If your head has been swirling with ideas about an app for your business or brand, you aren’t alone! Nowadays, even bloggers are creating apps! But what do you do with all of the ideas? Especially if you don’t know where to start. Read this crash course on how to develop a mobile app and bring your mobile app idea to life.

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Define your goal – Don’t dive in headfirst into the details of creating an app just yet. First you should properly define the purpose of the mobile app. What do you want it to do? Will it solve a problem? Will it make life better or easier?

Research – After you answer the core questions in regards to you app, it’s time to do some research. Find out if there are similar apps. Find design inspiration. Focus on the technical requirements for your app. Find out how you can market your app. Keep in mind that there are a lot of apps out there. For example, Android and iOS have more than a million apps. Building something that hasn’t been done before is almost impossible. However, you can build something better.

Create a prototype – This is the fun part! You can use tools such as Balsamiq, Moqups and HotGloo to help you create a prototype of your app, or wireframes. As a result, it will give you a clearer picture of your ideas and features fused together. The idea here is to build a map of the connection between screens and the navigation of your app.

Define the back end – The wireframes are now the foundation of your app and will be your back-end structure. Not only will this diagram come in handy down the road, but it will also serve as a great reference point for your developer.

Test the prototype – Ask friends, family and experts to review your prototype. Honest feedback is key at this stage. It’s important to ask them to identify flaws and dead-end links. The goal here is to find the issues before the design process begins, because it is much harder to change things around. Focus on building up the back end of your app because your developer will have to set up servers, databases, APIs and storage solutions. However, you’ll also want to get your account approved before the last minute.

Design the “skins” – “Skins” are what developers call the individual screens needed for the app. The developer’s job is to design the high-resolution versions of what was previously your wireframes, or prototype. This is a crucial step and should include all comments from the testers in order to create an app that your target audience will actually use.

Test it again – After the designer has completed the skins, another round of testing is in order. Once you have the actual app in place, with all the graphics and text, the look and feel of your app will be completely different than the wireframe. When you test the app at this stage, it will give you more input as well. Solidify and Framer are two great testing apps.

Revise & focus on details – Once you’ve collected the feedback from the second test run, use those comments to polish your app, because layouts can still be changed at this point. Monitor the app all the way until the process is complete. Keep in mind that apps will look different on Android than it does on iOS.  The platform TestFlight allows you to test your app during the process.

Release it – Each app marketplace has different polices when it comes to publishing a new app. Android doesn’t review newly submitted apps right away, however you are able to instantly add your app to Google Play. iOS is very different. Apple reserves the right to review and approve your app BEFORE it goes live. There are no set time frames, but you can expect to hear back from them in about a week. Submit your app to PreApps. Developers use this app in order to reach early adopters and receive some feedback in the meantime.

Once you’ve listed your app on the app store of your choosing, market your app and get it seen!

We hope this crash course has helped.