This post is the part 2 of my 3 part series called the Ultimate Guide To Build an App Without Programming.
To read the first part of this guide go to:
In this part of the guide we are going over the following two steps of the entire App publishing process:
– Step 3: App Design Formula
– Step 4: From Design To a Real App
We are going to cover how you can turn your initial idea into a functional App design that your users will love as well as how to turn that design into a fully functional App at the lowest cost and shortest time possible.
What you will learn here is very important to your App’s success and it’s best if you make sure that you are paying attention to every detail included.
So let’s begin as we have quite a lot to go over. 🙂
App Design Formula
Designing your App despite what most people think is a fun and exciting process.
After all, we take the initial idea and put a face to it and by doing this we are going to be one step closer to making your available to the world to use.
Now let’s define what App design really is…
In my book Zero To App I define the App Design as the following:
“How you lay out the elements on the screen as well as the relationship between different screens of your App in a way that makes it possible for the user to consume the value which your App creates is your App design.”
I know that it might sound a bit complex but to simply put it:
The job of App design is to make it easy for the user to get the value they want from the App.
If we can achieve that then we’ve done a great job at App design.
To design your App in an effective way I am going to teach you my 3 Step App Design System. To learn more about it you can read my book Zero To App but here’s a quick summary on how it works and how you can employ it to design your App in an hour or so!
3 Step Design System
The system I’m about to show you is one of the most powerful ways to turn any App idea into a design that your future users engage with.
The best part is that it only requires a pen and a piece of paper to implement!
So let’s get started and go through it as I’m sure you will love how it all works.
1: Top 3 Features
First, you need to decide on the top 3 features of your App. In my book Zero To App I explain how to go about this but for now, just have the top features used by most users.
Now that you have your feature list then we are ready to move to the next step…
2: Use The 3 Step Design Rule
Now print 3 copies of the following template. (You can draw the same thing on a piece of paper too if you don’t want to print anything)
Next, you need to start picking the top feature and see if you can deliver it to the users with as few interactions as needed from the end user.
The goal is that none of the top 3 features should require more than 3 interactions/steps from the user to access and use.
An interaction from the user could be a tap, a swipe, pinch, etc.
Simply draw the layout of your App in each of the boxes in a way that requires the minimum number of interactions by the user.
Here’s a simple example for an App that delivers valuable pieces of content on different topics to parents:
As you can see the App starts with a list and the user has to pick an item on the list to access the content (value) he or she seeks to get from the App.
Of course, the goal is to have a few steps as possible.
The main goal is to get to the results under 3 steps and if we can achieve that then we will have happy and engaged users.
If we fail and require the user to go through more than 3 steps then our App turns into what I call an “Angry User Manufacturing Machine”…
We don’t want to have angry users, because that turns into really bad reviews, no monetarily results (no money being generated) and most importantly being demoted on the search index which eventually’s going to help our competitors and cost us a lot of money and time to repair and fix.
If you get the 3 Step Design System right and implement it correctly then you would be able to build an App that’s going to deliver a lot of value to a large number of users and at the same time, grow on ranking as well as getting great and positive reviews.
3 Step Design System Case Study
A few years ago I started working with an App company and after going through their analytics I noticed that 80% of their active users went through several screens to access one of the App’s main features.
I also noticed that most of the users dropped off after using the App for the first time and uninstalled the App right after. This made me think that maybe those users who left the App were looking for the hidden feature used by all returning and active users.
So we did a test and brought the hidden feature to the main screen using the 3 Step Design System.
After the change, we saw 250% growth in engaged users and a major boost in the ranking of the App on Google Play. Also as the result, we got happy users and more positive reviews all in just a few weeks.
If you haven’t created your App yet, then you are in luck because you have the opportunity to design your App layout. For most App owners and companies who already own an App, implementing this strategy can be a bit more challenging but it sure would worth the investment as the payoff will be very valuable.
If you are interested in building mobile Apps and want to go deeper and build an App that can become successful and grow big, then I highly recommend picking up your copy of my book Zero To App as it shows you the A to Z of building and publishing all kind of mobile Apps in only 4 weeks.
From Design To a Real App
Before we start with this step of building your App, I want to quickly mention that what we go over here is to give you an idea on different strategies available to you when it comes to building your App. Of course every App idea, it’s requirements and target market is different and it can dramatically affect the cost of developing your App.
Here, we are going to discuss 3 different strategies for 3 different types of Apps (3 level of complications). This way we can estimate what’s the best strategy to go about building your App in a way that’s more reliable.
