Building an app is a long journey with a lot of pitfalls. Coming up with an idea is just the beginning in creating a functional and well-designed app. It goes through a long process, with lots of twists and turns in the way, but, if done right, in the end will be worth it all.
Having built several startups and apps for clients, our CTO Albert Padin shares the process of turning an idea in the mind to a reality in people’s hands.
Take note: It’s important to clarify and prepare. Being as clear as possible on every step of the journey will ensure that you will go a long way.
Before you get to work, talk to other people. Describe your idea to them. Get feedback. Listen. Try to figure out in which areas people get the most confused with.
Then, illustrate your idea to make it a little bit more concrete. Show that illustration to others and with their feedback, try to see where you can improve and how to make your idea clearer.
Figure out which parts of your idea “click” with people. Know which parts they don’t really care about so much in order to prioritize which ones to build first, among all the features.
When you are able to describe the same thing to different people in your market, and if they understand it the first time and they don’t have so many questions, it’s time to design. (BONUS: They already want to use it and even pay you for it!)
It’s tempting to design everything at once. Resist this urge.
From the previous step, you have already figured out which features your market considers the most important. Those are what you focus on — the solution that your market is really looking for. From there, dive deeper into the details of those features, and design those first.
The challenge with designing is that the idea in your mind has to be taken from your mind and brought into the world. This process takes clarification and time. We call this the Discovery process.
The Discovery process looks something like this:
It begins with discovering what the idea actually is and understanding it. You have to talk about it. Describe it. Show other sites or apps that are related to it. How do you want it to work? Draw flowcharts of how a user can use it. Provide lots of details.
You won’t be able to perfect it immediately. It’s always a process. But the more detailed you get, the more progress you make, and the less risk you incur on the next step.
Check the validity of your idea again. Validating saves time and money because changing a design is much easier and cheaper than making changes when you’ve already started building the product.
Build a clickable design prototype. This won’t necessarily have working functionality, but it gives a clearer idea of how the user will interact with the design.
In the process of validating, don’t be held back by the fear that someone could steal your idea. You have the head start.
What you should be afraid of is that if you don’t validate beforehand, your chances of failure will be much higher. It will cost more in the long run as you find out what to adjust too late in the process, and you’ve done so much already.
When people use your prototype and they start asking you for the real thing, it’s time to build.
Building usually takes the longest. This is the reason why it’s important to invest significantly on validating that we are not just building things right, but also that we are building the right things.
Building things right takes time. There are several things to consider. Should it be on Android or iOS? Should it work in both? Should it work even if the user is offline? How does it work on smaller screens?
Getting things right takes time. That’s why it’s also important to prioritize what the most important things to build first are, and de-prioritize the rest. When you’ve built a feature to a point where it works consistently, it’s time to validate again.
Each feature, component, or item in your product goes through this cycle:
The truth is, it’s not quite possible to put a price tag on something that is yet to be created. Every idea is unique and the total cost depends on how long the project takes, what resources are needed, how fast you want to go, and how big the needed team is.
If you have an app idea you want built, you can talk with us to see what’s possible. Send us a message. We’re happy to help.