LightStart Insights: Turning your app idea into a reality

how to make a prototype of your app

You’ve had that ‘lightbulb moment’ for a new life changing (or at least mildly life-improving) app or digital product. What started as a passing thought turned into a rush of excitement as you told your friends and family all about it – with some even agreeing that it could actually work!

After collecting feedback you’ve started taking your idea more seriously….. and that’s when everything seems to grind to a holt. You find yourself asking ‘Where do I start?’, ‘What process should I follow?’ and ‘How do I turn my idea into a reality?’

How to get your app idea developed: an eight-step process

It can be daunting trying to figure out where to begin, especially if you’ve not done anything like this before – but this shouldn’t put you off. There have been countless success stories of people producing brilliant ideas without any previous experience in the app creation world (ultimately making their millions from it!). What you need is a simple process, which we’re happy to share with you below!

    1. Start with the name-game
      You might as well get this part out of the way first – it’ll make discussing your idea a lot easier! Start brainstorming different ideas based on associated words, even look at naming trends in other similar product areas.
    2. Decide on your key goals
      What problems are you trying to solve with your product? Decide on 2-3 key goals based on these problems and make a priority order.
    3. List out all the features your app could have
      Definitely one of the fun parts! Have a ‘whiteboard session’ to map out all features your product needs and all the features it could have to make it attractive to potential users. Start with the simple features (like user logins, registration) then move onto more advanced features (like an internal social network).
    4. Decide which features you could initially go live with
      This part is all about creating your MVP (minimum viable product). Based on the features you listed previously, decide on which of those features the app could go live with and still be useable (whilst gaining interest!). It can be tempting to try go live with as many as possible but remember – this is an opportunity to test the app out at the lowest possible cost!
    5. Decide your monetisation strategy
      Now you’ve thought about your phase 1 features – how are you going to make money or some sort of valuable compensation from your product? This is where me move into the business elements – the ‘money phase’. This could include adding things into the product such as in app purchases, a market place etc.
    6. Speak to an experienced digital analyst
      Before you even consider approaching a development company to get your app created, the best thing you can do is to speak to a digital analyst who can create a functional specification, whilst ensuring your features and customer journey’s are mapped out clearly. This avoids any surprise (or sneaky inflated costs) for the actual development build. You can read just how important this is in our recent case study, where our client Jack saved almost 100K for working with our digital analysts!
    7. Approach investors
      Now you have a fully mapped out plan and functional spec, you’re much more likely to generate interest from investors. Going to an investor at this stage could also help fund stage 8 – development.
    8. Go to a development agency
      At this stage you should have your functional specification mapped out clearly, so you can get a working prototype of your app. There are plenty of great web development agencies that can finish the process and make your concept into an actual workable product. As a business we actually recommend trusted and experienced agencies who can do just this for you – just ask us!

Next steps for building your app

If you’re struggling to find inspiration for your features or even a name for your app idea, then check out our blog as we run sessions every month on this very process at our Digital Coffee morning workshop. 

If you’ve got a digital product idea (a platform, an app – you name it!) that you’re interested in moving forward, then our LightStart team can guide you through the process with expert training and app development workshops. We’re experienced at taking digital ideas from their initial concept right through to successfully launched products. Sign up to an initial free workshop with our talented and passionate team right here.