So you’ve got an app idea that you want to bring into the world? Here’s how to go about making that dream come true.
First things first: you need to write out what the app is and what it does. Start with a mission statement, like: “this app will assist users in finding and rating local dog parks.” A simple, to-the-point description of your goal goes a long way in helping you communicate the app’s purpose, as well as focusing your ideas around the central functionality.
Next you’ll want to detail the user experience that you envision: what elements does the user navigate when using the app? You’ll outline the “flow” of the user experience, each step along the path to achieving a goal, which screens lead to which other screens, and what information is displayed.
The latest version of Android (Lollipop) introduced a new set of design standards called Material Design. This is mainly a flat design, but includes a shallow 3D layering for elements, giving the appearance of sheets of paper. App makers should take a look at Google’s Material Design documentation to see what that all means.
If you don’t have experience doing design and making assets in Photoshop (or other image manipulation tools) you will probably want to hire someone to help do the design for the app. It is imperative that the app look good and be clearly understandable at a glance if you want it to succeed.
However you go about creating these assets, you’ll need to have each screen’s content ready to go when programming the app.
Android apps are generally coded in Java through the Android SDK provided by Google. Google Play developer accounts are $25, this is a single-time payment which grants you access to everything you’ll need to build and publish an app on Google Play. This includes a very large knowledge-base and a good community of helpful app-makers who can help you out.
If you’re interested in reading a very comprehensive guide to the app development process, mainly aimed at aspiring coders, then Google provides a valuable “Building Your First App” guide that you can explore.
If you intend to hand off the programming duties to someone else, then you’ll still need to make your own dev account for submitting the app to Google Play. Your developer will use your design documents to create the app as you specify, and you can test each new build to make sure everything is proceeding on the right track.
Publishing is incredibly easy on Android. Once the app is finished, tested, and ready to go live, you simply log into your developer account and go to the Publish section to set up the launch of your app. Either you or your programmer will need to export the app as an APK (that’s a single file which houses the entire app. It’s what people download when they want to install your app).
You’ll need to provide the app’s official name, content rating, country’s for distribution, upload the APK, as well as the app’s icon & screenshots, choose a category and write a description which will display on the app store. There are a lot of options to fill in when it comes to how your app is listed, and it is important to use them if you want to maximize your visibility. If you are a startup ready to take the next step forward find out why startups and android app development go hand in hand.
Once all that information is given, you just have to accept the Terms & Conditions and click Publish. After a few minutes it will be live for the world to discover and download! Easy.