From one generation to the next, technology makes great strides from being unimaginable to integrating into everyday life. The first mobile phone call was made over 40 years ago on April 3, 1973 by Motorola. Now we have a variety of apps that have made living without a cell phone unimaginable.
Apps are undoubtedly taking over many aspects of our lives. As of June 2016, Android users were able to choose from 2.2 million apps and Apple's App Store provided over 2 million apps. With so many options to choose from, it’s no wonder that a Nielsen analysis found that on average, “U.S. smartphone users accessed 26.7 apps per month in the fourth quarter of 2014.”
The irony is that with so many apps to make life easier, finding the right one to do exactly what you need it to seems almost impossible. What’s worse is trying to sort through those 2 million apps, reading the reviews, and then playing with the app just to try to figure out how to use it. Wouldn’t it be easier just to make your own? Can you even DO that if you’re not a computer programmer or software developer? Yes, and here’s how:
- Determine What You Want to Know - If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to get there; be specific on what measureable results you want to see. Do you want to make your business more mobile and create product lists for customers to view as you visit them? Do you need to monitor mobile employees and would like information on where the are, the number of clients they are seeing, and the time they are spending with each client? Do you want to monitor the timeline and budget of a project and want a safe and consolidated location to store the information? The more specific you are with the outcome you want, the more likely you’ll be to create the perfect app customized to achieve success.
- Create Each Piece of the Puzzle - When you determine what the result is, you can now gather the different parts that can help find you that answer. For example, if you need a delivery driver app to monitor package arrival times, you’ll need to know the addresses of the drop offs, the name of the contact person at each site, the time each package was delivered, and a copy of the recipient's signature to verify delivery.
- The “Extras” - What tools do you need to incorporate beyond basic information to make the app function properly? Let’s continue with our delivery app example. You’ll need a GPS system, a function that allows the recipient to sign the mobile device, and you’ll want to sync the information with the manager’s mobile device so that he or she can ensure that the packages are on schedule.
- Putting it All Together - There are a couple of options that you can choose from now that we have the foundation in place. You could hire a developer, but that can be costly. “A study by backend-as-a-service (BaaS) platform provider AnyPresence revealed the majority of companies, 54 percent, are spending between $25,000 and $100,000 on each mobile app they develop, whether it be for customer or employee use,” explains Chad Brooks of Business News Daily. “Additionally, another quarter are investing more than $100,000 into each app.”
If the high expense of hiring a developer isn’t an option for you, you may want to look into an self-serve app platform like AppSheet, which was designed for anyone to use (aka “non-techies”). Just plug in all of the above information into a spreadsheet, upload it to a cloud based platform, add those “extras” and share it with your team.
Mobile devices and the use of apps are only going to increase over time. If creating a customized app is as easy as making a spreadsheet, then why not give it a shot? Consider this: Mobile Statistics found that the average person spends 23 days a year staring at their phone. You might as well optimize that time with an app customized by you.