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10 Ways to Make Your Own App

10 Ways to Make Your Own App

Consumers spend a whopping 85 percent of their smartphone time using apps. Because of this, it has become imperative for businesses to offer an app that helps connect customers with their products and services. Fortunately, the process of building an app has never been easier. In fact, business owners with little to no experience are able to bring their app vision to life, and they even have the option of saving money by doing it in-house.

1. Research the Needs of Your Customers

The first steps you take before the app building process begins will have a monumental impact on the success of your final results. After all, if you do not take the time to research what your customers need and want in an app, it will be much harder to develop something that they will use. Therefore, it is vital to conduct some market research. Consider sending a short questionnaire to your most loyal customers that asks them to rate their interest from 1 to 10 for each major feature you are considering adding to your app.

2. Sketch out Your Idea

After you compile your market research, you should begin by drawing sketches of how you envision each of the app’s features. You do not need to be an artist to perform this step. Instead, this is simply a way to get a better look at your idea and to help you formulate a solid approach to the actual development stage. Even if you end up outsourcing the project, your sketches and notes will provide a valuable resource.

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3. Use a Mobile App Builder

You do not need to have any special technical skills to utilize a mobile app builder. Even better is the fact that some companies offer special perks that take the pressure off of working with your design. For example, the Bizness Apps mobile app builder is completely free to use until you are ready to launch the app. This means that you can take your time and tweak things as needed without being required to make a financial commitment. In other words, if you end up deciding that the app you develop is not going to work, you can scrap it and start again without losing a lot of money.

4. Keep Apple and Android Products in Mind

Apple and Android products have their own specific app needs, and each company utilizes privacy standards that you must adhere to. Due to this, some businesses choose to create two unique versions of their app that can be distributed via the appropriate mobile device. However, you can take advantage of mobile app builders that make it possible to develop one app that works properly on both platforms. Either way, it would be a mistake to completely ignore Apple or Android in favor of their competitor, especially because they have a combined market share of 96.8 percent.

5. Create a Wire-frame and a Prototype

A wire-frame provides all of the basic elements of your app, but it will not have most of the information filled in or be operational. Imagine a website that has the text boxes and other basics visible without having them filled in, and you will be able to understand what a wire-frame looks like for an app. After this step has been completed, you can move forward to a full prototype that contains text, images and any applicable links. The prototype stage is prime for testing and tweaking.

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6. Add Support for Push Notifications and Sharing

Getting someone to download your app is only half the battle. Although people spend the majority of their smartphone time using an app, the average consumer only focuses on five apps at a time. This means that the rest of the apps on their phone go unused for long periods of time and may never be utilized at all. Studies show that adding push notifications can increase user engagement by 88 percent, so it is vital to include this feature. Additionally, giving consumers the ability to share information from the app with their friends via social media will provide your company with invaluable free exposure.

7. Build Back-End Functionality

The back-end functionality that you use to support your app is a critical piece of its overall speed and usefulness. The majority of larger apps such as Twitter that offer widespread connectivity and sharing have a cloud server on the back-end. This makes it possible for the app to remain constantly updated, and it can also remove some of the storage space requirements that are placed upon each user’s smartphone. If your app will be mostly self-contained and feature data that is fully stored on each person’s phone, though, you may wish to use a more simplistic MBasS back-end.

8. Test Everything

After your app has been built, you need to test each function multiple times to ensure that nothing is broken. It is also necessary to run your tests across every possible platform. Therefore, if your app is compatible with iOS and Android devices, you should test it on a variety of iPhone and iPod generations. The same steps should be taken with Android’s products, including the Kindle.

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9. Refine Everything to Provide the Best User Experience

We all hope that our first testing phase will provide perfect results, but the odds are high that this is not going to be the case. Take everything you learn from your tests and refine your app to offer the best possible user experience. Make sure that it is easy to navigate through the app. It is a good idea to ask one of your technologically challenged friends to spend some time using the app in order to discover any functionality issues that could prevent common users from enjoying the experience.

10. Build Anticipation for Your Launch Date

Properly marketing your app before it launches can hugely increase your download numbers. One of the best examples of building anticipation before a launch date was the year-long marketing rollout for Hatch, which is a virtual pet app. Although you do not need to get started a year in advance, it is best to begin promoting your app and its upcoming launch date as soon as possible. This can help you receive coverage from tech websites. If you combine this approach with offering a special for early adopters, it is possible to build a very strong launch.

Now that you know all of the basics, it’s time to start building your app! Keep in mind that there are millions of apps available, and only the very best will receive high praise and build a steady user base. For that reason, it is critical to always keep the needs and interests of your target market in mind.

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Featured photo credit: Jason Howie via flickr.com

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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