Published on July 12th, 2013 | by EditorOne


An Insatiable Appetite for Apps

Every few months, a story emerges about a newly wealthy “appreneur” who has created the latest breakthrough and sold it to one of the major players in digital mobile technology. For each seventeen year-old wunderkind that catches our attention for a few days, there are tens of thousands of independent app developers who are designing their own niche programs with hopes of a successful launch.

Global App Explosion

Which app did you last download? Which one did your friend tell you about most recently? How many are on your device that you never really use? Extrapolate those questions by the entire population of the mobile-connected world and you get statistics like these:

In January of 2013, Apple® announced that its customers had reached the download milestone of 40 billion apps. December 2012 broke all records with over two billion apps downloaded in a single month.
Over 775,000 apps are available to Apple® device users, which translates into a $7 billion payday for the app developers.
By late 2012, Google had almost 700,000 apps available for the Android™ platform.
China is the world’s largest app market with 420 million mobile phone users and 11 billion apps downloaded in 2012 alone. Utilization of apps in China increased 870% from 2011 to 2012.
Global industry projections forecast a cumulative total of 165 billion apps downloaded by the end of 2013, with worldwide app revenues of over $20 billion. By the end of 2017, that figure is anticipated to exceed $63 billion.

Is there an App for That?

Perhaps you dream of creating a pop-culture phenomenon like Angry Birds™ or a Facebook game that goes viral such as Words with Friends®. Maybe you just want to better understand how to integrate Google maps or geo-fencing into an app that you’re designing.

There may not be an app to build your app, but there are several do-it-yourself development sites available online. You don’t even have to be a coder because the most basic sites will allow you to build an app by pointing and clicking. Two great sites for beginners are App Makr and Buzztouch.

Dozens of tutorials are available for more advanced developers who want to learn more about specific tools or platforms, as well as for those of us who want to build the next big thing for cross-platform downloads. Savvy developers are thinking beyond Apple® and Android™ to consider apps that also work on Windows8 and Kindle.

Best Practices for App Developers

Leading app developers have learned by trial and error over the years. Let their experience work to your benefit by following a few very logical guidelines:

Make it easy for the user to download your app in the fewest number of clicks, taps, or registration fields.
Create an app that is intuitive for users and simple to customize to their needs.
Offer features that competing apps don’t have.
Be careful not to overload your app with unnecessary features or design elements.
Program a “help” section … just in case.
Use trusted beta testers to put your app through every possible usage scenario.
Be diligent in testing every tweak you make before launching your app.

Distributing Your App

Determining the right digital distribution system for your app is the last piece of the puzzle. Much of your decision will depend on the platforms that will support your app and the distribution channels open to individual developers.

The App Store and Google Play both allow for distribution, as do Nokia, Samsung and the Windows Phone Store. Outside of these major players, dozens of third-party distribution options exist. These include mostly smaller names in the app marketplace, along with a few well-known brands like the Amazon App Store and VZAppZone (Verizon).

Walt Disney once said “If you can dream it, you can do it.” He built an empire of innovation and creativity on that belief. Maybe you can, too.

Author Byline: Laura Mingo writes in the field of higher education. This article aims to offer career advice for university students in relation to IT and promotes the benefits of advanced study regarding a BU online master’s in computer information systems degree.

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