mobile app idea

I have an app idea. Is it enough to start the app development?

So you’ve come up with a great app idea that might revolutionise the mobile app market? Or maybe it’s just a small business you have on your mind based on a technological solution? Whatever it is, your app idea needs further steps. 

In this article, you’ll find out whether this idea is enough to start the development. We’ll go through different stages and scenarios, and you’ll get to know what exactly is to be prepared to start implementing your app idea

When is the mobile app idea ready to become a project?

Is your app idea enough to build a team and start the app development project? Basically, it depends on your approach to this. It depends on whether you have prepared in some way for the process or whether your app idea is just an idea without any specifications. 

So it all begins with materials. Unfortunately, even the best app idea in your head will not be enough to start the work, just like any business idea isn’t enough to start it. You need a well-thought-out business plan. 

Is polishing an idea a waste of time?

If you are afraid that you will waste too much time working on your app idea when it would be best to create a product that will make a profit as soon as possible, it is time to change your approach. If you move quickly into development without in-depth market research and without establishing important specifics, you risk wasting time and money building a product that is simply not needed on the market and that no one will use. 

App ideas validation

The bitter truth is that even seemingly brilliant app ideas need validation. Even if it seems like the customer is right on your doorstep, waiting for your technological product, unfortunately, you could be very wrong. 

Besides, an app created in a hurry and without careful thought can turn out to be full of shortcomings, errors and underdevelopment.

If you want to get your project going, if in your mind’s eye, you see your app in Apple App Store and Google Play Store already, just hold on for a moment and read the below to prepare for the process. This will help you succeed!

Materials for a successful app

So what exactly do you need to be ready to start the development of your app idea? The idea itself, no matter how brilliant, needs to be verified and compared with existing solutions. So the first step is to do a:

Competitive analysis 

Reviewing the work of competitors is essential to become competitive in the market and to understand what your product should include to serve the users in the best possible way. It will help you find flaws in competing apps and gaps in features that you can implement in your product to stand out. 

Competitive analysis is both your activities regarding comparing to (potential) competitors of your app idea and a document describing your research. You can see and download a template of competitive analysis here

Product vision and goals, UVP (Unique Value Proposition)

Gather general information about your product, your business and your goals. ​​This is the bare minimum that you will present to everyone who will be involved in any way in your product creation and development. 

Then, finding a Unique Value Proposition is finding the answer to a question: Why is your product (in this case: your app idea) unique? The development of your product should be based also on the UVP as this is what makes the app unique and competitive. Thanks to this analysis, it will also be easier for you to manage the marketing activities

User persona

A user persona is your ideal type of user. It’s also a document describing it. This is helpful in getting to know your target audience, and your future users’ needs, as well as ways to help them solve their problems. 

User persona built based on your app idea will help you with your product vision as well as with your promotion strategy. By preparing a user persona, you will also get to know where to look for the target audience and (potential) early users. And it's also worth talking to them directly to find out about their insights – what your product should include, what features they like, what their needs are, etc. 

If you’d like to take a look at a template for this document, you can find it here.

Monetization model and success metrics

You should also think about the monetization model for your app. The features of the product might depend on the chosen monetization strategy, but if you decide to implement one after validating the first version of your app, it’s also a good idea. 

Another thing to consider is what metrics you’ll need to measure once the app is finished and released. Estimating potential results at this stage can help select the technology stack to build your app and establishes a target to aim for, which provides additional motivation.

Wireframes

Even very simple black-and-white wireframes can be really helpful in understanding how the app will work. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare them before the development process starts. On the other hand, just because you have them doesn't mean you can start the project straight away. Sketches or wireframes for your app can turn out to be unsuitable and might need to be redesigned by the designers team. 

Features description

This is, in most cases, the most important piece of work to be done on your side. When you have a new idea for an app, you need ideas for the way it will work. It’s good to have it written down in a proper way, for example along with dependencies and relations.

Here’s a simple exercise to make it possible: take any app that would be similar to your idea in any way, download and start using it. Once you see the first screen in the app, describe it (e.g. Home screen – a user can sign in using the email and password, Facebook and Gmail. There is a ‘Sign up’ button that directs to the ‘Sign up’ screen. Once the user enters the wrong email address, an announcement appears. The password must be…). 

Now you can do just the same with the app you have in your mind. This way, app developers will quickly find our what your functionality requirements are. 

Other materials for the app development

There are many other documents and materials you can prepare to help you get started in the app business and also to streamline the app development process. These materials are, for example: Business Model Canvas, mock-ups, user roles in the app and a UML diagram.

If the above tools are unfamiliar to you and you feel you can't handle them alone, we will show you ways to find help later in this article. 

The truth is that you need features and designs precisely worked out to start development. But preparing all these business-related materials will help you refine your idea, which may even result in a change in the list of features or design slightly.

mobile app idea

The ‘less is more’ principle for mobile apps

When creating the first documentation for your product, don't forget the 'less is more' principle. This does not mean that less material is better than precisely specified requirements for your mobile app idea. However, the point is that the more precise the idea with clearly defined and simple functionality, the more certain the final success. Especially for the first app you create, it is not advisable to create an extensive technological solution. 

An app that contains a lot of features and complex solutions carries a high risk when entering the market. Even the best app ideas should start with little steps, for example, with a minimum viable product (MVP). You can build a really successful app by implementing your basic features ideas and then developing the product, based on user feedback, metrics and research. 

Getting help with needed materials

As we already know, the more precise the materials, the easier it is to plan future works and schedule delivery. The above-mentioned ones are enough to bring your app idea to life if you bring them to an experienced technological partner. 

However, here you’ll find ways to deal with preparing the documentation if you don’t want to do this alone. 

Technological partner meeting your needs

One of your options is getting help at an experienced app development agency. The best app development companies on the market should have a process in place to obtain the necessary information and create any needed additional materials in order to give the most accurate perspective of what the application should look like and when it will be finished.

With a good idea and even a small amount of materials, a good technological partner will help you complete and prepare the necessary information and flesh out what seems very fuzzy or confusing at the moment. 

Estimates

It often happens that non-technical people would like to get price estimates based on their app idea. Well, the more materials you prepare on your side, the more precise the estimate you will get from external companies. The final cost is a combined result of the complexity of the app, the number of people in the development team, whether the application is to be realised as an MVP or full-scale, etc. That’s why it gets easier and more precise the more information you provide. The most crucial thing to get an estimate is to have a written list of the features because this will allow the team to determine how time-consuming the development will be. 

Product design workshop – product&business discovery

At FiveDotTwelve we carry out a workshop with every Partner that needs to polish the app idea and for every project that needs additional documentation. The product and business discovery might last 3 hours, or might take 3 days as well, depending on the background the Partner has provided and their materials for the app idea.

The purpose is to:

  • Effectively shape the product vision and make sure it has business potential (you’ll know what to build)
  • Prepare a detailed development plan, documentation and designs ready for implementation (you’ll know how to build it)
  • Make an estimate to find out the cost and preparation time of the final product (you’ll know when it’ll be ready).

During workshops, the team accomplishes deep research in the market, provides advice and feedback on your app idea as well as your business approach and project strategy, by creating, reviewing and modifying the project documentation.

It’s the best way to bring your idea to life and build your app business from scratch. 

Conclusion

To sum up, having an idea for an app isn’t enough to start the development process straight away, but it doesn’t mean you cannot start working on the app. It doesn’t mean that you have no options. Prepare materials you can handle on your own and find the right tech partner that will fill them up and get your project going. 

Even a basic app idea can quickly turn into a fully-fledged development plan. If you follow the lead of experienced people, your app launch will come sooner than you think!