Ricoh blog: What you need to know about creating your own apps

With more than a million different apps in both Google Play and Apple’s iTunes Stores, maybe it is time for you to create your own app to brand your business. It is amazing to realize that Apple opened up iTunes to support apps less than six years ago, and Google wasn’t far behind for its own Android ecosystem. Now there are billions of downloaded apps and while the most popular are games and less serious ones, there is always room for a few new business-oriented ideas.

Assuming you have compelling reasons for your own business-related app, such as doing something that is unique and not just producing eye candy or trying to make money fast, here is a brief primer on how to get started in the app world.

First, think about what your potential app is going to do. Look at your competitors and download and try out their apps too: it is easy to do the research and find all apps with specific brand names or keywords in both the Google and Apple app stores. Given the number of existing apps, it is getting harder to find an unmet or unfilled niche! And while there are other app stores and mobile phone platforms out there, you really want to stick with the top two contenders. You’ll have plenty of work to do anyway.

Second, you should take a look at these great suggestions on some basic decisions to make early on, along with some tips on general design principles, and other general guidelines for beginners. 

Next, decide on how you are going to build your app, either by choosing an appropriate programming language (with these suggestions from PC World) or by picking one of the more than a dozen different tools that can create apps from scratch that anyone can use, such as YappBuildAnAppAppMachine or Conduit.

If you go the programming route, you’ll need to register as a developer and download the software development kits from Google and Apple and become familiar with their tools. And before you write any code, take a look at third-party app platform construction tools such as Mendix, OutSystems and Podio (there is a great comparison matrix here). Any of these can save you a lot of time and effort in building and deploying your app.

Finally, you need to get the word out on your app: post links on your blog, solicit written reviews from your customers to be posted on both Google and Apple’s app stores, and use social media to promote its wonderful ways and advantages. Good luck with your app!

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