We live in a world where owning a smartphone is quickly going from a luxury to a norm.
Almost like a rule, saying you don't have one can elicit strange alien-like gawks and stares.
Smartphones are such amazing machines. From the gorgeous, sleek and slim designs available on the market, to their complex inner workings and components all the way to the amazing operating systems that power them, mobile phones have gone from single-function devices to elaborate 'second brains' that some people just can't seem to function without.
In this increasingly pervasive mobile revolution, you could be forgiven for not stopping to think about the staggering number of apps that have been developed (and continue to be developed).
The cumulative number of work hours that go into all the apps found on all the mobiles in the world is mind boggling but so is the money that app creators can make from them. Just one popular app can be all you need to be laughing all the way to the bank for the rest of your life on Earth.
What's more, these apps can be said to be highlight one of the most defining and most prominent aspects of smartphones, that of their extensive functionality.
This functionality is a good part of what distinguishes them from the earlier cell phones and apps such as WhatsApp, Spotify, Waze all serve such diverse functions that you really have to stop and appreciate how much you can get done from just one device.
Developing an app and getting people to use it is in no mean feat and aside from that, you'd be hard pressed to easily stand out in today's crowded app market.
Knowing what you're getting into means that you can evaluate the opportunities as well as risks that come with getting an app out there. Here are just some of the challenges you may run into.
Creating something that people would use
First of all, you need to come up with something that your target audience would use. Let's say that you want to build an app for new parents or an app that helps working adults strike a work-life balance. Coming up with the idea is one thing. You also need to have some idea that your audience would actually go through the process of downloading, installing and then using your app more than once. In the tech industry, these are called validation and onboarding and can be essential exercises to help make sure that you're not just wasting your time building something that no one is going to use.
Clarity and simplicity
Comprehensibility and simplicity should be a part of the user experience. This can come down to understanding the core functionality of your app and really honing in on making it the best at what it does. Steve Jobs saw technology as an extension of the human mind and body. Your users shouldn’t have to think too hard about how to use your app. Design your app to be intuitive and self-explanatory. In the industry, this is called UI/UX. Just because you know how to use the app and how it is supposed to function/what it does, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your users will.
Having a great idea and a clear vision is one thing. Having the money to make it all happen is quite another. In today's app economy you are likely going to need a decent amount of moolah to get your app built and get it out into the hands of your users. Bootstrapping or self-funding your idea is one way that you can go about this but for more complex apps (and if you want to reach a certain scale), you may want to consider raising capital, getting investors or getting financial backing through a crowdfunding platform.
You've come up with a brand new, shiny app. Great but wait, do you hear the crickets? Unfortunately, nobody knows about what you've built and remember, your work is not complete once your app is developed. This is only a part of the battle. Next comes the challenge of promoting/marketing your app, convincing people to use what you’ve built and share it with others, getting ranked, basically getting the word out. Digital marketing through the use of SEO (search engine optimization), content creation and social media can help you rise to the top in an increasingly crowded app market.
*We are a UX-focused team of developers and designers. Our goal is making our products understandable at any level. The result is web and mobile applications that take minutes to learn and are easy to implement in any company, big or small. Find out more about Soda In Mind here