How to build an app with no technical knowledge?
If you have an idea for a new app, but are afraid you won't be able to build it without technical knowledge, we'll dispel your doubts. Sometimes all you need to do is ask yourself the right questions and the answers will come easily. For example:
- What do I need to create an app if I know nothing about it? Guidance.
- Who can advise me? Specialists in app building.
- How do I find them? On the web, in rankings, from recommendations, etc.
Building your own app without technical knowledge is possible. However, you will find more important advice on the subject below. They will help you find an effective way to successfully start your project.
This article was created with the help of our CEO, Project Manager and Developers, so you can get the most out of their practical advice.
Building your own app without technical background
Let’s now explore in detail how you should prepare for bringing your app idea to life. Below you will find a collection of hints that will help you understand the overall principles of software creation and the app development process. Creating apps isn’t that hard when you know how to proceed!
Gain domain knowledge about the market
In the simplest terms, domain knowledge is simply knowledge of the business, the market, the field for which the software is being developed. For example, when talking about a project (an app) for e-commerce, domain knowledge would be knowledge of the e-commerce industry, commercial law and software products operating in this sector.
Decent research takes time, but does not require technical knowledge. For example, you can browse e-commerce sites yourself and observe the activities of businesses on social media, etc. Regardless of the industry, you can also consult your network or read articles on the subject.
Mobile app development world
After some research concerning the app development process, building the first version of your product, MVPs (the idea of a Minimum Viable Product) and generally about mobile apps and their purposes, you’ll have much more confidence. Don’t think of it as a small addition to your business.
A mobile app can actually bring you a big profit. That’s why it’s so important that app creators engage in their projects, not just carelessly delegate this task. If you get interested in the topic of creating an app and explore this topic, you can be sure that you’ll gain enough knowledge to start working on it. Even with no technical knowledge.
Compare with potential competitors
There are so many mobile apps on the market that thinking that your idea has a chance to be completely original and new might be too optimistic. There are probably at least a few products similar to your planned app. That’s why it’s so important to do the market research and compare apps that will be your competition once you release your product.
This will also give you a hint on what other mobile apps look and feel like. Without technical knowledge you might not be able to describe processes happening in the app in a professional way, but it’s not needed. What’s important is to see competing products’ core features and overall looks, but also the number of downloads, user reviews and rates, and their suggestions. Additionally, you can see how these businesses work, e.g. on social media pages.
Competitive analysis itself should contain a couple of similar apps along with their features description and feature gap – what in your and others’ view is missing. This can also be done with the help of a software development company.
Find an IT partner or CTO/tech co-founder
First interaction with an IT company itself will already give a lot of valuable feedback from the technological side. First of all, you can look for information about what the process of building an app looks like on the websites of agencies that develop such solutions. You can also learn a lot about technology from them.
You cannot build the app without tech knowledge by yourself and alone. Try to carry out a project with people who can help you, in partnership relations, to break through the complicated world of technology. You’ll need to find an advisor, a consultant to help you make choices, find possible solutions and embed in the right technologies.
You can also look for a technical co-founder or CTO to handle this part of the business. Finding someone to help you from a technical point of view can benefit you in many ways, but ideally it should be someone you trust. Such a partner, in this scenario, should probably take over the management of the development of your solution.
Outcomes of cooperation with an IT company
Clients of software development agencies often come to software development agencies having only a rough draft of the idea and without any knowledge of how to start working on the project. The team’s task is to provide documentation with a detailed project overview, user personas, a list of functionalities and other business and technical materials. Simply speaking, their task is to make your dreams about the app turn into a real, tangible and concise plan.
Getting a partner who lives in the IT world every day and has been working in the industry for years is the best way to deal with the problem, also because your success will also be their success. That’s why you should look for a partner who cares about long-term cooperations and is ready to help you validate the idea.
Hear feedback on your app idea
The experienced team will also help you validate your app idea, which means that if it might turn out to be unsuccessful, they will tell you that and help you find another way. For example, if you come to the software development company with an idea to create an app like Uber in your country without any research of similar apps and without domain knowledge, they should probably tell you that it’s not a very good idea.
That’s when you get two options:
- Take advantage of the agency's help regarding market research, creating user personas and analysing competing apps (there are software companies that do this)
- Go back for a while and try to gain domain knowledge, do competitive analysis and general market research. Then, try to describe your idea in the best possible way and keep the prepared materials for your app development team.
Direct contact with software development companies can also be of great benefit to you. The first contact will show you how they work and what is needed to start the process. You can simply ask through email or contact form about needed materials and requirements, about how they work and how they can help you with your app idea. When your technical knowledge is little, the more enquiries you send, the greater the learning value is.
