​Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics said, “The rich and interactive experiences we have come to expect on mobile apps have created new standards and expectations for all digital media including the web. The result is websites are evolving to become more app-like in their rich functionality.” In order to create this rich and interactive experience for your app user, you need to scope your project properly. To get a good insight and develop a strategic app, you need to answer the below 20 questions.
How can I validate my app idea?
There are three ways to validate an app idea, Proof of Concept (POC), Prototype or a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). These approaches not only validate the app but they also inspire new ideas and areas of improvement and ensure that the entire team is working towards the same goal. By using these three methods to validate the app can help you avoid common mistakes from making a faulty app whose features are not required in the market. 

Who are the target users?
You need to determine the target users for your app and the problem that you are going to help solve. You also need to determine if you can make an app only for mobile users or if the app is going to be used on other devices as well. The most important factor that you need to consider is the platform that you are aiming for; Android or iOS.

Who are the key stakeholders?
Before investing in the app, you need to determine the stakeholders, project owner, budget holder, etc. You need to have a clear picture of who to co-ordinate with for each stage; ideation, prototype, build, test, release and post-launch.

What are the business objectives for the mobile app?
The objectives that one needs to consider for mobile apps are:

  • Determine if it is an internal app to increase workforce efficiency or if it is an open product for all users
  • Select the core features and functions of the app
  • Select the platform for the app and the analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Are there other apps that the client likes that can be used as an inspiration for how this new app should look?
We are not saying to copy or plagiarise from another app but understand the mindset and expectations of the client before you develop an app. It comes efficiently for an app developer to have an idea of the UI/UX design and the corporate guidelines. 

What are the data points that your client needs from the app?
During the design stage, it’s necessary to understand the benchmark objectives, measures, and metrics. To focus the decision on the MVP features, it is necessary to define the key metrics that underpin the tangible measures of success for the app at outset. At the end, the client wants to receive a report on:

  • The number of downloads on Android and iOS respectively
  • Ratio of push notifications activated
  • Number of active users
  • Features that are being used the most
  • Dead areas of the app that need re-thought
  • Number of transactions done on the app
  • The frequency of app users

Do you have any wireframes created? Do you have any visual design done?
Wireframes are designs that will show how the user will experience and interact with the app. Once the wireframes are approved visual designs will display how the screen will look when it’s in the app and working. The visual designer needs to ensure that the colours and display are in standard with the corporate look and attracts the user attention.

Have you created a product backlog?
A backlog is where you define and prioritize the functional and non-functional requirements of the app. You will need to give your app developer instructions and features that you expect out of the app. Giving them the details of the colours you expect to the see in the app display and the functions, will ensure that the final product will have fewer changes.        

Should you build a mobile app or mobile website?
The business objective determines the answer to the above question. Mobile websites are cost-effective but it might not give the user good quality and functionality. On the other hand, mobile apps engage, interact and communicate with the users. Further, the brand benefits because it drives customers to use the app more often with personalized, in-app content.

Should I choose Web, Native, or Hybrid development?
Web apps are easier to build; although they are very slow and not recommended for apps that want to offer the user an interactive and intuitive experience.
Native apps that are built for a particular platform make the app fast and responsive; they generally have the best overall performance and user experience. On the other hand, it is a little expensive and not the best for simple apps.
Hybrid apps are faster to develop than native apps and no browser is needed. On the other hand, fixing bugs and customization makes it difficult on the pockets of the app developer.

What is agile development?
“Agile is an iterative process in which features and requirements are built, tweaked, and approved before the project reaches completion. Each iteration, or sprint, will end with a small part of the final product.” This style allows you to review the progress before the project is finished.

Should I outsource the mobile app development?
The demand for apps is growing each passing year. You may have a great idea but to convert it into an app takes a lot of effort. Outsourcing mobile apps is sometimes the best thing that you can do to see your idea become a working app in the hands of users. Outsourcing the mobile app ensures that your app is completed in a certain time frame, your app is developed by experienced app developers and is up-to-date with the current features in the market.

What should I look for in a development team?
While picking the development team, you need to look at their portfolio and their reviews from clients who had hired them to build an app. Also, going through an app that they have produced would be a good way to determine their expertise and vision.

Which is better, manual or automated testing?
Although manual testing might take a little more time, it is the best because you get real human feedback. This is similar to the feedback that you will get from your users. You can gauge the intuitiveness of the app and how user-friendly, convenient and capable the software is for user pain points.
On the other hand, automated testing ensures to pick out issues that the human eye isn’t capable of catching. It is also faster, efficient, can be reused for tests for code, and has a better visibility into app performance.
Ideally, the app should receive manual and automated testing.

How will my app make revenue?
You need to decide if the app is a B2E app or a B2C app; based on this you can determine how the app can earn revenue. Are you going to have in-app purchases or is it going to allow advertisements on the app? You need to also determine the payment methods for your app. 

What is the budget?
Ideally, you need to have an approximate idea for the budget of the app. The budget should be drafted based on the features of your app. Also, do not forget to consider the on-going charges for regularly updating it and fixing issues when needed.

What risks are there with the mobile app build?
There are a lot of factors that could affect the timelines to develop the app. Build a risk register as a part of the project kick-off and actions and owner’s responsibilities next to them.

Do you have a release schedule?
You need to determine if you are rolling out the app on all the platforms at the same time or planning to have multiple releases based on the feedback from the users.

How is the app going to be found when it’s ready to go live?
If this is a B2E app, then you can be assured that the employees will get an internal mail announcing that the app is live but for B2B and B2C apps that are launched on GooglePlay and the AppStore, you need to entice users to download your app.
Firstly, you will need a good app store optimization tool, make the icon powerful so that the users click on it and you can also advertise your apps on other apps to get the users attention.

How do you plan to maintain your app post-launch?
It is not possible to achieve perfection in one shot. After the app launch, there is going to be user feedback and frequent bugs that you will need to fix. Also, updates to the software will have to be made as per the market and the mobile app industry. You also need to consider the data and analytics to know how the app is performing and making constant amends to it.

New mobile apps are being created and released every hour, answering these set of questions will ensure that your app shines through and becomes a successful one!

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