Creating an App in 2020 [A How-To Guide] | Hacker Noon

June 23rd 2020

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Similar to any other route you would go down to create an app, there is a planning process you must go through to lay the groundwork for the project.

Let’s look into how to create an app with the platform Hiremotely, which has over 8000 vetted developers ready to work on your project with you.

Why do you want to create an app?

  1. Key functionality and features
  2. Research similar apps
  3. Create an initial wireframe
  4. Ask for feedback on that wireframe
  5. Decide on the time frame and budget
  6. Look for the right freelancer for the job
  7. Work with them through the process of building and testing
  8. Launch and promote your app

Why Do You Want to Create an App?

To give yourself and your developer guidance throughout this process, you need to begin by laying out why you want to create an app. Without a solid foundation, your app is going to end up being confusing and likely won’t satisfy your goals.

So how should you go about answering this question? To start off, you need to think about your app from the viewpoint of your users, and the viewpoint of your business. 

What Does Your App Do For Users

Defining the benefit for your app’s users as you start your planning is a crucial element to think about. If there is a lack thereof, then it is likely no one will end up using the app. 

Some common benefits of apps that your users can enjoy include a faster experience, personalized content, and a better connection with your business. Figure out the main reason(s) your users would actually use your app, and keep those at the forefront throughout the planning and hiring process

What Does Your App Do For Your Business

You may already be able to answer this question without much thought because there must be something that is driving you to do some research on creating an app.

There are plenty of benefits for businesses who decide to develop an app, so let’s talk about some of those if you aren’t already convinced. To start off, we are living in a world that has become largely mobile, and that trend will continue moving forward. By creating a mobile app now, you are setting your business up to benefit in the present and benefit even more in the future.

The user experience on an app will also allow customers to focus more on your product offerings. Often when your customers are viewing your business through a browser, there are distractions everywhere such as ads and other tabs. 

An app also provides your business with a better way to showcase your products. If you work with a top developer who works with the user experience and user interface in mind, your app will look beautiful and drive customers to make purchases. 

All of the benefits of creating your own app come together to create the most important benefit of all – an increase in profits. There are many possible ways that an app can bring in profits for your business. 

The app itself could be paid, meaning that you’d make money when people download it. You could also make the app freemium, which just means that it is free but offers added features if users are willing to pay for them. An app also provides another channel for your business to sell its products, which should result in an increase in sales. 

So ask yourself again, why do you want to create an app? You should be able to answer this question quickly and concisely if a developer were to ask you.

Key Functionality and Features

Once you know why you want to create an app for your users and for your business, thinking about the functionality and features that your app provides should be easier. The functionality and features of the app will heavily contribute to the user experience and business utilization. Some of the main app features that you should be thinking about include:

  1. Social Sharing
  2. eCommerce
  3. Push Notifications
  4. Search Options
  5. Contact Features and Forms
  6. User Profiles
  7. Chat

Remember that this is a short-list of important features, and there are more app features you’ll have to think about. If you at least have an idea about what you want, your developer can help you flesh it out some more. Something important to keep in mind that additional features will add to the cost of developing your app, so if your budget is tight try to limit the app to essential features. 

Research Similar Apps

Researching similar apps will help you get a feel for how your competitors are already leveraging apps to their advantage. Don’t limit your research to local competition, research any app that is in the same market as you.

Going through this process is a great way to get ideas for the user experience of your app. Just make sure not to copy them. There is a balance you need to find so that you are simply using their app for motivation and inspiration. 

Some things that you will want to take note of include the main features their app is utilizing, the layout, what stands out to you, and lastly how you think the app could be improved. The end goal would be to create a superior app, so don’t skip the last part. You want to further build on what is already out there. 

Create an Initial Wireframe

Don’t be intimidated because you don’t know what a wireframe is. It is most likely easier than you think, and the process can be exciting because it will be the first rendition of what your app could potentially be.

The wireframe is basically the skeleton and will give you and your developer something to build off of. There are multiple ways that you can create a wireframe.

Creating a Wireframe Offline

For those who prefer to do things on paper, this is how you will want to create your wireframe. Simply grab a pencil and a piece of paper and you’re ready to get started. You can use a blank piece of paper if you are particularly neat or you might want to check out some of the templates for wireframing on SneakPeekIt.

The wireframe is simply a rendition of each screen that will be built into your app. So for example, you will need to draw a home screen, maybe a shop screen, search screen, and whatever else pertains to your app. 

You should draw them sequentially, with user navigation in mind. When a wireframe is done correctly, it will map out the flow of the app for the users. 

Creating a Wireframe Online

There is a range of different tools that you can use to make wireframes online. The online tools make it easy to make a professional and digital wireframe that will be easy for your developer to utilize. Some of the popular online options include:

Fluid UI: On Fluid UI you can create a lifetime account for free and utilize the interface for as many projects as you wish.
MockFlow: On MockFlow you can easily draw wireframes and collaborate with your team members. The free version is quite limited, as you can only frame three screens on your project. For the premium version, it will cost $14+/per month, billed yearly.

The main goal of doing this is to get your ideas down on paper or on the computer so that you have something to approach your developer with. Don’t worry about being super neat or including every single detail. The wireframe is just a skeleton of what your app is going to become. It is crucial that you put good thought into this stage so your developer has something to work with, and that way you both start off on the same page.

Ask for Feedback on That Wireframe

Getting feedback on your wireframe is important so that you can get a feel for what a potential user would think about your app. You should get feedback from a good amount of people within your organization, and you should group similar responses together.

When you’re done with this process, you should evaluate the big picture and revise the wireframe accordingly. Just make a list of the important things that you need to fix and go through one by one. 

