How to Generate a Great App or a Video Game Idea?
Mar 22

How to Generate a Great App or a Video Game Idea?

By Violet Farah | Video Game Development

App development makes so much sense, whether you’d like to establish a successful studio or do it one time for promotional purposes. An app or a video game, however, is as great as the concept that powers the development.

A good idea for app or video game development is based on a lot more than mere market research. Just think about it – the Apple Store currently has over two million apps and the number exceeds 2.2 million in the Google Store. Coming up with something original and unprecedented has become nearly impossible.

Still, the market is growing all the time, providing new players with excellent entry opportunities. App store revenues totaled 29.2 billion US dollars across platforms in 2015. The revenue is expected to go up to 71.7 billion dollars by 2020. If you want a share of this lucrative pie, the time is now to come up with an app or a game idea that will sell. Here’s how to do it.

An Idea Log is a Great Beginning

Most entrepreneurs and creative individuals will confirm the power of journaling.

Your journey will begin with a single great idea. You never know when inspiration is going to strike. This is why you should be carrying a simple notebook at all times. Record ideas, interesting conversations with others, even app usage experience.

Record even the smallest fragments of ideas that pop in your head. Something that appears shapeless and undefined right now could easily be conceptualized in an app through an effective brainstorming session later on.

Mind mapping is another powerful way to generate ideas. It refers to diagrams, charts, images and sketches that all focus on a central theme and help you develop the information. The more detail you include in the mind map, the easier the development of the concept/prototype will be later on.

The creation of a mind map can be more effective than writing notes because a graphical tools bring together many forms of expression. In addition, natural association is used to group concepts and take a deeper look at them.

Come Up with a Plot/Main Purpose

Many developers have a massive problem – they’re stuck on the first part of the process (coming up with a nice idea) and they can’t move beyond.

It’s easy to become trapped in your own mind. Second-guessing the idea and modifying the app/game concept a dozen times is nothing but natural, especially if you don’t have the needed experience.

To move beyond the first step, you have to work with purpose and meaning.

If you are developing a video game, make sure that it has a solid plot from start to finish. Think about the main narrative, the genre, the skills that a player would need. All of this information can be used to develop a solid product.

Even if the game is simple and basic (a word game puzzle that doesn’t seem to have a plot, for example), you’ll still need to know the primary goal and the things that a player will need to accomplish to move from one level to the next one.

The same rule applies to apps. They should solve an actual problem, even if that problem is boredom and the app is simply meant to entertain the user. Otherwise, you risk having people installing your app and never giving it a second chance.

This is a serious issue for app developers. Google statistics suggest that 25 percent of installed apps are never used. An additional 26 percent will be abandoned after a single use. There are multiple reasons for this phenomenon. The lack of thoughtfulness in the development process is one of the most common reasons.

Everything else that you do will be dependent on this step – the selection of the right software, the environment, even the specific functionalities. Don’t rush to finish conceptualization fast. The more you invest in this preliminary process, the easier the actual development is going to be.

Find Inspiration in Other Media

Doing app and video game research is a no-brainer when it comes to perfecting your idea. You obviously have to find out what the market has to offer and how your development is going to position itself against the competition. You should definitely, however, work to find inspiration in other media, as well.

Some of the greatest app development concepts have been derived from music, film, fine art and books. Some are based on scientific principles, others target problems posed in finance and economy.

A cross-disciplinary approach takes a look at the things that entertain people or give them practical advantage. The best developers out there are inspired by the things that surround them. They’re observant. They take note of things that people tend to enjoy. Once they gather the information, they’re capable of applying it to app development.

You have to be open to the world and the works of different creators to add a bit of freshness to app or game development. Expose yourself to as many new ideas as possible. Go to concerts, visit art galleries and enjoy delicious food prepared by masterful chefs. Speak to other creators and you could potentially develop a concept that you would have never thought of otherwise.

Be Open and Flexible (or Why Failure is an Option)

A final, incredibly important lesson you need to remember is that things will rarely go according to plan.

Be prepared to fail in your app or game development.

As you move forward, you could potentially experience problems with the scope, the logical flow of the narrative, the believability of characters or the appropriateness of functionalities.

Something that appears to be logical and attractive on paper doesn’t always translate to something that users will fall in love with in the app world. Thus, the idea shouldn’t be set in stone, even if you believe it’s a fantastic one.

Maintain a bit of flexibility throughout the process.

It’s much better to go back to the drawing board instead of stubbornly trying to make something happen (when you know it doesn’t have the potential to work). You will save time and you will potentially develop something great, instead of attempting to salvage an idea that died during the development process.

You may have to go back to square one, you may have to abandon the concept altogether. That’s ok. Try to see it as a learning experience that is just a step on the road to success.

If you’re still uncertain and in need of some inspiration, don’t hesitate to join our mailing list today! We promise you a medley of useful tips and suggestions that will help you get started and fine-tune your skills.

Image Sources:

  • Iwan Gabovitch, https://www.flickr.com/photos/qubodup/15390909785/in/photostream/
  • Iwan Gabovitch, https://www.flickr.com/photos/qubodup/15204404027/in/photostream/
  • Iwan Gabovitch, https://www.flickr.com/photos/qubodup/15390909095
  • World Skills UK, https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldskillsteamuk/8193020081/
  • Vancouver Film School, https://www.flickr.com/photos/vancouverfilmschool/3614588161
Successful App Development
Jan 23

The Six Steps that go in Successful App Development

By Violet Farah | App Development , General , projects

Are you wondering how to make an app? Are you taking the first steps in this brave new world, steps that have left you somewhat confused? Once you focus your efforts and determine the path, following through will become much easier. To design and put together a top-selling app, you need to have a good concept and you also have to put enough effort in flawless execution. Here’s how to make it happen.

