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Is it hard to make an app?

Ben Obear
October 14, 2015

Many companies believe that creating an app is very simple. Whether it is iOS or Android, apps are extremely complex, especially if they are designed in a customized way to truly meet the demands of a company.

Commonly Made Mistakes When Making an App

There are a lot of mistakes made when making an app. It is these mistakes that lead companies to believe making an app is easy. Most don’t realize that they have made a mistake until long after they have launched the app. They come to this conclusion after customers complain or it doesn’t bring in the level of business that they anticipated.

The most common mistakes include:

  • Not creating a checklist
  • A server needs to be in place
  • A user interface has to be customized
  • Lack of thought regarding the app and the device it will be used on

Understanding the common mistakes will allow you to focus more on the steps that go into making an app and how it is important to work with a company that can provide the level of customization that you need.

Platforms Matter

You have to consider the platform you are going to launch on. Android and iOS are very different platforms. While you may want to have an app on both, they are very different entities in terms of the way they are created because of coding and such. Further, you may only want to launch on one platform because that is the mobile device that you use within your business. For example, if you are creating an app solely for your employees to use out in the field and you distribute iPads, there is no need to go through the development of an Android app.

Further, you have to look at how difficult re-platforming is. Once you choose a platform, you want to stick with it. Otherwise, you are going to have to require developers to be back-end wizards that are fluent in hybrid architecture.

Checklist of Features

There may be a long list of features you want an app to have. These aren’t going to magically happen – a developer has to create them by using extensive lines of code. There also has to be testing in place to make sure that the app actually does what you want it to do. This is a commonly missed step and ultimately leads to why there are so many bad apps in the marketplace. The testing has to be done so that bugs can be worked out before you roll it out live with your employees and/or your customers.

Some of the top features include:

  • Online/offline functions
  • Interactive
  • Analytics
  • Social media log-in
  • Keep it simple
  • Provides feedback
  • Security
  • Personalization option

Once you know what you want your app to do, it will be easier to get started with it. You never want to get started designing an app until you have sat down with your team to figure out all of what you want it to do. Otherwise, you are wasting the time of the developer and it’s going to take longer for you to have a finished product.

There is a lot of tightly integrated code that goes on behind the scenes of an act. What you don’t want is to start with a structure and then have to redesign the structure. Not only is it going to take more time, it is also going to cost you more money if the developer has to keep re-creating the entire structure. Sometimes, it can be just as difficult to establish the features that you want as it is to build the app itself. Taking the time to figure out all of what you want the have to do is well worth it, and you want to involve as many people within your team as possible. This is simply because there may be people who interact with the customers that will have a better idea as to what the demographic wants while other people within your operations may want the app to do a few other things, providing additional functionality and improved productivity.

Lots of Work

An iOS app is considered a more extensive project than an android app. However, both require a significant amount of intricacies.

The first is that a server needs to be in place so that data can be stored. This means that no matter what, some level of customization needs to be in place. Many people make the assumption that there is a standard plug-and-play way to create an app, and the best apps available don’t involve any kind of plug-and-play.

Additionally, an API needs to be created for your application. This is an application program interface, and specifies how the software interacts. It also leads to how the graphical user interface (GUI) is programmed. This may require a significant amount of customization due to the features that you want to offer within the app.

Most developers define the API as being the most important aspect of the entire app. Because data models need to be defined, business rules need to be established, and input parameters of business logistics need to be identified. There is nothing “easy” about this process, and is ultimately why it can take a significant amount of time to create an app, whether it is for iPhone or for android.


Once businesses realize just how difficult it can be to make an app, outsourcing is typically the route that is taken. Because developers need to know a significant amount of information about coding. While there are some basic plug-and-play app creation tools, it does not offer any level of customization. Further, if the app is to be sold in the marketplace, it needs to be different from all of the other apps that are out there, and this is not achievable through a plug-and-play tool.

The more functions you want for the app, the more you want to consider working with a team. Often, you can outsource the project at a lower cost, and working locally is not always going to provide you with the best option. Instead, focus on the experience of the developers and what they have been able to create for businesses in the past.

Ultimately, you want a great app, and making one is hard. It requires a significant amount of expertise, time, testing, and even maintenance. If you are not up for the challenges of making it customized and going through the checklist to make sure that all of the functions are present, it’s best to work with professional developers.

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Ben Obear
San Francisco