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5 Simple Steps to Creating Your First Mobile App

Have a great idea for a mobile app? Mobile device users spend on average 90 percent of their time on apps. More and more consumers are buying apps that make their lives easier and purchase through apps instead of in stores or on desktops. In 2016, the global app market generated $88 billion and by 2020, it’s projected to hit $188 billion.

If you want to get into this fast-growing market, you don’t have to spend big money hiring a large team or months learning several different programming languages.

In today’s digital world, having an app can be the difference between a customer staying or churning. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources that make creating an app a straightforward process. Here are 5 simple steps to help you get started. 

1. Create wireframes and mockups 

The wireframe is the blueprint for your app. Coming up with a wireframe might sound daunting, but it’s what makes your app unique. The best part is that you don’t need to be a coder to come up with a great mockup. All you need is a sense for the user experience, your ideas, and some great tools. A few helpful tools I’ve used in this phase are sketchapp.com and figma.com

Ask yourself what functions you will have on the home screen. Which features and categories can you pull out for other screens and how do you represent them? Mockups help you decide on the layout and how users will access the apps’ features. 

2. Hire a graphic designer

Once you have your wireframe mocked up, hiring a graphic designer can help take the design of your app to the next level. As much as we’d love to think that we are all great designers, the reality is that there are people out there that may have some great ideas that we haven’t even thought of. The good thing is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many great designers on freelancing sites such as Fiverr or Upwork

https://www.fiverr.com/

Send the graphic designer your wireframe and mockup so they understand the flow and user experience you are trying to accomplish. The more information you can give them the better. To get attention in a competitive app marketplace, you need beautiful design features like a logo, colors and fonts working in your favor. Hiring a graphic designer will give your app a professional, attractive look. 

3. Use the right framework

If you don’t know how to code and have a simple app to develop, take a look at drag and drop app development tools like bubble.is. This user friendly site lets you create your app without having to hire a developer. 

https://bubble.is/

However, if your app requires new and innovative features, you will need to hire a developer. When choosing a developer, ask them to code your app in a framework that codes for both Android and Apple. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money if you use a system that allows the developer to code once for both platforms. I use https://facebook.github.io/react-native

4. Offer content upgrades

Once you launch your app, offer content upgrades to increase your monetization strategy. This can be anything from eBooks to physical products. One great tool that I use is Mixpanel to figure out which upgrades will appeal to my users. You can A/B test different placement and verbiage to find the ideal conversion experience. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQpQ0YHSfqM

5. Use analytics to improve your app 

Google analytics allows you to track important information about your app that will help you make better decisions going forward. To get started, go to Google Analytics for Firebase to start gathering data such as who is using your app and how. Google Analytics will show you when users are coming to your app, which features they use and which ones they’re ignoring. You’ll start seeing patterns that help you retain users and tweak your app for better results.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iZpH7O6zXo

Your Turn

Before you start to build your app, make sure you’re clear on your goals. Doing a little research also pays off. If your app is similar to other apps already on the market, look for ways to differentiate. Check out other apps’ reviews to find out what features existing app users don’t like and what features they wish existed. 

Develop a strategy to decide which features you will add first to better compete in the market. Creating an app that users love is a rewarding experience that pays off for years to come.

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Written by Bobby Boyd

Bobby Boyd has over 20 years experience in software development working for high growth tech companies. He's currently building Outcry.io, a SaaS business helping companies improve their customer retention rate.

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