Frequently asked product questions when building native mobile apps

Product Questions Native Mobile App Development

Since last week’s column was the first with real ‘hands-on’ advice, I recognized that a lot of you out there are battling with quite some operational questions around building native mobile apps.
Based on the feedback I received, I wanted to answer some of your more popular questions directly in this week’s newsletter. Again, I hope that you find value in it and keep the questions coming!

iOS or Android first?
Totally depends on your target group – start with the OS which is most popular amongst your most relevant group of users (business decision). In general, I highly recommend shipping an Android and iOS version in the end, but starting with an offset of at least one or two sprints.
This way, you’ll only make mistakes regarding general logic/usability and backend connection once.


What’s iteration 0/the first spike in app development?
Very technical, but I always try to get to a first iteration of tangible user value right from the beginning. Other approaches are feasibility checks for the apps most challenging areas (technical aspects). Again: totally valid and probably a better fit for incredibly technical-focussed projects, but I personally like to shoot for the basis of an app from user perspective (e.g. login)


How to come up with a nice app icon?
Get a great Visual Designer and provide her distinct cornerstones regarding your branding and the core job you want to communicate with the app. Great design resources for creating app icons on various platforms can be found right here.


Does an app’s JTBD need to be reflected in its name?
Speaking of jobs. For answering this question, you have to distinguish between two scenarios: apps with an already strong brand and upcoming new apps (which is likely what you out there have as well). In general I always recommend to set an app name based on a users search behavior for completing a task/job. This is not only relevant for the App Store itself, but also for a quick start of your app later on when it’s accessed via e.g. Spotlight (iOS).
So, while nobody searches for ‘self destructing messages social network’ but goes for ‘Snapchat’ instead, you’re much more likely to get into a users relevant set when including ‘gas station finder’ next to your brand name (a pretty common job and App Store search term).


How to conduct remote user testing?
Personally, I’m a huge fan of invision for assembling mobile prototypes. A neat workaround for walking someone through it would be a mix of those tools (Mac/iOS focussed):

Let me know, how this setup works out for you. A decent and more straightforward solution for Android can also be found checking out lookback.