I ordered an app. Now what?

Great, you just ordered an app! Well, guess what — it still requires your attention, sweat and precious time in order to be built the right way.

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What should you expect and prepare in order for the app development, submission and release to production process to go as smooth as possible?

  1. Make sure you have cleared out all questions on the mechanics of the app with your development partner

You might think that everyone understands your idea, how the app should work and look, but that is not the reality. Enormous amount of time is lost on refactoring, redoing, adjusting or even changing fully functionality which was wrongly understood.

Before rushing and blaming the developers — those obscure and strange creatures who dream in 0's and 1’s — you need to realize that in most cases it is a mutual fault. The best way to avoid any big misunderstandings is to create mockups and high-level user stories, first.

At Appzio we always start the process of development by preparing design-mockups of the app and description of what users can do in it, including listing consequences and limitations. At this stage it is important for you to see how other people understand your concept, are they getting confused or not. Be open to applying some changes, simplifications and doing compromises where needed — all is for the best of your app.

2. Developer Accounts

To get your app posted, you need to have a Google Play Developer account, an iTunes account and an Apple Developer account. Keep in mind that Apple requires more paper work and the whole process takes longer with them. Be sure to start your registration right away once you start development.

Once you have these accounts, grant “admin” or “developer” access to your app provider. They will need to upload the final app files (.apk and .ipa) and submit them for review.

3. Terms and Conditions

Your application needs this long and boring document that probably no one will ever read. It sucks, I know, but you got to have it. It will save you in the future from many trouble and getting sued. Also, if your application uses in-app payments for products or services you have to describe them, when they can be purchases, delivered, cancelled and so on.

Terms and Conditions are mandatory for you application to be published. We advise you to turn to experienced professionals in this area when preparing them and not to take them lightly.

4. App name

You application’s name is very important for the in-store SEO. Of course it is also your face to the public, so you have to come up with something cool and catchy. I wish it was easy, but it’s not…

You don’t need to have the app name right away. During development you can use a temporary one. However, once you go public try not change it. If you really have to rename your app after it has gone live, do it, but don’t get addicted to this practice.

5. Icon

There is no need to describe what this is. Just be sure to create an icon in 1024px x 1024px, so it can be used both in Google and Apple.

5. Application description and presence

In both iTunes and Google Play stores your application needs its own description, keywords and screenshots. You can prepare all texts during the development, however screenshots are best to be taken towards the end. Thus you will ensure they are most up to date.

6. UAT stage

UAT stands for User Acceptance Testing. In this period you are the user and you have to check, test and adjust your app in order to be ready for the start/launch. The developers that you have hired should have tested it and fixed most of the critical issues, however having some more bugs is still a possibility.

What we have seen in our experience is that this stage takes around 30–35% of the overall time for development. App owners start doing a lot of changes (textual and visual) and adjusting of functionalities. As developers, we know that you want your app to be perfect. We also want that, but going forward and doing a ton of changes simultaneously in the end is very risky, often takes its toll and doesn’t bring a lot of benefits.

Text changes and small UI changes are always welcome, but try to stay away from changing the main logic (i.e. how the app works).

7. Soft launch

All right, you fixed and adjust all you could during UAT and now you are eager to push the live app to all people on planet Earth. Don’t!

Do a soft launch. Gather friends, hire testers and do a small roll-out group 20–100 people, not more. See if there are any problems — technical, bugs or concept/logic issues. You app still might be too complex for users to understand.

Once you see how it goes and adjust what is required, you are good to go live.

8. Go, go, baby!

Your application is published in the stores now. From here on there is even more work. Be sure to:

  • Check for comments in Google Play and reply to them positively;
  • Set up support mail for your application and make sure you help your users;
  • Start marketing the app in order to get users inside — the are tons of options like social networks, bringing people from offline or online communities, partner with other companies to provide value to their existing users etc.;
  • Work with Google Analytics and other statistic tools in order to see and understand what users are doing, what they find hard to work with or where they leave the app;
  • Gather a list of desired-by-the-users modifications and discuss with your partners the most optimal way to develop and push them live. Doing changes everyday is risky so you should prioritize. Pack the updates into few features and only then release it.
  • Communicate with your users over email. Notify them about new updates, where they can submit ideas, comments about the app and so on.

There is definitely more in order to manage your app. You will learn it over time, if you don’t already know it. At Appzio our mission is to provide app owners with tools to save time and cost on development process and be able to roll out updates in efficient manner as well. Check our webiste: www.appzio.com and contact us if you have an app idea that you want to build and launch in the stores. We will be happy to help.