Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
I have a great idea for an iPhone app. How do I go about developing it?
Anyone can turn a great idea into an app by following the five essential steps below. Before you jump in, though, be aware that the entire process can take from two to nine months and cost anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of your app and your budget.
1. Start drawing. Even if your artistic skills are lacking, sketching out the main screens of the app will help you flesh out your idea. Think through the value you want to provide the user, and ensure that the app delivers it quickly.
2. Think of a catchy name. Try to keep it short; it needs to be recognizable under that little square icon. You should also ensure the domain is available, as you’ll want a website to promote it.
3. Take your atrocious drawings to a designer. This step is often skipped, but it’s worth it -- unless you are a designer, and then you can go ahead and skip away. Design matters, and creating an intuitive app that delights users is as much about the colors, fonts, icons and navigation as it is about your idea. Go to Elance or Freelancer.com and start sorting through profiles and work samples to find a good freelance designer who matches your budget.
4. Find a developer using the same sites. Pick one who has live apps in the app store that you can download and evaluate.
Once it’s developed:
5. Register as an Apple developer, upload your app to iTunes, and wait a week or so for Apple to approve it. Reasons for rejection include explicit material, frequent crashes, and misuse of third-party trademarks. (All apps must comply with Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines.) If the app is not approved, you’ll typically receive a notice with an explanation as to why so you can make the necessary changes.
Then your app will join the more than half a million others out there jockeying for attention. Good luck! -- As told to Caroline Kinneberg