Apple iPhone X smartphone

An overview of apps and tips for designing your first mobile application

Since Steve Jobs first announced the (at the time) ground-breaking iPhone back in January 2007 at the annual MacWorld conference, internet use has gone increasingly mobile – so much so that depending on what stats you believe, anywhere between 50-80% of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices.

There’s little doubting the significance of the iPhone on web use, but Jobs’ complete rethinking of the mobile phone has also given rise to one of the biggest and fastest-moving sectors within the entire IT sector – namely, mobile application development.

Apps – a game-changer for the mobile market

Mobile applications are small pieces of pre-written software that typically contain the User Interface, design, and code required to augment this base content with data from the web. An app can be as complex or as simple as the developer decides it to be, but the primary advantage they have over websites includes:

  • The app loads immediately on the device
  • The app can use the processing power or associated capabilities of the device (for example, using the camera, microphone, GPS signal, etc.)
  • The app resides directly on the user’s home screen, able to be opened with just a tap rather than keying in often lengthy URLs to a web browser

Most of us already use multiple apps for our day-to-day socializing or business tasks – everything from Facebook to Instagram, Spotify, and YouTube.

Tips for designing an app

Over the last decade, the app market has grown exponentially across both Android and Apple iOS devices. If you search either store, you’ll likely find a suitable application for almost any purpose – so much so, it’s becoming harder and harder for developers and designers to hit upon truly original ideas. However, if you believe you have a concept that addresses a gap in the market, it may be worth approaching a professional development firm like to allow them to do a feasibility study.

So that you know what to expect and can help the developers grasp your ideas, below are just a few of the questions a skilled production firm will likely ask you:

  • How do you see the app working, and what particular problems or concepts will it address?
  • Do you want to develop for just Android, Apple iOS, or both?
  • How do you see the app making money – ad revenue, purchase price, subscriptions, etc.?
  • Will you want to offer in-app purchases?
  • What specific services or features will you need to incorporate into the app, so it achieves its purpose? Don’t worry about the technical details here – the development company will help you.
  • Are there any existing rival apps on the market? If so, what makes yours different?
  • No build ever ends up a one-off deal, but if you have future ideas for development, you should outline them from the start so the dev firm can plan ahead.
  • Can you supply wireframes of the key screens and outline the flow through the app? Although a professional firm will help you with this stage, it’s far better if you at least have a rough idea from the outset.