Imagine trying to build a house without a blueprint. How would that turn out?
It’s very likely that your foundation wouldn’t be level, and your walls wouldn’t line up. Halfway through the project, you would have to tear down sections and build again.
Creating a mobile app without a plan produces similar results. Without a great strategy, developers waste a lot of time and money, not to mention chip away at their sanity.
Think Before You Build
In short, strategy ensures you’re solving a problem that needs solving — and doing it the right way.
Once your project enters active development, every change becomes a massive headache. Problems that take 15 minutes to fix during your mobile strategy phase could take weeks or even months to fix once you’re in development.
Planning in advance allows you to work out the kinks during a stage when the idea can reign supreme. High-level sketches can quickly be tossed aside, with new ideas swiftly put in their place.
Strategy is the most malleable area of mobile app development because it’s all in the planning stages. Use this time to your advantage, and save yourself the pain of undoing a mistake later on.
Set the Foundation
The foundation of any app strategy is building the central idea and goal behind the app. To start on the right path, thoroughly analyze the competition. Look at similarly targeted products to get a picture of what consumers want in an app like yours.
Teams that don’t do enough research may think they’ve nailed down a novel solution, only to learn months later that their concept has already been done.
With the proper research, you can identify holes in the current marketplace and use them as your defining hook.
A hook is what separates your app from the competition. It could be a useful interface, a special feature no one else is offering, or even your brand’s personality. Use this hook to guide you through development. With each new feature, ask yourself whether the idea serves your hook. If it doesn’t, toss it aside.
Keep the concept simple — identify what makes you competitive in the market and what specific problem you’re trying to solve. Then, work toward solving that one problem really well.
Avoid Mobile App Pitfalls
Have you ever used a bloated app so packed with features that you didn’t know where to start? These developers tried to solve too many problems at once and were left with a convoluted mess. Even with the best intentions, an app’s strategy development can take a wrong turn.
Be wary of becoming too entrenched in planning and falling prey to scope creep. Work done during strategy won’t have the real-time feel of a live app, and there’s often a tendency to over-explain and overcomplicate in the early stages.
What might feel like a major stumbling block on paper could be second nature in a user’s hands. Once you’re in development, you’ll discover that much of what you worried about isn’t as big a deal as you thought.
See the Extra Perks
Though a strong strategy is necessary for a high-quality final product, it can also be valuable in landing additional investments or interested parties. Use your blueprint as part of your pitch when enticing investors. It will help show not only your proof of concept, but also your commitment to the overall plan. Plus, if the strategy is amazing, you may have the opportunity to sell the entire company to a larger brand before a single line of code has been written.
Your mobile app strategy ensures that you’re solving a problem that needs solving while doing it the right way. As you start building upon your app’s blueprint, you’ll be able to see your vision come to life — and remember that you can always make changes along the way.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Q Manning is the CEO of Rocksauce Studios, which crafts custom mobile apps for all platforms. Rocksauce Studios’ goal is to create an amazing user experience that can succeed in the marketplace when coupled with powerful, eye-catching app marketing. Q is on a constant quest to find the magical hook in each project to help it take the world by storm. You can find him hanging out in the Rocksauce creative loft, drinking coffee, or singing karaoke. Connect with @QManning on Twitter.
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