The 3 strategies which we are going to take e look at are:
– D&D App Building
– Custom App Publishing – Easy Way
– Custom App Publishing – Hard Way
The 3 types of App which we are going to use as samples to measure the effectiveness of each strategy are as follows:
– One Page App: Simple App that is delivered around one main screen/page. (Calculators, trackers, counters, voice generator Apps, etc.)
– Content-Based App: This type of App delivers value to the users in the form of content (Recipe Apps, article based Apps, some fitness guide Apps, etc.)
– Cloud Sourced App: This type of App requires a back-end that holds and manages the user's information or the content used in the App or both (Social media, messaging, etc)
By combining the 3 App development strategies mentioned above with 3 levels of App complication, you can estimate how much would it cost to build the minimal version of your App.
Of course, if you want to go more in details and learn more about how I build an App at the lowest cost in only 4 weeks, then you can pick up a copy of my book “Zero To App”.
Strategy 1: Using D&D App Building
This is my favourite strategy to get an App off the ground. This strategy is going to work for you the best, especially if you are starting out and thinking about building your first App. This requires no big up-front investment and it can shortcut your way by 100 folds!
Using Drag & Drop App Builders, you can build an App in a matter of hours and publish it to all App platforms (including Google Play and Apple App Store) as well as web easily.
All you have to do is to log in and start dragging the elements you want across the page and build your App the way you want.
The best part is that you only need just a few hours of training to be able to use most of the D&D App Builders out there.
The only limitation of this strategy is you can only build Apps that are not very complicated. This simply means that if your App is required to do a complex and custom task then this solution might not be the best option for you.
Having said that, even if you have a complex idea, I still highly recommend to start out using this D&D App Builders. Simply because using this strategy is the only way that can get your App out on the market fast and generate you money quickly.
I go deep in my book “Zero To App” on how you can take advantage of using a D&D App Builder to fund your more complex ideas.
Here’s how this strategy fits the main 3 App types we discussed above:
One Page App: This strategy is not the best solution for this type of App, one page Apps usually delivers a very custom solution and D&D App Builder are more towards general solutions and delivering content. Although that you can still use D&D App Builders to build one page Apps, that are not going to fit most ideas you might have.
Content-Based App: D&D App Builders are the best solution when it comes to building content based Apps as they have the most reliable structure built around content. The cost of building a content-based App, no matter how complicated, is the cost that D&D App Builder charges per month. This can be anything from free (trial offers) to around $80 per month per App. For more info about what platforms I use and recommend checking out my book “Zero To App”.
The monthly cost to maintain an App on a D&D App Builder platform is very small, especially that the App can potentially generate you over 100X times in return.
(As mentioned you usually get a 30 day trial with almost all D&D App Builders, this way you can start free and even make a profit before even paying for the service!)
I often use a service that costs around $27 per month for an App. The service automatically creates the different versions of the App for Android, iOS and even the web. ($27 per month for all 3 Platforms/Apps is a very good deal)
Yearly cost for just one App on such a platform will be around:
$27 Per Month X 12 Months = $324 For The Entire Year
Now $327 is a very small amount for an App that can potentially generate you $10,000s in revenue. Not to mention that it saves you weeks of development.
Cloud Sourced App: Although D&D App builders often have a cloud component that allows you to update the content from a back-end dashboard, they are usually not the best solution to build custom cloud-based functionalities.
That’s why to build social media Apps, messaging Apps, etc. you need to use the next strategy which we are about to go through.
Let’s go through an example for D&D App Builders:
Let’s say that I want to create an App that helps people interested in gardening to keep track of their garden.
Now, this could be a complex idea to execute as it requires a database to hold the data as well as a customised user interface to interact with that data.
Since this's a more complex idea and requires an investment, we can use a D&D App Builder to create a simpler version of the App that can be useful to the same group of users.
This way, we can build and publish the App easily and start generating revenue as fast as possible. (there are many ways you can generate money with your App which I go over in my book Zero To App)
Using the revenue generated, we can fund our main and more complex idea.
When you have the money coming in, you can simply update the App with more complex features and have the users using it instantly by pushing the new version of the App as an update!
This is a very powerful hack that’s worked like magic for me and over 80 of my students and clients.
To learn about the best D&D App builder, there are several ones which I recommend depending on your idea.
To go in details I highly recommend reading my book “Zero to App” where I explain which one should you pick that will fit your idea the best.
It’s more than possible to go from your App idea to a fully functional App in just one day using D&D App Builders. Again, for more information on this check out my book “Zero To App”.
