A lot of us have ideas for websites and apps, but not everyone has a background in programming.
That doesn’t have to stop you.
With the right mindset and preparation, you can achieve success with building and launching your own app.
From Idea to App: How To Make It Happen
Step One – Wireframe Your App
The first step is deciding how the app will work, look and feel. You should be able to describe each “screen” in the app precisely. There are tools to help you with this. One example is Balsamiq Mockups.
Once you have diagrammed each part of your app, you are ready to proceed to the next step. In addition to having a wireframe diagram for each screen in your app, you should have some notes that explain everything that’s going on in the page.
Step Two – Getting Your App Built
Once you have mapped out your app, you can get a fixed price quote from a software developer. There are a lot of ways to find freelance programmers.
- Craigslist.org – search through resumes in your local craigslist
- Code For Cash – find a developer through a developer freelancing site
- Upwork – find a coder through a more general freelancing site
You should ask your developer for a fixed price quote. Why is this? It’s because you want someone who has successfully done this before.
Therefore, they should know exactly how much time it will take to build. As you also have a specification or wireframe that you did in step one, they know exactly what to build for you.
When you interview your developer, make sure to ask them for an example of an app they already built. Then, download it from the app store. Make sure that it’s an app that you like using! What the developer delivers to you is likely to be similar in quality to what they showed you, so make sure you are comfortable with the standard.
Step Three – Create a Contract
Make sure that you use a contract. You should definitely make sure that the developer assigns you all of the intellectual property. Here is an article on the topic of legal concepts for freelance software development that you should read.
Step Four – Create a Milestone-Based Payment Plan
Break the project down into milestones. Here are three milestones for an imaginary app:
- Milestone 1 – Loading screen, home page of the app
- Milestone 2 – Profile page
- Milestone 3 – Sharing functionality
Each milestone should be linked to specific pages in your wireframe document that you completed in Step One.
Once you agree, work out an escrow system with your developer (such as PayPal) so that you only pay in advance for one milestone at a time.
Using this system, you should be able to take your idea from “Dream” to “Reality”. Just don’t skip the hard work. Remember, the hardest part is taking the time to sit down and draw wireframes for every page in your app. If you don’t do this, you are going to get something that is vastly different from what you were expecting.