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Questions to Ask Prior to Mobile App Developing

Updated on February 16, 2016

Mobile apps aren't just pared down versions of websites or platform games any longer. They represent the key to accessing the billions of users who use mobile devices. And the seeming overnight success of simple games like Flappy Bird or Doodle Jump attracts countless individuals and businesses that want to follow suit.

Here is a list of questions to pose before starting to develop a mobile app:

What are the Business Objectives?
Determining how a mobile app meets the owners business goals is the first step to app development. There should be a clear understanding of the target audience, the monetization plan, time to market, marketing strategies, the key metrics, and how the app will fit in the big picture. Without all of these goals being clearly defined, the project will lack focus and developers will not know how to measure progress.

Do you have a Marketing Strategy to Promote the App?
Building an app will not guarantee success. Just the opposite is true, as there are now well over 1 million apps in the Apple App Store available for download. The sheer volume of competition demands that any mobile app that is developed be accompanied by a marketing plan and preferably one that starts before the app is even finished. Building buzz and anticipation is very informative of success.

Does Sharing Your Idea or Discussing the App Generate Interest, Questions, Feedback?
Building a mobile app for the sake of having a mobile app is not a good starting point. There needs to be a compelling reason to produce a mobile app, and that should generate interest and excitement when discussed. Otherwise, it might mean that there is done before it even starts.

What Device/Platform to build for or should it be Cross-Platform?
There are arguments for building for all platforms and opposing opinions that promote focusing efforts on a single platform, working out the kinks and bugs, and then, once successful, moving on to the next platform. The latter argument makes lots of sense and limits the amount of developers needed to work on the project. Different platforms mean different code bases. Choosing which platform to start with should be informed by the target audience and their device of choice.

Can Infrastructure handle any potential Increase in Traffic?
Best case scenario is that the app becomes wildly popular and resonates with users. Success could quickly turn into a worst-case scenario if servers, websites, infrastructure, support, etc. are not all scalable and prepared to meet increased demands or traffic that might result.

Who’s going to Build It?
Contracting third parties to build mobile apps might represent the fastest route to market, but the business needs to recognize the control that is being surrendered when taking this approach. When a mobile app is launched, it will undoubtedly require revisions, bug fixes, and possibly even functionality changes. All of these changes would necessitate revisiting third party developers for assistance. This scenario becomes a cyclical and dependent relationship and might even delay responsiveness.

Gennady Barsky is a real estate mogul from NYC.

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