From Idea To Mobile App – Part 2 – Getting Ready – Test, Prototype and Learn

From Idea To Mobile App – Part 2 – Getting Ready – Test, Prototype and Learn

This is a series focussed on Mobile App Development. Part 1 is here.

Part 3 is coming up.

If you read Part 1, then, by now, you have asked yourself all the right questions and you have a solid idea that you believe will work.

Part 2 is all about testing your possible app idea without actually building it. And if you succeed, you will then prepare for the real deal in Part 3.

So let us jump right in.

1. TESTING FOR VALIDATION

-What does testing for validation mean?

Testing for validation means that you set up some kind of test case (doesn’t matter with what tools or where) to show that people will actually be interested in using you app when you build it. Yes, you can ask around a few people and they might say you have a lovely idea, but that does not give you true validation that people will use your app.

So how will you prove something like this out without actually building your product?

There are so many creative ways! Even if you can show very active users within a small number of users ( 50 out of 100 users creating content everyday etc), you are on a great path.

Jadah from SimpleGreenSmoothies has a website, an instagram account with 223000 followers and a facebook account with 100K fans. She has very well proven that her formula to build a business around Green Smoothies as a lifestyle does work. Can she create an app that is an exclusive community for green smoothie drinkers? I think so, but figuring out what to build in the app might still be a question

2. FIND THE TOOLS FOR TESTING

  • - Testing the concept needs few tools and a lot of creativity. The tools are just a way to connect with people and test their behavior.
    • Surveys – great way to gather more info from a random group of people. Use surveymonkey or google docs.
    • Pitch idea to friends – pitch your idea and look at the person’s face. You will learn a lot that way :)
    • Landing page online – set up a landing page with some google analytics. Does google lead people to the site? Play with some google ads as well.
    • Facebook group – Create a facebook group or a page and see how quickly it grows. Do people engage there?
    • Live community gatherings – Reach out to your target users via meetup.com and use them as test users.
    • Pitch at hackathons – Pitch at Startup Weekends and Hackathons and see if you can build a prototype or get people excited about your idea.
    • Instagram – You can also use a hashtag and see how many people jump on to sharing around your idea. Come up with a creative hashtag and see how excited people get. Run a one month sharing challenge and see how many shares you have. Do that a few times over and see how active the “community” gets.

3. PROTOTYPING

While you are testing your idea in creative ways, don’t forget to start playing around with prototyping your app.

  • Here are some really great tools for Prototyping
    • Keynotopia
    • Balsamiq
    • Pop App
    • Styletil.es
  • Resources For Design Inspiration
    • Patterntap
    • Dribble – I love to browse Dribble and get some fun design ideas.
  • This link also has a huge list of prototyping tools.

 

4. KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

While you test and prototype, it is a good idea to understand all your options to make your app idea into a reality.

If you do not want to outsource you app development, here are some other ideas -

  • DIY ?
    • Buy code – buy code from a site like Binpress. Binpress has so many code options like the Storybook app template that you can buy and test out. Even if you are outsourcing, this might be a great way to save money and development hours.
    • Mobile Site – just convert your existing site into a mobile friendly website.
    • Template App – Use template app tools like AppMakr to spin out apps.
    • Partner with “distributors” – If you have a children’s book, don’t go out and create a full app. You can just publish it on the MeMeTales app!
  • Learn to Code – Want to learn to build an app yourself? Here are some resources for learning -
  • DIY Tools and Resources – There are endless engines to build apps. Be sure to check them out as well to see how you can use them.

 

5. HAVE A PLAN FOR PROMOTION - 

You have to start promoting your app before you start building your app. Marketing is a huge part of app success, so start making a plan around that.

Spend a few hours a week sharing on a blog, writing guest posts, sharing slides on Slideshare etc. Quora and Slideshare are great for SEO. A blog is always good for long term marketing. And creating a facebook page will help you build a following that could help you launch the product.

This is a lot to do. And often this is the longest stage.

It is very critical to test your idea and prototype it before you move forward to Part 3.

And remember! Do not move to Part 3 unless you have successfully prototyped and tested  your idea several times.