How to Build an App: A Step by Step Guide

By Adrian Cruce

In 2020, the amount of time Americans spent on their phones increased to an average of four hours a day. This number is up from three hours in 2019 as we turn to our phones during the COVID pandemic. We spend a lot of that time using apps to stay connected with our friends, shop, or for entertainment. 

Since consumers spend so much time on their phones, apps have become a popular way to grow a business. So many companies are wondering how to build an app to boost their sales and customer loyalty. 

Creating an app takes time and technical know-how. But, app development is becoming easier and easier. If you believe you have the next big app idea, read on to learn how to build an app to make your vision a reality. 

Creating an App

Before you can start coding your app, there are several steps you have to do to prepare. The first step to creating an app is coming up with a concept. 

Your app’s concept is what you want to accomplish, and your idea should connect to your business objectives. For example, if your goal is to get more sales, your app should be designed with that end goal in mind. 

Once you have a concept in mind, you’ll want to research your competition to see if similar apps exist. Your research will give you ideas for features and design to incorporate into your app. Understanding the competition will help you create a unique experience that will set your app apart. 

Another thing to consider when planning your app is your budget. You’ll need to know what it will cost to pay your team for their time and needed tools and software. If you aren’t designing your app yourself, you will need to know how much you can pay to have the best app developer in your price range create it. 

How much you can expect to pay depends on your design and what features you want to incorporate. 

Since apps cost money to develop, you’ll want to determine how you will earn money back from this investment. There are several common ways apps make money, including: 

  • In-App purchases and subscriptions
  • In-App advertising 
  • Make your app pay to download
  • Generate sales through an e-commerce Shop

Designing an App

You have an idea of what you want your app to be, and now it’s time to start designing. 

As you begin the design process, distinguish between features you want and features you need. Needs are things you must have for your app, and wants are additional features that are not essential but would enhance your app experience. The more features you have, the more it will cost and the longer the building process. 

With these features in mind, you’ll want to start creating wireframes to mock up what your app will look like. A wireframe is a drawing of the layout of your app. You can create wireframes with design programs like Adobe or do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper. 

As you design your layout, you will also want to outline a user’s journey through the app. This journey plans how users will move between pages and get them to complete the objective you have in mind for your app. 

Take your time designing your app’s user interface. The user interface is how your users interact with an app. If your app doesn’t create a good user experience, customers will be frustrated and delete your app. 

In the design stage, you will also want to decide on colors, fonts, and icons that your app will use. These essential design elements should represent your brand and be appealing to users. 

Building an App

With a solid design plan, you are finally ready to begin coding. You can code the app yourself, have your team develop it, or use an app builder to simplify the process. If you lack coding knowledge, you can hire an Android developer or iOS developer to build it for you. 

When building your app, you’ll want to know where you will be releasing your app. The platform will inform what coding languages and programs you will use to code. 

Begin by designing the app layout and interface. Then code in the functionality necessary to make your user journey work. Lastly, code the features you plan to incorporate into your app. 

Testing an App

As you code your app, you will want to continuously test it to ensure it functions correctly and fix any bugs in the program.

You can build your app in a testing environment to catch any bugs early in development. 

You’ll also want to do quality assurance testing along the way. Quality assurance testing gives a prototype or finished version of your app to testers for feedback. The quality assurance process allows your company to put out the best app possible. 

Launching Your App

Once you’ve designed and tested your app, it’s finally time to publish it for download. You’ll first need to create a developer account with Google and Apple. Then you can submit app files, your app icon, and the app splash page. 

Once you submit these, it will take a little bit of time for your app to be approved and go live. But once it’s live, your customers will be able to search the app store for it and download it to their smartphone.

Be sure to promote and market your app to current and potential customers to boost awareness of your app. 

Maintaining Your App

The app-building process doesn’t end once you release your app on the Google Play or Apple App Store. You must monitor your app to ensure it is working correctly and to get user feedback. You can incorporate user feedback into later designs of your app to improve the customer experience. 

Also, keep an eye out for bugs because they can cause serious issues, preventing users from using the app as intended. 

Release new updates when needed to keep your app up to date with Apple and Android’s latest software, so it runs smoothly on your customer’s devices. 

Stop Asking How to Build an App and Start Designing

Although you might not be the one building the app, understanding how to build an app is essential when hiring an app developer team and creating a successful app. Putting in the time and effort to do your research and make a good design will help your app get more downloads. An app can help you create a new experience for your customers and grow your business. 

Are you looking for more information on apps and app design? Check out our website for more app guides and news.