From Idea to App Store: 11 Steps to Successful Start-up
Startups are very popular nowadays. Wherever you turn to you can see a Founder, Co-Founder or someone related to startups. I have worked with a couple of startups before and still have some projects going on. Currently, I help them release products that are beautiful yet user-friendly.
Since I can say I have more than some experience with startups, I have noticed few common issues startups have. One of them, and maybe the most lethal one is: non-technical Founders often don't know how apps are made. They have a good idea but no clue how to code/design it. At the same time, they have a false vision of how that process should go and how long it should last. All of this is making collaboration more of a burden than a successful business. To avoid similar mistakes I made a tutorial to help both designers and founders.
Here is a healthy flow from idea to App Store:
Prerequisite: Hire a designer (and other professionals) you trust.
It is not an easy task to find right people to help you build a great project. It is even harder when you don’t know what expertise a particular person should have to be able to help you. It is important to find suitable co-workers because if you don’t feel they are the right choice then you to start to micromanage and that leads everything to failure.
Step 1: Have a detailed brief
It is crucial that your team knows what the whole idea behind the project is. Explain your idea and let others ask as many questions as they need. UX designers will have their set of questions, and it is important that you give honest and detailed answers.
Step 2: Do a user research
Often young teams don’t have the budget for real testing but just asking around can get you potential users. Maybe some of your friends or colleges will be interested. Do a few questionnaires over a cup of coffee or something that makes you stay in your budget. You will be amazed how useful this can be and which great information you can get. You can save days or even weeks of tinkering with flow and functionality.
Step 3: Create wireframes and prototype
It’s time to open our favorite software (Sketch, UXPin, Photoshop, Affinity Designer, whatever) and start designing high-fidelity wireframes.
Step 4: Test it
After wireframes are ready, it is good to test it to see if a design works for users. Even if you try to test it with just a few people, you will still have some results. Like and old English proverb says: "For better is half a loaf than no bread."
Designers love to test their stuff using InVision, Marvel, etc. There are even (free) options for recording user’s reactions (Lookback).
Step 5: Check your errors
You will probably have a list of design bugs to fix. Congrats, you just saved weeks of work, and you are closer to a great app for your future users.
Step 6: Implement UI
Now you have determined the flow of the app. Next thing is making those high-fidelity wireframes into a gorgeous interface. Sometimes in this phase, you can find better solutions for earlier UX issues.
Step 7: Test it, again
Again, upload it to prototype software of your choice and show it to your testers.
Step 8: Fix your errors, again
If something needs to be fixed in UI (or even UX), do it now. Developers are next in line, and they will hate you if you make significant changes during development.
Step 9: Code it
Coding will take some time. It depends on how big the app is.
Step 10: Test it, test it, test it
Yes, more testing. But now users will test real app, and they will most likely find bugs that have to be fixed. Making smooth, a bug-free app is not a small task. It can take months and even years. Be patient; you have only one shot when you release your app. You don’t want to lose users/customers. If your app is slow, buggy and aesthetically unpleasing, you will lose users, and whole projects will collapse. Once users delete your app from their phone, it is highly unlikely that they will re-install it.
Step 11: Drumrolls please... it is launching time!
Yay. Finally. Make sure you have all assets for the App Store (Google Play) ready.
Startups often skip user experience and interface part of the app development process, not to mention user research and testing. There is a belief that design can come later. Are you sure, though? When you expose yourself to public, they have to remember you. You are creating a brand. Logo, iconography, color and how you talk to users are super important part of a product.
Founders are confident their idea is good enough. Well, that might be true for some, but great user-experience and eye-candy design is not a luxury anymore. It is a default for every user. I’ve often heard “product is the most important.” Sure it is, and design and user-experience are a part of a product. Don’t ignore that aspect, you can thank me later.