From the idea to your own app – the implementation

What should be considered when implementing an app.

How do you get from the idea to your own app, which you can use successfully for your company? In this series of articles, you will learn about the individual phases in the development of an app and receive tips to make it a success. In this article, you will learn what needs to be considered when choosing the technology, the design and the implementation.

In our series of articles, we look at the individual phases in the development of an app and give tips to make it a success. As explained in our first article on this topic, a brilliant idea and a good concept alone are not enough to develop a successful app. In this article, we reveal what requirements are placed on the design and how the development of the app should proceed. We also get to the bottom of the important question of the costs of app development.

How much does an app cost?

In the conception phase, important cost-driving factors become apparent. For example, the flow concept shows how many views (screens) an app will have, which is an important cost driver. In addition, other functions that can have an influence also become clear.

Cost-driving factors

  • Are there interfaces to an existing database or a new one to be developed?
  • Is it necessary to be able to pay for something in the app (in-app payment)?
  • Should the app be offered in several languages?
  • Is a higher level of security necessary, for example, because sensitive user data is being handled?
  • Should the app users be kept up to date via push notifications?
  • On which devices should the app be usable?

Rough calculation

The costs for the development of an app can be compared to the purchase of a car as a rough guide: Depending on the demands on functionality, performance and design, one ranges from a small car to a luxury car. Since every app is unique and the requirements are very individual, a standard price is hardly possible. A cost calculator can be used to roughly estimate the costs, and the following is an aid to estimation.

App Aufwandrechner - Beispiel Smoca
App Aufwandrechner – Beispiel Smoca

The choice of the appropriate technology

Native, Cross-Platform or Web?

The design of apps differs depending on the application and requirements.  Native apps are programmed specifically for the respective operating system. This means that the code must be written separately for both platforms (iOS / Android). This means that although they are bound to the respective platform, they can use all its possibilities and are also available offline.

Mobile Technologien im Überblick
Mobile Technologien im Überblick – Source: Smoca

In contrast, cross-platform and hybrid apps use the same code for both platforms. This offers the advantage that costs can be saved. On the other hand, certain disadvantages arise when more complex functions are to be implemented (e.g. use of motion sensors in the smartphone) or performance plays an important role. Web apps are not bound to any platform, but cannot use all hardware functions either.

Technology decision

First of all, there is not THE one right implementation technology. First of all, there is the question of which platforms the app should be made available for. In most cases, an app is offered for iOS and Android, which currently reaches over 90% of smartphone users. For internal company applications, it is also possible to focus on one platform if the employees only work with one operating system or are equipped with new devices especially for the use case.

Basically, it is important to specify the use case and the requirements precisely and, if necessary, to take into account already existing apps or technologies. Depending on this, the appropriate decision can be made individually for your app.

What should be considered in the design?

Usability in the foreground

Ease of use and high user satisfaction are essential factors for the success of an app. Therefore, the needs of the end user should always be in the foreground when designing both visual and technical aspects.

The sketches created in the conception phase are used as the basis for the design of the user interface. The graphic design should take into account the CI/CD guidelines of the company. It is also important to comply with common usability standards to ensure intuitive operation of the application.

Observe guidelines

If the app is implemented for several platforms, the question arises whether different designs should be created for iOS and Android. Both Apple and Google have design guidelines. These do not necessarily have to be adhered to, but users have become accustomed to these standards and adherence to them contributes to a good user experience. Apart from the specific differences, the design should be kept as similar as possible so that a cross-platform (brand) recognisability is guaranteed.

When can programming begin?

Choose an implementation partner

If you are not developing the app yourself, you have probably already contacted an implementation partner. A full-service provider can also help you with the previous steps. It is worth comparing different offers, because the daily rates of the implementation partner are a significant cost factor. The conditions in software development can vary greatly, near- or offshore developers often offer very favourable rates, but it is important to bear in mind that the distance can lead to duplication and communication problems, and thus to extra work, which is more in favour of a local partner.

User test with clickable prototype

After the implementation partner has been chosen, everyone is ready to start and highly motivated to begin with the implementation, it almost always makes sense to extensively test the design and the app idea again using a clickable prototype. With various tools such as Marvel or Invision, clickable prototypes can be created without much effort, which can be viewed and “used” directly on the smartphone. This makes it possible to incorporate valuable user feedback at an early stage and test the assumptions made. This can significantly increase the quality of the final product, as points usually come up again that were not taken into account or discovered even in detailed process concepts.

Define methodology and procedure together

Before programming begins, a detailed feature list or a requirements specification should be drawn up together with the implementation partner and, based on this, a time schedule for implementation. With an agile methodology such as Scrum, intermediate steps can be tested regularly and a consistent user-centred implementation can be ensured. Thanks to the implementation in partial steps, it is also possible to continuously take into account new findings.

Where do we go from here?

The idea is there, the concept has been worked out and the design requirements have been clarified. We also know about the costs and the necessary decisions before implementing an app. Now nothing stands in the way of starting the development!

How does the finished app get into the app stores and what other points need to be taken into account during the launch? How should the app be marketed and what is important during operation? We will address these and other questions in the third and final part of this series – The Launch.

smoca AG ist spezialisiert auf die Entwicklung von komplexen mobile Apps sowie Web Lösungen und hat bereits über 50 App Projekte erfolgreich umgesetzt. Die Winterthurer Agentur verfügt über langjährige Erfahrung und ausgeprägtes Fachwissen Rund ums Thema Apps, welches die Marketing Managerin Christina Canclini mit ihren Beiträgen teilt.

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