So You Want To Develop An App

Often we hear the phrase “I want to make an app but I have no idea what’s involved or what the cost is”. Well we’ve put together a quick guide to step you through the process.

The Idea

Presumably you have an idea for an app, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. From here you need to document as much of your idea as possible – in writing. Preparing a detailed brief is as important for yourself as it is for the developer you end up choosing. In writing a brief, many of the features you’ll want will spring to mind – even if they’re not obvious at the outset. You may also uncover some challenges that would inevitably be faced along the way.

Cover Yourself

As your idea could be the next Instagram or Angry Birds, you’ll want to protect your IP by signing a non-disclosure agreement. You can find your own version of the document online, or ask a developer to provide one before discussing your requirements.

Having an NDA signed by both parties ensures that the details of your app will remain confidential.

The Search For App Developers

Finding the right app developer can be a daunting task. However, as most development companies will list their work on their website, its not difficult to do your research. Download their apps and have a play, paying close attention to the design and usability.

When you think you’ve found a possible match, make contact and request an NDA before disclosing any details.

Steer clear of any developers that refuse to sign an NDA or give you a ballpark quote before the project is discussed in detail.

Try to meet your developer and discuss the details face to face before you make a final decision. Ask them where and how they get their design, development and testing done. Get a feel for the culture within the organisation, does it match your values? When you’re confident the developer can meet all your requirements in a timely fashion, lock it in!

The Development Process

The process will kick off with a workshop meeting to go through all elements of the app with a fine toothcomb. In this meeting the developer will ask many questions about your requirements, so its best to be as prepared as possible.

Once the developer has a full grasp on the app concept, a mockup design document will be prepared. This document will contain “wireframe” screens, which will clearly show the layout of all your app’s elements. There will also be a brief description of the function of each screen.

This document will be sent to you for signoff. It’s important that you analyse the design very carefully and try to visualize how the app will work. Once the design has been signed off, any deviations could be costly.

The next design document will add to the wireframes with very specific details about each function. Again, this will need to be signed off by you.

Once all designs are locked in, its time for development. The app development process may be done in stages, depending on the size and complexity of the project. The developers will be able to send you iterations of the app so you can see it on your device and offer any feedback.

When you’re happy with all functions, plus look and feel of the app, you should instruct your developers to release to the market.

Which Platforms

One of the most important questions to ask is – which platform(s) do I deploy on? Do I invest in iOS development, Android development, Windows Phone? All three?

As of July 2014, Android occupied almost two thirds of the marketplace, with iOS at 27%. With Windows phone at only 5.7%, it’s not really worth the investment.

Based on these figures, it would seem that deploying to Android is a no brainer – but there’s a little more to the story. Despite being well down on device market share, Apple’s App Store raked in $10 Billion in 2013 compared with Android’s $1.3 Billion.

Apple users tend to spend substantially more money on apps, and are typically more loyal to their chosen platform.

With this in mind, it would make sense to develop for both platforms – if your budget allows for it.

The world of mobile applications shows no sign of slowing and it’s a brilliant way to communicate with your customers, make some revenue, or simply have your name in the App Store or Google Play Store!

For more information regarding the app development process, please contact