How do I monetize a Phonegap app

App development: 7 tips for clients

As a client, what do I have to consider when developing an app? We systematically show all steps from the first concept to the selection of the developer, contract drafting, design and technical considerations, to the marketing of the app. In this article we want to shed light on all the details that you as a client should consider when developing a commercial app for private end users. We have collected the 7 best practical tips from numerous years of app development for you and share the most important and sometimes amazingly simple tricks with which you can make your app a success!

1. Preliminary considerations for developing an app

Before you sign up for the Development of an app decide you should do a little inventory to avoid some of the more serious mistakes from the start. Ask yourself the following questions and spend some time researching the answers:

  1. Which Main benefit does the app offer, can it be clearly communicated and is it plausible for a suitably large target group?
  2. This already exists competing apps on the market that offer the same product benefits and have good usability or a good rating in the App Store?
  3. How can the main benefit monetizeto refinance the app development?
  4. Make sure that the content of your app is from the targeted App Store accepted become. In particular, Apple's Review Guidelines are restrictive and, in case of doubt, are interpreted by the clerks against the accused, i.e. the app developer.

At this point, you should refer to the available data as much as possible. Particularly when it comes to monetization, many clients indulge in dreamy fantasies of millions of buyers. In practice, however, it is the free apps in particular that achieve millions of downloads.

Excursus: The freemium app

In the "App Economy", the so-called "Freemium"(like" Free "and" Premium ") model prevailed. The app itself is initially free, Premium- However, functionalities within the app must be activated against payment. In this way, the user has the opportunity to first test the app without obligation before having to spend any money on it.

It is almost irrelevant for which branch you want to have an app developed: from games to entertainment to tangible apps with a practical product benefit: it is always advisable to consider offering a range of functions that can be used free of charge and when developing the app to strive for monetization only through additional offers. The number of free downloads may not seem particularly significant at first glance, but they are a key factor for the ranking of your app in the app stores and are therefore extremely important: Apps that are downloaded frequently are also listed higher up in the "leaderboards". displayed, are therefore more visible and thus generate additional downloads.

On the other hand, in the conception phase, even before the actual app development, you have to make sure that the "free" in your freemium model also offers a certain benefit. It is very annoying for the user to download an app expectantly, only to be asked for the first payment on the start screen or after some unkind content. Therefore, plan a generous benefit offer for the free part of the app and see positive reviews and high download numbers as an intangible but valuable payment for it.

When you have come to the conclusion that there is a market for your app idea and you have found a viable concept for free content in your app development, we turn to the technical side.

2. Conceptual design of an app

Keep an eye on the unique selling proposition

As mentioned in the first step, you need what is called a USP ('unique selling point'). Ideally, you have a brilliant idea that is not yet available in the App Store. Often, however, it is also quite simple ideas that make life just a little bit easier for the user that become "big sellers" - so the perfect implementation is all the more important. Incidentally, the unique selling point can also be to implement an existing app idea in a much more user-friendly way.

In the next step, put one target group and keep an eye on their (presumed) wishes and needs during all subsequent creative considerations during app development.

Avoid the "Featuritis", that is, trying to upgrade the app by adding more and more features. This quickly makes apps difficult to explain and cumbersome - both of which are absolute knockout criteria that deter the user or delete the app again after the first unsatisfactory use.

Budgeting of the app development

Before making an inquiry, familiarize yourself with the costs that can be expected in app development. Since this topic is complex, we recommend that you study our article: How much does it cost to develop an app.

If you want to address end customers with your app, you should definitely plan a budget for marketing as well, unless you have the expertise and capacities yourself (see Chapter 6: Marketing).

3. Process of an app development project

As with physical product development, the most important step in software development is planning. All errors and misunderstandings that are eliminated in this first step will save you (and your developer) money as the project progresses. We therefore urgently recommend a structured and well-documented process with at least the following milestones in this order:

  1. Creation of a specification in which you show what exactly the app should be able to do. If the project is technically demanding, you should request a specification from your developer in which the developer specifically describes how he wants to implement your requirements technically.
  2. Wireframes (for complex projects): visualize the operating concept, i.e. the relationships between the screens, using optically reduced symbols to determine for yourself and the developer how the navigation and other functions of the app interlock
  3. Find app developers: use the app developer directory to quickly and easily receive offers from multiple developers
  4. Contract award with development contract. Pay attention to the following points when drafting the contract
    • Specify exactly for which operating systems, operating system versions, device formats (smartphones, tablets, desktops) and orientations (portrait, landscape) will be developed, tested and optimized
    • The services of the developer should also include the setting of the app in the desired app stores - a serious developer will offer you this automatically, as the effort involved is not insignificant and you usually cannot do this yourself
    • After paying for the app development, the code should become your property without any restrictions. Insist on receiving the source code after paying. This allows you to remain flexible and, if necessary, you can commission another programmer to further develop the app
    • Specify that errors in the app that are only discovered after it has been published can be reworked free of charge
    • If possible, agree on a fixed price and include your specifications and the developer's specifications (if created) as the basis for the contract
  5. Design: Have at least the most important screens designed purely graphically in advance to ensure that the developer meets your taste aesthetically as well as implementing your specifications as desired
  6. Intermediate versions: do not wait for the end result, but have interim versions sent to you regularly so that any deviations from your ideas can be recognized in good time. It is also important for the concept review to be able to compare a prototype with the actual product requirements as early as possible. Consciously take your time at this point again
  7. Beta testing: Systematically test the app yourself on as many devices as possible before the release in order to identify weaknesses.

