When looking to build an app, of any kind, it needs to be asked what app do you want to build? This may seem like the obvious starting point but the app you wanted to build is not the app you ended up with. The reasons for this are several and by chance, you might have even landed up with something better than the original vision. This is like winning the lottery but the vast pile of failures shows the reality of not sticking to a vision.
An idea or problem needing a solution typically inspires the need for an app. This gives you a certain vision of how the app should solve the problem. It might not seem like at the time, but this single idea or problem has just defined the vision for your app.
This one-point vision, that looks to solve the one problem, is the driving force behind the app. Think of it as a fire. To grow it needs to be nurtured. For your app to be built the way you want it this one-point vision needs to be held at all costs. Too many ideas about the app can snuff the flame out even before development begins.
Maintaining the Vision
If the importance of the one-point vision is now established, it has to be maintained throughout the app’s development. There are a few tricks that can be employed to help maintain the purity of your vision. The first of which will be to not fuss over the details at the beginning.
The details are important and the more minute they will be near the end. As these are solved your sense of achievement at the end will be greater. Focussing on the placement of elements to the nearest perfect pixel at the start is problematic. Focussing on all the details at the start will just direct attention away from the vision. Focus on getting the app working. Once that is done now is the right time to obsess about details.
To further maintain your vision, be willing to work in iterations. Be willing to concede that it will not be perfect on the first go-around. It may take several versions to address the problems that arise during development. Hell, it might not even be perfect at launch but if your app addresses the initial problem it is a success.
Don’t Invent Future Problems
Problems will arise, just as the sun will the next day. Knowing that problems will crop up and addressing problems that might happen are two vastly different things. One is necessary, the future-proofing a possible problem is not. Worrying about scalability is one area many developers go into future problem-solving mode, even before the app’s core idea is still an idea. Scalability can always be addressed when it becomes a problem. Don’t waste time and effort solving something that may only be an issue if the app is successful.
Another way to keep the focus on the present is maintaining focus on your core market. As soon as your market is broadened the one-point vision strived for will be washed away. Now instead of solving one problem, your market as you are solving several across economic sectors. You now stand the very real chance of creating an app that solves nothing.
Half of Something is better than Half of Nothing
In concluding, build half of something great. Don’t build something so bloated and supposedly feature-rich but in reality, only scratches the surface of multiple problems. The scrap heap of failures is filled by over-promised and under-delivered apps that were going to set the world alight. Under-promise and over-deliver should become the industry’s new mantra.