Lessons Learned From My First App Release

Each app is a journey, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

Both Apple’s App Store and Google Play have more than 1 million apps available to consumers, and developers add more of them each day.  While there are many ways to create an app, making a top-notch app is no simple task. If you've perused the millions of apps available, you've probably encountered apps that are frustratingly buggy or difficult to navigate. Downloading an app that looks great, suits your needs, and doesn’t crash is like finding the holy grail.

Always striving to release high-quality apps, Web Services has contributed mobile apps to both app stores. Each one is a journey, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

Lesson 1: Build apps for people that are passionate about their ideas.

We've developed an array of apps for clients that span the University environment, from the App Challenge finalists to humanities research to UChicago Medicine. Many of our apps begin with clients that recognize a gap in a certain field and are passionate about finding solutions to fill that gap.

A great app idea also fuels the development process. After all, it is most enjoyable to build an app for people who love what they do.

Lesson 2: Work well with others.

It’s wise to get input from others throughout the development process. What seems like an intuitive layout to one person may look like a maze to another. When working with a team, it is essential that you bounce ideas off of each other to ensure you haven’t overlooked something fundamental. Two (or three or four) heads are always better than one.

In addition to working with other people, an app developer must work well with the tools of the trade. A common quip among our team is “don’t fight the framework.” Apple and Google have put a lot of thought into their developer tools to create a smooth, efficient app-building process. Frankenstein-like trouble arises when a developer tries to manipulate these tools without adhering to the intended framework. Only with a thorough understanding of the tools can a developer successfully translate a project into a functional app.

Lesson 3: Be ready for Apple’s review process.

Developing for iOS and Android? Be ready for Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Although the release process for each store is similar, there is one challenging caveat: Apple's review process. Apple is very serious about controlling the the app store environment, and you'll have to meet some stringent criteria before your apps pass the review process. Be sure to thoroughly read the App Review Guidelines and prepare to endure the scrutiny of the review process. Keep in mind that the process is there to control the apps housed in the App Store, so your users will have an easier time sorting through the millions of apps out there and discovering yours.