WHAT IS AN APP?
An app typically refers to software used on a smartphone or mobile device such as the Android, iPhone, BlackBerry or iPad, as in “mobile app” or “iPhone app.” But the phrase “Web app” or “online app” is also used for “Web application” or “online application”, meaning software that you access and use while online, via a browser, instead of software residing on your computer (such as Microsoft Word). For the purpose of this type of Call To Action final product, we are referring to a software program that you use on a mobile device.
Here is an example of a compelling phone app:
YOUR PURPOSE: Before starting your app, make sure you have an understanding of your target audience and your purpose behind creating the app. Here are a couple of examples of apps that young people created and why they did so:
- Cameron Graham, 21, had a lengthy spell in hospital in 2014. He shared a ward with an elderly dementia patient, and noticed a transformation in his demeanour – becoming happier and calmer – when his granddaughter showed him photographs of his family during visits. Upon leaving the hospital, and surprised that nothing like it existed already, Graham established Storii, an app which allows those in care settings, including carers and families, to log life stories, care plans, and even music and videos to aid patients through reminiscence therapy. The app is now being used in care homes and is raising $1m in seed funding.
- Risha Jindal’s older sister had just moved away to university and didn’t know what to do with the leftover ingredients after cooking. So, a 16-year-old Risha and her sister devised Digimeal, an app which creates recipe ideas when they enter three ingredients they have in their cupboards. It won the $15K iDEA award for young digital entrepreneurs in 2014, which funded the app’s creation.
In general, ask yourself these questions when determining your purpose:
- WHO is this app for?
- WHAT will the app do?
- WHY is this app relevant/important to people and to your cause?
YOUR FORMAT: If you’ll be using a pre-existing software platform to develop your app (i.e. you don’t have any coding experience), you may be able to publish a fully custom Android App, and simultaneously submit a native iPhone app version to the iTunes App Store. If you have lots of coding experience and will be building a phone app from scratch, then you’ll need to decide on a platform since it’s usually a good idea to start building for one platform first, not multiple. Likely you’ll be deciding between Android and Apple iOS, since the two companies account for over 90% of smartphones. Here’s some information to consider about each:
- Some Advantages of Android Apps:
- Android phones are more prevalent globally, with a particular prominence in lower income areas and developing nations.
- Android-based applications are highly customizable and easier to manage, enabling developers to play around with the features and functionality of their apps.
- Some Advantages of iPhone (iOS) Apps:
- iOS users typically have higher income, higher education levels, more engagement, and spend more per app.
- Altogether there are only 20 different types of iOS mobile devices, compared to the thousands on Android. As result, screen size and resolution play a smaller role in the development process.
- iOS dominates in the tablet market, especially for business users.
YOUR PROCESS: Your process for developing a phone app will largely depend on your experience. If you’re a coding expert and fluent in the programming language you need, you may be able to follow online tutorials directed at the more tech-savvy developer-types. If you don’t have any experience coding, you may want to use one of the app-developer platforms that are listed below (under “Resources For Creating Mobile Apps”). However, in either case, it might be a good idea to start your process with the steps listed here:
Define the Core Functionalities
- Think about what your app should be able to do and list them out.
- If you end up listing a bunch of things, remember, you should try to keep things simple. Focus on what will allow the app to perform whatever it’s supposed to do.
Sketch Your App
- By now you should have a pretty solid idea of what your app should do, so sketch out the wireframe of your app’s UI (user interface). Where buttons should be located, what the purpose of that button is, and so on.
- Write down notes and flesh out how the app should work. You’re still in the brainstorming stage, so change stuff around until you’re somewhat satisfied with it.
- All in all, this is not the final look but rather just a step to help you get a firmer grasp of your app.
Plan Your App’s User-Interface (UI) Flow
- You have a good idea of what your app will look like, what every element should do, and how users can interact with your app. Now it’s time to figure out your app’s UI flow. Meaning, how a user should use your app from start to end. Chart out every step they have to take, and every scenario they might encounter. Try to consider every use-case.
- Include all the actions your user can take in the flowchart. For example, if your app requires users to log in, how do they create an account? What if users forgot their password? What if they input the wrong password? What should a user be able to do on each interface?
Resources For Creating Mobile Apps
CodeWithChris: How To Make An App