How to make an app when you can’t code (step-by-step guide)

Appearance: How to make an application Improve your thinking. Reduce your audience and test for demand. Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Make the first version of your app.

How to make an app when you can't code (step-by-step guide)

You have dreamed of perfect application thinking, but your technology is nothing short. What now? The coding experience is not necessarily prerequisite when designing an app, so never fear. “People … use this lack of technical talent as an excuse to start, in fact, it’s this chicken-egg situation,” says Jonathan Greichon, co-founder and head of marketing at The Founder. Institute. Most people think, “I can’t start a business until I have a tech founder – I can’t start it,” but in reality, you can’t find a tech entrepreneur unless you start building a business. . ”

Most first-time tech entrepreneurs think they need to find a team right away, but at an early stage, the most important part of your business is product concept. Wait until you have a technical co-founder until you have a deeper understanding of your market – because that awareness will tell you who you want to partner with and the skills you’re looking for. Your goal when designing an app is: prove to the world – and to potential investors and customers – that you have a good business idea. While it’s important to show that people will eventually be willing to pay for your app idea, focus more on creating a product that is absolutely necessary for your market than earning revenue from the gate, says Rob Biederman, co-founder and co-CEO of Catalant Technologies.

Here’s your go-to guide for creating your business idea – from identifying your audience to creating your app. Reduce your thinking and focus on the problem you are solving. Prior to incorporating Percy founder and CEO Nadia Masri, she was a dove to investigate the consumer insights industry and her target market: millennial and general Zed generations. Before you can move forward with creating your app, you need to gather key Intel, including assessing the strengths and weaknesses of competing products. Just because you dream of something great doesn’t mean someone else has the same idea – and it has to quickly.

“People… are afraid to talk about their competition,” says Masry. “The competition is great – it validates a concept. I think there is a healthy level: more competition means the market is higher; Just because there is not enough competition means that the idea is not viable. “However, take any generalization with a grain of salt,” she says. If you increase competition and know that you can do something different to provide greater value to your end user, you have a fighting chance. Make sure your potential product or service is what you want and want, and do extensive research to validate your app idea. As you narrow down that idea, set your goal to “solve a problem with a killer feature for a customer.” Applications that try to solve problems often take too much – either they don’t solve any problems specifically, or none of the problems are particularly important. Think about how you can download the app yourself and – it’s key – put it on your phone.

Another way to think about the problem you are solving is: Consider “customer pain point”. Ask yourself what the app does to address customer pain, and then consider the key needs of that solution – without it, it will have zero value. Focus on solving that problem very well, and once you do that, “Customers basically help you define your product roadmap,” says Grechon. You receive requests for adding some features and you can use them to advance your path in product development.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Launching and Marketing the App

Identify your audience and test for demand.

Say you’ve got 10 business ideas and you know that odds are only one of them will be successful. Do you randomly choose one and fund it in vain without doing your research? Or do you make an effort to toss out which of them is most viable, and then put your time, energy and money behind it? In an ot humorous scenario, the latter is easy to say. Once you have a technical business idea, there’s the mental temptation to put everything behind it and hire developers from the get-go.

“It’s like going to the casino,” says Alexander Cowan, a professor of technology management at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “It’s exciting – you feel like you’re getting a shot of dice and looking at what’s going on. The reality is, when you can give yourself five, you’re giving yourself a roll of dice, and that’s a big mistake.”

To find out if you are making a safe bet, you need to test for demand. The first step: identify your audience. “‘If you build it, they will come’ … not reality,” Greichman says. Ask yourself: Who is this app for? Even if you want to expand usage to everyone, you need a niche market to get started, and a great way to get started is a “virtual screener,” says Cowan. Say you are making an application for HVAC technicians who fix air conditioning systems – if you ask a group of them how many repairs they have made in the past week and say they are less than 10, you may have misunderstood your service, Cowan said. If you hear different levels of demand from different sources, you may not be able to adequately reduce your ideal audience.

Related: How To Stay Your Mobile App In Group

Once you have identified a niche audience, you can start investing in it long before your app launches. If you’re creating an app for writers, for example, you can start a Meetup group, host events, or start a podcast or blog. The goal is to build an interested community. If nobody clicks on your posts or is not interested in events, it may be an indicator that you are not on the right track, Cowan said. If you find some interest, try to count it. One of the easiest and most effective ways to get started is by creating a landing page for your app, explaining your goal, and collecting email addresses from interested people.

