Published on March 12, 2014
The New Way to Make Android Apps [and it’s powered by Webapptool]
It’s not as complicated as you think. Read on through the following steps to understand how you can build an Android app for yourself or for your clients. This short e-book will focus on a way to develop apps that doesn’t require any coding. Don’t worry – it’s not a boring step-by-step guide about how to use a drag and drop app builder. It’s also not going into detail about various classes of Java. What you will find is loads of valuable information that is going to help you make your app a success. Who is this e-Book for? People who want to make really awesome mobile experiences, but don’t want to waste infinite time with repetitive coding, or don’t want to code at all. It’s also for people who may have experimented with some other tools for building apps that are out there on the market but still haven’t found exactly what they’re looking for. If you’ve got graphic design or web design skills, and perhaps have built up small business around putting them to work, keep reading. Reading this will help you to expand your horizons and understand how to potentially grow your business. Content 1. The Big Idea 2. Wireframing 3. Get a Tool 4. App Design 5. Now What? 6. Play Store? 7. The Point The New Way to Make Android Apps Intro
Get a big idea for your Android app. Having a big picture of what you want to accomplish with your app is important to your development timeline as well as how satisfied you’re going to be with the result. Many great app ideas are born by wanting to solve a problem for a particular group of people. Maybe there’s a local lawn mowing business that needs an appointment making system. Maybe there’s a chain of hair salons that needs a location finder. Maybe you want to help people have more fun. Inspired yet? Now think about a person, a group or a company who would want to buy your app. We’re not exactly talking about the end user just yet (that’s next) but more about the brand, service or process your app will represent. We’ve been doing our research about how easy it is to be successful by thinking “if I build it, they will come” and it is not always entirely positive. You should do your research too. For example if you know of a certain popular restaurant, sports group, museum – visit their website on your mobile device. What does it look like? Could they benefit from having an app? Can you add extra functionality, making the experience more exciting and useful for the rest of the people that try to visit it on their mobile phone? It is becoming more important than ever to have a solid business case behind your app. Wireframing (it doesn’t have to be pretty, yet) After you’ve determined what problem you’re going to solve with your app and have a decent understanding of the business value behind having people use it – move on to this step. A good way to start is to check out other mobile apps that are similar to the one you want to make in order to get some inspiration. The main activity of this phase involves literally sketching out the flow and pattern you want your user to take when they’re tapping around in your app. You can also start to mock up the visual layout of the screens by indicating where buttons will appear, what kind of font you want to use or how the icons will be styled. Don’t go overboard with the visual layout just yet, just focus on designing the lay-out. There are a number of things you need to keep in mind. The New Way to Make Android Apps The Big Idea Wirefram- ing
1. The more features you want, the more complex it will be to build. People are constantly on the go! You should make it possible for people to use their app with their thumb and one eye. Avoid putting the metaphorical kitchen sink into your app and focus on getting users the goal you want people to accomplish when they see the first screen. This should help make it easy to tap through the app and get to the goal within 2-3 clicks. 2. Hide away content that’s additional to the main goal in a menu. A common user interface design feature is a footer menu for the main features – think of things like “Contact” or “Route”. There can also be what’s called a panel menu that’s incorporated to contain extra things like uploading a selfie to social media, an ‘about us’ page for a company – you get the picture. Also consider the impact of accidentally touching various parts and the screen and the impact of the back button. 3. You don’t need to go “native” to access native features. You can rely on the fact that it’s possible to incorporate things like location-based features to your app, making it possible to do things that customize the user experience. Try delivering pop-up notifications or narrowing down a list of choices. For example, your app displays stores within a 5 mile radius, rather than every store. Try to incorporate these type of features that personalize the app experience for the user and therefore make using more efficient. Not to worry if you’re not a UX or UI expert. You’ve probably used many apps in your life and you know what kind of things annoy you when they’re either not available or in the wrong place in the wrong time. There’s always the testing phase where you can tweak and adapt what’s not working just right. Get a Tool. You’re totally sold on your app idea, and you have a very good idea about how you want it to look and move around. Here’s the breaking point where most people without coding skills give up on their big dream of selling an app they’ve built. You could choose to use Java language and an integrated development environment (IDE) to create an Android app, but unless you studied computer science or have a lot of time to dedicate that’s going to be difficult. There’s plenty of tooling out there that will help you launch an app quickly, but if you’re picky about how the app looks The New Way to Make Android Apps Wirefram- ing Get a Tool
