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A Beginner’s Guide To Building Your First App

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If you have an idea for an app, the first thing you should do is plan how the software is going to work, both from a programming and User Experience (UX) point of view. Regardless of whether you come from a coding background or not, there are some useful processes you should go through that will help you assess whether your concept is feasible and the steps your end users will need to perform when using the app.

Today, there are a staggering 1.85 million apps available on Apple’s App Store and 2.56 million on the Google Play Store, so coming up with an idea that’s going to stand out and attract users is getting harder by the day. Before venturing down the path of development, it’s a good idea to work out the basic functions of your concept to see if it will offer tangible benefits to your potential users.

Planning

Ideally, you’ll have a basic knowledge of programming to sketch out your application or you can use app design studio but, even if you don’t, you’ll still need to be able to convey your ideas to a development firm, so planning is essential. While you might have an idea of how you want your app to work in your head, you’ll need to commit these concepts to paper so developers can grasp what you want them to do. As a starting point, try listing the core functionalities. For example, the requirements of a very simple social app might be:

  • Users can create an account, including setting up a profile
  • Users can post content
  • Users can comment on or like the content of other users

Also, remember to keep things simple in these early stages. You can develop your app over time so avoid taking the ‘all things to all people’ approach. The key is to get your idea out there and start building a user base.

Design your database

Designing a database may sound complex, but, really, at its most basic level, this step just involves thinking about the data you’ll need to store and how those individual pieces of information will relate to one another.

So, for the simple social app example above, to allow users to create a basic profile, you’d need to store their username, user ID, email address, password, and details of when the user logged in. A great way to let you see how this will work is to sketch an Entity-Relationship Model (ERM) to give you a graphic representation of the relationships between data.

At this point, you should also be thinking about the security of storing this information, as the onus is on you to protect your users. Your coding firm will be able to provide advice on this aspect; however, there are numerous security tools like those provided by Spectralops.io that can be used through each stage of your app’s developmental lifecycle.

Plan your User Interface (UI)

With the core functionalities and database relationships mapped out, you’ll now be in a much better position to start planning how users will interact with your app – or, in other words, start thinking about the User Interface (UI). Humans are visual creatures, so this stage is essential if your app is to get off the ground, and it will also likely highlight potential problems or omissions you made in the previous two phases. Again, your development firm will be able to help with this, but there’s no harm in passing them some pointers from the outset.

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