How hard is it to create an app is a concerning prospect for most businesses today, but what to do when you don’t have the technical expertise to code the tool?
When it comes to creating an app, if you know coding, great! But it’s not an upfront requirement that bounds you from creating your first tool.
Unfortunately, people and even established business owners use this as an excuse of not being technically equipped and not going digital.
You might think that starting a business is impossible unless you’ve a technical founder, but the fact is, you won’t come across a technical founder unless you start running your business.
How hard is it to create an app?
Often inexperienced tech founder fall under the false urgency that they need to hire technical personnel right away. However, what they really need to do in the early stages is create a product concept.
Bringing a technical co-founder or head can wait, until you acquire a thorough understanding of the market. That understanding will help you figure out which partnerships you want to form and skills to hire.
Apparently, your mission in the industry is to create an app that proves to your target audience, potential investors, and other stakeholders that your idea is practical enough to generate a considerable ROI.
Although the easiest temptation is to create an app that lures money from the pockets of your customers, but focus on creating an absolutely essential product for the market.
Here is your guide on how to create an app when you can’t code.
Narrow your idea
Prior to establishing Persky, a consumer insights platform, Nadia Masri made a thorough market research regarding consumer insights and Gen Z and millennials, her target audience.
The idea is to gather intel alongside information related to the strengths and products of your competitive products.
Just because you’re up with a brilliant, game changing idea doesn’t prove that someone else might not have a similar idea sooner, or with a much better version of yours.
Understandably, people are afraid to discuss competitor, still, studying competition validates a concept. Too much competition indicates that the market is saturated, while too little means that the product idea is yet to validated on a holistic scale.
After the end of your market research, if you rightly conclude that you can face the competition and deliver a much better product for the end users, you have a chance for survival and growth.
It is important to understand that the product you’re hunting is relevant for yourself too, that should help in app idea validation.
Focus on the underlying problem
The trick for a convincing idea validation is conjuring one powerful feature that solves a particular problem for the users.
Apps that try to overstate their purpose and focus more than what is on their plate mostly result in not solving any of the undertaken problems, or simply solving problems that aren’t much.
Try to step in the users’ shoes, why would you download an app and keep it in your phone?
The best way to do this is by considering the customer’s pain points—what your application will do to answer those pain points.
Then figure out the key ingredients to that solutions, without which your tool is of no value. Emphasize on solving a primary problem with extreme efficiency and effectiveness. On doing so, your customers will be the ones to define your product roadmap.
After that, you customers will request you to add more features, and those features will help you make way for your product development.
Mark your audience, and test for demand
Let’s consider you have a plethora of business ideas, but only one of them will come to fruition. Do you choose any one and invest on it without doing a preliminary market research?
Or rather you would put a needed effort in figuring out which idea is most viable and profitable and worthy of your time and energy investment.
Hypothetically, it’s easier to comment as simply as that. But once you have a genuinely brilliant, unique idea, you have the motivation and drive to hire the right personnel and get started with the development.
No matter how tempting the prospect might sound, making a safe bet is the key. We’re talking about testing for the demand.
The initial step is to identify the audience. Following the traditional, “build it, and they’ll follow…” doesn’t work, instead, answer who this tool is for.
Even if you intend to serve a wide range of audience, you’ll be starting with a niche audience. Consider you’re developing an app for plumbers. If you ask a bunch of plumbers how many households they have worked for over the past week, and answer is 10, it is possible you might have misperceived the need for your service.
And if you’re hearing different number from different sources, it indicates you haven’t narrowed down your audience appropriately.
Once you’re done with niching your audience, start investing long before the actual pap launch. Let suppose you’re creating an app for content creators, you could create a Meetup group, conduct events, or event launch a podcast.
If you fail to encapsulate enough engagement on your posts, it most probably indicates you aren’t on the right track. The idea is to lure interested parties to your product.
But if someone does show interest, try your best capitalize and quantify it. One of the best ways is creating a landing page for your app explaining your purpose and vision, and collect email address to pursue later.
MVP development—work on the cheap
In the initial stage, work to offer a cheap, yet relevant solution to the customer. Here, you don’t need complex, ninja-killer technology but the simplest app that customers can get started with and solve one problem.
Focus on the core problem that justifies the primary mission of your app. Apparently, you want to solve as many relevant problems for your target audience as possible in the minimum possible cost.
Yes, we’re talking about minimum viable product (MVP). Despite the fact most project managers are tempted to go all-out in the development and start bombarding the app with all the design and features decided for the long-term vision of the app, at the moment you need to stay cautious and see how people respond to your product in its simplest form.
So, hire a mobile app development agency and deploy an MVP app with limited features at first. If it works you can go for a feature-rich app.
In other words, your MVP is something that can avoid you building the actual tool if your idea doesn’t work out.
Consider the example of Facebook. The social media giant, also known as “Thefacebook” at the time of launch, came with an MVP that solely focused on connecting students through their class and allowed them to post messages on the boards.
Although the idea was already present with the Friends Reunited and some other social media platforms, but Facebook’s simplicity attracted an unstoppable traction leading to what we’re seeing of it today.
Only after its MVP success, the further features started pouring that complemented on its success and current influence in the digital world.
Tools to create your first app
How hard is it to create an app doesn’t push you in believing that you need to acquire a thorough coding expertise.
There are plenty of tools you can find depending on the app category, for instance, create a mobile app through co-code platforms like Appy Pie, AppMachine, Thunkable, etc., Bubble and Shoutem for web applications, Kreezalid or Sharetribe for launching your online marketplace business, and eventually, Shopify to launch your own ecommerce platform.
Create the first version of your app
Prior to launching her company, Masri used a permanent marker and illustrated what she depicted her company app will look like, despite the fact she had no design expertise.
Penning down your idea on paper is a great way to get out of your mental prison and putting it around the creative offerings you have in store.
Whether you’re creating mockups and hosting in focus groups or acquiring feedbacks through family, friends and SMEs, the mockup will inform you how your potential audience will feel about your app.
If you’re not aware with HTML and CSS, you need to be honest with that.
Even if you don’t intend to create the tool yourself, having a theoretical understanding or fundamental understanding of coding languages will aid you in communicating with software engineers, developers, and various technical personnel better.
There are various online platforms like Coursera, Khan Academy, Codeacademy, and Udemy where you can learn coding in the most convenient, efficient manner possible.
Once you’re through with the basics, you are now ready to create your app’s basic concept. The concept or design can be pitched to a pro, for that matter, a visual representation is always a lifesaver for most coders who are trying to understand what you’re trying to convey as your mobile app’s end form.
The envisioning helps them what your concept can become after the project completion.
Answering how hard is it to create an app isn’t always that simple, seemingly, depending on several decisive factors including project scope, audience needs, budget, needs and preferences, scalability, and future potential.
And following the above steps should help you in creating your first app, especially when you’re hands down to no coding experience.
Imran Abdul Rauf is a Digital Marketing Strategist, employed at CMOLDS, and specializes in content marketing, email marketing campaigns, lead generation, and other aspects of digital marketing. A content enthusiast by the day, and hardcore gamer by night, Imran is also a regular guest contributor at some of the top tech and digital marketing platforms.