Building a mobile app can be broken down into a process (more on that later), but there's one super important step that a lot of teams overlook.
Ask the question, "Why do we need a mobile app?"
Good answers to that question include:
- Because we're going to be a mobile first company, ok great - but why?
- Our customers will be mobile most of the time. Make sure you have stats to support this with an analytics tool like MixPanel, Countly, Google Analtyics or even Amazon.
- We have a web product and our user base is screaming for a mobile app. Awesome - what percent of your users are asking?
- Over 80% of our users are mobile at any given time. Hopefully you started out with mobile first.
- We have a user base that needs access to information right away, no matter their location. Examples might include service oriented professionals, business travelers, or even a consumer that wants to capture a specific moment.
Not so great answers:
- We'll think about it later - if you're late to the market and you're doing this as a catch up, double check your business strategy and then move quick.
- We think our users will love it but don't really have data to back it up. Start asking.
- We just need one to compliment our portfolio of products...if you have lots of cash to back this up then okay. Put in mobile analytics to make sure that it's the right move over time.
Building mobile apps can be incredibly expensive, a really good one can run between $50,000-$250,000 and that doesn't include long-term maintenance. Always ask "Why?" first and make sure it fits your business model and long term vision. Having a solid "Why" will help you create the right features and prioritize the development effort to match your business.