There is no doubt that the application market is still growing and such forecasts are still the same for the upcoming years. However, it turns out that about 40% of apps are uninstalled because users no longer use them! In addition to huge competition, the biggest challenge for product owners is to keep the user in the application.

 

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This statement should stay with you from the very beginning of the software development process. There are many factors which you need to think about and what you have to do to start the app development project on a good track and plan in advance. Check out my checklist and leading questions which I hope might help you make your dreams come true and turn your idea into incredible apps!

 

#1 Start with a goal

 

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Start app development project with a goal - this is one of the most important points which you have to define before starting the development process. “What is the goal of your application?” - this is the first question I usually ask during the first meeting/call with our potential clients. Some of them present their requirements and technical specifications in great detail and others only have general vision and business goals (in this case you may find it useful to learn more about the Discovery Phase process). I would like to emphasize that those two statements are totally fine, and for each of them there are appropriate models of cooperation with the service provider. After a short conversation, which we called business and tech analysis, it can be determined whether the client belongs to the first or second group.

During brainstorming sessions, think about finding your niche. You never know exactly where you can find inspiration, a brilliant business app idea can be right next to you! The world is full of problems that need to be solved. In every problem you face, there is the potential for turning it into a profitable business. We had a similar case with our client UK based - Frindow web app. Marcus Hamilton, CEO of the app, discovered that nowadays there is a huge problem with loneliness in our societies and he recognized that we need to connect with likeminded people more than before. And this is how the adventure with the development of this application began. 

 

frindow

 

You must define a specific goal at the very beginning, and thus answer the question "what do I want to achieve?". Only a well-defined business goal will be the foundation of a strategic (and thus focused on achieving this goal) approach, which in turn will allow us to finally achieve the effect we assumed. So basically, the goal results from some specific business need.

Developers often wonder what to do so that their application is not uninstalled shortly after the installation process. The answer is very simple. The application should solve the real user problem.

Designers, programmers, and managers should thoroughly familiarize themselves with the intentions of the project owner, who is also at the same time their client or investor of the application.

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • What is your core business?
  • On which markets do you operate?
  • What type of clients do you have?
  • What does the application do?
  • What is the main purpose of the application? 
  • What specific problem does the (mobile) application solve, or what part of your users' life will improve?

 

#2 Research your market and do competitor analysis 

 

It is hard to imagine starting a serious business activity without prior knowledge or market research. A precise analysis of the competition in a given industry is something that every businessman should do before starting a business. This knowledge should also be systematically supplemented while running the company. Similarly with any software projects whose development should be preceded by careful examination (user experience).

There are various methods for analyzing the competition. The source of information about competitors can be both existing materials (published reports, ebooks, press articles - what is already there and what we can find on the web), as well as observational data (from observing advertising campaigns, analyzing the content of messages - what we have to do ourselves). Luckily, there are a lot of tools that might help you. Personally, I prefer using Semrush - a very simple tool, where you can receive valuable information within 1 minute. Just go to the website and enter the website address of your competition and compare it with your data.

 

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Simply answer below questions:

  • Who is your main competitor?
  • What do they do right? 
  • What kind of online activities do they conduct? 
  • Social media? Content Marketing? Event Marketing? Backlink activities? Video Marketing? etc.
  • What are the similar apps on the domestic/foreign market? Give us some examples. 

 

#3 Identify your target group and create a buyer persona

 

A target group is a group of people separated due to specific features to which we direct our products or services based on a personalized marketing message. Well defined persona and target group will certainly facilitate your life and give the overall rhythm of activities. Thanks to them, you can often avoid a creative crisis. Just think about their needs, problems, everything can become an inspiration. You need to know exactly who you direct your application to. The more precisely the personas you create are defined, the simpler you will be able to empathize with the potential users. 

How to do it right? 

The creation of buyer personas is divided into two stages. The first stage is collecting information about target customers. In building buyer personas it is important not to rely on ideas about the ideal customer or assumptions about his behavior. It must be based on data analysis. This is how you define the real needs and expectations of the client regarding your offer. The second step is to develop a communication strategy with your client and create a presentation of the offer tailored to the expectations of buyer personas.

Check our examples below:

 

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User persona example 

 

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User Journey Example

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • Who are your users?
  • Who will be your customer (persona)?
  • What age are your recipients?
  • Where do they live? In big/small cities?
  • How much do they earn?
  • What do they spend their expenses on? What is their education?
  • In what industries do they work? What professions do they do?
  • What is their working day like?
  • What challenges do they have to face?
  • What are their values ​​and ambitions?
  • What are their goals? What do they want to achieve?
  • What are their dreams and desires?
  • Why haven't they fulfilled these desires so far?
  • How do they behave?
  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What do they like to do in their free time?
  • What are their daily rituals?
  • How can you help them and what can you do for them?
  • How can your app change the lives of your users?
  • How can you solve their problems and help them achieve their goals?
  • Can you offer your users something your competition doesn't offer?

After answering all these questions about your buyer persona, you will learn how to conduct marketing and sales activities. The information obtained will also show you which direction of communication with clients you should take.

 

#4 Choose technology stack 

 

Technology stack is selected for each project individually and will allow the implementation of the required functionalities, also will suit the subject matter of the website, platform, or application accordingly. Depending on whether you need a blog, website, platform, CRM, CMS, or others we tailor the perfect technology solutions to your specific project needs. If you are not a tech-savvy person, don’t worry, we will help you and advise the best possibilities on your way.

