One of the most common questions I get when it comes up in conversation that I have developed an app is “Actually I have this GREAT idea for an app. How do you go about getting apps developed?” So I thought it might be worth a post talking about the steps involved in making that app that you sketched on the back of a napkin one time 😉
Step 1 is a project scope. This is where you work out what you want to do, who you are targeting (which devices), how you think you will commercialise the idea. This is your business case where you think about what a reasonable budget would be for your project. The broader your targets the larger your development expenses will be so it’s worth trimming this to a realistic level (rather than wanting to target all devices, which is especially trick on Android). It also helps to look at your competitors and research which apps are in this space already and how to differentiate yourself from them.
Step 2 is wire framing where you work out what you want displayed on each screen but with not much design aspect (black and white ’sketch’ style). This is something you might do yourself or outsource. You can look at places like 99designs that can do this step for around $1k
Step 3 is design where you work out what you want the app to look like (think colour schemes and so on). This can be outsourced again or done in house if you had expertise.
Step 4 is prototyping – this really needs to be done by someone in the coding game. You develop an initial dummy app and get some users to try it and view/record how they use it. It reveals all sorts of details like whether your button are in the right place, whether people are searching for features that should be clearer to access and so on.
Step 5 is coding – self explanatory! This is getting a functional app out.
Step 6 is bug testing (also somewhat self explanatory)
(3-4-5-6) overlap to some extent as hopefully you are testing your designs throughout and going backwards and forwards).
As to choosing your developer, best bet is to find a developing group that has developed something with a similar look and purpose and depends a lot on the type of app you are looking at producing. The cheapest option is usually to outsource through sites like elance, but this can require substantial product management. Local producers tend to be pricier but easy to communicate with.
Let me know if you have any other questions or queries you would like covered.