Many companies have started producing their own mobile apps as a way of increasing visibility and customer interest.
While creating a functional mobile app takes a certain amount of technological know-how, virtually anyone can come up with an idea and get the ball rolling. Thanks to innovative tools and companies that specialize in app development, your dream of creating a compelling app may not be as far-fetched as you think.
More popular than ever
According to data collected by Flurry, mobile phone usage -- and subsequent app usage -- has grown substantially over the past year. From March 2013 to March 2014, mobile app usage in the U.S. grew from an average of two hours and six minutes a day to two hours and 19 minutes per day.
Related: 4 Steps to Launching a Mobile App Even If You Don't Know How to Build It
This means 86 percent of the average person’s phone usage is spent accessing apps. The data reveals that gaming apps lead the way, and account for 32 percent of people’s time, followed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which collectively account for an additional 32 percent.
App idea starting points
While you can hire people to give you creative ideas, it’s best to brainstorm internally. After all, who knows your target audience, customers and clients better than your team? Consider the following starting points to get your brainstorming started:
Appeal to gamers. As mentioned above, nearly one-third of all app usage is related to gaming, so this can be a good place to start. While you may not think of your business as being conducive to the development of a game, try thinking outside the box. Can you develop a game to connect with your brand message, logo, products or services?
Target built-in features. According to Businessnewsdaily.com, “Often, creating a great, interactive user experience is as simple as making the phone’s built-in features work for the user.” Think about the features on the newest smartphones, and develop simple ways to put those technologies to use. The infrastructure is already there -- all you need is an idea to break ground.
Additional sales channels. For companies that have an established customer base and a range of products, developing a mobile sales app can be an effective strategy. Think of it as a mobile version of a printed mail catalog you might send out. Instead of simply showing pictures and descriptions, an app can link directly into your ecommerce site.
How to develop an app -- the easy way
With American consumers’ affinity for mobile apps growing at a swift and steady rate, how can your business take advantage of this potentially lucrative trend?
Related: 8 Ways to Influence Users to Download Your Mobile App
While many non tech-savvy business owners would love to develop a mobile app, it may strike them as technically impossible. But it doesn’t have to be. Now that you have an idea, with a little innovative spirit and a willingness to search for helpful tools, your company can tap into the mobile app market. Here’s the best way to go about it:
Hire a designer. A designer will help you develop functional prototypes that bring your vision to life. While the design process isn’t the only step, it’s arguably the most crucial. Collaboration and iteration are two of the most important parts of the design process. To hone in on healthy communication in the design process, many major companies -- Google, Microsoft and AT&T, to name a few -- rely on collaborative workflow tools to improve communication between the parties involved. The goal is to develop a functioning prototype of the app without involving a programmer, which is possible using a collaboration tool such as Invision.
Gather quotes from programmers. Once the functional prototype -- which is essentially a bunch of design files -- is developed, take the mockup to various programmers and ask for quotes. You may be surprised by how much pricing differs across the industry. Since that’s the case, it’s always best to locate a handful of sources and gather as many quotes as you can. If the app prototype has already been successfully mocked up and functions as intended, programmers should have no problem seeing exactly what you want for your app. This will help you get accurate pricing and avoid unforeseen problems and expenses.
Introduce the app. After selecting a programming service and letting the experts work their magic, you’ll have a functioning app to introduce to the marketplace.
Using the resources at your disposal, you can collaborate and work with tech-savvy professionals to make your vision of an app a reality.
Anyone can do it
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to develop a mobile app for your company, brand or product. It simply requires a little innovation, technology and the willingness to see the process through.
Are you ready to reach your mobile audience?