Got an idea for a killer app?

So, you’ve got a great idea for a killer app.  Now all you have to do is find someone to build it and then just wait for the big bucks to start rolling in. Well, hold on now, it’s just not that simple, but then nothing is.

This point was made at a recent seminar by Tim Laubacher, owner of Sound Web, a CT based web and mobile applications development company. Since 2009, Sound Web has been helping people turn their digital ideas into reality. 

“The more complete the documentation, the more accurate the quote from developers”.  

During the seminar, Mr. Laubaucher recounted situations where clients came to him with little more than an idea. With not much to work with, he has to help his clients figure out what they really need their app to do. This often results in clients spending more time fleshing out the idea. In the service business – time is money -which can lead to an app that ends up costing more than the original estimate. According to Laubacher, “The more complete the documentation, the more accurate the quote from developers”.  You could save money and end up with a better app if you start by developing a detailed description of your app. The question is what should clients provide when it comes to documentation?  

6 Items to Include in Your App Documentation

A new app is essentially a new product. A successful new product meets customer needs in a way that sets it apart from the competition.  Its foundation is a product concept, a vision, goals and insights on users and competitors. 

New app documentation that addresses these issues will inform the app development process and allow the focus to be on building the app. It’s also a necessary requirement for the post-development phase when the app is released to the market and must achieve scale.  Here are six items to include in your documentation.

  • What is your app and what will it do?
  • How much are you willing to invest in your app?
  • What is your end game?
  • Who is your target market?
  • Who are your competitors for this market?
  • What features and benefits will your app need to provide?
  1. What is your app and what will it do?

This is typically as far as many new app ideas get. While it is critical to have a high-level concept of what your app is, your developer needs more than that. However, even a conceptual understanding will make it easier to identify and define potential users and competition; data that will be instrumental in creating a marketing plan for the app. 

2. How much are you willing to invest in your app?

If you are like most, you are working with limited resources, so determine what your walkaway point is. How much of your time and money will you spend? Be specific and be prepared to track so you’ll know when to pull the plug.

3. What is your end game?

This is your vision statement for the app. Describe what you want your app to accomplish over the next 18 months. What are your goals and objectives in terms of:

  • Social benefits and impacts
  • Number of downloads 
  • Revenue 
  • Other

You will need reporting to help track the app’s performance against these goals.

4. Who is your target market? 

Describing your users will help your app developer focus on creating features that will resonate with your targeted group. This is absolutely necessary for enabling the app to stand out from the competition.  Describe your target market in terms of:

  • What does your target (ideal) user(s) look like?
    • Age
    • Income
    • Education
    • Sex
  • How many targeted users are in the market?
  • Why would prospective users need your app?
  • Why would they choose your app?
  • What pains or problems does your app solve for them (benefits)?
  • How many people with similar pains or problems are there?
  • How do target users find out about new apps?

5. Who are your competitors?

According to Statista, through the 3rdquarter of 2018, the number of apps available for download totaled over 4 million.

With so much competition, it is likely there are several apps in your category that are very similar to yours. It will be important to know:

  • Who are the top competitors in your app category space?
  • What key user benefits do the top competitors provide? 
  • How is your app different from your competitors?
  • Are there competitive offerings that offer similar benefits? 
    • What has been their impact in the market?

6. What features and benefits does your app need to provide?

Even though new app entrepreneurs may be unfamiliar with the technical details of app development, they should be able to describe the features and benefits they want their app to deliver. This will be the basis of their pitch when promoting the app.

Armed with the knowledge of who your prospects and competitors are, you can describe that unique set of features and benefits that only your app can deliver. Your features and benefits documentation should detail:

  • How should the app engage users?
  • What functionality should it provide?
  • How should that functionality be delivered to the user?
  • What is the desired user experience?
  • What data is needed for the app to work for you and the user?
  • What data is required to report the app’s performance against goals
  • What data will the user need to provide?

Tremendous competition in the app market is giving users a vast number of choices. Turning a killer app idea into a reality can be a daunting task. Working with a professional mobile applications developer will make the task less intimidating. If you provide your app developer with the information we have discussed, the road to reality will be easier and less expensive to travel. Good luck!

What are your thoughts on mobile application development? What other kinds of information should you provide developers, how can they be improved? We look forward to reading your feedback and perspectives, via comments below, or lets connect on LinkedIn for further discussion.

gL Marketing Consultants specializes in digital marketing strategy development and implementation, WordPress websites and web content production.

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