A while ago, there was a lot of media attention around a particular app and many more criticisms posted online because of its controversial idea, to allow humans to rate other humans based on personal, professional or romantic experiences. The consensus was that this app would enable online harassment. So why did this app get built? Isn’t this just a bad app idea to begin with?

Coincidentally, we were asked to quote for the design and development of this app project but we were not hired to build this app. In those early discussions, we had called out the potential harassment and offered some ideas on how to avoid these issues. Our team didn’t feel so great about the idea without major modifications to it. From our perspective, it’s unfortunate really, all that time and money invested in building the app that could have been avoided if the idea was validated in the first place.

How can you tell if you have a good or bad app idea? You’ve asked a few friends/colleagues and they all think its great, is that really enough? What if you’ve asked three people and two of them don’t think it’s great, is that enough to shut it down? Rather than relying on the opinions of a few people, collect info and data to validate if you have a viable app idea. Some of the most successful apps out like Instagram, have gone through iterations by responding to user feedback.

The app projects we have the most fun creating doesn’t necessarily start out with a perfect idea, it comes from partnering up with the right people who are open to feedback, sharing a common goal in wanting to make a great product and building it the right way.

You have an app idea, where to begin?

Start by defining the problem you’re trying to solve. What are your business objectives and how do you define success? Do some preliminary research by looking at the competition and who are the customers you’re trying to attract? If there is a lot of competition, where are the opportunities for you to do it better or differently?

One method that many startups and companies (including ourselves) often start with is the business model canvas: to help define, design, challenge, and pivot the business model. It’s a visual way to describe your product’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers and finances.

If you don’t know, that’s alright too, find a trusted app studio to help you sort it out and do it before you get into the design and development stages. Create a plan to help you define your minimum viable product (MVP) and be open-minded to the feedback you gather along the way. Feedback from your core users are not simply positive or negative reviews, it can be very insightful and spur some “ah-ha” moments to help make your product even better.

Be Brave and Ask Tough Questions

We acknowledge that our clients have a wealth of knowledge about their companies and customers, but our job is to challenge assumptions and play devil’s advocate along the way to help ensure you’re building a great product. In fact, to only be agreeable would be a disservice to our clients. Like any expert, we’re hired to help bring a different perspective, our technical and industry knowledge, and most importantly, help you identify the opportunities. We like to recommend some form of validation of your app because it turns assumptions into real data.

Creating and launching a new app can be a big challenge but it can also be a very exciting and rewarding experience. Understand the process from start to finish and be ready to pivot if the feedback is indicating to do so.

At Uppercut, our motivation is to help make people’s lives better through design and technology. We like to partner with people who share a similar vision and are excited about their ideas. To learn more about our process and how we can work together, visit Uppercut’s services.