Guest Post: Tips for the Ideation Process in Developing an App

To launch a successful app, a development team needs to have a well-tested app that users find valuable. The testing part is one thing, but what about coming up with a valuable, innovative concept for an app? Of all the steps to success, we can’t forget about the very first step in app development – the ideation process. This guest post is by Natalie Bracco, a freelance tech writer and mobile design dabbler. Natalie helps in the ideation process of developing apps for prepaid Android phones. In this post, Natalie will share some best practices for coming up with ideas for developing an innovative, award-winning app.

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So it’s time to develop a new app. Development plans always begin with the ideation process, but sometimes this process is a bit confusing. Where should you start? What’s the best direction to go? Who should be included in the ideation process? Here’s how successful ideation professionals approach app development.

Do the Research

Yes, ideation is the fun, creative part – and research is the boring part. But thorough research is critical for two reasons. First, it insures that your team knows what apps are already out there so you’re not reinventing the wheel. Second, it identifies gaps in the current market which your new app can fill. The key to being successful in a market saturated with millions of apps, is to offer something completely different for consumers to get excited about.

Include download rates, customer reviews and blog posts in your research. What do customers, bloggers and tech gurus say about the apps already out there? Find out what other developers are doing right, but also pay careful attention to how they’re not satisfying the end-user. Meeting this need is how you’ll catapult your product ahead of the competition.

Hand Pick Your Ideation Team

The best app development team is the group of like-minded individuals who get along beautifully, right? Actually, no. Assembling a team of the most diverse people you can gather gives you the best ideation has to offer. Unless your app is marketed to lemmings, you’re going to need to appeal to a wide range of thinkers to garner any market share. People of differing mindsets, values and opinions will see every side and angle of the situation.

Clearly State Goals

This is where the waters muddy rather quickly. Goals are concrete, unlike ideas, which are vague. If your ideation team is assigned clearly defined objectives, they’ll deliver clear solutions. For example, “Develop an app that is more user-friendly,” isn’t a clear goal. However, “Develop an app for Android phones that gives users one-click access to X information,” is a clear goal everyone can understand. It will be obvious when developers meet this goal. Clear goals don’t damper the creative process – they offer a road map for the process.

Brainstorming vs. a Collaborative Process

Image Courtesy of code-analyser.blogspot.com

Brainstorming sessions assemble an ideation team in real-time, putting them all together in the same room and with equal input. This works well for smaller teams who all work in the same building. But this isn’t the only (or necessarily the best) way to conduct the ideation process.

Giving team members access to an online whiteboard lets all members work when time permits, even when group members are scattered across the country or globe. It doesn’t work in real-time, so the process is slower. But it does give each member time to ponder problems and solutions and come up with a well thought out development plan.

Make sure your ideation team has the tools they need to succeed, such as sound research, a private place to brainstorm and dedicated time to work on the project. The more you invest in the ideation process from the beginning, the better your results will be in the end.

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