How To Develop An App


In the digitized world which we live in, and the trend is only getting stronger, sooner or later every entrepreneur comes to the realization that their next product which they would like to bring to market will most likely be a software one.

However if you come from a marketing, sales or a business background, the first question which comes to mind is, how the hell is software or applications for that matter even created?

Generally speaking, there are four ways to go about it, and in this article we’ll break down each one of them with their pros and cons.

Method number one is to create the app yourself.  This is probably the method which will take the most time.  Before you can even start building your app, you’ll first have to learn how to use design tools such as Sketch or Adobe’s XD in order to draw or design the interface of your app i.e. the look and feel of it.

Once you’ve narrowed down how to use a preferred design tool and actually sketched out your application, the next step is to actually start developing or programming it.

Guess what that means?  It’s back to learning again.

If you designed your app to be used as a desktop web application, you have to spend a few weeks or months learning Java-script.  

If you designed your app to be used as an iPhone app, you have to spend a few weeks or months learning Swift.

If you designed your app to be used as an Android app, you have to spend a few weeks or months learning Kotlin.

Once you’ve honed in your skills with your chosen programming language, you’re ready to finally start building or developing your app.

See you in a few months once you’re done developing your app!

Apart from probably not building a quality product since you’d be developing your very first app, the biggest risk with this method is someone could get to the market first with your product idea which addresses the same needs or issues which you were hoping to address with your product. 

Option number two is app builders.  There are many SaaS solutions out there that can allow you to create and publish an app in the App Store or Google Play market with no programming experience; just add screens no different than when you add pages in a Word document, drag and drop the features you need, pick a style and colors for your app, and you’re pretty much done!

Appy-Pie, Build-Fire, Good Barber, Shout-Em and App Machine are a few examples of such builders.

While very easy to use, the downside to using app builders is that the types of features which you can include in your app are predefined, meaning if they don’t have the feature which you want for your app, you’re out of luck! 

It’s a take it or leave it approach, not to mention since it’s a template using approach, the application’s look and feel will be pretty cheesy. 

The third option which is quite popular for those who want quality but don’t have the months or years to learn interface design and development, is to use freelancers.

While theoretically seems appealing, experience shows that this approach has many downsides.

Freelance designers and developers take responsibility only for their specific assigned tasks and do not have a vested interest in the project as a whole.

And apart from your 9 to 5 daily grind, in parallel you’ve now just taken on two additional part-time jobs. 

The first as a project manager giving feedback to your designer on what changes and edits need to be made on the design deliveries they just sent you while at the same time prioritizing your developer’s features development roadmap.

The second part-time job which you also just took on, is the one of a tester. 

A developer’s job is to develop.  Whether it works as it’s intended to work is not their concern. 

So once your developer has developed a feature, it’ll be your responsibility to properly test it to make sure it’s working the way it’s intended to work.     

The last notable nuance in working with freelancers, is time management. 

A freelancer will come up with 101 excuses on why today they weren’t able to work, why they decided to work in the evening instead of during the day or vice-versa, why they were MIA (Missing In Action) for several days/weeks and you couldn’t reach them, why they decided to skip a meeting or a call without notifying you, why their deliveries aren’t on schedule as they originally promised, etc…

While working with freelancers is economically efficient, throughout the entire engagement though you’ll feel like a boulder is on your shoulders and you can’t wait for the day when it finally comes off of you.

The last and most effective way to build an app is to go through a design and development studio.

It’s much quicker than building the app on your own, you get the exact desired look and feel which you wouldn’t get through an app builder and you don’t have the management headache that you would have with freelancers.

When you approach a studio, it’s obvious your app isn’t the first app which they’ll be working on. 

This means they already have an established approach in place, and their process will be your guide or reference to go to throughout your product’s lifecycle from ideation all the way to product launch.

At any point in your product’s development, you know exactly at which stage you are at and what will come after it.  

In any project, whether it’s software or any other industry, processes organization and team organization is key to any successful project’s delivery or completion!