July 15, 2015

How to make an app 101

Here's a basic process to help you start building your app.
Lauren Schommer
lauren@app-press.com

Lauren helps App Press customers make beautiful, engaging mobile apps every day.

You have the perfect idea for the next big app. Right away you start thinking of all of the endless possibilities but it's a bit overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin. Sound familiar? Chances are that most designers have been there at some point. App design and development can be tricky when you’re just starting out. For that reason we’ve outlined a basic process that can help you get started.  

Do some research

Your ground breaking app may be just that, or there could be something very similar on the market already. For this reason it is important to do some preliminary research. Look at similar apps and take note of what you like / dislike about the competition. This will help you to round out what your app’s overall experience should be like. 

Define basic features

One of the most important things to consider when developing an app idea is the feature set. Do users login? If so, do users create a profile? Will users like or rate information? Will your app need to communicate with a website? What general functionality does the app have? The answers to these questions will drive timeline, budget, and design of the app. 

Create a UX flow

A ux flow is a visualization of the user’s journey while navigating the app. This process will help to provide you with an overview of how users will navigate from screen to screen and what they will interact with at each point. Compare this to a site map/content map where you can see the navigation flow and how all of the pieces of your app will work together. 

Wireframe screens

Some prefer to put pencil to paper at this step while others opt to use software that allows them to wireframe digitally. Regardless of your personal preference, it’s important to start designing your screens so you can get feedback on the user interface and experience. 

Start building a prototype

This is where it all comes together. A prototype allows you to pull of the features, screens and flow together to establish a feel for your finished app. This can be simply shapes and text or it can be a highly resolved rendering of what your app’s screens will look like. Prototyping marries the concept with the content and brings your app to life. 

Prototyping is incredibly important when designing an app because it allows you to begin user testing to determine if your feature set needs revision. 

Once you have a prototype you will find that half of the work is already done. The App Press Personal Plan ($30/mo) is a great option for prototyping because every app you build can be shared and previewed on any iOS or Android mobile device. Once you've worked out all of the kinks you can upgrade to the Designer, Agency, or Enterprise plan to publish and maintain your app on the App Store and/or Google Play. 

In our experience, building an app is a lot like building a house - from initial plans to putting the finishing touches on your design. So, are you ready to get started? Contact us to schedule a live web demo or receive trial access to the platform.  

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