7 things to do before you start making your app

Phase Idea
Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Before you start working on your app, it’s important to gain clarity on what you’re building, who you’re building it for and why. Setting this foundation using the following seven prompts will ultimately impact how you approach everything you do next.

1. Write your problem statement.

What problem are you addressing? If you're not clear on the problem you're trying to solve, it will reflect in how you go about building the solution. Focus on only stating the problem here. Don’t include any reference to the solution.

Things to think about: What need, want, or desire did you have that made you come up with this idea? What pain point does your target user have that your app will solve for them?

2. Write your solution.

Describe your app and how it solves the problem outlined above. If you find that the solution doesn’t quite match the problem statement, that’s a red flag. Either you’re unclear about the problem or you need to change how you solve it.

Things to think about: Consider the features and functionality you want to have. What's your vision for the app?

3. Describe your why.

It's important to get clear on your personal motivations for solving this problem. This will help you make a lot of decisions going forward. Simon Sinek said it best: "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe".

Things to think about: What's driving this idea and the reason you decided to pursue it?

4. Create a persona for your target user.

It's important to deeply know who you're building this app for. We can describe this person using a persona. A persona is a fictional character created to represent a type of user that might use your app. It will help you define where you need to start and how each feature provides value to them.

Things to think about: Do you have this problem? Is it for a relative or a friend? Think about the person you’re building this for and create a profile of them. You can include things like demographics (gender, age, geography, etc) and psychographics (who are they, what they like, what they read, etc).

5. Describe 2 scenarios in which your target user would use the app.

When you're defining the features and design of your app, understanding the scenarios that will be most common for your users will help define how you create the experience around it.

Things to think about: Think about the core problem and when it occurs. Picture the day, the moment when your app would be used. If they had your app, describe how that scenario would play out.

6. Find up to 3 apps that might be solving your target user’s problem today. Describe what makes yours different.

Knowing what makes you different will help you hone in on your core features and attract your target users.

Things to think about: Are you putting a new spin on a popular idea? Are you filling a need that no one is addressing? Are you creating a more modern solution for an antiquated industry?

7. Write a one-liner for your app. Keep it in under 140 characters.

When you're able to clearly and succinctly describe your app in one sentence, you can clearly and succinctly explain it to your users. Now that you’ve gone through these prompts, it's time to tie it all together.

Things to think about: How can you take the problem statement, your solution, the audience, and your differentiators and synthesize them into a short pitch that describes your app?

That's it!

These seven prompts are a starting point for fleshing out your idea before you start working on the technical aspects of it. Taking the time to go through each one is essential before you start making your app.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes! Shoot me an email at any time with questions or to share your responses. I'd love to see them!