With the explosion of apps for mobile devices, there is a lucrative and sustainable industry growing around mobile app development. This market is two fold; business and groups are developing apps to support their mission while others are developing games or leisure apps to sell. Large corporations, small businesses, community organizations, not for profit corporations, healthcare facilities, are all among those who have developed custom apps for their businesses. Game apps maintain the largest popularity of any app category – 65% of smartphone users who have downloaded an app recently have selected at least one game.
Knowing that mobile apps can be vital to a company or organization’s future success or realizing that creating a unique app can be lucrative isn’t enough. You also need to ask yourself several questions regarding the potential use of your app.
Who will use it? Understanding and targeting a specific demographic is crucial to mobile app development. Before releasing an app into the market you’ll need to research your target demographic and understand how your app fits. Using an app development company can be helpful to this process because they’ve likely conducted extensive research on the demographics of app purchases.
Why will they use it? Second only in importance to who will use it; why it is relevant is also a necessary question to answer. 26% of downloaded apps are never used a second time. You need to make sure that your app is appealing and useful well past the initial download and use.
How much will you charge? You’ll need to decide if, and what, you’ll charge for your app once you are ready to launch it. You can charge a fee to download, offer it free of charge, or opt for a “freemium” app that is free to download but offers in-app purchases. A free app allows you to reach a larger audience and extends your influence by sending push notifications to customers. Market research firm IHS iSuppli released data earlier this year detailing how in-app purchases accounted for 39% of total market revenue in 2011.
Which platform will you focus on? There are several mobile device marketplaces available for those participating in mobile app development and you need to decide which platform you’re designing for. The Apple platform (including iPhone and iPad devices) continues to hold the largest share of the mobile app market with Android Market a close second.
When you’ve considered and answered the previous questions it may be time to consult with a mobile app development professional. Some key things to remember:
1. Be clear, concise, and thorough- Don’t wait for your first meeting with an app developer to hash out your ideas. Know what you are wanting and what the goal of your app is. The time to brainstorm and consider your needs is before you meet.
2. Create a mock up- Have a visual of what you think the app should look like. Users want an app that is easy to use, engaging, and attractive. Having an idea of what you want it to look like will give your designer a great place to start!
3. Collaborate- Having a preliminary idea is great. However, you need to be open to suggestions from the professional developer. The designer may have a different perspective, understand your niche in the mobile app market, and be able to make recommendations that enhance your success. These initial consultations are a perfect opportunity for collaboration.