Working with entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, c-level execs in corporates, product owners, developers, designers, Agile managers, marketing teams and everyone else on mobile app development has given us great insight into what made those successful apps succeed.
I have divided it into two – “know” and “be” – which echoes the pre-build stage of mobile app development and for the duration of mobile app development and its evolution.
Before you begin mobile app development, the below points are a great way to really understand what is required and in what format.
Before you do anything, research. Then when you think you know everything, get someone else to do the research too.
1. Know your user
Deeply understand your user. Not many entrepreneurs are able to step outside of themselves and their idea, which is why I regularly recommend a third party to help you handle this. Usually entrepreneurs have an understanding of their experience and why they are creating this app, but what is needed is a deep dive into the users’ head. Journey with your user. Walk a mile in their shoes. In fact, walk several. The walk should happen regularly throughout the lifespan of mobile app development and the company. If you do not understand your user and their needs, your app will fail. I cannot state this strongly enough.
2. Know your market
This goes hand-in-hand with knowing your user. Your app proposes to solve some problem for them in a new way – know how they’re solving the problem now. Whatever the solution is – if it’s paper, digital, or even ignored. There is always a solution. Understand the solution and the market. For example, if it is a paper solution, understand how the paper solution works, where it is purchased and how it is made.
3. Know your competition
How users are solving the problem today is vital to knowing the landscape your solution will be adopted into. Where, how and what does your competitor say to communicate with your users. It is hard to set aside judgement, but in the first few investigations, please do. Gather information, understand what is happening and how. Poke holes in it later. For now, comprehend what is being done and understand the ecosystems your user exists in and solves their problem in.
4. Know your business model
And your competitors’ and the current solutions pricing. I have seen apps fail on the business model and pricing structure. Revenue generation can happen in a variety of ways. Figure out what would be a good pricing or revenue generator as quickly as you can to decide if it is worth proceeding with the mobile app development.
5. Know your platform/s
During mobile app development, work with a third party that chooses the platform to fit the product. Make sure that the platform is related to the user i.e. which device types are the target audience typically using, and are they accustomed to native or cross-platform applications. Although one platform might be more shiny than another, it might be avoided by the user (also remember that there’s no requirement for your users to have rational reasons for things like this).
6. Know your resources
Resources are not just the budget to start mobile app development, it refers to the marketing budget required to launch, the infrastructure required to keep the app running, the budget for a sales team if required and a budget for continued development and support. Know your figures and make sure you review them often.
You have the research, you understand the user, market, and competitors. You have a trusted team to develop with and they have helped with the platforms. You have a good grip on your resources and revenue generation model. Now you can begin designing and developing your app.
During mobile app development, one can keep the following tips in mind for an easier journey.
7. Be efficient
Do not keep your user waiting. Always be clear about where a user is and what is happening. Even if it is a spinner showing them that something is happening. Do not leave your user hanging. Alone. Waiting.
8. Be different
In a sea of millions of apps, what makes yours different? Sometimes it is because there isn’t a solution for that problem, but usually there is some solution already. Make sure that knowing your user, market and competitors translates into an app that the user will love and be an ambassador for.
9. Be both hare and tortoise
Combining the quick, sure footedness of the hare with the well-paced, astute observations of the tortoise. If you are one and not the other, as many entrepreneurs are, find someone to complement your skillset. It could be the team you work with, your CCO, or a mentor.
10. Be descriptive
Apps are sold on description. Your user shouldn’t be vastly surprised when they work with the app. Be clear and concise, show screens, and give detailed descriptions on how it works.
11. Be out there / Be open
Test your app. Talk to people about the app and listen to people talk about your app. You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth, use them according to the ⅘ and ⅕ rule as shown on your face
12. Be Brave
Embrace the fear of failure. Put yourself and your app out there, and listen to the feedback of your early adopters to help you shape the future of the product to something the users would want.
At Polymorph, we have a decade of experience in knowing and being and we would love to work with you on your next successful step and journey in mobile app development.
To help entrepreneurs with the know, we launched a free e-book of the relevant canvases. Click here to download yours now.
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