How to Make an App for That

by Carlin Sack
June 21, 2013

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Yes, everyone knows that there’s an app for that. But only true innovators think about how that app came to exist. The how is the tough part, people!

Techies will tell you countless tricks of the trade when you are trying to make an app actually work. But do you ever wish there was a guideline for entrepreneurs on how to actually make your app successful?

Well, that’s exactly what an expert panel set out to do Thursday in a Silicon Beach Fest panel with Mashable journalist Adam Popescu. The whizzes who stepped up to help you in this panel were Reyhan Jhaver of Cornerstone OnDemand, Greg Cohn of Ad Hoc Labs, Hunter Grey of Atlas Powered, Martin Price of Productsy, Michael Schneider of Mobile Roadie and Samantha Scherr of Barstar. Here is, more or less, the roadmap they came up with:

Getting on the radar

  • Word of mouth and physical interactions between the product and consumers is honestly the best way to get your app out there.
  • Grow organically, even if you have to start from handing out promo materials yourself! Attending events with room for networking gives you the best results when you are ready to go live.
  • This one seems obvious, but have a catchy product: “If it’s cool it will sell itself.”
  • In addition to being “cool” though, make sure your product is user-friendly. Ask yourself, “Is it a great improvement from what people are doing now?”
  • Be a “user-preneur” by creating an app that fixes a problem you have as a user.
  • Find and tackle your niche market first and go live. Then expand.
  • Know the difference between an idea with a lot of buzz and one that is slowly developed and inherently receives attention. Where does your app fall?

Keeping it all in motion

  • Saving blueprints of your original idea and its stages (which, hopefully, you’ll have a lot of) will help you keep your primary goal in mind.
  • Research everything you possibly can (aka target audience, competitors, long term strategies, etc.) before you go into product development. This is a must!
  • Always dig deeper than just an “app idea” so that you can uncover a business plan.
  • Your product development team should be on-site. You won’t help your business by choosing a tech developer that is offshore: there will be a cultural and communicational barrier that will keep you from long-term success.
  • For AB Testing, moving all assets to the server will let you go live immediately and requires no pre-approval.
  • Use Native, not html5. If you want great user experience and push notifications on any smartphone, that is.

Choosing iPhone vs. Android/Windows app

  • Don’t try to tackle it all at once! Always build on one platform before attempting multiple platforms.
  • Very few Android-only apps have success stories, such as Facebook Home. This is because they cannot exist on iOS.
  • Not to sway you either way, but Android apps give more access as a developer.
  • Take it from these guys: Android is much harder to build on. Keep in mind your Android team will always be double your Apple team, but will be doing the same amount of work.

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