How do you make an app? From idea to application in 8 steps!


How to make an app

"How do you make an app?" is a question that we often hear. Are you also curious about how designing and developing an app works? Out of interest or perhaps because you intended to make an app yourself? In this article, we share a handy step-by-step plan to get from app idea to end product.

How do you make an app?

When designing and developing an app a lot of time, effort and specialist knowledge are involved. So it is handy to tackle it structurally. To increase the chance that your idea becomes a successful iOS or Android app, you can follow the step-by-step plan below.

  • Research your app idea
  • Develop an idea into a plan
  • The functional design of the app
  • Make a graphic design
  • Development of the app
  • Test the app
  • Create final version
  • Placement in online app stores

We now explain step by step how you approach that.

Step 1: Investigate your app idea

Before your head starts with the design of your own app, it is smart to first take a critical look at your app idea. How good is the app idea that you have in mind?

To be sure that the development of your app does not end up halfway through the process (or your app after release turns out not to be as unique as you thought in advance), it is good to be able to answer a number of questions in advance important questions. In this guest article for Frank watching, we describe nine questions to ask yourself before you think about design or development.

Have you researched your idea and come to the conclusion that the concept is unique (enough) and that a target group is jumping around to make use of your app? Congratulations! Time for action!

 Step 2: Work out an idea into a plan

If you are sure that there is a need for your app and that something similar does not yet exist, then you can get started! By further developing your idea into a goal-oriented plan, you define the project and make it manageable.

Tip: Read our article app elaborate idea in 6 steps for more details!

 The plan of action must (at least) include the following:

  • Is the app for iOS, Android or both?
  • Which (native) functionalities should the app contain?
  • What type of app is most suitable? - Native, hybrid, web or cross-platform?
  • Which screens does the app consist of?
  • Which content must be created? - Text, video, images, etc.
  • What is the revenue model of the app? - Take into account subscription costs and the percentage that Apple or Google picks up!
  • Who is the target group? - Whether the app is used by children or seniors, for example, makes a big difference!
  • Where will the app be used? - On the couch, on the train, on the bike or while driving
  • Does your app comply with the App Store and Google Play Store rules?
  • Which app promotion will you use when the app is finished?

Step 3: Functional design

Now that your app is on paper, you can continue with the functional design. The name says it all: the design of the various functionalities that make up your application.

In the functional design, you determine which screens the app consists of and how they are linked together. You also record the locations of text blocks, buttons and images per screen.

You also record how the app works. What happens when you press a button? Which action is taken and / or to which page do you click?

A paper prototype will help you in this phase to quickly turn your app into something tangible.

We recommend testing the paper prototype with people who are not involved in the development of the app and who are not yet familiar with the idea of your app. Very nice would be a test with someone from the final target group.
Questions to ask while testing your prototype:

 Is the purpose of the app clear?

Are all (transitions between) screens logical?
Is something unexpected happening? Are things not happening that you expected?
Do you see this app as an addition? Would you use it?

Step 4: Graphic design

After the functional design, you know exactly from which screens, functionalities, and content block your app is built. But what will these screens look like? You do that in this phase: the graphic design.

 In this phase, you determine the main lines of the design. What is a corporate identity? Consider not only what is beautiful, but also what will benefit the user experience.

A tip is not to reinvent the wheel, but to start from UX best practices and use the latest app trends. Good for your users, because they are already unknowingly familiar with the different patterns.

 To illustrate some best practices for Android:

Another tip is to set up a style guide. In short, this is a list of design rules that fit well together. By always falling back on this, you create a design that seamlessly matches each other.

Components of a style guide for an app are for example:

  • Color, style, and font (size) for headings
  • Color, style, and font (size) for text
  • Choice and use of colors
  • Styling of buttons, images, video, and frames
  • Layout of buttons
  • Use of white space
  • Icon list

You can of course also choose to outsource your app design to a specialist.

Step 5: App development

After the functional and graphic design is the foundation of your app. You know exactly what your app will look like and how the different screens communicate with each other. You now only have to develop the app ...

By app development we mean writing code and actually building the final app. In fact you have three choices here:

  1. Program the app yourself
  2. Use an app builder
  3. Outsource to the app developer

Would you like to program the app yourself? Then you will have to study hard. Fortunately, nowadays there are plenty of opportunities to learn how to make apps. For example, the LOI offers courses and the ROC includes it as part of the HBO Bachelor's degree in Communication and Multimedia Design. Of course, you can also come and do an internship with us!

Nowadays there are real app builders with which you can build simple web apps yourself. An example is GoodBarber ($ 96 per month), with which you can go a long way with pre-programmed templates to create your own app. The disadvantages of builders are that you are always dependent on the limitations of the builder. Also, app builders often go no further than creating an app version of a website. The use of native functionalities of the smartphone still seems too big a step.

A final option is to enable an app developer. At Myler Media, we know what is going on in the world of native app development. We are involved with your idea, think along and use the latest technology to develop your app. Links with a back office, social media or other software systems are a breeze for us. Just like integration with specific functionalities such as the camera, GPS, Bluetooth and voice control. With more than 250 apps in our name, we can certainly help you!

Step 6: Testing

The app is finished! Time to register it in the App Store and Google Play Store? Not yet! First a test round.

Some questions to ask during testing:

  1. Does the app work well at any resolution? 
  2. Which function can be better / faster? 
  3. Are there any bugs? 
A tip is to have the app tested by people who have never heard of your app idea. What could they do better? Pay attention primarily to the flow of the app and not so much to the goal. You should have already tested this during the paper prototype phase.

Step 7: Final version

Go back to the development of your app one more time. Process the found bugs and other feedback and make a final version of your app.

Step 8: Placement in app stores

Congratulations! Your app is finished! You now only have to register it at the Google Play Store or App Store.

Keep in mind the costs: to publish an app in the Apple App Store you pay $ 99, - a year. At the Google Play Store, you pay a one-time $ 25 to publish an app.

Need help placing your app in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store? Myler Media has already placed hundreds of apps in app stores. Please contact us if you need our help with this.

Don't forget marketing and maintenance!

After your app is launched, you naturally want it to continue to work. Bugs or changes to databases and functionalities may arise. App maintenance after launch is therefore very important! External developments play a role in this. Consider OS updates and new devices. That is why it is important that apps are continuously analyzed and improved by continuing to measure, test and monitor.

And the marketing of your app is also an important part. After all the time and effort you put into your app, it is, of course, the intention that your app will actually be used. For inspiration, read our article about app promotion, in which we share 12 options to promote your app.

Create your own app

In this article, we have the question "how do I make an app?" tried to answer. From working out your idea of designing and developing your app. As you can see, a lot of study material is involved and many different skills are involved if you want to make an app yourself.

Do you have a good idea for an app yourself and are you considering having this app made by an experienced developer? Contact us to discuss the possibilities or calculate the cost of your app online for free.