10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Creating An App
The first two app that I attempted to make was a nightmare. I knew nothing about creating an app at that time. I hired a developer on Elance and tried to work things out with him. It was a nightmare. Then I took the same project and moved it onto another developer which was also a nightmare. After I was finally able to find a local developer to finish the job, not marketing correctly was another nightmare. These are 10 things I wish I knew before creating an app.
1. Have A WireFrame Ready
A wireframe would have saved me a lot of trouble. Here’s a short overview of what happen without a wireframe. I talk to the developer and I tell him that I want an education game that is similar to red light green light but it should include more features. I then ask the developer whether or not he could make it. Immediately he said yes. We agreed upon on some terms and I hired him onto the job. The problem with that was that I didn’t know how he was going to program it and he didn’t have a clear picture of what I wanted. He had an overview of what I wanted and would question me nonstop throughout the coding process about what actions do certain buttons perform. Overall it is much easier to show the developer a wireframe of what each page in the app does. This will make your process of creating an app much stress free.
2. Hire Local Or Similar TimeZone
One reason why it took my project 4 months to complete instead of the promised 2 weeks is because of our time zone difference. He was in Asia and I’m located in America. Each time he had a question he would have to wait for me to go online before he moved forward. It was also difficult to ask the developer to adjust to your timezone and be there when you are because they have other clients and they need to sleep as well. A lot of times the developer waited for me to come online just to ask me a simple question such as what color should the exit color be and where does it link to aftewards? I learned from that to either hire local or hire someone from a similar timezone.
3. Ask Developer To Document The Code
This is extremely important because if you are planning to either hire a CTO in the future to continue creating an app for you or hire a second developer, you want to make sure that the app is readable. If you know coding, then you know it can be messy. It is going to be difficult for anyone to review messy code regardless if they are a CTO or a senior engineer. That is what happen with me. The first developer wrote the code in a way that he felt comfortable with and didn’t leave any comments or documentation. My second developer had a hard time figuring out what was the first developer doing. Lesson learned.
4. Have Multiple Developers Prototype
This is only for people who are hiring their developers online. If you are hiring a local or in house developer then it shouldn’t be a problem, but for online you might want to consider hiring a few. The reason is because a lot of developers either take forever, timezone conflict, decide your project is too difficult, doesn’t get along well with you etc. Hiring multiple developers might cost you a bit more in the beginning but it will save you a lot of time in the long run and will speed up the process of creating an app.
5. UI Can Be Minimal
Another huge mistake that I made was focusing too much on the User Interface and graphics. Unless your app is a game that requires intensive and flashy graphics, you should try to keep your user interface to a minimal. This frees up a lot of cost for the need of a graphic designer and saves you a lot of time. Once you get your app up and running, then you can slowly work on the design. Having design in the beginning without knowing the outcome of your app will slow down your backend developer.
6. Avoid Notifications
I use to think that notifications will remind the user to check the app again. What I did not notice was that I was deleting apps myself when I got annoyed with notifications. I couldn’t believe that deleting annoying apps because of notification is a natural behavior. Try to avoid notifications as much as you can. Studies have shown that 75% of the people delete apps because of annoying notifications that clog up their screen. Most people don’t want to wake up with a notification reminding them to play some alien game.
7. Tech Blogs And Reviews Increase Exposure But Doesn’t Convert
Even though the internet is being dominated by mobile usage, most blog readers still use their desktop. Usually it’s their “relax” time or office time. Blog reader might read about your post and say, “hmm great app i’ll check it out later” chances are they will not. Also, even if they click on the link to download your app from the desktop, it won’t automatically download to their mobile phone, so just because your on a top news site, does not mean that your app will convert. The reason I’m saying this is because a lot of people think that once they get on some top news site, their app will immediately become an overnight success.
8. Your App Doesn’t Get Downloads By Itself
When I made my first app, I thought the Apple store would be like an Ebay. After all that hard work and trouble creating an app, I thought all I had to do was register my apple account and upload the app. My mentality was that, now I can finally kick back and relax while watching the downloads pick up like Ebay’s sales. Little did I know, I not receiving any downloads. There were thousands of apps that ranked higher than mine so I did not get any auto downloads. Marketing does matter when it comes to creating an app.
9. Your app should always have a landing page
Similar to the same mistake as number 8, your app must have a landing page. This landing page should only be a basic webpage with a demo video, some powerful copywrite/sales text, short description, and most importantly the download button. That download button should take them to either the app store or play store. This helps people locate your app easily by running searches on Google etc. A good landing page and demo video will make people want to use your app.
10. Build Hype Before Your App Is Out
You know how marketing and sales executives always talk about making presales before the product launches? Apply the same concept to when you’re creating an app. Make the landing page available ASAP and start collecting emails. If you do not have a download button yet, collect emails to give interested people updates on the app. Release a sneak peek or screencast of your demo and let everyone feel the excitement.