Since Apptology first went into business last year, I’ve literally talked to hundreds of people who want to create their own mobile phone app. There are several reasons people want to develop their own app and they usually include:
- Make money (I’ll call these folks Appreneurs )
- Promote their own business or cause (App Marketers)
- For fun (App Hobbiests)
For my first blog series, I’m going to focus on the Appreneurs.
The Appreneur is the industrious type that wants to solve a problem and make some money at the same time (Secretly, they all want to have the next “Angry Birds” and who wouldn’t with over 100 million downloads?)
First off, this blog is not for programmers. I’m not a programmer. I had an idea for an app and after a long journey, I have over 25 apps to my credit. This blog will guide you through the process from idea to app.
The first thing you want to do with your idea is to research it. I had a client that spent a considerable amount of time having me sign his NDA before talking to me. Once we finally started talking, I asked him to search for his idea on the App Store and he quickly found there were over 25 similar apps listed so, of course, he quickly lost interest in pursuing his project.
So, for your research, the places you should look into are the various App stores (iOS has the Apple App Store, Android has the Android Market, Blackberry App World, Windows Mobile 7 has their Marketplace). Of course using the various search engines is also a must.
In doing your research, seriously look at the market potential. For instance, I’m a big fan of apps geared for a specific or niche market. For example, let’s say you had an app that was geared for veterinarians. A quick Google search shows that there are 90,000 veterinarians in the U.S. Now, you just identified your market potential should you go forward and develop an for vets. In your research, you should also see what kind of business issue or needs your app can address to the potential niche market.
Develop Your Idea
In your research, keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you find another app that does what you’re trying to accomplish. You just have to figure out how to make YOUR app better. I always marvel at David vs. Goliath stories. One of my favorites is how Yahoo was the 800 pound gorilla in the search engine space for years and through grass roots marketing was far surpassed by Google.
The next step in this process is to get your idea onto paper (figuratively). I suggest making a mock up, wireframe, or storyboarding your app idea. I find that when you start storyboarding, more ideas are generated and some ideas are naturally discarded. For some useful tools for creating mockups and wireframes, check out this article.
After you’ve created your wireframe, it’s a good time to go back to the research mode. If your app is geared for veterinarians, show your wireframe to a few vets and get their feedback. Take their feedback and modify your wireframe. (Just remember, you can’t make everyone happy and at some point, you’ll have to make a judgment call).
Once you’ve got your wireframe created and you’re happy with it, the next step is to select a developer. This will be the topic of my next blog.