4 Steps to Planning Your First App

written by Priscila BernardesApr 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

It has long been established that great software, applications or simply “apps” can help businesses to improve customer engagement, reinvent productivity, modernize operations and transform processes and innovate products and business models.

But how do you actually go about developing an app?

Just like many things in in life, developing an app implies preparation. Planning your app will make things go smoother, faster, and with less stress.

You’re about to learn that the actual app creation process is relatively straightforward. And we’ll guide you through the entire process. 

To make this guide as easy to follow as possible, we’ve broken it up into four stages:      

 1. Identifying your app’s purpose & objectives                                                                                          2. Defining your target audience                                                                                                              3. Organising the structure & layout                                                                                                          4. Planning & creating content

Let’s start planning your app!

1. Identifying Your App’s Purpose & Objectives

Knowing why you’re creating an app is crucial to figuring out how to create it. There are two questions you need to answer:

 1. Why are you creating this app and what are you hoping to achieve?                                                2. What content do you want to share with your target user?

 As an example, the goal of an eCommerce app may be to drive sales, with a sub-goal of staying relevant and increasing brand awareness.

 → Pro Tip: Consider how you can measure these objectives using analytics. Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each objective will allow you to monitor the success of your app against your overall goal. You can measure things like downloads, conversions, and engagement to start.

2. Defining Your Target Audience

The second step in planning your app is to figure out who will be using it. Having a picture in your head of who you’re trying to attract makes it easier to decide which features to build in and which content to share.

→ Pro Tip: Create an audience persona.  This is a document with the demographics and psychographics of your target audience. It helps you understand what pains your audience is feeling and how you can help solve them.

  • Private vs. Public Facing App

When defining your target audience, you’ll need to decide whether you’re creating a private or public facing app. In other words, will this app be used internally within an organization or made public? Private apps contain content that is secured behind an app user login, whereas a public facing app is available for public download from app stores.

  • Public Facing Apps

Public facing are accessible to anyone who downloads the app. App users do not need to register or sign in to access the app (unless you want them to do so, such as to log into a loyalty program or to keep their score on a game).

Public apps are usually distributed publicly via platform app stores, such as the iOS App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Apps + Games Store. Public apps can contain both free and paid content (AKA in-app purchases).

  • Private Apps

Private apps contain content  secured behind an app user login. In order to access the content within a private app, app users must register and sign in with a username and password. Private apps are helpful to keep employees up to date on company happenings or to distribute private shareholder information, for example.

Keen to check the target audience identification in practise? Read on for DeskDirector experience on building their audience persona.

3. Organizing the Structure & Layout

The next step in planning your app is to consider the structure and layout. Essentially, you want to create a conceptual model of your app. What will the app actually do?

You may want to allow users to upload documents, such as pictures or contracts, for example. If this is a benefit you want, write it down.

Additionally, mock up a rough layout of how you want your app to look. Include things like where the navigation will be, what will go in the menus, and how the format will look. I would even recommend doing this for every page of your app, if possible.

→ Pro Tip: You can draw each page on a note card, then sort the notecards how they’ll be linked together. This will help you ensure each page can be accessed in no less than a few clicks.

4. Planning & Creating Content

Now that you have gone past defining what the app will do, who that will be built for and how people will access it, the next question you needed to answer is “what content do you want to share with your target user?” Your answer to this question will determine what you put in your app.

Some things you may want to include in your app are:

  • Product pages
  • Videos or images
  • Features like importing documents or pictures
  • Tutorials or FAQs
  • Contact information
  • Google maps to get to your place of business
  • A loyalty program

Once you have planned your app, it’s time to execute!

While planning is important and will make the process much less painless, it’s action that really makes all the difference. If you have any questions on this process, leave a comment below! We read every one.

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About Priscila Bernardes

Passionate about relationship building, Priscila leads Lancom’s customer experience and growth initiatives. With an Executive MBA and a decade of IT experience, Priscila loves challenging the status quo and finding innovative ways to service our clients, while sharing what she is learning with the community.