How to create a mobile application

Are you guilty of saying, “Should anyone create an app for this?” I know I do. Many people have a great idea for an app, but do not know how to create it. The inspiration for this article was my conversation with a guy at a coffee shop. We talked to him about an idea for an app like Tinder. He started telling me the idea, “Well I’m not going to make it anyway, so you can get it.” I thought his idea was great. This has solved a problem that many young singles have. He’s sitting on a potential gold mine, and doing absolutely nothing with it. He confirmed to himself that he could not create the app for the following reasons:

Busy with law school
No idea how to make it

Familiar words? Most of us have an idea about a mobile application, but they are never created due to lack of time, resources and knowledge.

Here’s a free guide to share details on how I won over $ 10,000 for my app concept.

Based on my experience, I’ll share the process of creating my app in a timely, affordable, and great way.

1. Research

Researching can be tedious, but it’s the first step in the app development process. It is also very simple. If you have any questions about creating an app (Google is your best friend), research it:

What are the average developers charging for this type of app?
Where can I find a good developer or designer?

Great questions lead to great answers. In my research, I stumbled across a few very useful articles. I used this article to determine how much I should pay for a native app (an app specifically designed for a specific platform like Android):

2. Create sketches and write software requirements

This can be the most frustrating part of the entire app process. It’s not the job of developers to create specifications or come up with ideas for you. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. I was lucky because I gave the developers the most basic sketches and they helped me refine my ideas. Most developers are not, but you should look specifically for developers who are patient and willing to give advice. Let them know that you are a newcomer and have no idea how the process works.

As you can see below, the sketches I gave were awesome. However, for this you need to hire a good team that can help guide you from ugly sketches to a beautifully designed app. I sent them this exact sketch, I didn’t even scan it. I took a picture with my phone …

8K1cEcCK8DenyODYufDfRtcjBpwJBYXjTP5FczNK6jgSpecifications are written after the sketches (this is also referred to as the story or flow of your app). For example, “When the heart button is clicked, it allows the user to save another user to their favorites.”

Example: Screen shot 2014-09-06 3.50.49 PM App Story 2

Remember that you have to be very specific. My developers have helped me write the specification since I have never done it before.

3. Hire a good team

Originally I tried to learn coding on my own, but it failed. I wanted my app to be native to the iPhone, so that learning Objective C is needed … which I think is hard to learn. I quickly lost motivation.

If you’re serious about turning your app into a business and don’t want to waste time teaching yourself code, I recommend hiring a developer. I’m sure you’re anxious to build your app, but don’t rush to verify a good team. In search of developers, I’ve posted to Freelancer, Alliance and Odesk. I got the most response from freelancers and alliances. My work had over 100 bids. See below for screenshots:

Elance: Ilans


Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 1.35.09 PM

After verifying through over 100 applications, I narrowed it down to 5 applicants and set up Skype calls with them. I quickly and effectively rejected applications that did not meet my budget, so too many or suspiciously low bids received no response. I also ignored applications that weren’t very personalized. For example, I get a lot of “Dear Sir / Madam, we want to do your project” offer, when you can clearly tell with my picture that I am a madam (this is a small thing). One helpful strategy that I have chosen from posting other jobs is to prove to the bidders that they have read the job description by responding with specific words. For example, the word would be “butterscotch” and it was ignored if you did not respond to the offer.

I had a bad experience with outsourcing before, but I was not against doing it again. I knew I needed to examine my possibilities more carefully. During this time developers must meet the following criteria:

  1. Advanced English level (because they need to be able to clearly explain what they are doing).
  2. The desire to explain how they would build the app (although I didn’t understand much of the process or terms they were telling me, I wanted to see if they were willing to explain and help me understand).
  3. Polite, because you’re probably going to work with them for a few weeks or months, so you should like them.

A team from India has passed my test with flying colors. After the project started, we had weekly Skype calls where they updated me on app progress.

Sample Convo: Pride conversation

This may sound obvious, but make sure you check out the developers’ previous work and ask the right questions, such as:

Did you code that yourself?

Is it your custom design?

What language did you code it in?

Is it a template? Etc.


I do not recommend hiring developers every hour because it can be expensive. I went with a fixed price because I knew it was going to be a big project and it needed to be adjusted across. Depending on the complexity of your project, every hour can be beneficial.

4. Design

If your developers are also great designers then you may not need this step. It was important for me to have an aesthetically pleasing app, so its design was a big deal. My team of developers was great, but their specialty was not design. The designs they made for me are:

BhWwcpiBbhgYEXKTkMxUxnzCdZglMT1-owLzM0mczrw EHpLESCzFI4nkgRd7yYmQJVJjDra_F5t0pYgywSbZYY

Their designs were good, but unfortunately a big change from Apple forced me to change the design completely. iOS 6 was released and the conventional UI design was completely changed. This was frustrating because I wanted my app to look brand new, but our agreement did not cover major software updates. I wanted to go into everything and decided to find an epic designer.

I found an amazing designer at Crowdspiring. In my opinion, the design of your app is very important. The way CrowdSPRING works is that you have a competition and the designers submit their best designs in the hope that you will reward them for their project. I’ve got some really great submissions:

Screen shot 2014-08-13 12.58.03 PMThis is one I chose: eeUYjaD9zkBRMhLO5EDqeWDpeMzP62l6LT8xbOsfszcThe changes from iOS 5 to iOS 6 were huge, so I challenged my designer to give the developers a facelift to the original designs. He completely crushed the work:

v_5PkmNNQo4JPMuKY9mF3B0ndFH1sC3XnOO46MtF7_o uIGIE0crgSTAQan6JFO6TDP4d89TTT5yBk24ApFXsm4

He also redesigned the app icon, as iOS 6 has a flattering design:

iOS 5



iOS 6

Step 5: Become a developer for the platform of your choice.

To get your app in the App Store, you need to be an Apple developer. You can do this by signing up for an Apple Developer account for only $ 99 / year. This step may vary depending on your preferences, but my developers have stated that I can use their Apple Developer account. I turned down the offer because the app would be published in their company name. Then tHe The final The move was to upload code to the developers’ App Store.

Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 5.13.37 pm

Don’t let excuses stop you from following your ideas. Get my free guide where I share tips on how to discover your passion and win thousands of dollars for your app. Get it here.

Alicia T. Glenn shared his experiences and tips on how to accomplish great things by discovering and following your emotions on his blog. Join her free newsletter to get business ideas, life hacks and strategies on how to live a more fulfilling life.

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