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Your Biggest App Development Questions Answered

Summer Swann
July 12, 2021

For most people, the app design and development process can feel enigmatic, complex and overwhelming. To help de-mystify it we sat down with the Yeti team and answered some of the most common questions we get asked about the app design and development process.

I have an idea for an app. Where do I start?

If you’re in the very beginning stages of the process, doing some design thinking can help put you on the right track. This can include creating a problem statement that describes what problem your app is trying to solve, creating user personas that describe your apps ideal user, and creating wireframes to start getting an idea of what you’d like your app to look like. 

Want to Learn More? Check out these resources:
The User Persona Template and Guide
The User Journey Map Template and Guide
Defining Your Problem Statement

What should I know before beginning the app development process?

One of the most important things you need to do at the very beginning of your app development process is  creating a set of clearly defined, realistic goals. Market research and clearly defining the steps you are going to take to get your app into the hands of users is absolutely crucial at this stage.

How long does it take to build an app?

Project timelines can vary significantly depending on many possible variables, such as the robustness and scope of a project.

When extensive R+D, hardware, or emerging technologies are involved development can take much longer - but in general, we like to create the first version of software applications in 1-3 months, during which time we’ll establish a core product loop and begin the iterative design, build, and test process.

Learn More:
The Ultimate Guide to Mobile App Design and Development

How much does it cost to build an app?

It can be difficult to estimate the cost of building your app without some insight into what you want it to do and the many factors that play into that. This article breaks down many of the common factors involved in building apps and the cost associated with them.

What are UX and UI design?

In the product design world UX design concerns a users journey and experience with a product and includes identifying and solving user problems. On the other hand, UI design is all about creating intuitive, aesthetically-pleasing, interactive interfaces.

What's the biggest mistake people make when building an app?

In our experience, one of the biggest mistakes people make when creating an app is failing to user test. Not testing your assumptions and failing to put your designs in front of users before beginning the development process is usually a recipe for disaster. In these cases it’s not uncommon for teams to spend a great deal of time and money developing features that end up falling flat with users. 

What does the app development process look like?

Work on a new product usually begins with a Roadmapping Sprint. During this time we work with our clients to define the problem we want to solve and for whom we are solving it, consider solutions and work together to choose the best one.

From there, the actual development work begins. We use a method called “Applied Agile”, which means that we deliver working pieces of the product every two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, our clients have the opportunity to give us their feedback on the work we have done.

By delivering usable pieces of the product at the end of every sprint and receiving feedback on them, our clients don’t run the risk of spending hundreds of hours (and even more dollars) building a flawed product.

Learn More:
Introduction to Applied Agile
Product Roadmapping: The Complete Guidebook

5 Steps to a Successful Product Roadmap

How can I create an app that people will want to use?

Understanding how your users think about the problem you’re trying to solve with your app is the  first step in creating an app that people will love. To help us understand our users we create user personas, empathy maps and user journey maps.

Learn More:
The User Persona Template and Guide
The User Journey Map Template and Guide
Empathy Mapping

How can I test the viability of my app idea?

Good software engineering is not cheap - so making sure you've tested the viability of a product before building it will de-risk your investment in building it out. You can do this by building prototypes.

A prototype will allow you to see real users interacting with your product, giving you significantly more accurate feedback about if they have a need for the product, how much they would pay for it, which features are useful and how they need it to work.  

Learn More:
The Ultimate Guide To Prototyping Success

How can I ensure my development team understands my vision?

We use a vision brief to align with the teams we work with. You can think of a vision brief as a project's blueprint that provides high level guidance, direction and goals for your project.

Learn More:
Stay Aligned with Yeti's Top Three Vision Brief Tips
The Vision Brief Template and Guide

How can I ensure that my app is successful?

If you want to ensure that the app you are creating is going to be successful, it’s important that you hire a design and development team that will be honest and realistic with you. Unfortunately, deciding to use the cheapest development team you can find doesn’t generally end well, and at Yeti we often find ourselves having to completely re-develop a product that the owner has already spent a significant amount of time and money on. 

Why should I spend time and money on UX design?

If you’re new to the app development process it can be easy to think that you know exactly what needs to be built in order for your app to be successful. Most people aren’t aware that there are many small but extremely important decisions that impact how a user will experiences your app - ultimately resulting in its success or failure. The UX design process helps us discover who your user really is and allows us to truly understand what problem your app will solve and how it will solve it. 

Why do I need a user persona? Can't I build an app for everyone?

It’s impossible to build an app for everyone - and user personas allow us to build apps that match the needs of our ideal user. As an example, consider senior citizens and teenagers - while  senior citizens often require simple navigation and UI, teenagers have no problem interacting with complex and interesting UI. Requirements such as text size, contrast, and content differ quite a bit between these two groups as well. An app that is created for a very specific user persona will always be far more successful than one created for “everyone”.

Do you have a project you'd like to get started on? We'd love to hear from you!

Summer is Yeti's Marketing Manager. When not working, you can find her searching for thrift store treasure, hiking in the Sierra Nevadas, camping in her vintage camper, cooking vegan treats and reading anything she can get her hands on. Summer lives surrounded by wilderness in the remote mountains of California.

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