Do Market Research

This is the one step that will define the success of your endeavor.

By the time you start thinking about app development, you already have some idea about what you want to do and how it is going to compare to other apps. To get a better idea, you have to do some thorough research about what’s already out there.

Both the Apple App Store and the Google Store feature the top paid and free options in each category. Be exploring these apps, you will understand what people are looking for and whether your idea is comparable to something that’s already on the market.

In this instance, you will need to fine-tune the original concept. Offering the world something unprecedented is a very challenging task. It is possible, however, to come up with an app that addresses an already existing problem in an innovative way.

Set Goals and Fine Tune the IdeasApp Development

Now that you’ve researched the market, it’s time to set some goals for your app and fine tune the idea. To accomplish these goals, you will have to ask yourself a couple of important questions:

  • Is the idea an evergreen one? Will the app sell five years from now?
  • How are you going to monetize the project?
  • Does the app you currently have in mind solve an actual consumer need?
  • How does the app solve the need? Is it easy to use and straightforward?
  • What is the potential market for the app? Is it too niche?
  • How much marketing will you need to do? How much money can you invest in advertising?

Based on the answers, you can do additional fine tuning before the development process begins.

Before getting to the computer or paying someone to do the app development, take a pen and a piece of paper. Try to sketch the layout of the app as you’ve imagined it. What will it look like? How many visual elements will you have? What functionalities will you need to develop?

A few other things to conceptualize include creative variations (give yourself a few possibilities to choose among), a way to test the app and collect useful data, an A/B testing strategy, technical requirements and possible holdups.

A/B testing is one of the development essentials and it refers to essentially comparing two versions of the same thing. This is one of the reasons why it’s also called split testing sometimes. Thus, you may want to try to app designs to find out which one appeals more to the audience. When you have the test results, you can go with the one that performed better.

Assemble the Team

If you have the knowledge to design and develop a mobile app on your own, you’re good to go for the time being. Still, you may need to hire some professionals in the future. Adding a marketing expert to the team will make it a lot easier to popularize your brand new project.

A person that doesn’t have the experience will need to assemble a team right from the start.

At the very least, you will need a designer and an app developer. These two professionals will work alongside each other, coordinating the efforts with you during every step of the way.

It’s possible to find a cost-efficient solution in terms of hiring the right experts. Working with freelancers will enable you to build a solid app on a limited budget. The trick is to dedicate enough time to finding reputable professionals that have sufficient experience. Don’t rush it – ask questions and go through portfolios. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a half-baked design concept that’s not going to bring you the success you’re dreaming of.

My personal motto is hire slow and fire fast. Take your time with bringing in the good, but ensure that when the red flags continuously show, remove the bad from your project.

Begin the Design Process

The actual app design and development can begin now!

First, you have to register as a developer with the platform for which you’ll be making apps. Many newbies start with the App Store but the decision is up to you. There are extensive developer guidelines you can rely on when working on the app.

Keep in mind that the guidelines are enforced during the app review process and before it gets added to the store. It’s very important to stick to the requirements and follow through with them.

Whether you’re working on your own or you have hired a developer, it’s crucial to break the project down into small, manageable tasks. Test during every step of the way. Assess the implementation, the graphic capabilities, the speed of execution and the eventual glitches. If you attempt to complete large chunks of work, you’ll be left having to address bigger issues.

Test, Test, Test

It’s difficult to emphasize the importance of testing enough. The market is becoming more and more competitive every single day. If you’re not confident in the functionality and user-friendliness of your app, you shouldn’t launch it on the market. Of course, know the difference between an app that really needs further work and just being a perfectionist.

Don’t assume that everything is working the way that it should. Test even the smallest of features to make sure that they’re responding in the way you want them to.

Also, use a focus group. Being the only person to test the app is not a good idea. Other people will have different viewpoints and usability needs. They may come across problems you have never even thought of.

Even if it’s just a group of your friends that’s doing the testing, the feedback will be invaluable.

Try your best to get as many ‘tissue tests’ as possible. This type of test means that you will be getting someone who is using the app for the first time for each major iteration throughout development you do.

The test ensures that the person was be unfamiliar with the app before and would be using it “blindly.” This person will respond in a manner similar to downloaders who get it for the first time. Since first impressions matter so much, the test can produce a ton of valuable data.

Post the App and Market it

All of the work has been finalized and you’re ready for the market debut of your app.

Send the app for review and wait it out. The amount of time you have to wait will depend on several factors but it will typically range between seven and 10 days. If you are an Android developer, you’ll need to keep the following Launch Checklist in mind.

Once the app goes live, you’ll need to launch an aggressive marketing campaign. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a large amount on advertising. Web-based campaigns are very cost-efficient and they’ll drive sufficient targeted traffic to your app pages. The return on investment (ROI) will be high, especially if you have some marketing experience or you choose the right professional to do the strategic planning for you.

The final thing to remember is that no app can be considered 100 percent complete upon its launch. Keep on innovating and upgrading to offer your clients the ultimate experience. This is a long-term project that you need to work on, if you want to maintain the engagement level high.

Do you need some additional information on novel developments and how to make them happen? Join our mailing list today for a ton of useful tips and practical how-to guides.