The following is a guest post by ChopDawg.com, an award-winning app development company that has worked with over 180+ startups and companies from all around the globe, helping them bring their web apps, mobile apps, wearable apps and software ideas to life.
Follow ChopDawg.com on Twitter at @ChopDawgStudios.
There is no silver-bullet way to answer this question, but there is a framework to go by that will give you some guidance into figuring it out.
1. Come up with a list of potential audiences.
In other words, who do you think would want to use your app? Once you find those, then think more about the specific subgroups of each audience.
2. Write down all of the things that you believe the app needs to do.
Reflect on the potential impact that your app could have on your users’ lives. What should users expect to accomplish by using your app? Think about what users may want and match that potential features.
3. Now out and test these assumptions.
It may sound like generic advice, but go where your audience goes. Make new friends. Enjoy learning about the people that you hope can get something good out of using your app. From their perspective, is your idea a useful one? You also don’t have to meet people if you don’t want to – put some ad dollars and run a social experiment, aka a Facebook ad. You don’t have to put too much money into validating the efficacy of Facebook ads. I highly recommend that you read what Jon Loomer has to say about becoming a Facebook advertiser.
4. Yes – you have a landing page to explain yourself.
But remember, a landing page is just a tool to reach people. And for those unfamiliar with landing pages, think of them as web pages that narrowly focus on one offer. Too many people get caught up on where buttons should go or if the text should be slightly left. Landing pages are a chance for you to write to your audience directly about your idea. Formulas on what works for landing pages come and go – what’s important is using the art of persuasion. Research color theory and how to write persuasive copy.
5. Ask yourself, how is your app worth downloading when it seems like so many people have 16 GB iPhones?
iCloud is hard to use for many iPhone owners I know, so they are stymied by their perpetually low storage. How can you appeal to that crowd? My suggestion would be to make your app something that’s lean, at least life enhancing, and has a degree of “stickiness” – is it something that users will feel like they need to use on a daily basis?
6. Give them a show!
With “non-functioning” prototypes, these interactive proofs of concept are for eyes to see on any device. While the app hasn’t been coded to support users, it can show them around the apps pages and features. It gives potential users and investors a chance to visualize your idea. It’s a bit of a financial risk, but it’s much less than going all-in on something you aren’t sure people will want to use yet. However, if you use your time wisely and demonstrate, show, describe – you can collect a lot of valuable feedback.
7. Were people excited about the show you gave them with the prototype? Move on to making a minimum viable product.
You already have the user flow down thanks to going with the non-functioning prototype first. Hopefully, you’ve collected a lot of user feedback that you can have implemented into the development of the app from day one of production. Your idea is now going to be 100% what your final product should be at a minimum.
The MVP needs to follow all best practices when it comes to usability; you need to be able to build on the foundation, not have to tear everything down when you want to scale up. Furthermore, you already have the user interface done so now you just need to program it (saving costs vs. starting with creating a terrible functional prototype).
So what should you do?
Talk to as many experts as you can that have been through the process of turning their idea into a reality and making an informed decision. I also suggest that you read up on our production framework for turning ideas into apps. Good luck with your idea! I hope that you can turn it into an app that people love.
I’m also offering a 1:1 idea whiteboard session to the first 200 entrepreneurs that ask, so if this sounds interesting to you, let me know here.