How to Create an App from Scratch in 10 steps
So you’ve got an awesome idea for an app, and you want to take it from concept to reality as quickly as possible without wasting any time. Here are 10 steps to create an app from scratch that will get your app into the hands of users in less than 48 hours while also saving you time and money along the way.
Step 1: Identify the problem
There's a reason we're all glued to our smartphones. They solve real problems and make life better, which is why entrepreneurs have flocked to them since they were first invented. In other words, apps are only successful if they address a need or pain point people have. Bloc for example identified that people were getting frustrated with not meeting their matches on Tinder and Bumble. So they created their app so people could match knowing they are going to the same event, so they are 90% more likely to meet. Before you dive into development, take some time to understand what problem your app is solving; otherwise it will be of no use to anyone.
Step 2: Find ways to solve it
Make a list of possible ways to solve your problem. Brainstorm as many as you can and don’t worry about being too specific—the solution may not be exactly what you initially imagined, but if it solves your problem then it’s a solid solution. For example, if you were trying to create an app that helps people find affordable housing, some potential solutions might include creating a rent subsidy program or listing all affordable housing on one website. You won’t know which solution is best until you test them out.
Step 3: Get your idea on paper
It’s important to know how much your app will cost and plan for that before you begin. If you underestimate your budget, then start planning ahead of time what financial sources you may need to tap into. That could include using a cash advance on a credit card or even getting a small business loan through your bank. While a cash advance on a credit card is tempting, it should be used as a last resort since they typically carry high-interest rates that can add up quickly. Just having some idea of how much things are going to cost will help keep you from being overwhelmed when it comes time to pay for everything and make sure you have enough money on hand when costs do arrive during development.
Step 4: Think about your audience
To get users, you’ll need users. One way to think about your ideal user is as a persona—i.e., a made-up version of your dream user. There are many ways to do it, but we like Six Thinking Hats or Steve Blank's Customer Development process for thinking about who you're building for and why they'll care about what you're building. The more deeply connected you are with your users, and the more empathy you have for them, the better decisions you'll make along with every step of your custom mobile app development journey.
Step 5: Know your budget
One of, if not THE most important things you need to decide before creating your app is how much money you are willing and able to spend. Your budget will vary depending on many factors such as if you have a team or not, if you need help creating it, etc. Also, keep in mind that when creating an app for business purposes (the majority of people will be making apps for business reasons) there is always a chance that your app won’t get popular enough (aka no one will download it). If your goal is simply getting started and learning how to create an app, then feel free to go with some cheaper options but again realize that they may cost more than they’re worth.
Step 6: Look at similar apps/products
How can you build on or improve something that's already working? Take a look at what’s out there, and think about how you can make your app better. This is similar to problem-solving, except instead of figuring out what's not working, you're going over what is. Your app will have certain functions and features; determine which of these are unique and focus on improving those.
Step 7: Design wireframes/mockups of the user interface
Now that you’ve outlined your app, it’s time to build a prototype. In other words, you want something that resembles how your app will look once it's launched. If you know how to code, great! If not, try using tools like Balsamiq or Pencil (which are great for sketching wireframes) that allow you to mock up what your final product will look like without having to deal with coding. If neither of those tools works for you, we recommend using a service like Jumpstart Lab or Startup Stash where they can help you create prototypes and apps from start to finish at a low cost.
Wireframes will help you get a clearer picture of how your app should look and work. Think of them as rough plans of blueprints for your future app. You’ll want to focus on designing screens that provide useful, essential information at a glance (like search results). As you design, remember that you don’t need every single screen—focus on getting just a few key pages right before moving on to other parts of your design. You can always add screens or modify designs later if it turns out they’re necessary. Wireframes should make sense even without colour or graphics—and don’t feel like you have to show every possible detail.
Step 8: Decide what platform to build for (iOS, Android etc.)
The most difficult part of creating your app is figuring out what app will be worth building. Don’t start with a million-dollar idea, because that may just make it harder for you to build it when you run into challenges along the way. The best way to start is by looking at small problems and thinking about how you could build something useful around them. What do you do regularly that can be automated? Look for small problems that have a real opportunity for automation, and then figure out what tools are available and try brainstorming solutions. Once you have a good idea of how your app should work, download Google Play and Apple developer accounts.
Step 9: Code & testing
The first step is to get ready for your release. If you’re like most developers, you might have some bugs that need squashing or want to incorporate some new features at the last minute. You’ll need to update your app, which is a pretty simple process in most cases. Just remember not to make any major changes right before releasing; you don’t want any hiccups that could scare away users. Publish!: Don’t underestimate how many friends and family members will want early access! If you know of any respected third-party review sites (such as iMore or MacWorld), reach out now with a link and screenshots of your app. You can create an app Using flutter or React Native app development.
Step 9.1: Optimize your prototype for Android devices
This is when you will find out if your game works, and whether or not it is as fun as you thought. There are plenty of guides on building for iOS, but most of them will not include optimization and debugging for performance issues (because most developers don't have iPhones). If you plan on going to the next step, be sure that your app works perfectly on an iPhone or iPad first. While some people do release products with a lot of crashes, it's also a way for people to see how responsive and reliable your company is. If you say your product should work well, but then release buggy software - that hurts your brand more than anything else.
Step 9.2: Optimize your prototype for iOS devices
During app development, be sure your prototypes are optimized for iOS devices. Even if you want your app to eventually run on Android, Windows or some other operating system, start with an iOS prototype so that you can get a feel for how users will interact with it. At this stage of development, it’s all about keeping things simple and honing in on what works best. The most important thing is being able to see how your customers use your prototype and getting their feedback so that you can make changes. Also, be sure when creating your prototype not just focus on developing your idea but focus also on learning as much as possible along the way through multiple iterations and testing out different functions before coming up with a final product.
Step 10: Download Google Play and Apple developer accounts. Get ready to launch!
Have a great idea for a new app? You can’t just start building, you need to make sure you’re not infringing on copyright, that you have an original idea and that it hasn’t already been created. Before you spend any time creating your app or going through Apple or Google's review process, search for similar apps. If someone else has already developed something similar, you might want to rethink your concept. To protect yourself from legal issues and copyright infringement, you must confirm whether there are similar apps out there and ensure that yours doesn't infringe upon another company's intellectual property.
Kartik Goyani is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Tagline Infotech, a mobile app development company. He has 3 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. He spends his time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest technologies.