There is a lot of information out there on how to build an app, but not a lot on what you need to know before you get started. Below is a brief overview of what you need to know and why it's helpful to know it.
The content of every app is unique. As a result the apps design and flow is determined by the types of content it has and how the users interact with it. Because of this it is important to have the content of the app early on in the process.
While you don’t need to have the complete content, it is good to have a sample of the real content that can be expected in the app. With this you and your product development team can build a general framework for the type of content that will be used in the app. The general framework should include information about the types of content (text, graphics, videos, games, etc.), the requirements for the content (text formatting, graphics/video dimensions, etc.), and when each piece of content should be displayed.
Your product development team can then use this framework to build wireframes that have the right User Experience (UX) and User Interfaces (UI) for your apps content.
The more you want your app to do the longer it takes to build and the more your app does the longer it takes to make any changes. Since time costs money and nobody has an infinite amount of either it is common to build your app in stages and have it grow as your business grows. But how do you know what pieces of your app to build at what points?
I recommend breaking down the building of your app into pieces that you need to get to the next stage of your business. The goal is to prove that the business is either worth further investment or becomes profitable. Here are some prompts to help decide what pieces need to be built and when:
Using the above prompts you and your product development team will be able to build a strategy for what you’re looking to prove and what should be built. You’ll then be able to take the results of this process and decide whether the app deserves further investment of money and time.
Did you know that all mobile apps need to pay 30% of any subscription or digital purchase to Apple or Google while normal credit card fees are 2.9% + 30 cents? How about the strict content restrictions enforced by both Apple and Google for mobile apps versus the unrestricted content a web app can show? Or what about how releasing an app to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store can be a multi-day event with the possibility of rejection as opposed to instantaneous release for a web app?
Don’t let the above list discourage you. There are plenty of successful mobile app businesses. However, you will want to take the above as well as many other factors into consideration when deciding what you want to build and what trade-offs you’re willing to make.
Every team is different so you'll want to talk with the Product Development team on expectations. We use a 5 Stage Process for building your app that starts with getting you know you and your idea. Further, you should get to know how they communicate so you can make sure that the way they work matches how you work and everyone knows what to expect.