The Million Dollar (App) Question

Mobile App Development

Way too often we come up with good ideas, that never see the light of day, simply because we are unsure where to start, or to be more precise, we don't know what questions to ask ourselves, in order to gain the confidence needed to devote our time and hard-earned cash to the idea.

If that idea is in the form of a mobile app, then here are the 13 question you need the answer to before you start investing.

1. What problem does it solve? - This is a vital question. If it doesn't solve a hard-to-solve-otherwise problem, the chances are you will be struggling with finding people willing to use it.

2. What’s your budget? – An app can be as cheap as £1000 or as sophisticated and expensive as £500,000. How much you are prepared to invest will help you determine what functionality to skip (at least for the initial version). The most cost effective way is to start off with a minimum set of features and let the feedback of your users guide you from there. This way you will not waste money on features that no one wants and concentrate on the ones that matter.

3. The elevator pitch - You should be able to produce a brief description of the app in just a few sentences.

4. Who are the target users? - What devices or platforms are they most likely to use( e.g. android, iOS)

5. Why is a mobile app the best way to solve the problems that it is meant to solve? Could a mobile responsive website be just as good, or an even better way to solve them?

6. What are the business objectives? - Is the app an internal app to increase workforce efficiency? Is it there to open a product or service up to a new profile of user? Will it increase sales from existing customers?

7. What design considerations/constraints does the app have to work within? - Are there company guidelines that the mobile app layout and screen designs need to conform to? Will this work on a mobile format? Are there constraints on how it can appear in the app store. Will this tell you how the icons in the app store need to look?

8. Should it work across tablets and mobiles? Can this be one version that resizes or do you need a build for both?

9. How back compatible does it have to be: iOS8 and later, Android 5.0? Android 4.0?

10. Does the app need to work offline?

11. Will it have to connect with wearables or Internet of Things devices?

12. How is the app going to be found when it’s ready to go live? - If it’s a B2E app, this may not be that important, but for B2B and B2C apps getting found in Google Play and the App Store is going to be important to draw users to the app.

13. Monetisation strategy – If it’s a B2E app, does it solve internal problems to improve staff productivity? If it’s designed to increase revenue for the business, how is it going to do that - in app purchases? subscription model?, will features be unlocked with staged payment?, is a physical or virtual product being delivered after payment (so do you need logistic tracking)?, will there be in-app advertising to monetise traffic through the app?

Having the answer to these questions is vital to the success of your app.