mobile-app-developmentDesigning a smartphone app today can be strange territory for developers. However, if you have some knowledge of JavaScript, CSS and HTML5, you can combine your programming mastery with a profitable world of mobile phone applications and gain recognition for making something that people’s lives better or just entertain them for hours. Here’s how to get started.

Choose a Platform

When first designing an app, the best way to start is with the right platform. There are various apps exclusive to iPhone, Android or the all-new Windows phones, but you should pick the platform you are most comfortable designing for. You should look at the most popular apps today and find out what platform operates with those apps. If you want to be more bold, try to design apps that are universal and can be used on a variety of phones. Currently, apps for iPhone and iPad dominate the market. Some of these apps eventually go universal and release for other types of phones.

What App to Make

If you take a look at the current apps, they range from games to grocery shopping to sleep aids. There are all types of apps, but some of the best ones were made for students, teachers, business professionals, writers and artists. While some of these apps may be free, they also may cost a small fee to install. There are also cloud apps which cost monthly fees. If this is your first app, look for something small or study the top apps on each platform to see where customer’s needs trend, then create something that will be interesting for customers.

Registering Your App

Programmers must register to be an app developer whether you are choosing Apple or BlackBerry, but if you are developing apps for Android or Windows phones, you do not need to register. However a one-time $25 registration fee is necessary to distribute apps on the Android marketplace or Google Play.

Making Your App

If you plan on developing your app, you need some tools. Android provides a free software development kit. In addition, you can find how-to videos, tech articles and instructions on how to create specific types of apps from Android. For Apple, apps, you’ll need the iOS platform tools, which cost about $99 and can be from the iOS Developer Center.

Some tools separate from the platforms include AppMakr, which is a browser-based design platform that will help create iPhone apps and includes features like push notifications, custom CSS, JavaScript compatibility, GEORSS and more. GENWI is another app development software for tablets and smartphones, which works with all mobile devices, including iPad, iPhone, Android and HTML5 apps.

Are You Making the Right App?

The best way to start thinking about this is considering what audiences really use apps and have purchasing power. There are apps for kids, business owners, students, weight loss aficionados and fashion police. One of the top apps for 2012 was Adaptu Wallet for iPhone, which is a perfect app for those are getting started with budgeting or on-the-go budgeters, while also offering amazing features without ads. Adobe Photoshop Express was another top rated program which provides a free photo editing application for iPhone. You may have heard of some other apps like Instagram that also help with editing photos. Draw Something Free also captivated smartphone users because it worked on both iOS and Android devices, offering touch-based drawing competitions. From these top apps, you can see customers wanted to better handle their finances, look better in photos or draw something in competitive environment. Games that provide competition like Words with Friends are also very popular.

Getting Noticed

After you submit your app for review to the platform or platforms of your choice, you need to wait for approval. You should make sure to read each platform’s guide and policies before uploading your app. Once your app is uploaded and on the marketplace, it’s time to start promoting. You should have your own website with the app’s name and ways to download directly from the site, so make sure it is a responsive mobile web design. You should promote your app on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sources by showing videos of the app. It’s also important to write up a thorough but light description on the app store so that people know what your app is about and what kind of features are included.

Aaron Gormley writes on everything tech related, from app development to new social media sites like badoo.

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