Mobile app development

So, will 2014 be the year you get started with mobile app development?  My vision in creating  AppInstruct, was that we would do as well as teach – ‘drink our own kool-aid‘ – if you like, and with that in mind, we’ve started the year by developing our own prototype of an app, using the very lean and agile processes we teach on the Course.

Kool-Aid

With both the App Store and Google Play rumoured to be holding a million apps, there is a perception that the opportunity is reducing.  We don’t believe this to be the case, and neither does the Executive Chairman of the Smartest Guys in the Room, Eric Schmidt who said this when asked for his predictions for 2014:

“Biggest change for consumers, everyone’s going to have a smartphone and the fact so many people are connected to what in effect is a super computer means a whole new generation of applications, around entertainment, education, social life, these kinds of things.”

The big takeaway from this, is that he doesn’t think innovation in the space is dead – far from it, he expects a whole new generation of successful apps will now come through, building on the successes of the first 5 years – Instagram, Uber, Supercell, Whatsapp.

So a Big idea today, is as relevant as it was 5 years ago – you’ll just need to work harder on the marketing as part of it, and to reach the heights of the industry breakouts, build the right product –  a product people need, as well as a product people want.

So how do you go about building the right product?

This is where startup science comes in – you need to test your idea on a small group of potential users, obtain their feedback and use it to adapt the product to their wants and needs.

There are differing ways this can be done – the simplest, is to take some design templates (such as what’s included in the Course) and manually sketch the look and feel of the app you intend to develop, and then use a free tool such as Pop, to photograph those paper prototypes and bring them to life on the iPhone.

pop-app-icon

Better yet, is to actually lay down some code and create what Eric Ries coined, a ‘minimum viable product’, so you can obtain feedback from people using a low fidelity version of your product.  That’s what we’re doing at this very moment and it’s amazing how quickly you can move.

In 2 and a half weeks and several white boarding sessions, we’ve laid out our vision for our mobile app, and have moved to develop its core functionality, including its sever side support using Azure’s cloud services.

In just 7 days, we had the first part built and working on our own devices, and by the end of this week, we expect to have enough of the functions built, that we’ll be able to hook it up to the Testflight testing environment and seed it to some early beta users.

This will allow us to get immediate and measurable feedback, to understand not only whether this is an app people wish to use, but also what aspects of it they use and enjoy most.

Armed with this information, we’ll know whether our initial instincts are right and we’re already onto an app worthy of further mobile development; whether our initial instincts are perhaps partially right, with some further ideas with which to experiment, or whether there’s little merit in the idea, and we should take what we’ve learned and move onto the next one.

The key here, is the limited amount of time we’re spending to obtain these learnings.  Ten years ago, vast amounts of capital would be raised, huge teams employed, years committed to developing the product to only then find, users didn’t care for it.

Today, we have the tools and platforms, to test and validate the ideas, improve on them, before making the commitment required for proper mobile app development – this then presents a wonderful opportunity to the entrepreneur in this second decade of the 21st Century.

We’ll update you on our progress and learnings in a further post in 2 weeks, and if the journey continues, will make this a regular series of updates as we build and take the app to market.

In the meantime, to get started with your own ideas, start a free trial of our mobile app development Course today.

 

Nicholas Wright wrote on

Nicholas is a co-founder and CEO of AppInstruct. Nic is actively involved in the start-up space, mentoring other founders with mobile, fundraising and legal advice. Nic's favorite app is WhatsApp, which allows him to remain in contact with family in America and England.