Your Complete App Development Checklist – Everything You Need to Know to Build a great App
Question – is a team of developers all you need to build a great app that will make you millions?
Well, even though mobile app development is a key part of delivering a great app, there is much more to making your app a success.
By the end of this article, you will hopefully understand why it’s not just app development that matters, but it’s often all the other parts that make the difference between an app that fails, and an app that becomes the next uber.
Checklist For Successful App Development
1. Find the unmet need
The most important first step before writing a line of code is to find out if there is a real need for your app idea. Interestingly, whilst this is the most important first step anyone can take in planning their mobile app, it is also the cheapest part of the entire process. This phase of your app project is really about asking the right questions. For example: Who is my target user? What problems do they have in their daily life? Can I build a solution to solve that problem for them? Are there enough of these people to make money from doing this? What are others doing to solve the same problem?
Time invested in asking questions and talking to real users makes a huge difference to the success of your app.
2. Define your requirements
To be able to define your requirements, you should try to answer the following questions:
- Who is going to use the app?
- What is the problem we are trying to solve for the user?
- What will the user need to see in order to help them solve this problem?
- What backend services are needed to give the user the experience they need?
- Which platforms will your app be on (Native, Hybrid, or PWA)?
Although you won’t be able to create a detailed specification just yet, answers to these questions will narrow down the scope and help your team better understand what they need to do.
3. Design for your target users
It’s important to build the app for the people that are going to use it. This is an important distinction that you need to make before building your app. Remember you are not your user and all the decisions about design should be made with your user in mind.
By identifying your target users, you will then be able to more precisely define what your app’s purpose is and what it should do. You’ll also be able to learn how to improve your app by keeping a dialogue going with your users. If you do this correctly, they will tell you everything you need to know to build your app!
4. Set a budget
It’s really important to know how much your app will cost before you start building it. App development can be expensive and so knowing the associated costs is a critical step in deciding to proceed with your project.
At this stage, if your budget is limited, you may have to forget about bells & whistles and focus on core functionality. If necessary, non-essential features may be implemented later, after the app’s first release.
Your app development team should also give you a timeline for delivery. Whilst you will likely have a target for delivery, you also need to settle on what realistically can be delivered by the team.
5. Check out the competition
No product or service is ever released without taking a look at what competitors are doing first. This is a key step in the process as if your app is going to succeed, it needs to either do something no one else is doing or do it better than anyone else!
During your competitor research, you should answer these questions:
- Which apps are competing with yours?
- Are there any user needs not currently being met by competitors?
- What pain points do the current apps have?
- If there are any successful competitors, what has driven their success?
Competitor research allows you to highlight potential opportunities in the market. Aside from that, competing apps will serve as a benchmark for your own app.
6. Determine monetisation model
You should also determine how your app will be monetised. Depending on your industry, appropriate monetisation options will vary. In some cases, monetisation may be unnecessary as well.
With fitness apps, for example, ads or monthly subscriptions with advanced features may be viable monetisation options. But if you are running an online store, then the sales process itself is your monetisation method, and you may not need to implement anything else. The important questions to ask here are: i) Are people willing to pay to solve this problem? ii) How much are they willing to pay?
7. Make security a priority
If you’ve never been involved in building mobile apps, then you know how easy it is to hack into an app.
Developers employ many advanced methods to protect their apps and user data. However, intruders are no less resourceful and can find ways to circumvent your app’s defenses.
With that, although your app’s purpose is to solve the issues of your customers, security should be in no case neglected. It might take a little more time and money to build a total secure app, but in the long run, you will be saving vastly more resources along with your reputation.
8. Do not rush development to maximize quality
Test, test, and test again. That should be your mantra before releasing your app to the app store. It’s essential to have a plan and make sure you have covered every possible use case before releasing it to real users. This phase of your project can be a challenging time as even one small bug can cause a critical error or block certain features from being used. We suggest being patient and investing time and resources in getting it right.
Remember testing isn’t just limited to checking the core functionality of the app – your team should also look at security and performance considerations as well.
The moral of this story is to keep your app in testing until it’s ready. If you have invested time and energy getting it this far, then keep going during the last mile to get it ready for your users. Remember too it’s impossible to get all the bugs out before going live, but do have a solid testing plan in place to keep them to a minimum.
9. Don’t forget about marketing
After your app is built, extensively tested, and released to the app store, your next job is to make sure that people can find it.
Marketing is a little like design in that you need to know who you’re marketing to. Once you know who your target user is, then you just need to know where they are, and what their interests are. If your target audience mostly communicates through Facebook and spends their free time on youtube and Instagram – then you know where to start engaging with them!
Good marketing is often data-driven. This means that you should ideally invest your marketing budget in areas that make a return for you. If certain tactics are not working, just turn them off. Equally, if other tactics are working well, increase the budget, and see what happens. Your goal here should be to tell as many people as possible about your great app!