and how the navigation works, we advise you to steer clear of too-simple template tools. The point is that using HTML5 in combination with other plug-in programming and things like CSS can now access many of the same features that native apps can. That’s how all these template tools cropped up in the first place. These tools make it possible to, for example, use the phone’s accelerometer, i.e. shake the device to activate a function. That same “shake” function that might take hours for a developer to code can be integrated in minutes with a tool. You might have expected it was coming – but here’s the plug: our app development toolkit helps to more easily make Android apps that the world will love. Think of us as a Wordpress for apps – fully customizable but still intuitive enough to get you started quickly. App Design for Android. With our toolkit you have complete freedom in design and layout – there are of course optimal image sizes to consider but you can specify that those images appear in any way, shape and form that you might like. Since a majority of designers use a very similar process to accomplish their work – we’re not trying to change The New Way to Make Android Apps Get a Tool App Design Need some design inspiration? Take a stroll about Bēhance or Pinterest and search for things related to “app design” or even just “design” in general. This should get your mental gears running. that just to make it possible to build apps. First, they create the elements using a image editing or graphic design software like Photoshop, Gimp, Sketch or PaintShop Pro. Elements that you should design or adapt from the designs of others include but aren’t limited to buttons, icons, images, and backgrounds. Normally when you’re working on a design for a mobile app you have to consider a variety of different screen resolutions. That’s why it’s hard to use the template tools out there – the images don’t scale or simply don’t fit the dimensions of the device. Especially Androids come in a variety of sizes since nearly every device manufacturer on the market has taken advantage of the open platform. We’ve pre-programmed the ability for the images and elements to respond to the device. Which saves you lots of time designing and debugging in the end. If you want to find out how to use our tool – just get in touch with us and we can give you a demo: www.webapptool.com/tour.
I used a tool and I’m ready to sell my app – now what? Let’s say you’ve got a great looking app that you can be proud of. You’re ready to show it to the person or group of people who you built it for in the first place – but wait – TEST IT FIRST! Ask your colleagues or some of your acquaintances to try out your app on their smartphones and tablets before you go bursting into the boardroom somewhere. Try your best to “break it” so you can make sure to work out all the kinks. Once you do get granted the time to present your app – there’s undoubtedly going to be feedback. That’s where the power of a tool like ours comes in – rather than have to go back to hundreds of lines of code and rebuild your blocks or having to say “no, that can’t be done with the tool I’m using”, you can make real-time tweaks and test them right in the very same office. Are you ready to go to market and deploy? Think twice about the Play Store! Publishing your app to the Google Play Store doesn’t guarantee a million downloads or financial success. Plus, it costs money to just get listed among the millions of other apps in the first place; there’s no guarantee of getting approved either. It’s also getting harder to convince end users that your app compared to the other similar ones is worth that $0.99 or whatever you were planning on charging. The New Way to Make Android Apps Now What? Play Store Does a website charge $0.99 per entry? The people we exist to support are successful because they are selling apps directly to the people who know they need to care about mobile presence. These are the people who want to ensure that their customers can easily and enjoyable access the information they want when they want it, no download from the Play Store required. Thinkof how you find your local restaurant or hairdresser - typically it’s a search engine. When your app is accomplishing something purely transactional such as making a reservation – will it ever achieve those four star ratings that make it possible for your app to be discovered? Also – with every little change and update it has to be re-reviewed and approved before your user can download the update. Not everybody’s got time for that.
THE POINT OF IT ALL The moral of this story is – you don’t have to settle for just building Android apps. You can, but you could be missing out on reaching a significant portion of people with your app. You also don’t have to settle for drag-and-drop or templating tools that leave your (Android) app looking like the rest of the pack. After you develop a good understanding why you want to build your app and sketch our how you’re going to accomplish you can get straight to work on the design. That’s if you’re using a tool like ours of course. Still have more questions on developing apps for Android using tools, or working to create other types of apps? We’d love to help you answer them. Send us a Tweet, or just drop us a line on our website: www.webapptool.com. The New Way to Make Android Apps The Point
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