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You build apps? I’ve got a great app idea! Top 10 questions to ask yourself when you have an app idea.

13 June 2019

It’s the sentence you hear so often.


If you work in the digital industry or have anything to do with designing, building or marketing apps, you know this scenario already.


You’ve been invited to a dinner party and you know some of the people attending, but some are new. As soon as the introductions are done and the niceties are complete, the next question is always ‘so what do you do?’ I own an app and website business… then it comes… Oh, you build apps? I’ll talk to you later… I’ve got a great idea for an app!


I’ve heard it at dinner parties… at BBQ’s, weddings, gym changing rooms… and even a funeral!


Everyone has an idea… everyone thinks its the next Facebook/Uber and wonders why no one has done it already (quite often they have) and the first statement is always followed up with a query of the cost… ‘so how much does it cost to build an app?’ This, I explain, is the hardest part, there is no catalog of app pricing. It’s not like a website that you can put a ballpark figure together based on the number of pages and if there is a members area or an e-commerce function. An app is a different ball game altogether. There are so many things to consider, here are the top 10 questions to ask yourself:


1. Will it be iOS AND Android?
This is fairly easy and unless you have a particular reason, you will build it for both as usage in Australia is fairly close (As of May 2019, usage is: iOS, 57.79%. Android, 41.63% © The developer will then recommend what language the app is built in, dependent on the features you require and your budget.


2. Will the app use template designs or be designed from scratch?
There are some great templates out there, that can speed up the design process and give the designers a head start. This choice really just depends on how important design is to you and how intricate and original the app is.


3. How many screens will it need?
Your App Designer will need to help with this as there are a lot of screens you may not have thought of. Just the login or sign up screens can consist of 4 or 5 screens!


4. Will users need to log in?
If your users will collect any data in your app, then they will need to log in.


5. Will users be able to create and update their profile?
For users to get the full experience from your app it is normal to request a certain amount of information and also makes your users feel.


6. Will the app pull information or data from anywhere?
This could be recipes from a database, prices from a web app or member information from a CRM.


7. What 3rd party services will it need to integrate with?
All of those amazing features you wanted in the app will need to be either built from scratch or use 3rd party APIs that have been built already. These will still need to be integrated though and quite often customised.


8. Where will the app data need to sync?
This will probably be a new or current database or a cloud database.


9. How secure will it need to be
If you are collecting users data, security and encryption will need to be extremely high.


10. Will the app require a content management system?
Unless you won’t be updating the content, the answer will probably be yes.


So as you can see a lot of questions need to be answered before we can even give a ballpark figure.


The first step of the process, the workshop is where the concept is reviewed and the above questions and more are answered. We will also work out if it is commercially viable, what tech should be used to build it, how it is built, who will use it, where, when and how often.


The next step is the user experience where we work out the user journeys of a typical user and we design wireframes of each screen, then once this is user tested and we have made it perfect we then move into the user interface design stage to bring the app to life.


More user testing follows and after more iterations we finally get to the development stage.


The above can take many weeks to get to a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) ready to be tested in the market. It’s a long process, but if not followed or if corners are cut, it will end in money wasted and great ideas being turned into an expensive waste of money.


And this is the first stage… you then need the funds to market your App, test the app and not be afraid to change it to get it right for your target personas.


So if an app developer is offering to build you an app without asking the questions above, then I’m afraid they are after your money and don’t have your best interests at heart.