4. Technical aspects of app development

Native, hybrid or what? Light in the jungle of concepts in app development

There are basically two options for app development: one native development, i.e. it is developed in the language of the target system in the provider's development environment (e.g. Xcode for iOS). The advantage of native development is best performance and maintainability. The downside: you have to develop a new app from scratch for each operating system. This makes the cost high.

The alternative are hybrid apps. With these, a uniform code base, e.g. HTML or Java, is compiled for various operating systems using various intermediate programs (e.g. Phonegap). This makes it much cheaper to cover several operating systems, but at the same time there may be limitations or losses in performance, which can be seen in choppy lists, for example. The design, which in the best case should correspond to the user habits of the respective operating system, is also standardized and therefore harbors the risk of not being equally user-friendly for the various user groups.

Basically, the question to be asked at this point is whether the app needs native packaging at all, i.e. whether the app has to be submitted to the stores. In many cases it is the cheapest, fastest and easiest way to save the content as Web app to make available. The (especially at Apple) lengthy and sometimes nerve-wracking process of publishing an app in the store is saved, as is the effort of developing for multiple operating systems. The disadvantage of developing as a web app, on the other hand, is that you do not benefit from the visibility in the app stores and you have to take care of the payment processing of paid content yourself.

A detailed comparison of the alternatives can be found in our article Native App versus Web App.

5. Design and usability in app development

When discussing content and programming, it is easy to forget that an app, more than any other medium, is a high usability depends. There is only little space available on the small displays and the control elements must be accordingly well thought out in order to provide the user with a pleasant user experience. At the same time, users are very reluctant to find their way into an unusual or non-intuitive operating concept.

If the use of your app is of a more general nature and is aimed at the casual user, it is even advisable to use the app for the various operating systems in accordance with the one commonly used there Operating concept to implement. For example, the Apple user regularly looks for his "back button" in the top left of the app, while with Android, these are located on the lower edge of the screen, as specified by the operating system. If you only put an app in front of an Apple user that can be operated by an Android app (and vice versa), this causes frustration for him.

You should therefore invest in the creation of a sophisticated operating concept for the app in accordance with our suggested procedure (see Chapter 3), even before you start developing the app.

The most important points for a high usability of the app summarized:

  • Think through the position of navigation elements: ideally, the menu can be operated with the thumb while the device is in the hand
  • Control elements must be large enough to be safely tapped
  • Text is not as easy to zoom in the app as it is in the browser and must therefore be displayed in a size that is easy to read for your target group
  • Less is more: long explanatory texts are taboo on smartphones! It is better to use pictograms - they are also much more advantageous than text when localizing for other languages

6. Marketing for newly developed apps

In iOS and Andorid, there are well over a million apps each - massive competition, against which your own app has to assert itself.

All stores therefore have top lists in which the currently most frequently downloaded apps are listed. If your app does not deal with a specialty but is aimed at the mass market, it is strongly recommended that all efforts be directed towards a high initial download rate when publishing the app. Press releases to suitable multipliers are just as good a tool as paid advertisements in the relevant app store guides. For detailed tips, see article 8 Tips for Marketing Your App.

Another important point is optimizing your own entry in the App Store. Since there is only limited space available for titles and keywords, but these have a major impact on being found, it is important to carry out a systematic analysis of the meaningful terms, assess their success based on the number of downloads and continuously optimize the terms to undertake. We wrote the article "App Store Optimization" on this topic.

7. Practical tips for app marketing

A few special practical tips on how you can promote your app:

  1. Play with the price! What is not common for physical goods and also tedious in practice works very easily with apps: experiments with the price. Shamelessly put a new price on your app every week and compare sales to determine the best price. Start with the highest price and gradually lower it
  2. Jump back and forth between paid and free: numerous app store guides have a separate category for "now free apps". You can only get in there if your app was initially paid for and then becomes free. Apps that have become free achieve significant download peaks compared to those that are always free
  3. However, start with a newly developed app for free to get on the top lists

Log in to join the discussion