When you have gone through your list and feel that you’re ready, you can go through another round of feedback. You should continue this process until you and your organization are happy about where the app is heading. The more you put into the wireframe, the better the final product is going to end up since it will be based on this initial outline. 

Testing Your Wireframe

Testing the wireframe is also useful so that you can actually interact with the wireframe. This will make it seem less obscure and more like a real app. If possible, you can also have people involved with your feedback process test your wireframe so that they can give you even better feedback, and you can then use that to further build on your wireframe. 

There are multiple ways that you can test out your wireframe and interact with it. Here are our favorite services for testing your wireframe, which are both free:

Invision: Invision is an industry-standard. Their platform makes wireframe testing and collaborating a breeze. 
Figma: Figma is very similar to Invision in how their interfaces look and how the platforms are operated.

With both of these platforms, you will be able to connect different frames to each other and make different actions occur when you interact with buttons or links. 

Decide on the Time frame and Budget

There are some different factors that you need to consider before deciding on your budget. If you have a strict budget and can only spend a specific amount of money, then your app might have to have fewer features, or won’t be put together quite as well. 

Project SizeThe first thing you should be thinking of in regard to your project is how long it will take. Is it a pretty simple app that will only take about a month, or is it a complex feature-packed app that will take 6 months or more to develop. 

You should also start thinking about how often you need to have your freelance developer working. This will depend on the factors you determined above, as well as the freelancer’s availability. Both parties should come to some sort of agreement on a full time or part-time contract.

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to know everything going into your hiring process. Obviously, the more you know the better, but you may have to converse with some freelancers to get a better idea of how long developing your app will take and how intensive it will be.

Technical Details

The technical details should be a little bit easier to determine, considering all of the steps that you have already gone through. 

The first thing you need to figure out is your hourly budget for a freelance developer. On Hiremotely, you can choose from options ranging from $30/hour up to $75/hour. You can also go above or below these preset values, so the platform provides you with a great amount of flexibility depending on the budget you’re working with. 

You will also have to specify the skills that are required for your job. The skills consist of the coding languages and abilities that your freelancer will be required to know. If you are unsure, don’t worry. Hiremotely has a list of popular skill options that you can choose from including iOS, HTML, and CSS to name a few.

Choose Your App’s Development Path

Choosing your app’s framework is a very important step in the process. There are two types of frameworks that you can choose from, so let’s go over them.

Native App: A native app means that it was coded for a specific platform, such as android or iOS. If you want to go down this route, you will either have to have your app developed from the ground up for both platforms, or you can have it developed solely for one platform. Native apps offer some advantages, such as providing the user with speed and offline access. 

Mobile App Framework: If you develop your app with the mobile app framework, it will be able to work on different platforms. In this framework, the code used will be the same on different app platforms. 

Look For The Right Freelancer For The Job

This is the part when the weight starts to come off of your shoulders a little bit. You have worked hard on everything to this point, so now it’s time to find the right freelancer who will know how to create an app that is perfect for you. Think of it this way – you just took the time to make a detailed plan for your app, and now you just want to find someone who is able to carry out the plan. 

Using a website like Hiremotely is a great way to do this. We put all of our freelance developers through a series of tests and evaluations to ensure that they are the right fit for your job.

When you’ve found someone that you’re interested in, take the time to get to know them before you jump right into hiring them. Don’t be afraid to ask them for some samples of their work, so that you can get an idea of their technical skills. 

You can also invite them to a video conference call or a phone call. This is a great way to get to know them before you start working with them. It will also prove to be a good way to build a relationship and some trust between the two parties.

Once you’ve made an effort to connect with them and see some of their work, you can start to introduce the project to them. You need to be as in-depth as you can when describing the project to them. Also, don’t be afraid to share your wireframes and feedback that you’ve gotten thus far. The developer will likely have some more input for you, after all, this is their area of expertise, so use their knowledge to your advantage.

Hiremotely also offers the advantage of hiring a freelance developer for an 8 hour trial period. That way you can put their skills to the test and get a sense of trust before you actually start paying them for the project.

Work With Them Through the Process of Building and Testing

You’ll want to work closely with the developer that you ended up hiring so that you can collaborate with them. Also, you’ll need to monitor their progress on the app, and ensure that what they are creating is consistent with your company’s vision. 

Don’t be shy about it. Developing an app is a big investment and a big project for any business. You want to do everything you can to make sure that the app becomes what you want it to be. Create a collaborative relationship with the app developer and keep track of the project’s progress.

When the app is completed, you still aren’t quite done yet. The testing process is a key element of app development. There should be multiple rounds of testing, both within your organization, as well as people who are not familiar with the project. There are also different testing apps that you can use to help you through this part, such as Ubertesters and TestFairy.

Launch and Promote Your App

When the app is finished and bugs are worked out through testing, it’s time to launch the app and start promoting. You’ll want to get your app in front of the right people, and luckily there are some inexpensive ways of doing this.

Start off by displaying the app on your website. You could possibly have a site-wide display notification telling your audience about the newly developed app.

You should also utilize your email list to inform them about the new app. The email doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and you can also ask your email list for initial feedback about the app.

Lastly, you should promote the app on all of your social media channels. The posts should contain a call to action to download your app, and you should make these posts seem official and important to your audience. Make sure to put download links to the app on all of your social media platforms as well. 

Develop Your App With Hiremotely

Hiremotely is here to help you take on your app development project. Our platform has thousands of vetted freelancers for you to choose from and will provide you with the confidence that you need when hiring someone for your project. Visit our website to learn more.

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