Nowadays, apps are everywhere. Every day, a new one pops up in the app store, all claiming to do something amazing. It seems like everyone is making their own app. But what if you have a great idea for an app? How do you make one and what does the process involve?
You will be glad to hear that we have done all of the hard work and created our very own step-by-step guide on how to create an app and get the most out of your app developer. Get started here:
How to make an app
1. Draw your app
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or amazing to look at. Maybe not on the back of an envelope, but just focus on getting your idea down on paper. Even the simplest of ideas can make great apps. Show how the app will work and what features it will possess. As your app comes to life, you will soon get an idea of whether or not it is practical. Think about not only ‘must-have’ features but also those that would make a nice addition. Keep it tidy and clean. The aim is to produce a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Keep your eye on the things that really matter and this will shorten the app development process. Don’t throw in too many features as your app needs to work smoothly and easily.
2. Invest time in some market research
This way, you can find out if your app idea is workable. Look at:
- Who are my competitors?
- Are there other apps like mine?
- What do my customers want and need?
- How much should my app cost?
If you don’t do this, you may end up making mistakes or wasting time. Look at errors that others are making with similar apps. Does it seem that there are people out there looking for an app like yours? You may want to make a list of questions and then carry out some tele-research; talk to potential customers and find out what they think of your app. Will it help them with a certain problem? If your app isn’t for commercial use and just for you, which is OK too, but still carry out the prep and research if you want good results.
3. Create a mock-up
This need only be a rough sketch but always draw out the layout and user interfaces before the build commences. Drawing each screen and showing the navigational flow between each one works well. This will show what your app will look like to the user. Show things like functional buttons, how you get from one screen to another. If you would rather do this online, try something like https://balsamiq.com/wireframes/. This can create a good wireframe mock-up to show potential users. Add text to show what the app will do.
4. Create the graphic design
This includes stuff like colours, images, graphic effects etc. You can do this with a graphics template or ask your favourite graphic designer to do it for you if you want a really kick-ass result. If you choose to go solo, the iOS 11 iPhone GUI from Facebook is excellent, allowing you to create truly detailed mock-ups. Alternatively, use Sketch or Photoshop. Beware of copyright laws and don’t use other people’s designs from the internet. Your aim is to have a set of images that can be imported into Xcode. Photoshop/Sketch designs need to be recreated in Interface Builder or Xcode/Swift.
5. Build a landing page
People need to find your app so how will you market it? Using a landing page works well. It needs to show:
- Eye-catching headline
- Short introductory paragraph/video
- App screenshot or mock-up on iPhone
- List of the apps features & benefits
- Story about you and how the app came to life
- CTA – what should they do next? Sign up or install?
This should get people coming in your direction. Once your app is available via the App Store, you can keep this page and have a link.
It’s also a good place to ask for user feedback. Build your landing page with a tool such as WordPress.
6. Create your app with Xcode/Swift
Now is the fun part! Get building with Xcode or Swift. Xcode only runs on macOS. Swift runs on iOS and macOS. You should split the work into two sections:
- Front-end: this is the part of the app that you see (user interface). The visuals. It includes graphics, layout, user navigation and interaction plus data processing.
- Back-end: this is behind the scenes so you don’t see it. It includes data storage, databases, user management and data storage.
Data required for the app can be uploaded to the cloud. You will integrate the front and back-end with each other. With so many tools out there to help you create your app, you don’t need to get heavily into coding. To build an iOS app, try Xcode, Swift or Interface Builder. You may also want to consider using: Libraries such as Alamofire; databases such as Firebase; app publishing workflow facilities such as Fastlane; convert visual designs into Swift code with PaintCode. TestFlight allows you to beta test your app and distribute it.
7. Get into the App Store
The process is a simple one:
- Give your app a title and meta data via iTunes Connect
- Upload your app with Xcode
Apple or Google will review your app and once approved, it will go live. Now your app is ready to be downloaded and installed by people everywhere!
This is the really exciting part and nothing compares to the feeling you get once your app goes live and out into the world. But it doesn’t all stop now. As user feedback comes in, you can begin to improve your app. As you improve it, new versions can be launched in the App Store. Now is also a good time to start promoting your app in a much bigger way. You may like to try out these ways:
- Start your own blog and use content marketing to promote your app
- Spread the news on social media
- Use curated platforms such as Product Hunt
- Devise an on-boarding campaign for your new app users
- Optimize some of your app’s keywords with App Store Optimization
- Enable users to share your app with others
- Look at using an App Install campaign via Facebook
So there you have it; how to create an app.
Always remember that your app has been created by you to solve problems for certain people. Your marketing needs to target them. Remind them of what their problem is and show how simply your app can solve it.
As for your app users, develop connections with them. Get feedback. Send them personalised emails to ask what they think. This will allow you to not only fix errors but make improvements. Don’t get bogged down in complexity but keep it simple. If your app is to be used commercially think of it as a business and use it to build value.
There are lots of people out there who can do app development for you and offer really good app development services. It could be a web design agency or a specialist app development agency who only develop apps and nothing more – It’s always best to do your research and find a partner who is the right match for you and your app development needs.