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Want to Create an App? Think Twice!

For: iPhone, iPad
Developers Corner submission by Developers Corner
Want to Create an App? Think Twice!

If you are dreaming of making your own app, it is very possible. Today there are programs that let anyone with a great idea shape an application that can be used on Android mobile phones as well as on iPad, iPhone and other tablets. Some apps are meant to work across all platforms while others are specifically directed at the smaller screens. However, while the free programs for app making makes it all seem like a piece of cake, it is not necessarily so. In fact, the road to a great application that everybody wants to download can be long and winding. Many times it can be wise to bring a skilled programmer aboard in order to get everything right from the start.

If you are a person who has great ideas, the ability to program apps and the knowledge needed to market your product, you may succeed in creating your own application. If not, you might want to think again. Even if your idea is great it might not lead to a popular product simply because it is not very necessary or because you don’t know how to reach the right target group.

It all starts with the idea

In order to make a potentially profitable app that everybody wants to use, you will need a good idea. Now, if you don’t have an inspiration for an app yet you might want to check out lists of app ideas or, alternatively, sit down and think about what people needs. If you want a lot of people to download your application it needs to be something that they can really use. Start by thinking about problems that you have had yourself. This is usually the ideal starting point because when you use your own experience you get the best sense of what you would have liked from an app. One example is given in the Kim Komando Show of a student who lost her paper when her computer crashed. The frustration led her to create an app which offered the kind of backup that would have saved her paper.

In general it is never wise to deliberately try to come up with something that will make a lot of money. This is simply not the way to create an app that is truly needed. Think despair and you should be well on your way to find a good solution in the shape of an app. It's even better if you yourself have been in the situation you wish to help. Don’t forget to check and see whether there is already an app on the market that solves this problem. If so, decide whether your ideas offer something new that might make your product better than what already exists.

Different app markets

There are many different app markets so you will have to consider whether you want to go for a wide spectrum of users or target a smaller group where the need for your innovation is really great. A few examples of app markets I have experience with:

Health apps

Poker apps

Banking apps

Entertainment apps

Each market can have a myriad of sub niches, which is important to acknowledge before creating a plan for the project. Consider the field of health, where apps can be used in so many different ways. For example, with an app you can count calories, set reminders to take breaks from your computer use or get news on foods that will fit your diet. This field will attract a wide variety of groups, so you will have to pinpoint just what type of people will be interested in your app. You need to be fully aware of your target group, how many potential users you are looking at, and how your new app can help them. This is information that will be extremely valuable as you get ready to market your new product since you will then know in exactly what forums you should appear.

Even if you are not going to do the marketing yourself, it is always wise to consider the size and needs of your potential market. It is definitely something that will help you make the decision of whether to move on with your project or to scrap it, so pay careful attention to this and spend some time doing your own research. Ask your friends and check online forums for interest to see if there seems to be a demand for the type of help that your application can offer.

A Business Plan

Once you know what sort of app you want to build you will need to make a business plan for your project. There are free business plan templates available to download. It can be a good idea to discuss this plan with someone that knows business. Try to do this before you actually throw yourself into the process of developing and pitching your product. You might come to the conclusion that your idea doesn’t hold up simply by talking to a pro about it. If you do go ahead, your plan will let you know just how to move forward with your app, which that can save you a lot of time, not to mention money. With a business plan you can make your idea much clearer so that potential partners will understand what you are trying to achieve. This plan can also draw your attention to problems that you need to solve and allow you to measure your progress as the projects gets going. By setting clear goals you will always be able to look back at the plan and assess your position.

The business plan can also be an asset when you get to the marketing part of the process since it will include points that can help to convince possible customers of the value of your app.

Building the app

It is true that it is possible to create applications without knowing how to write software codes. You can find free application making software that lets you drag and drop your app together. This sounds great and in some cases it might very well work, but we all know that it is never that easy. If you are going to make an iPhone app using this type of drag and drop system you will obviously not have as much influence on the software as you would if you yourself develop the code. For serious products it is recommended to work with someone who can create original code. This way the app will do everything that it should and not just run in accordance with the free app maker software.

The building process can take time as you might have to go through trial runs and go back to change the code many times over. This can be costly and in the end you might find that you will spend more on this app than what it will ever make. This is something you should have realized at planning stage but it is easy to be too optimistic about an idea when you truly love it. If you end up using a smaller fortune on the development of an app that not that many people seem to care about you hopefully got something from the process and learnt lessons that you will take with you to future projects.

Even if you decide to go for a free software for building your app, you need to realize that you will still need programs like Adobe Photoshop to create the design elements like the logo. This is not for free and also demands some practice from your side. In fact, if you want your app to look professional you should probably let a pro handle the graphics rather than playing with them yourself.

Marketing the product

It is not enough to have a great app, you need to let other people know about it. Just because you pass the approval process of Google and your app appears in their store, doesn’t mean that people will start to buy it. This is especially true when there are other similar apps on the market. Marketing is another area that demands a lot of time and money and this is something you need to be prepared for. In fact, this in itself is a reason that you might not want to get into the process of making your own app. If you don’t have the time and the resources marketing your product you basically wasted a lot of time and money on developing it. Marketing demands many different things like understanding of social media, how to use ads and so on. If you are not a pro in this area you will again have to hire someone to help you. Use Pocket Gamer to market your product.

So should you make your own app? If you have a great idea and you have the time and money to invest in it, then yes, you should go for it. If not, you might want to share your idea with someone else that has the knowledge and resources to take your idea to completion.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been submitted via the PG Business Network and does not represent the views of Pocket Gamer.

Published on 17 June
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