Building the Right Mobile App
Makers, does this sound familiar?
You think of a brilliant app idea — something you would want to use yourself. You head into the den and dedicate a few weeks or even months to coding up a solution. Then you throw your product onto the app store, hoping that the app store gods will feature it. The downloads start trickling in, and suddenly it’s time to monetize. So you experiment with a few new features, but none of them really stick—mainly because you’re unsure which features your users would spend money on. Maybe one day your app will take off, but you’ll have no idea how to replicate such success in your next big idea.
You are not alone — countless mobile apps are built this way everyday. Many mobile developers are satisfied when people download and use their apps, but rarely are they able to turn downloads into a sustainable revenue stream and loyal customer base.
I’ve talked to too many developers and designers who focused solely on implementation and ended up building beautiful apps that don’t solve real problems. There are apps we build for fun — to satisfy a curiosity, learn a new concept, or play with a new library. It’s how many of us learned to create mobile apps. Unfortunately, when we’re ready to launch our first mobile businesses, we continue to take the same approach: dream up a cool idea, then follow it up with countless hours of coding. If nobody downloads the app, we “fix” it by adding new features, resulting in the following cycle of death:
I’m here to offer an alternative approach. Instead of starting with a cool idea and building a slick but maybe not entirely useful product, we will focus on identifying a viable commercial opportunity upfront and then building a sustainable business around it. We want our users to use our product, love it, and tell their friends about it. We will do it not by building fancy features, but by solving users’ problems.
Everything I talk about in this course pertains to what you do before you write your first line of code. The end goal is to create mobile app solutions your users will both love and pay for.
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Here's what you'll learn
Lesson 1: It’s All About Empathy
Understanding your users is the first step to success.
Lesson 2: Solve the Right Problem
Refining our idea by solving your users' most painful problems.
Lesson 3: What Job Is the User Hiring Our App To Do?
Using the Jobs-to-be-Done framework to think about your app in brand-new ways.
Lesson 4: Talk to Humans
Validating and further refining your idea by talking to potential users—and then prototyping and getting feedback on your solution.
Lesson 5: Testing at Scale—The Landing Page
Building a compelling landing page to test your app’s value proposition and start building an early adopters base.
Lesson 6: Testing at Scale—Facebook Ads
Honing in on your product’s positioning by testing your value proposition at scale.
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About the author
I’m Feifan Wang, a web and mobile developer by trade. I learned most of these techniques building and launching web businesses for employers, clients, and myself. As a developer, I love building and tackling technical challenges.
As makers, the urge to build can derail our journey to product-market fit. I had been burned many times building complex features nobody needed. Through trial and error, I’ve learned to build products around human needs, instead of cool animation libraries.