Possible technological solutions for your app idea
Let’s explore some of the technological options to create apps. These will let you understand what app development solutions can be chosen when working with a development team.
These brief descriptions won’t enable you to make the decision regarding the tech stack for the app development for yourself but will generally give you an insight on the possibilities.
One of options is creating a native app, which is a software program developed for use on a particular platform (such as Android and iOS) or on a particular device written in a language that is native to that platform. For example, Android development is carried out with Kotlin programming language and iOS apps are created using Swift.
A particularly important benefit of native mobile apps is that they can take full advantage of the device features and latest system updates. On the other hand, if you want to create an app for iOS and Android, you’ll have to build two separate codebases for these apps.
Native software is designed to run on a particular operating system. In a more technical sense, a native app is written specifically for a certain processor. In contrast, cross-platform apps are intended to run on multiple operating systems and/or computer architectures.
Android apps vs iOS apps
Your choice between iOS and Android platform can depend on many factors. For example, you can make a decision about the platform on the basis of your chosen monetization strategy, or the other way round, choose the strategy based on the platform you’re developing the app for. According to statistics, iOS users are more likely to spend money for in-app purchases or for an app than Android users. On the other hand, Android has statistically more users, so you’ll gain more profit on in-app ads.
If you're planning to build an app for US users, you should probably aim for iOS first. In 2021, iOS reached approximately 60% market share there.
Conclusion: it all depends on the target group, as both platforms have their pros and cons when it comes to their users.
Cross-platform mobile apps are created for multiple platforms (operating systems) or devices with one code base at the same time, instead of building separate apps for each one. This way, one developer can for example develop a mobile app for Android and iOS. There are different methods of building such an app. The most popular solution for cross-platform development nowadays is the Flutter framework.
Generally, cross-platform app development enables the app to be made available to a wider audience in a shorter time. On the other hand, it can be inefficient as it can require redundant processes or file storage folders for the various systems that it's supposed to support. To discover more advantages and disadvantages, as well as to compare native and cross-platform app development, jump to this article.
A web app is accessed via a web browser on the web, e.g. via Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari. Web apps cannot be downloaded from mobile stores. They provide various functionalities but do not work offline.
While native apps are written for a specific device, most web apps are available for any platform and browser. An example of such an app is YouTube app. These apps are quick and fairly easy to build, created using a single code base. However, they are not as fast and powerful as native apps.
App builder solutions
On the market, there are some app builder tools offering low-code and no-code solutions for your app. App builders like these may have their advantages but you should be cautious.
When it comes to no-code apps, they’re built out of ready-made components, often offering templates in which you can change details. This means there might be no possibility to add custom features or components in the app at all.
With low-code solutions you might be able to add scripts and some features on your own but it is still not possible to create custom solutions. Besides, you still need to have some technical skills. Even though you may be able to learn them, you can’t say it’s an easy option.
App builders include solutions that are not very scalable – once you have created your app and then decide to add something, e.g. analytics, it will be difficult. And you should know that things like analytics and an app monetization model are extremely important to add in later stages. Apps created with low-code and no-code app builders might even not be accepted by official mobile app stores, such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Let’s also not forget that low-code and no-code solutions aren’t free. You might spend money and then realise it’s necessary to change components or whole features, and it will turn out you need to start over the development. Moreover, a wide range of features/components may be additionally charged.
In a mobile app development company there are no technology limitations, so whatever solution you’d like to include, whatever feature and animation you think of can be implemented in the product.
Creating wireframes without programming knowledge
However, as a non-technical founder, you can use a mobile app builder e.g. to create mock-ups or wireframes of your app. They would be perfect to show the development team what product you’d like to build. Of course if you’re willing to pay for that and deal with a tool like that for yourself.
"Playing" with such tools may also allow you to pay attention to details that may have previously seemed unimportant to you, such as the exact size of buttons and components on the screen. You won’t gain programming knowledge but you’ll be closer to understanding what User Experience is and why it’s so important to take care of it. Remember that such a solution will never be custom and you won’t create the whole app design, but you can try creating mock-ups of the app to make further work easier and quicker.
Hope you already know that it’s possible to build an app for your business despite the lack of technical knowledge. Perhaps a quick programming course or using app builder solutions are not the best ideas, but there are many other important things an app creator should know.
Your basic idea can turn into a fully-fledged product serving many users and generating revenue for your business. All you need to do is follow a few steps from above – some of the goals you may accomplish alone, some with the help of experienced people.