If you’re looking to get creative with how you interact with your customers and could see growth from the ability to reach your audience at any time of day, your business could benefit significantly from developing its own mobile app.


According to research from GoGlobe, smartphone users now spend 89% of their mobile media time using mobile apps and 42% of all mobile sales generated by the leading 500 merchants came from mobile apps.


If you’re looking to engage your audience in new ways and are ready to become part of the growing mobile app market, here’s 9 top things you should do when developing your own mobile app.


Determine your ultimate goal


So, you’ve got an idea for an app – what now? Before you start developing the look, layout and logistics of your app, you need to define the purpose and objective/s of your app. What will the app do? How will it engage your users? What is the ultimate aim? How will it add value to the user’s online experience? Determining your overall goal will benefit the development process of your app greatly.


What will your app look like?


Now that you’ve defined your idea and your goal, you can begin designing how the app will look. You don’t need to create high-quality, high-tech designs at this stage. Start by sketching out your vision for the app. This will help you to lay the foundations for the app and help your team to get a better understanding of the concept.


Research the app market


It’s time to do your research. You should aim to understand whether there’s similar apps in the market, who your competition is and how your app can fill a gap in the market. You’re also looking to find inspiration for your app, to understand the technical requirements and how you can monetise your app. However great your idea is, it’s important to be aware of what’s already happening in the market and your industry. Learn from the successes and mistakes of your competitors. This learning process will help you to develop an app that will stand out from the crowd.


Create a prototype


This part of your journey will start to bring your app to life. There are a number of prototyping tools available online such as Marvel appMoqup and Balsamiq Mockups. These tools will allow you to start putting graphics, text and buttons into place so you can start developing the roadmap and understand the navigation through what will eventually become your app!


Test your app


Get your friends, family, colleagues and any mentors around you to test your prototype app out. Ask them for their honest reviews, any problems they face and suggestions for improvement. You could take the opportunity to watch how they use the app in order to understand how your audience might navigate through the app and the user experience.


Build your app!


The time has come to build your app. Your developer will now have to set up servers, databases, storage solutions and more. During this stage you can sign up for developer accounts on the marketplaces that your app will be available.


It’s time to test again


As your app starts to come together, it’s important to do another round of testing. This is when you will have your graphics, text and the different ‘skins’ or screens for your app ready to review. During these reviews, consider the usability, design, functionality and all the key features that could make or break your app when it goes to market.


Final revisions


Once you’ve tested out your design and collected more feedback, you can use this input to make changes, revise your app and make those finishing touches. During this time you can still ask your designer to change layouts and ask your developer to make changes on the back end of your app.


Release your app – market it


It’s time to go live! How your app is uploaded to the marketplace will differ depending on the type of market and these will have different policies, time frames and review processes. Once your app is live, you should begin marketing it. Drive your traffic and customers towards the new app and include download links across your different online touchpoints.


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