 

#5 Familiarize with wireframes

 

Wireframes are must-have a well-prepared application and the essence of user experience. Without this step, it will be hard to move forward with the development process.  

Wireframes are sketches forming the path the user will follow on the page. The task of the specialist when creating these schemes is to show the structure of the page and the location of its most important elements - logos, texts, photos, drawings, icons, and the most important - places where we expect user action (CTA buttons).

An important benefit of creating a wireframe, even before we start working on a more advanced prototype, is quick verification of the value of the idea. Identifying strengths and weaknesses at an early design stage save time - changes in wireframe consume relatively not that much. Of course, it is not excluded that the newer version will also change. Based on our experience at Railwaymen, I can confirm that preparing wireframes can save your time and money about 10% in the later stages and significantly reduce the number of adjustments at the testing stage.  

So why not take advantage of such benefits?

 

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Wireframes example

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • Do you have wireframes/artworks?
  • Do you have your own design team?

 

**What if I don’t have wireframes ready to send to the software house?

In this case, we suggest organizing Discovery Phase first with us. Such an event at the beginning of the project significantly decreases the risk of misunderstanding in the process of analyzing business requirements and software delivery.

During workshops, we are able to provide the first wireframes and clickable prototypes of the platform to verify the idea together. As a result, our developers are also able to ask more questions to understand the purpose of specific features and think about the most appropriate technical solutions for your application.

We had a similar case with one of our clients - Jim Pawell from the James Marketing Amplifier. Recently, we delivered a platform for them - custom software development for legal marketing product. This application is dedicated to small law firms and the goal is to help them improve their marketing activities. We were responsible for creating a prototype of a software project. You can check a story below:

 

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#6 Prepare accurate documentation

 

So once you have the overall application plan outlined in a form of wireframes, let’s focus now on the details. Describe in words what should happen step by step in your app. Accurate writing the specifications will reduce the number of corrections in the future. Be thorough and try to act in accordance with the strategy and project plan. 

Moreover, the functional specification allows the software house to know exactly the client's expectations and performs two main functions:

  • enables project estimation - it is the basic start for an accurate and deeper estimation of the presented idea,
  • determines what development works are to be performed - it is the foundation for the development team to create the final product.

But you can also ask: what if I don’t have a specification?

If you don't have a specification yet, nothing is lost. Meet the executive team and present your vision and a dedicated team will prepare it for you. You can check out free templates with requirements for software documentation here.

At Railwaymen, we often receive queries that present only an innovative idea for a software development product. In that case, we always recommend preparing a solid background first, and then we work with clients to develop a final vision of the product and its scope. Creating such a specification requires in-depth knowledge of software development and knowledge of the relationships between individual system modules, as well as the work of several team members: business analyst, UX designer, and programmers. The document prepared in such a way, in a joint product workshop, allows us to accurately reflect the features of the software not only in terms of the idea but also the system architecture.

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • Have you prepared documentation?
  • If not, will you do it by yourself or outsource it to a software house?

 

#7 Set up timeline and budget 

 

Time is always the most important factor while planning everything. If you need your application running within a certain period, then your software house must know about it as soon as possible. Knowing how much time we have, we will adapt the size of your dedicated specialized team to your requirements, but we will also inform you if a given time frame is possible. We want to make sure that your project will get the best specialists. 

The deadline has a great impact on the estimation of the mobile application project, and knowledge of the budget allows us to match the best possible solutions and tailor our proposal to budget requirements.

 

 

Your goal is our goal. We do our best to provide the highest standard of software products. Investments can't go without a budget. Because software development services are largely a creative process, with many variables in terms of solutions, technologies, time, etc. 

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • What's the required delivery date? What is your deadline?
  • What budget do you estimate?
  • Who else / which companies would be involved?
  • Any additional remarks?

 

#8 Consider monetization strategy 

 

If you want to earn money on your app, think about a monetization plan before starting the whole process. You have three possibilities such as advertising inside an app, adding paid additives, or simply paid for the entire application. Remember, it is not something that you have to do, not every app needs to be monetized. It all depends on your goals and purpose for the product. 

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • Would you like to earn money on your app?
  • What is your monetization strategy? (CPC/Ads/Subscription/Revshare etc.)

 

#9 Remember about marketing 

 

Creating an application and adding it to Google Play or App Store is not the end of your work on the product. Even the best mobile application needs advertising in the first stages of development. Without it, it can join the group of 60% of all applications that have never been downloaded! And probably you don’t want to be in this group, right? So make sure you have a previously prepared plan. The most popular channels used to promote the mobile application include campaigns in Google Ads and campaigns to promote mobile applications on Facebook but there are plenty of possibilities to promote. Learn more about 16 tips to promote your mobile app and implement it right away. It is also worth remembering about ASO (App Store Optimization) which means optimization of the application in terms of its visibility, using SEO activities (keywords, app name, app description, screenshots, and more).

 

Simply answer below questions:

  • Have you integrated analytics into your app? 
  • Have you prepared a pre and post-launch plan?
  • Have you determined a marketing budget?

 

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Conclusion

As you can see, your commitment and idea are of great importance. It's your idea that dictates the entire work process, so be sure you're well prepared for it from the very beginning as well as you can!

If you already know what you want, contact us, and together we can create an interesting dedicated application. And even if you don't - that is also okay, as based on our +10 years of experience we will gladly guide you through all of these steps!

 

Let's get in touch!

 

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