How to Build a Mobile App for Your Business

By Guest Contributor on September 15, 2018

In 2018, consumers will continue to spend an increasing amount of time shopping, emailing, scheduling appointments, travel planning and playing games on their mobile phones. For savvy business owners, this means an increased demand and opportunity to deliver more mobile-first experiences to their customers. And one of the ways they’re doing this is to create apps with the purpose of making the lives of their customers and potential customers easier and more straightforward.

As a company, you want (and need) to be where your customers are. In today’s world, people are spending more time on their mobile devices than in front of their TVs, which means you have to reach your prospective customers through their mobile devices.

You can build customer loyalty by having your business “live” in your customers’ phones and engaging with them where they are already focusing their attention. In fact, the more accessible you are and the quicker consumers can interact with you, the more business you will be able to generate.

A well-designed app can boost order frequency and size by ensuring the ordering process is straightforward, fast and as timely as possible. It will also help in increasing user engagement, building loyalty, and helping customers get the most out of your products or services by supplying appropriate material, troubleshooting, and customer chats on their devices.

Most importantly, you want to ensure that your app connects you with your users and contributes to your competitive advantage over other similar businesses.

If your firm hasn’t already started to develop an app, then what are you waiting for? Here is how you and your team can build a mobile app for your business.

Step 1: Make a list of your goals.

Before embarking on this undertaking, it is vital that you and your team define what it is you want to accomplish. You want to ensure that you know what your app is going to do, how you are going to make it appeal to users, the problems it will solve, and your marketing strategy.

Step 2: Turn those ideas into visual format.

Next, you want to turn those goals and ideas into visual representations. During this step, consider whether or not you are going to offer ads to generate money, or if you are going to present it as a paid download. Consider whether any in-app purchases make sense.

Furthermore, establish who your target audience is as this will help you cull the most relevant design ideas.

Step 3: Research is king.

Once you feel comfortable and secure with your list of ideas and representations, it is time to research the competition. There is a very high probability that someone has already created a similar app, so instead of feeling deflated and giving up, take the time to analyze the competition and make your app even better.

Additionally, research any copyright restrictions and possible technical holds ups that you may come across. By identifying (and figuring out) any glitches at the beginning, you will save yourself a lot of time, energy and money.

During the research period, you can also begin to look for design ideas. While browsing for ideas, make sure you keep your target audience in mind. The visual design of your app will speak volumes to your prospective consumers.

Step 4: Now, it is time to get technical — wireframe.

At this point, it is time to get technical and begin compiling your wireframe — otherwise known as a glorified storyboard. During this step, take your sketch and design ideas and give them a little more clarity and functionality. Here is when you really develop the foundation of your app, so it is essential that you invest time and effort into this phase.

There is a selection of wireframing websites online that can assist you with this step.

Step 5: Focus attention on the back-end.

Now that you have generated a storyboard of exactly how you envision your app functioning, it is time to actually begin delving into its functionality.

Utilizing your wireframe, you must delineate your servers, APIs and data diagrams. If you have no idea what these terms mean, you should probably look into using a professional service that provides hosting and a means of collecting data regarding your app usage.

It is imperative that you generate clear diagrams as they will act as the directions for everyone working on the app. Continue to revise your wireframe should you run across any technical difficulties or make any changes.

Step 6: Call on family and friends to test

At this moment in time, you will need to open your app idea up to some constructive criticism. Show your demo to friends, family, and anyone else who is willing to give you constructive criticism. Select people whom you can trust to provide you with brutal honesty — you will thank them later.

The purpose of this step is to conclude the process of creating the structure and foundation of your app. Listen to the feedback your friends and family give you, and make revisions based on their experiences and observations.

Step 7: Get building

Now that your app’s foundation is firmly in place, you can commence the building phase! Your developer will set up your servers, databases and APIs.

While they are doing that, you should sign up for the various app stores. While all you have to do is create an account with Google Play and Apple, it can sometimes take a few days to process, so it is better to initiate it as soon as possible.

Step 8: Employ the designers.

By step number eight you want to be enlisting your designers to establish your user interface (UI). It can’t be stressed enough how important your user interface is, as users are enticed by the way things look and how easy they are to navigate.

Step 9: Another round of tests.

The second round of testing is just as imperative as the first. Earlier on, your wireframe was merely a skeleton of your app, but now your app should be both aesthetically pleasing as well as properly functioning.

A series of tests on your app in its completed form will assure you that both the look and the vibe of your app meet your vision and expectations.

It is a good idea to ask the same people who viewed your app in its development phase to examine it again. Remember, you want them to contribute constructive criticism so that you can utilize the feedback subsequently. Finally, ask your designer and your developer to initiate any changes that you believe would be beneficial to your app.

Step 10: Beta Testing time.

Now it is time to review how your app will operate in a live environment. For Android phones, you can merely upload your app file on any android device, and then test it in a live setting. From this point, you can oversee the progress of your app from your Android device.

On the other hand, iOS calls for you to utilize a platform called TestFlight to beta test your app. An advantage of this option is that you can invite testers to review your app prior to taking it live.

Step 11: You have made it to release day!

Congratulations! You have made it to the finish line! It is time to share your creation with the world!

For Android, you can, again, merely add your app to the store. It won’t be reviewed right away, and, therefore, will be instantly sold in the Google Play store. On the other hand, iOS will review your app before it goes live. This usually takes about a week.

Have you ever built a mobile app for your business? What was the process like for you? Would you do it again? Let us know in the comments!

Author Bio :- Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in eight Middle Eastern and African countries.

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