How to turn your idea into an app and launch it

January 16

Got an idea for an app but not sure what to do next?

Read on to learn about how to approach your app development and plan a phased release.

Last January one of our esteemed designers, Dave, penned this blog article where he discussed the merits of launching a website - or bike - as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), as opposed to building every bell and whistle of functionality for launch.

12 months on, this is still how we advise many of our clients to approach their digital projects. Particularly in relation to app development, in our experience, this has proven to be the smartest approach. Let me explain why.

Your app may not be used as intended

When Facebook launched in February 2004, its functionality was… uh… simple to say the least.

Initially launched as a small social network for undergraduates, it quickly grew to enable anyone with a valid email address to become a member. Facebook's complexity and functionality have continued to grow beyond Mark Zuckerberg's original expectations and it now bears very little resemblance to the initial release.

Lesson #1: Decide on the simplest version possible of your app to launch (the MVP) and plan phased releases of additional functionality.

Nothing substitutes real feedback so take the plunge and launch

According to Dropbox CEO and founder Drew Houston, deciding on an MVP and launching it was a critical step. His view was to put something in users' hands and get real feedback ASAP. According to Drew, waiting to launch a "perfect" product and relying on focus groups for market research would not have enabled him to learn as much about his market as real users.

Lesson #2: User testing is the best way to learn about your market because they sign up and have a vested interest in using your app.

Don't assume that if you build it, they will come

Internal instant messaging service Slack grew from a $0 to US$1 billion company in two years. You don’t get that kind of growth without some marketing know-how. It launched with an impressive public relations campaign and followed that up with continuous audience engagement on social networks. Using a hook at launch – like a celebrity endorsement, a clear USP (Unique Selling Point), well-respected user or prestigious investor – and encouraging social media interaction will help your app gain traction amongst users.

Lesson #3: Develop a marketing campaign to launch your app and commit resources to continuing that campaign well after the launch date.

If you're unsure about your MVP, we can help. Our UX design and development teams are highly experienced and have refined a process to not only deliver you with an MVP, but analyse every aspect of your project to maximise user adoption and gain feedback.

Our MVP workshops are designed to enable us to work collaboratively with you and build a phased release plan to ensure we incorporate user feedback.

If you have an idea for a new app, please contact us for a confidential discussion on how we can help you.