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I Have An App Idea but No Programming Skills, Help!

  • Everything, Mobile App Development,
  • 3 min read
  • March 14, 2019

Ken Gilmore

CEO of Webiotic

Ideas are a dime a dozen—everyone has one. What people forget is that ideas aren’t enough to revolutionize or grow into a profitable business. Not by themselves, anyway. Execution is everything, so if you’re reading this article and thinking to yourself ” I have an app idea but no programming skills to make it happen”,  you’re already taking the right steps to bringing your ideas to fruition, and we can help you out.

Have an idea for an app but no programming skills? If you have no clue where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Think of this article as an action plan that will set the wheels in motion. We’ll run through every step you need to take to turn your idea into a formidable business.

I have an app idea but no programming skills

I Have an Idea For An App, What Next?

You have a great idea for the next best app, so what comes next? The very first thing you need to consider before moving forward and investing time, energy, and money, is the risk involved and what it takes to create and launch a web or mobile application.

This isn’t just a fun and creative side hustle, but rather a business move that can promise both risks and rewards.

If you don’t possess programming skills to develop your app, this means spending a good chunk of money on hiring developers, which of course can cost thousands.

Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself to see how far your dedication goes to your idea:

IMPORTANT NOTE

This guide is meant for people with no programming skills looking to develop an app idea.
While it will help anyone, the main focus is not on professional developers or companies that can develop their own app

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • How much money are you ready to spend on this app? Keep in mind, not only will you need a developer, you’ll also need money for things like design—a programmer isn’t the same thing as a designer—, marketing, copywriting, and so on.
  • How much time are you ready to invest in this project? While the destination sure is appealing, remember that this is ultimately a journey, so be ready for the long haul.
  • If your app fails, will this completely devastate you and upset your life?

Conceptualize Your App Idea with Sketching and Prototyping

The next major step is to conceptualize your app idea so that you have a more cohesive roadmap to keep moving forward. If you’re scratching your head wondering where to start, grab a piece of paper and pen (or laptop) and start taking notes. Write down what your app will do and how it will work.

image2

If you’re a fan of Adobe products, Adobe XD is an easy-to-use prototyping tool (which you can see an example of in the image below).

A rough sketch on paper will also do for now. You don’t have to get too fancy with your mockups just yet, but proper prototyping is a crucial step you’ll want to get to before approaching talent and investors.

Write down every feature your app will have, and even jot down some quick sketches. Having this list of idea details will be incredibly helpful when moving forward in discussions with developers, partners, designors, and pretty much anyone involved in the project.

Conduct Market Research

Next up is research, research, research. See what the competition out there looks like, what the trends are as well as market needs. If there are already similar apps available, look closely at things like reviews and feedback from users so you can build an app that improves on their similar idea.

If there are already successful apps that are comparable to yours, it’s important to identify unique features in your app that will make it stand out.

Once you take the time to research, you’ll want to go back to the drawing board and revise your feature list and app prototype, if necessary. There’s always room for tweaks and improvements!

Find an App Developer

If you have time and aren’t in a rush, it would help to first familiarize yourself with the world of app development before finding a developer to work with.

While you don’t need to be a top-notch programmer, having some basic programming knowledge will help you communicate ideas, concepts, and designs with developers. There’s a wealth of free resources out there, from YouTube videos to online courses.

How to Find an App Developer

So now you’re ready to hire an app developer, but you can’t  hand your idea over to just anybody, right? The last thing you want is to get scammed or have someone flat-out steal your app idea. And, for every world-class developer out there, there are a hundred who are sub-par and will still charge an arm and leg for their incompetent skills.

how to find an app developer

The good news is, even if you don’t know any developers in your network, there are plenty of marketplace platforms that allow you to hire skilled freelance web developers and which offer reviews, ratings, and profiles to help you find talent quickly.

While this is one way to find individual developers to help with your app, we recommend using a professional company that will limit your risk and ensure you’re truly getting your money’s worth.

While you might save money hiring someone in India, keep in mind that you probably won’t be getting the attention and dedication a professional agency can offer.

Here are a few tips to ensure you find the best of the best:

1. Make your budget, expectations, and timeline clear.

2. Look at candidates’ reviews.

3. Ask to see a portfolio of work and references.

4. Jump on a Skype call or video with the freelancer or agency to feel them out and better gauge how well you think you’ll work with that person or team.

5. Have the developer work in sprints or milestones rather than handing them the whole project. This way you can test the waters first and bail if you aren’t happy with the developer. Remember, skill level isn’t the only thing you’re looking for. An ability to communicate and reach milestones on time is just as important.

6. Once you make your choice, communicate with your developer or company you hire often to ensure you are on the same page.

Presenting Your App Idea to a Developer

Once you find a skilled developer that’s ready to bring your app idea to life, it’s essential how you communicate your idea. The success of your project depends not only on your developer’s programming abilities, but their understanding of key concepts.

Not doing so could result in a slow development process, more costs, and an overall delay in the launch of your app.

Here are some tips to help you effectively present and communicate your app idea to your developer:

  • Divide and Conquer. Breaking up your project into smaller chunks is not only a great way to test out your developer’s chops, but it creates a manageable structure with milestones to work on rather than a mammoth-sized app with too many pieces. Tackling a large project one piece at a time is the way to go and will ensure everyone on the team is on the same page as you move forward.
  • Establish an MVP Plan. If you’re developing a mobile application, an MVP, or minimum viable product, is essentially a basic version of your app without all the snazzy features you intend to include in the final version. It allows you to get quick entry into the market and monitor user experience so you can continue improving your product. This MVP plan should aim to outline key features of your app and see how it’s used. A great example of a mobile app MVP is Instagram. Their first version had photo sharing, which is the core concept of the app, but with limited filters. Over the years, they’ve added a number of additional features like video stories, new filters, messaging, and more.
  • Create Mockups. At this point, you should already have some designs and prototypes for your app that display what the app will look like and how users are expected to interact with it. You should also be adding “if/then” scenarios to further flesh out your ideas. For example, if the app is being opened by a new user, present a welcome screen where they can customize their profile. If the user is a returning user, take them to the app’s home screen. All of this detail will move your developer in the right direction.
  • Explain Every App Feature and Function. Don’t rely on just mockups and images to convey key features and functions to your developer. Take time to explain and describe in detail everything you plan to include in your application, such as image sharing, chat capabilities, and so on.
  • Finalize the Deadline. While you might not have a definitive date set in stone, it’s important to present some kind of timeline to your developer and team so you can also plan out milestones. This will ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to completion time.

Final Thoughts

By now you can probably tell that it takes a whole lot of work and dedication to bring an app idea to life, but it’s certainly achievable if you’re willing to put in the time, money, and effort into establishing a formidable development team that can help take you there.

There’s plenty more to consider on your path, such as creating user stories, learning how to monetize, and testing your app, but this guide will help you get started on launching your app idea, and hopefully you will never have to say the words ” I have an app idea but no programming skills ” ever again.

Ken Gilmore

CEO at Webiotic

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