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8 Important Questions to Ask Before Building an App

You have an idea for a mobile app that can help to grow your business and attract new customers. Sounds good. But, how are you going to bring your vision to life?

You have an idea for a mobile app that can help to grow your business and attract new customers. Sounds good. But, how are you going to bring your vision to life?

The truth is that many concepts are never made into working apps. For other apps that manage to make it out of the development process, these apps often don’t have the features that are required to achieve mass adoption by users. Even for companies that have been successful in the app arena, getting there is expensive and time-consuming.

However, the failure of an app isn’t always the result of a bad concept. In most cases, poor planning is to blame. If you want your app to be successful, you’ll need to do some research and plan accordingly before you get started.

To help you sort things out, here are 8 important questions to ask before building an app.

1. How Do I Protect My Mobile App Idea?

Protecting your mobile app will require a number of steps depending on the nature of your app. To start, you should use nondisclosure and noncompete agreements to protect against the theft of your work and to prevent stakeholders from developing similar products that could compete with your app.

To protect your intellectual property rights, register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright registration makes your company eligible to receive up to $150,000 in damages and the attorney’s fees. Ask your app development team if open source code will be included in the development of your app. Any code that is open source code can not be registered with the U.S. Copyright office.

You should also trademark app logos, icons, and names of the features and services by registering them with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). These registrations give you the right to sue in federal court if anyone infringes on your registered trademarks. Finally, make sure to document all of the details that are related to the app development process so that you have the necessary records available to prove your case at a later date if a dispute arises.

2. Which App Platform Should I Target?

As you select a platform for your app consider your target audience. While iOS is generally recommended for early-stage ventures, Android is a good fit if your audience mostly uses Android devices.

That said, it is a better idea to build a cross platform app so that you can connect with your target audience regardless of the platforms that they use. According to recent data from Net Applications, Android currently accounts for 65.58% of market share while while iOS has roughly 27.24%.

Historical data also shows that these numbers have fluctuated quite a bit in recent years. Therefore, the preferred mobile platform of today might not be so well-received in the future and you should plan accordingly.

3. How Much Does It Cost to Build My App?

The cost of the app will depend on features to be incorporated into the app. The costs may vary depending on whether you use an onshore or offshore development company. For simple apps, prepare to spend around $25,000. For more complex apps, the estimated costs of developing such apps could begin at $100,000 and may end up being over $1,000,000, depending on the app development company that you hire. In general, you should also budget for additional changes by adding 20% to any estimate that you receive.

To put things in perspective, a 2014 Kinvey report based on a survey of CIOs and mobile leaders found that 56% of mobile leaders surveyed said that it takes from 7 months to over a year to build a single app. Another 18% said that they spent from $500,000 to over $1,000,000 per app, with an average of $270,000 per app in development costs.

To set your app apart from the numerous other apps already available in the app store, you’ll also need to consider adding custom designs and animations, back-end database integration, and both free and paid versions to accommodate users of all price points.

4. How Much Time Will It Take to Build My App?

Estimating the amount of time that it will take to build your app will depend on the development process of your app team. If you want the project completed faster with a more accurate estimate for completion, choose an experienced team that has worked on projects that are similar to yours. You should also make sure to avoid the temptation to go with the cheapest estimate for app development services because it could mean significant delays in completing your project.

5. How do I Keep My App Updated?

Update your app regularly to protect users against security vulnerabilities, improve the performance of your app, and add important features that your users want.

As you plan the app development process, prepare for the most immediate updates by signing up for a support package when you start to develop your app. Ask your app development team upfront if they will be able to support ongoing updates. Finally, make sure to plan out the first few updates before your app launches.

6. Who Are the Stakeholders?

Before you initiate your project, figure out which of your team members are responsible for making the final decisions. Work together to define the success indicators for the project. Does completion mean a successfully launched app or simply that the app is ready for testing?

Furthermore, what dependencies will affect the start and the completion of the project? Make sure to ask the development company what is expected of your team so that you can perform the required activities as they are requested.

7. What Sets Your App Apart From the Competition?

Given that there are at least 1.5 million apps available for download in both Google Play and Apple’s App Store, it’s not surprising that competition in the app market is fierce. If you want your app to be successful, you need to figure out what will make your app different from other options that are already on the market.

Once you’ve decided what you want to offer to users, make sure that you can effectively explain your concept to an app developer. Your overall success will depend upon your ability to create the app you envisioned.

8. Who Are Your App’s Users?

Before you develop your app, draw up profiles of your target users. Create buyer personas, as well, if you are building a paid app. Think about the problem that your app will solve for users. Then, do market research to get a better idea of whether there is actual demand for what you are offering.

If you really want to give your app a chance to be successful, you need to plan ahead to budget for the development, marketing and advertising, as well as, labor and ongoing support costs. If you’re an existing company looking to hire an outside firm to build an app for your business, you’ll also need to coordinate your plans so that there is a good relationship between the third-party development team and your in-house staff.

At Achievion, we’ve built custom apps for our clients by providing comprehensive solutions to maximize your chances of app success. If you’re ready to start the process, contact us now to request an estimate for app development.

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