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Lessons I Learned: Building My First Android App

You may have heard of many stories about successful startups that launched android apps. Many people do not know that a lot more startup fail while trying this.

Developing Android app is not a tough job but most of the startup make the mistake of directly jumping into development without knowing what it takes to create an awesome Android app.

For individually business owners who are relatively new into the programming world, it is always suggested to dive deeper into how to build the first Android app. It is very necessary to keep the initial steps clear.

About My App

My first app was a contribution to the java community for java job seekers. This app helps java developers and students prepare for job interview focused on Java programming. I chose to create this app since I owe a lot to the Java community. I have always used open source and free libraries from Java community. This is my opportunity to say thanks to everyone who contributed and help me thrive in my career. This app is Free to download and complete ads free – no strings attached.

You can download this app from Google Play Store (Download Java QA App )

This article is summary of my learnings from developing this android application. I hope this proves handy while developing an Android app on your first attempt.

Lesson 1: Research Before Development

Research should be the base for your Android app development. This is the stepping stone for your first Android app development. Research thoroughly about need of app before jumping into the development.

How To Do A Quick Research on App

Do keyword research on Google Keyword planner tool
Go to Google Play store – and search for apps in same area
Try the existing apps from app store and see if you find any pain points in those apps.
Make a note of those pain points.
Read user reviews about the app – make a note of what people like and hate.
Do the same research on apple iPhone store and try to evaluate good apps.

Lesson 2: User Interface Takes Time

Its difficult to Develop an attractive user interface with simplicity and usability perspective. The process is iterative and takes lot of time. Even minor UI issues can not be ignored.

A good UI can bring trust of many. On the other hand, an app that is very useful but has a sloppy UI will not be liked by people.

Below are some ways to come up with an awesome UI in short time.

  • Pick A Template UI

    There are lots of UI templates available in different marketplaces. It is always better to choose a popular one such as Code Canyon, which will save you money and time. If you choose a template from the marketplace instead of creating one by yourself, you will save a good amount of time that you can invest in augmenting the functionalities of the app.

    Picking a UI template does not mean that you make your app look like others. You can easily give your app a unique look and feel by altering colors, images and fonts. The main idea is to save time on fixing UI.

  • App Icon Is Important

    The app icon is the identity of your app. If you are planning not to make a unique icon for your app, it is same as not giving any identity to your app. Do not make this mistake. Ensure that you have an icon to your app and the icon should symbolize the app you have developed.

  • How To Create A Professional Logo

    Crowdsourcing Logo Design

    You need not be a logo designer to get a professional looking logo. I have found fiverr.com to be really useful in picking a low cost logo for apps. The logo designers can offer you multiple revisions on logos. Make sure to pick a designer with consistent high ratings. You may need to spend more than $5 on gig extras, however its worth.

Lesson 3: Testing On Multiple Devices

Mobile app testing is not easy. It is necessary that you test your Android app in multiple devices like mobile phones, tablet PCs, in different OS versions. This will give you an understanding if your app is working on multiple devices correctly. This will also help you analyze where you went wrong if it does not work in any of the devices.

  • Test On Your Old Device

    Many of us have switched from old android devices to newer devices. However the whole world is your consumer and any people still use older version of devices. If you are switching to a new device make sure to keep the old device and test your app on it.

  • Ask You Friends

    Request your friends to try out your app in their android devices. This may be more suitable when you have thoroughly tested already on your own devices.

  • Get A Used Device

    Try out more devices and variety of devices from used device market. Most devices are sold for cheap. You can try sites like eBay or craigslist to get really economical deals.

Lesson 4: The App Evolves Over Time

It is normal that certain features of your app may be removed and replaced with new ones, when you start understanding the usage better. You should not stop this evolution. If you want to know the importance of time in an app development, you should read the 28-day success story of Flappy Bird.

Lesson 5: Keep It Simple

This is the most important lesson. It is necessary to make your Android app simple so that it can reach a wide array of audience and they can operate on it, irrespective of their technical knowledge or Android familiarity. The navigation of the app should be simple and easy to understand and if it is a game, there’s nothing better than keeping the controls simple and natural.

Lesson 6: Do A Beta Release

Many developers make this mistake by not choosing the Beta release of their app initially. Do not make this mistake. With this facility, Google App Store releases the app to a limited set of users. This is done without any marketing strategy or real PR.

Lesson 7: Listen To Feedback

It is always suggested to remain open to feedback from your audience. You need to be open minded and accept the fact that you cannot be always right. Try looking at the app from an user’s perspective. You need to understand if your target customer doesn’t find your app useful, or they find your app to be run of the mill, your app will not go very far in the Android market.

Lesson 8: Simplify Sending App Version

It is necessary to simplify the app version when sending them through devices. This will save you a good amount of time and energy while debugging any issues.

Lesson 9: Do Not Rush To Release

Having a time frame in mind while developing an app helps you keep yourself on track. Do not ever release the app if it is not completely ready. You need to ensure that you love what you are releasing or else, do not release it even though you would miss the release date by a small margin. If your reputation in the Android marketplace is marred by releasing a faulty app, it will get tough for you to redeem your credibility as a developer in the future.

Lesson 10: Submit App To Multiple Stores:

It is universal truth that Google Play Store is the best platform to release your app. However, it is recommended that you submit your app to multiple stores like Amazon Appstore, SlideME, Samsung Galaxy Apps or 1Mobile Market. Submitting your app to multiple stores will give more visibility and reach for your app.

Lesson 11: Address Security

Do not ignore the security aspect of app development. It is highly necessary to address the security aspect during app development. It is not recommended to wait to address the security issue until the production phase as it might expose vulnerabilities in the app. This is one of the important aspects.

Lesson 12: All Do Not Succeed

Every single programmer and coder can develop Android apps but only few of them succeed. The success may depend on various factors like the usability of the app, marketing or the acceptance of the app among users. You need to accept this fact, and realize that there are thousands of developers out there, and Android is the biggest app platform. Hence, succeeding at the outset is a tough.

These are basically the points to keep in mind when developing your first Android app. However, these lessons may not make your first Android app a runaway success. Every developer goes through the learning curve before becoming truly successful in the fiercely competitive Android market.

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