May 25, 2015

How to release a Mac app: 1. Idea.

Huge thanks to William Channer who inspired me to write all of this. He was working on the new service for designers and developers devoted to the startup launch, and I was one of beta testers.

This is the first post on the topic of building and releasing an app for the Mac OS X. I wrote the series as a reference. Hopefully, it will answer some questions that application designers and developers eventually receive from friends and customers.

Let's go.

Any app begins from the idea. And first of all, you want to do the basic research on it. You should check at least the following items before diving into design and development:

  • Uniquiness. Make sure that your “cool future app” is not yet implemented or implemented so badly that you have a real chance to win the niche and make a hit. Your creation must reach as many interested people as possible, but this is not easy if you don't stand out from the crowd.

  • Demand. It's often the case that someone already tried to make a similar app, but went underwater. So make sure that your idea is really worth your efforts. At least, you should not be the only potential customer for your app.

  • Competitors. Use Google and Mac App Store searches for main keywords related to your app category. Do your best to find all competitors you can. Your design and execution must be stronger and more promising than those already implemented by others.

  • Marketing. From the very beginning you should have an idea how to sell the app, or the resulting project, or maybe the whole business. In the end of the day, you want to make money, because it is hard to keep yourself motivated for free.

  • Consulting. Many cool ideas are too cool and are impossible to implement using available technologies. It's 2015 but you will be surprized how hard it is to implement “simple” things like syntax highlighting, or OCR, or voice recognition etc. Make sure to consult with a friend or hired professional regarding possible technical limitations.

  • Deadline. Like with any other project, you need to define some internal milestones. This is the only way to ensure that you will have a final product. And this will help with planning design and development in the future.

  • Intuition. Actually, you are free to ignore most of the listed items, because there were too many inspired and entusiastic developers who made fantastic and hugely successful apps without any market research, good luck!

I know this is extremely basic advise, and I'm very sorry for writing this post. But exactly this basis is missed so often that worth repeating anyway. Do your home work, make sure that the idea is unique, competitive and can be sold.

The next part will be devoted to Design.

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