Looking to build an app for your product idea? There are many different paths and methods of developing your first prototype. However, there are some steps that are absolutely essential to a successful product launch. Let’s walk through 5 steps you must take when starting mobile and web app development
1. Nail down your product idea
A product, in its most pure form, is a thing or a service that can be commodified, marketed, and sold. Nowadays, the definition of product has expanded far beyond traditional ideas of physical objects. A product can also just be a digital tool or experience that is updated continuously while still in use.
At its core, your product should solve a problem for your customers. Your product idea is foundational to how users experience and interact with your app, so getting it right from the jump is really important.
In product design, we operate by the principles of the “product pyramid”. These are 5 qualities that every great app has or strives towards. Those 5 qualities are:
- Usefulness: Does it help solve a tangible issue for your users?
- Explainability: Can you easily explain the basics of your product in a simple and clear way?
- Simplicity: Is it easy to learn proper use of the product for expected outcomes?
- Scalability: Is it efficient in generating more value per user than cost per user? Can it grow efficiently as more users join?
- Habit Generation: The final step of the pyramid and often the most difficult to achieve, is when the product that can generate “virtuous cycles”. This means that the app or product is embedded habitually into users' daily lives, and without it, it would cause a disturbance or annoyance.
Once you’ve nailed down a useful problem-solving product idea, you can begin to research how to successfully launch it to a user market.
2. Research the user market
Your product is only as good as your users’ experience and interaction with the product. The faster, more efficient, and easier you can make solving the customers’ problems, the better your product. You can better achieve this goal by thoroughly researching your user market before even starting wireframing or development.
First, you can start with competitive analysis. Learn the current competitive landscape and what other offerings are on the market to solve the same problem you’re looking to solve with your app.
Competitive market research will help you determine:
- Who are your competitors?
- What is their high level strategy?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses, what are they missing?
- What are their customers saying about them, and what types of reviews are being left?
- What is their unique selling point? How can we do better?
You can build your product strategy off of the gaps and holes in the current competitive landscape, to help your product develop its own unique value proposition.
Once you’ve completed your market research, you can focus on user research. Some ways you can start to user research include:
- Reading journals, studies, and behavioral psychology academic pieces
- Conducting research interviews with your projected target audience
- Using surveys or forms
- Interact with competitors products and note what is missing from the user experience
Your user research should lay the framework of your product. Investing in UX and user research early can significantly reduce your costs down the line and optimize your product before you actually build it.
3. Choose what type of development you’re using
There are many different ways to develop and push a product to launch. Each have different frameworks, time-to-launch, cost, and lift.
We’re going to walk you through 3 types of development that will help you determine which route you want to take when developing your app: traditional code, low-code, and no-code.
What is Traditional Code?
Traditional code requires you to have:
- Skilled app developers
- A process for identifying and fixing bugs
- Software requirements specifications
- Software tools for writing and managing code
Traditional code often requires a bigger team of developers to write code from scratch, line by line, to develop a working product. It relies on big teams, databases, data models, templates, and servers
What is no-code?
No code is a form of application development. As the name suggests, no-code development allows platforms, tools, apps, and web apps to be built without having to write code. No-code enables programmers or non-programmers to create application software graphical user interfaces. It is designed to expedite the often technical and lengthy process of developing an app.
Unlike traditional coding technologies, no-code assumes that you're building a multi-user interactive application for web or mobile (Bubble).
Low code and no code have started a citizen-developer technological movement, with Gartner forecasting 65% of app development to be low code by 2025.
What is low-code? How is it different from no-code?
Low-code requires some basic coding knowledge, while low-code platforms are typically created by developers who specialize in low-code. No-code platforms, however, rely completely on a visual user interface. Both programs create code but it is hidden in the back end.
Because no-code software heavily relies on drag-and-drop interfaces, platforms are typically limited in complexity. Software that allows a user to design projects themselves is cheaper than low-code agency development, but is limited in the complexity of the project.
Low-code agencies can build platforms for you quickly and at a lower cost than traditional development, and have the ability to design better, higher-quality, and more robust than apps no-code software.
Why we recommend to use no-code or low-code development over traditional developments
No-code and low-code benefits include
- Expedited development process: It’s fast. Complex projects are built in much less time than traditional programming
- Cost savings: It’s cheaper. No-code and low-code development platforms are much cheaper to produce than traditional programming projects
- Build high-grade and quality complex programs: Although low-code and no-code are much faster and cheaper than traditional programming, they don’t lack the quality or complexity. You can build enterprise-level platforms with low-code and no-code.
- Minimizes risk and need for debugging: No-code platforms are often connected to cloud technology that updates automatically. This reduces time and money spent on debugging, minimizing security risks, and updating programs.
- You can make changes easily: No-code and low-code platforms allow you to pivot and adapt to your audience easily, without big back-end changes that could take months and heavy resources with traditional development.
- No code is the future: The power of no-code and low-code is making huge waves in enterprise-level programming. A recent study by Gartner predicts that by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code no-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.
4. Scope out and build your a v1 or prototype
Once you’ve landed on how you’re going to develop your app, you can start building it out. Whether you’re working with a development team or taking on the task yourself, you’ll want to start by building out your brand, wireframes, and then a more detailed product design. Start by developing your first prototype.
Prototypes are really just “early models” of products. They’re not intended to be the final version that will eventually be sold to the public. They are simply preliminary versions that allow design and product teams to see how their ideas look, act, and feel in real life. This also allows your team to go back to the drawing board if needed.
Depending on your timeline limitations, budget, and time-to-launch, your build can either just be a V1 that you take back to the drawing board or you can launch with your full product ready to test to your user market.
5. Test and Iterate
Your product is never really “done”. It will go through many rounds of testing, improving, and optimizing. This is a process that never really stops.
Once you’ve built your V1 or your prototype, send it out to your BETA users. Monitor their usage, their journeys, and their interactions. Collect data that helps you understand how and why they interact with your app a certain way.
Use real-time user data to answer some questions that will help optimize the efficiency of your product like:
- Where are they dropping off in the app?
- How long are they spending on each page?
- How many touchpoints does it take them to “convert” or perform the desired action?
- What time of day do they come onto the app?
- How many times per day?
- What stops them from completing tasks or desired actions?
- How can we fix that?
- How can we limit the touchpoints a user needs to go through to solve their problem?
- How can we encourage our users to use the app or stay on it?
One of the benefits of using a no-code or low-code framework to build an app, is that you can quickly test, iterate, and pivot your app at the fraction of the cost of traditional code. No-code unlocks the ability to test and iterate multiple bets or startups at once, making it an incredibly efficient and cost-effective method of development for early startups.
Your product should be designed thoughtfully, well-researched, and optimized before even stepping into production. Use these 5 steps above to get started on building the app or product you’ve always wanted to launch.
At Creme, we use the power of low-code and no-code to design unmatched user experiences. We're the all-in-one solution for startups, upscales and corporations looking to rapidly design, develop, and then launch with our support. Get your app built, tested, and iterated to optimize it for the market within weeks or months.