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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

Top Questions To Answer When Building An App For Your Startup

Top Questions To Answer When Building An App For Your Startup

Innovation in handheld devices revolutionized the modes of communication with your customers. This mandated to have an app for your business, refraining from which is closing your doors to a personalized and streamlined interaction with your prospects.

Considering this as an obligatory step in the evolution of their business, organizations decide to take the leap and start drafting the next best app in the market. But entrepreneurs are more enthralled by the idea than its feasibility and the course of implementation it should take. Before they hit the ‘launch’ button there is a need for introspecting the project and assessing the groundwork to be laid behind it.

Asking questions, which would take a deep dive into the motives, the planning, and foresight of the entrepreneur is the first step towards a stable, cost-effective and feasible application.

What is your Drive?

‘Customer’s needs’ is the only motivation that should drive the building of a business app. If the request has originated out of fancy to popularity, company advertising, or gaining a quick buck, you are building a mobile app for the wrong reasons. “What is the existing shortcoming or problem you are trying to solve”? The App should service requests, which your business currently caters or is planning to branch out your services further to. To evaluate whether you comprehend the app you have envisioned, you should have clarity on the workflows of your app, the services it would be providing, and the way your business is going to facilitate those services. If you have, your idea chalked out, that confirms to the first step of building an app.

Which is the most suitable platform for the App?

What does your target audience prefer, Android, iOS, Microsoft or any other OS? Google has the most extensive app play store, followed by Apple and Microsoft. Hence the usual direction taken by App developers is towards Android, followed by a secondary app with iOS based on their budget. A decision of whether to build this app over a Hybrid Platform or a Native Platform is a question of debate. Hybrid platforms, though they deliver code for multiple platforms at the cost of a single development cycle, their end result is not considered to be resource efficient and needs to fine -tuned according to the platform. Native apps are targeted towards providing a robust application with optimized and reliable performance.

What makes your App different from competitors?

You surely have competitors in your business, and they too are striving to provide the best customer service possible with an assortment of utilities. How does your app stand out in the array of similar apps available in the market? This distinction can be made on various criteria such as additional services, refined workflow, Distinct UI, alternate modes of delivery, higher speed and so on. The ambition should not be to replicate the features of your competition, but to provide an enhanced and unique portal to improved utilities, through your application. These additional features would be the distinguishing factors for your business from others, hence these should be aligned to your business model. Hence, the question “What distinguishes your application from the rest of the crowd?” is a mandatory one to be answered and actioned upon before going ahead.

What will be the cost to Build an App?

This question branches out to - What is the budget you have allocated to the development of your app? The cost of an app depends on various factors:

  1. Does it run over a Desktop, Tab, mobile or other customized devices?
  2. What type of security does the app expect e.g. SSL, DoS, etc.
  3. Which are the external APIs that it needs to interact with?
  4. Are there any analytical functionalities to be embedded within the app?
  5. Which are the payment processing options it offers?
  6. Do end users have to login to your app? And the services (Facebook, Gmail, Twitter ,etc.) we must integrate with to make it possible.
  7. What level of detailing is required in building the UI of the app?

All these factors decide the complexity and the scalability of your app, which will act as an input to the cost estimation of your app. Working with freelancers, hiring developers for definite timelines, having a dedicated team of in-house developers or outsourcing your application to a Software development firm are factors which act as major differentiators in the budgeting.

How long will it take to develop my App?

Project planning is one aspect that would start once the requirements of your application are finalized. Most apps have a central utility which is surrounded by additional features that act as add-ons to it. Is it possible to develop all the features at one go, before launching the app, or we can do it in installments later? Having an initial stable version of the application and gradually adding features to it decreases the time to market, and hence reduces the delay between ideation and deployment. Along with the complexity, the development methodology influences the time taken to develop your app. This also greatly depends on the team of developers you decide to work with, hence choose wisely.

How do you protect your App idea?

Whichever team you decide to work with, it is mandatory to set up legal fences to protect your application idea. While working with an external team of developers, be it freelancers or a software development firm, you need to get a Non-disclosure agreement signed before you start working with them.  Once the NDA is signed, you are comfortable with sharing your idea with its features and nuances to your team of developers. Beyond clauses of the type of information that the receiving party needs to keep confidential, an NDA can also include the precautions and compensations to be provided in case of a breach.

Followed by these are questions regarding Hosting, Launch, Marketing, and Monetization strategy of your app that should be considered, which follow once the wireframe of your project is evaluated. Having the product ready is not the end of your escapade. Maintenance of the app, updating the APIs according to the change in OS and constantly overcoming bugs is a continuous process. Further, you have to come up with new features to enhance your apps to keep your customer base engaged. Hence, having the app ready is the beginning of the journey to ongoing contemplation of how to service your clients better.

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