A Step by Step Guide on App Design

August 4, 2015 | Natasha Singh

A Step by Step Guide on App Design
A Step by Step Guide on App Design

App design is a complicated process. It has convolutions that would befuddle the keenest mind and dull the sharpest wit. Fortunately for entrepreneurs interested in creating their own app, SDI is here to help.

With thousands of apps under our belt, we have developed a perfect guide on how to create an app that will not only get downloads but will create a revenue stream. We went ahead and broke down our process into a step-by-step guide to the world of app design.

1. Conceptualization

Conceptualization is a step that app development shares with all products across every business in the world. Before something can become a tangible product, it needs to first be an intangible idea.

Our business experts generally recommend to potential clients that they focus on one or two main ideas. Trying to focus on all your ideas at once is exceedingly difficult. App companies and startups work best when they are headed by a focused and dedicated entrepreneur. Finding one key idea to really emphasize will not only lead to a more successful end product, but it will also help attract angel and venture capitalist investment.

Conceptualization is also where you should figure out what problem your idea addresses. Successful apps are a solution to a problem. Your idea could be to create a service that does not yet exist, or it could aim at improving an existing service. They key is that there is a reason for people to download and use the app.

2. Refine and Research

The next step is to refine and research your idea. Good app ideas go through several iterations before development is even considered. Once you have figured out what problem you are addressing, you need to research your target market. Figure out what they like and need – and what they don’t. Decide if your idea is a better enterprise app (servicing business needs) or a consumer app (targeting a wide range of potential users).

Once you understand your potential client base a little better, it’s time to understand your competition. If you are creating a new service, lookup related enterprises. See what the competition does well and what could be done better. This is a critical step – not only does it let you know what you’re up against, but it’s free market research. Figure out who’s popular and why.

3. Native or Hybrid?

Deciding whether you want to launch on Android, iOS, or both is also a decision based on research. Knowing what works with what platform (and why) is essential to a successful app.

For instance, is your app technologically innovative? Does it appeal to a wide array of people? Do you need a relatively unrestricted development platform? If so, your best bet is probably for Android app development. Google is known for being incredibly open and unrestricted, which results in some of the coolest apps out there.

On the other hand, if your idea is applicable to a niche market and is design-oriented, iOS might be the better option. iOS is known for its beautifully designed UIs and having a small, but highly tech-proficient user base.

Of course, your idea can call in between both iOS and Android markets, so it could be highly beneficial to build a hybrid app. At SDI, we use tools like PhoneGap to create hybrid apps that operate on all platforms efficiently and effectively.

4. Marketing and Monetization

Before you even begin to develop the technical aspects of your app, you should figure out how you will sell it. Where will you advertise it, and why? How will you market on Facebook and how will you market on Pinterest? Both are key markets but are peopled by very different users. Find out more how to get the first 10000 downloads for your app, right here!

Once you have a marketing strategy worked out, it’s time to work out how you’re going to make money. We have found that the best way to make money from an app is not to charge for it. Seems counter-intuitive right? The long and short of it is that there are millions of apps. At the end of the day, most users will use another app that is free.

There are some exceptions of course – especially if you are addressing a severely underserved market. If you are, determine whether or not you will charge a one time fee, or use a subscription-based model.

By and large, the best monetization strategy tends to be a free app that leverages “freemium” and “gamification” tactics to increase customer engagement that offers additional services for a fee. Using ad modules and banner space in conjunction will also lead to an increased revenue stream. Whichever path you choose, make sure you know before you head into development.

5. Prototyping and Wireframing

Step 5 – where your idea actually begins to take the shape of an app. This phase involves what is known in the industry as storyboarding: where you essentially draw out your idea on paper. This is a very loose and early design, meant to give you some idea of what the app will look like, and what technical features will be needed.

After storyboarding, you move on to wireframing of the app development process. Using tools like Marvell, SDI is able to create a very rough version of an app. This allows you to get a better idea of the finished product. Additionally, it helps determine which features are good, which need improvement and which should be dropped altogether.

6. Development, Testing and Launch

Believe it or not, development is the simple part. This is where the app’s coding and architecture are developed. By this point and time, you should have a functioning idea of the end product and development is simply putting those ideas into effect.

Work closely with your development partner to design the best possible UI/UX for your app. The most important part of development is creating a UI that is hip, makes excellent use of color and font – and is consistent! Pick a layout that works and stick with it!

Your app should undergo several different testing cycles. The first is the beta test, which is done by a limited team, mostly those already involved in the development (though you should also get feedback from potential users). This is the first real-world test for your app. The alpha product is the final testing phase. This iteration is basically the finished product and you are simply making sure there are no last-minute bugs or technical issues.

Finally, we reach the launch phase. Your idea is now a fully functional and beautifully designed app that will have people crashing servers trying to download! Now, you just have to let them know that it exists! Put your marketing strategy into full swing, and start letting people know about your new app.

SDI, a California based app design and development company are known for apps that leverage the best tools possible to create apps that make money. We specialize in created uniquely tailored market and monetization strategies and we can even develop an exit plan that makes you rich. Contact us today for amazing app deals!

Our work with global clients such as PepsiCo and Genentech has provided us with experience in a wide variety of different fields. Our cost-effective solutions are perfect for a limited budget and schedule, so give us a call at 408.805.0495 or email us at team@sdi.la for a free business consultation and quote.

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