5 tips to build a successful mobile app or web app
Developing a digital product can be overwhelming so it is important to follow a clear process to ensure you are in control at all times.
A good analogy we use every day hereat Rocket Lab is the similarities between building an app and building a house. You wouldn't hire a builder without having a solid plan and vision well this is the same here.
Tip 1 - Write a brief
A brief? Yes, a brief. We know it’s not the most exciting tip but it is important to put your ideas on paper. Think of it like a pinterest board of your ideas. Start by writing them then organise them into buckets and then prioritise them.
Tip 2 - Go Visual early
There are a plethora of tools available to create “wireframes”. Wireframes is another techy jargon and it means the following:
“an image or set of images which displays the functional elements of a website or page, typically used for planning a site's structure and functionality.”
Here is a list of tools we recommend:
- Figma - our preferred one at Rocket Lab
- Axure - Really good as well. We highly recommend it if you have complex business logic.
Going visual will make you think about the content structure as well as overall experience.
We all use mobile apps or websites so use this as an inspiration to define your own app or web experience. For example, you can say I really like the instagram app and want to use a similar layout for my idea.
Tip 3 - Share your brief with friends, family & anyone else
This is an important part of the process, you need to get feedback from people you know and trust. This will allow you to reflect on your product and improve it before going to get quotes from software development agencies.
Tip 4 - Research Technologies
“Knowledge is power”.
If you are building a website, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the best frameworks/technologies for my website?
- Is this framework/technology SEO Friendly? If yes, then you need to make sure the framework or technology you selected is SEO Friendly. A good example is WIX, great to build websites quickly but terrible for SEO.
- If you expect significant traffic to your website, can it handle it? Any cost implications?
- What is my budget for maintenance? There will be monthly costs involved so you need to take this into consideration.
If you are building a mobile app, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the best frameworks/technologies for my mobile app?
- Do I need a native or hybrid mobile app ? In most cases we would recommend going hybrid, here’s why.
- Do I need a web portal to manage my mobile app?
- Do I need a landing page website for my mobile app?
If some of these questions are too difficult or overwhelming to answer, we suggest contacting us to discuss your options and help you.
Tip 5 - Contact 3-5 agencies
Ok so by this stage, you have a solid brief, some wireframes and have already been challenged on your product. This means you are ready to talk to professional web and app developers.
Here’s a list of questions you need to ask them:
- How long have you been trading for?
- How many employees do you have? Ask for a breakdown of product owners, designers and engineers.
- Where is the team located? Not the sales team, the development team.
- What technologies do you use to build websites and mobile apps?
- Ask for a portfolio in the technologies they recommend for you? Eg you want a flutter app, ask for a flutter app portfolio. A broader portfolio is also good to get a feel for them but you also want to make sure they have expertise in the technology they will use. Imagine you want a brick house and your building shows you only weatherboard houses, would you select them?
- Do you get a dedicated engineering team?
- What are their post launch support options?