Before Biederman opened his marketplace for MBA students, he tested for consumer demand with a $ 9 landing page on GoDaddy and urged people to enter their email addresses if interested. He said anyone on the platforms can do this for $ 10 to $ 20, and no coding experience is required. Options include Launchrock and Carrd (a standard for building “really easy landing pages,” says Greechan). Once you have built your landing page, get the word out – and take care of how many email addresses you collect to assess interest levels. If you’re going to develop your app idea, ping your audience semi-regularly with updates.

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“Find the absolute cheapest way to have work that you can start providing to the target customer,” says Greichman. “Initially, you were really trying to release a [simple] product… that solves a customer problem. You don’t need tons of technology to do that. ” Go back to the original problem you were trying to solve for your core audience and make sure you were focused on it. “You want to prove everything you can about your end market and their woes and how you can fix it at the lowest possible cost,” says Biederman.

Now is the time to build your minimum viable product (MVP). While it may be tempting to go all out on design and features from your long-term vision for the app, this step is cautious and make sure people want what you have to offer before diving into HeadFirst. Your MVP is different from your version 1.0, in which “the whole point of MVP is to actually build the original product if you can,” says Cowan, while the latter is more expensive and more permanent. Exhibit A: ZeroCater, an office dining catering company that serves as a liaison between local restaurants and companies, has just launched as an email inbox and manual lunch-scheduling spreadsheet. When the company launched in 2009, “it has zero lines,” says CEO Ali Sabetti. As the customer base grows, ZeroCater has built its service beyond the spreadsheet and invested in a more sophisticated website – allowing it to match office dining preferences with hundreds of restaurants and local catering companies, and keep track of tens of thousands of employees.

If you’re not sold on the idea of ​​DIY-ing your service through an email inbox and spreadsheet, there are other ways to create an app that doesn’t require coding. For a mobile app, consider tools like Thunkable, Appy Pie and AppMachine. If you are setting your sights on a web application, try Bubble or Shoutem, and for the Marketplace app, consider ShareTribe or Krejalid. Finally, if you are building an e-commerce platform, you can start your MVP on a platform like Shopify.

If you can validate a business and start earning revenue without the app, you will contact people with the technical skills they are looking for from a position of strength.

Related: 9 Tools To Build Your Own Mobile App

Make the first version of your app.

Before Masry started her company, she used a permanent marker to draw out what she thought the app should look like – even if she had no design experience. Place pen to paper to draw the ideal. This is an easy way to get out of your own head and start wrapping your mind around the concrete product or service you are offering. After your initial sketches, try pairing your design ideas with free online tools to create high-quality mockups like Proto.io or Invision (no coding required). Another option is to create Adobe Indigenmocopes, however the subscription will return you $ 20.99 per month (after a free trial). Your mockups can also be used to determine how your potential audience feels about using your app – whether you host potential audience groups or solicit feedback from friends and advisors.

Next step: If you are not familiar with HTML and CSS, it is better to correct it rather than quickly. Even if you don’t want to make the app yourself, getting acquainted with the most basic coding languages ​​can help you communicate better with software engineers, developers, technology co-founders, or anyone who can help you on your journey. “In 2016, not being able to use HTML and CSS was the professional equivalent of being illiterate,” says Cowan. “It’s so easy to learn that as long as you have the right focus and … a related project to work on.” There are free platforms for Coursera and Udemy for websites like Codecademy or Khan Academy, and skills learning, depending on the course.

Once you’ve got the basics of coding – and you’re ready to build an app from scratch rather than sticking with a web app or other online tool – it’s time to build your basic concept. Whether you create your design in Indigenous or use a web tool – you can pitch to engineers. “It’s easy for engineers or anyone else for that matter to understand that you’re trying to come to life after they can see a visual representation of it, even if it’s not great,” says Masry. “It helps them visualize what they can help change.”

Related: 3 Ways To Build A Mobile App Without Tech Skills

To find software developers or engineers who can help you bring your idea to life, you can reach out to your network, attend networking events and meetups, search through skills on LinkedIn, or check out freelancer websites like Gigster. A note about the price: “Don’t go for someone who has the lowest day rate,” Cowan said. “What you really care about is: how much does it cost you to get a certain result with your app?” Finding the lowest hourly rate possible is rarely the most economical way to do so.

Is there anything else to remember? Make sure you are clear about your vision for the user experience, who the users are and the problem they expect the app to solve, and that you are engaged and equipped before offering the developer gig. You may offer a payment by cash or with company equity, but be wary of giving too much at a later time. “I was in the camp and said, ‘Pay … somebody’s on a little, even good faith pay,'” Masry said. The baseline version of your app, combined with your vision, clear audience and the quantitative demand you previously measured, is enough to take potential investors and customers.

 

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