Building an app from scratch, whether it’s for a side project or an entrepreneurial venture, involves a degree of technical complexity that often acts as a deterrent for many aspiring app creators. Finding the right programming language for the job, writing hundreds of lines of code, setting up databases and servers, and choosing the right design elements are only a few of the many tasks that you’ll be dealing with. To help streamline the process, keep these five tips in mind.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
This old adage rings true for anyone trying to build an app from scratch. Too often, inexperienced developers rush into the process of writing code to make their program do a single task, and then they add another dozen lines of code to do more tasks ( Building an app from scratch).
Although this brave leap of faith into the unknown is a good way to get started, not having a long-term blueprint of what you want your app to look like can complicate things as your program becomes larger. Take the time to, at the very least, identify your minimum viable product(MVP) and map out your app’s architecture. This will help you to not waste time when it comes to completing your app. It will also be much less difficult and frustrating for you, especially if it is a business app. Stay motivated, on task, and disciplined in order to complete the best work. You will be happy you did once you finish.
Visualize Your User Flow Through Wireframing
In a nutshell, wireframing is a concept in UX design and plays an integral role in the entire product design process. Wireframing can be thought of as an architectural framework composed of a two-dimensional outline of what your app will look like.
It is your app or website as a skeleton without any of the content or design elements. If you’ve ever watched the 2010 biographical drama film, The Social Network, you can see young Zuckerberg drawing a wireframe of Facebook on a whiteboard in his dorm room.
Wireframing is a great way to envision the user experience as they use your app. It lets you position certain elements strategically so as to trigger ideal user actions, such as signing up for your newsletter or buying a product/service. Creating an excellent app means putting in the time and effort beforehand.
Visualizing what you want will help you stay on track and come up with ideas that will attract more users. Do your best to make as many decisions up front so that you aren’t having to continually change things. This will only slow down the overall process and limit your success in the future.
Use a Feedback Loop Approach
It’s never too early to solicit feedback from your family and friends. Even though your app is nothing more than a few files and a few hundred lines of code at this stage, it won’t hurt to have your circle of people test it out to see what they think.
A feedback loop approach will help guide your efforts on what features need to be added next, what pages and forms need to be removed, what images and color combinations should be swapped out, etcetera. If you are still in the early stages of development, keep feedback limited to functionality.
Design feedback can be sourced later on once you’ve nailed down your app’s backend. Don’t be afraid to hear what people may say about your app while you are creating it in the beginning stages. Their feedback will only help you in the long-run. If people love using your app when it is complete, then more people will be drawn to use it or will even refer it to their friends.
Consider Using a Builder Platform
An app builder is a viable solution for people who want a quick and easy way to build an app they want without having to learn how to code. There are many online resources that can make building an app quite easy and it can be completed quickly. This will only benefit you when you are trying to get your app out to potential customers as soon as possible. What’s great about many builder platforms today is that there are minimal constraints when it comes to functionality and design.
Despite using the builder’s templates and tools, you still get full control over what your app looks like and how it operates. You can decide how you want your app to look and can increase how user friendly it is. These builders for apps have also evolved to accommodate apps of varied themes, from fitness to religion. This just makes it that much easier for you, depending on who your target audience is for your app.
A/B Test Your App
Simply put, A/B testing is a way of putting two possible choices in comparison and then analyzing based on feedback. While A/B testing isn’t confined to app development and can be used to test practically anything, the method has gained much popularity over the years in the field of software engineering, particularly in conversion rate optimization.
The basic steps to run an A/B test on your app is to: conduct research and define an objective, define your variants, perform the test, analyze and review the output, and then make changes based on that output. You can then run a follow-up A/B test to see where your conversion rates are following the changes made.
Sticking with your endeavor and doing the best that you can will help to create an app that everyone will love using. Building an app from scratch is a monumental accomplishment in the world of technology. That is to say that you should not expect to get it done overnight or that you can launch it without any bugs to fix. It is an ongoing project that will require countless iterations.
Use the five tips above to minimize the need for these iterations. You will end up with the perfect app that you wanted with minimal problems while expanding the amount of users who will be excited to use it.
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