Designing A Mobile App Specification – Developing Your Vision
One important point to understand if you want to launch your idea into the mobile world, is that you don’t have to be a programmer to create an app.
Unfortunately, without fully understanding this point, many innovative people stop themselves before taking their idea that next step further and exploring its potential.
Think about it like this:
- When you build a house, do you personally have to become the carpenter, plumber and electrician etc?
- When your car needs to be repaired, do you need to become a mechanic?
- If you have a health problem, do you need to become a Doctor?
Of course not…these people are all experts that you engage with to take advantage of their expertise in a particular field.
Just like electricians, mechanics and doctors, exceptionally good programmers can be contracted to perform work and share their valuable expertise.
Over recent years there has been an explosion in “outsourcing” services; the development of the internet and an increase in broadband speeds has allowed offshore workers to enter the market and provide their specialised services (often at a far lower cost than employing local workers in many cases).
While outsourcing is still a viable model to engage the services of experts, there are many outsourcing horror stories in the app development industry of overseas companies having little respect for intellectual property or an inability to conceptualise a simplistic brief the same way you see it in your mind.
This highlights the importance of evolving your initial concept through an iterative design process, it also supports the argument for using local developers who at least reside within the same country, understand local conventions and more importantly, can be held accountable under Australian Law.
No one enters an agreement with the intention of taking legal action however if the developer doesn’t deliver as promised (and contractually obligated) or is unethical and takes your idea to develop it themselves – then at least you have a chance….much unlike you would if you were to work with an overseas app developer who doesn’t respect your proprietary IP or isn’t capable of delivering to the timeline or budget quoted to you.
As long as you are protected, an outsourced app development project can be an enjoyable experience provided that you manage it correctly and have a clear plan to move forward with.
In order to get the best result at the end you need to start with a comprehensive concept outline at the start. This is one of the most important parts of the process to ensure you get what you are expecting.
One of the ways to minimise the cost of app development is to provide a clear project brief that will reduce the amount of time that will be needed to understand your requirements.
While the developer you engage may want to hold workshops and prepare a detailed design document, at the early stages a detailed project brief that outlines your idea clearly will ensure that you can get a reasonable quote for developing your app.
Think about the earlier example of building a house…to get started you don’t just assemble the carpenter, electrician and plumber and tell them to get cracking! No, your first step is to develop a detailed plan for the house you want to build and then an architect will help you to fully conceptualise your ideas into a plan before the ground is broken.
Before you start paying the highly skilled labourers to do all of the grunt work, your architect (or outsourced consultant) helps you to completely map out your design plan before you get started.
The design specification stage is all about developing a clear picture of how the app should look, feel and function before you engage the highly skilled and highly paid labour.
The early design stage will allow you to get a reasonably accurate indication of the development costs and timelines however in most cases you would want to work with a developer to create the final design specification and take advantage of their experience in developing innovative and engaging mobile applications.
We can’t overstate the importance of the design phase in delivering on your expectations with the final result. This is a pivotal point in the process and if you get it wrong or the developer doesn’t understand what you are trying to do, then you can waste time and money trying to get your project back on track.