So what does it take to make a successful app?

May 30, 2018

We hear from local app developers in the region on what it takes to make it ‘App-en’.

App development has become a new way of solving problems that are either big or small. These new creative solutions and various innovations can be enjoyed right in the palm of your hand. Apple has always been vocal in encouraging everyone to code and develop their own apps, which will again have its highlight during next week’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference.

The developer community here in the Middle East has seen a big change with a bunch of successful apps that has gained popularity not just in the region but in other parts of the world.

To help encourage budding developers, the people behind of the most successful apps have shared their own tips in building a successful app, including the various challenges that they had to face.

Fakhra Al Mansoori

Fakhra Al Mansoori, Emirati game designer and the founder of Hybrid Humans Game Studio said:

Tip 1: Be Passionate and accept failures

Make sure you are doing something you are truly interested and invested in, and mostly, good at. Keep in mind that you might fail on the first go, but you need to learn from every mistake to create a successful app. “Think of it this way,” says Fakhra “If you don’t try, there’s no opportunity to succeed. Failure at anything is honestly a learning lesson to improve on the next decision you will make.”

Tip 2: Understand the platform you are developing your application on

If you understand the capabilities of iOS, for example, you are better equipped to take right decisions. Fakhra mentions: “The beauty of developing for iOS platform is the uniformity of it. Once you get it right on either iPhone or iPad, you’re set. My recommendation is to utilize the different features offered on the iOS system so you can understand user behavior.”

Tip 3: Be organized. Celebrate the small wins

She says that you should be organized by taking steps, making list and tasks that you need to finish. The more focus you have on short-term goals, the more progress you will see. Apps like Trello which can help you manage your work and be more diligent.

Samer Bejjani

Adding more tips to the list is Samer Bejjani, the app developer and CPO of the Designer-24 app. He lists his own opinions on what it takes to be a developer. “There’s a positive change in the app development and startup scene in the Middle East. The standards and qualities are getting higher with lots of innovation happening within the region. What’s more exciting is this upward transition happened in a short period of time, so we are definitely raising the bar!” he says.

Tip 4: Keep it simple

Design for a great user experience, code for continuous development, and start off by building a minimal viable product first. Stick to the minimum requirements for your first release so you can get the initial round of feedback and testing. Once you have that ready, take the most non-technical friend or family member you have and watch them work the app. Is it intuitive? What is the user experience like?

Tip 5: Stay up to date with the learning tools

Never stop learning new things. If you are new to iOS, Samer’s said, “start using the latest programming language and learn to write code that works and is tested on all supported devices. Once you’ve done that, design a layout that is adaptive and fluid. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Today you are lucky to have access to thousands of great libraries and components.”

Tip 6: Test, test, test

Apply a solid testing methodology whether it’s automated, using focus groups, or otherwise. The standard goal is: does your app meet the requirements when used by your friends and the outside community?

Joy Ajlouni

Last to add her views is Joy Ajlouni, the Co-Founder and the Marketing Director of the popular courier service Fetchr, which is the first startup based in the Middle East that was funded by a top venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

Tip 7: Focus on one segment

She says that the biggest design mistake app developers make is trying to fit too many features at the same time – your app should have a focused purpose. “When creating an app, the first question, you need to ask yourself is what’s the problem do you want to solve? Focus on that one segment which will be your core business focus. If you start diluting your core value proposition then you become everything to everyone and nothing to everyone. My advice is, make sure to stick to one thing and do it right,” she says.

Tip 8: Market your product

“Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools in my opinion. We are lucky to be living in a community with big networking opportunities available to us. Once you have a good product that serves a purpose, get the word out. Go to events and make yourself known,” she adds, emphasizing that if needed, offer your product for free.

“Another great tool is offering your product for free. It’s what we, as Fetchr, do. If you give the customers the opportunity for a free trial and they use it, then the value proposition and the cost will be much less and more valuable than assigning a budget for digital marketing.”

You check out more of Hybrid Humans’s games at http://hybridhumans.ae/games. Both Designer-24 and Fetchr are free apps that you can download to your iOS device.

Stay tuned for our coverage of WWDC 2018 next week where we will get to see new versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.