Strategy 2: Custom App Publishing – Easy Way
After you’ve already made some money with your App built by the D&D App Builder, then it’s time to expand it and include the more complex features you wanted from the beginning.
What I recommend is to hire a skilled worker and let them build/expand the App for you.
Now you might say…
“But wait, I have no idea how to manage people and what if they steal my idea?! etc.”
Well, the good news is that whatever you are thinking now, as an objection, is probably not correct.
Simply because I have had a 17-year-old executing this strategy perfectly without any issues and I’m sure you can too!
To execute this strategy perfectly…
…you only need to know few basic rules and techniques.
There are amazing websites you can hire great skills at a very low cost. Thanks to places like freelancer.com and upwork.com, you can have a talented developer working on your App in a matter of minutes!
The process is super simple but it requires you to know and master the process. Otherwise you will not get any results from this approach.
I go deep in how to hire the best skill and have your App built handoff in my book “Zero To App”.
Using this strategy, my clients and I were able to create amazing Apps while spending our time the way we want and enjoying life.
let’s take a look at the cost breakdown of this strategy and the time it takes for each of the App types:
One Page App: This strategy is perfect for this type of App. Building a one page App will take a few days at max.
Let’s take a look at the math and see how much money does it cost to build a One Page App:
3 Days X 8 Hours = 24 Hours of Work
24 Hours of Work X $7 per hour = $168 In Total Development Cost
As you can see the total development cost of $168 is very affordable for an App with a high earning potential.
Content-Based Apps: I don’t recommend this strategy to build content based Apps as D&D App Builders are way more efficient and reliable in comparison to the features they provide and their cost.
Building a similar App to what a D&D App builder is capable of, will be very costly and inefficient using this strategy.
Cloud Source Apps: Same for one page Apps, this strategy is also great for Cloud Sourced Apps. Building a cloud-sourced App would usually take more than 4 weeks of work. (the Minimal version that could be delivered).
Here's the cost breakdown:
4 Weeks X 5 Days = 20 Days of Work
20 Days X 8 Hours Per Day = 160 Hours of Work In Total
160 hours of Work X $7 Per Hour In Wages = $1,120 In Total Development Cost
As you can see, in comparison, this method can cost significantly more money, but in comparison to development agencies that will charge more than $25,000 per App, it’s still a great and cheap approach when it comes to building more complex App ideas.
Of course, this is an estimate and your App might require more or less time to develop depending on its requirements.
This is not an expensive strategy but to get it right and do it properly you need to take the right steps in the right order and know how the process works. If interested then read my book “Zero To App” for more information.
Strategy 3: Custom App Publishing – Hard Way
This is the strategy which I DO NOT recommend at all!
This strategy is basically what you'll find when you first start looking up “How to Build an App” on Google…
Yep, you guessed it right!
It’s building your App by learning to programme!
If you love programming and excited about it, then go for it! It can be fun and exciting for those who enjoy learning it, but if you want to learn to programme just to build your idea and don’t find it amusing, then this is not for you!
Don’t waste your time learning a skill that you don’t enjoy!
In addition, despite what you might think this is the most expensive strategy!
Let me break down the cost so you can see why:
On average it takes 5,000 – 10,000 hours to learn to programme properly and practice it to a level which you can build whatever idea you have.
Now, if your time’s worth $10 an hour. (I know that’s an underestimate, but stick with me here)
10,000 Hours X $10 Per Hour = $100,000 With of Your Time!
It will simply cost you $100,000! Not to mention that if you don’t enjoy it then it’s gonna take even longer to master and learn.
That also equals to 3.4 years if you invest 8 hours per day!
Lots of people go down this route, simply because they don’t see the investment required to make it work. Both in terms of time and energy required! And that’s why most quit before even moving one step forward.
My Proven Strategy To Build Apps
If you are serious about building your App and turning it into a $1,000,000 asset that can support an amazing lifestyle, then I want you to follow these 5 simple steps which I break down in my “Zero To App” book:
Step 1: Design a Simple Version of Your App
Step 2: Use the D&D App Builder To Attract The Right Users
Step 3: Make Money and Get 100K Users
Step 4: Update The App With More Complex Features
Step 5: Grow Your App to $1,000,000 and Beyond
If you’re excited and want to get your App idea built then make sure that you pick up your copy of my book “Zero To App” to learn how to build and publish 6 and 7 figure Apps for both Android and iOS.
Now go read the next part to discover the secret and effective methods my clients and I use to launch a successful App and grow it to 7 figures in the next part of this guide.
If you haven’t read the first part then I highly recommend reading it now as what you will learn there is vital to your App’s success: