to release your product to the market! This step is at the end of our plan, but can technically start at the very beginning. When you first decide on the name and purpose of your product, create a website, start collecting email addresses and start to interact on social media.
When it’s time to launch your product, you will already have a dedicated customer group who are excited to see you succeed. Launch day should be fun and interactive as you finally get to see customers use your product.
- Marketing: Running Facebook page like ads, gathering email addresses, engaging on social media, and creating buzz.
- Feedback: Create a Facebook or other online group where you can invite a group of select insiders. Ask them for insight on each decision you make to help create a product that customers will actually want.
- Coaching: Business coaching is a valuable resource and can be done at every step of the process. Your business coach will help you think of the next steps, other money-making opportunities, and how to define who you are as a company.
Get Started Creating Your App!
Are you ready to create your app or are you interested in finding a problem to solve in your area of expertise? Schedule a Discovery call today and talk with our digital experts! We are excited to guide you through the process!