How to create an app from scratch: The exhaustive 11-step guide

Creating your own app is cheap, but it doesn’t come easy…

Priyanka Kochhar

VP of Product at
· 7 minute read
An app creation illustration with an ecommerce app screen and design icons

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If you’re looking for easy ways to create an app you’ve come to the wrong place.

That’s because building any multifunctional software from the ground up — and making it successful — requires serious project management, marketing and technical knowledge.

Not to mention the patience of a Saint.

But if you’re the type of person who likes running super marathons or completing thousand-piece puzzles for fun, then this is the ride for you.

Because as time consuming as creating apps from scratch is, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

In this blog, we’re going to run you through every stage of the app development process, from ideation to app launch and optimisation.

1 - Define your goals

There are umpteen different motivations for greenlighting an app project.

Maybe you’re starting to sell online. Maybe you want to scale your business up. Maybe you want to improve organisational efficiency.

Hell, you might even want to change the world.

But whatever it is, you need a North Star. Otherwise, it’ll be too easy to mainline TikTok content and push your project aside.

2 - Get a problem statement

Unfortunately, a lightbulb moment and coding skills does not a unicorn make.

Instead, you need to refine your app idea and work out exactly how it’s going to support your goals.

A problem statement helps you do just this.

In it, you’ll collect all the info on the problem you’re trying to solve, who your target audience is, what their pain points are and your solution.

3 - Perform a competitive analysis

There are a ton of life lessons in the UK sitcom, Peep Show. But “if you build it they will come - that's my market research” isn't one of them.

Being aware of the competitive landscape is key to effectively positioning your app and building features that turn your target audience’s heads.

This is especially important as the new kid on the block, without the brand recognition of more established players.

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4 - Decide your launch platform

Android vs iOS mobile phone operating system

Once you have an idea of the solution you’re providing and the competitive landscape, deciding on the mobile platform you want to prioritise should be a walk in the park, whether that’s creating an app for Android or developing an iOS app.

One problem you may encounter is if you have 50/50 split between your user base.

In this instance, it may be better to reevaluate creating an app for yourself and work with a partner instead. By doing so, their native development will help you create apps for both mobile platforms simultaneously.

Top tip

Depending on your operating system (OS), you’ll need to use different app programming languages to develop your app.

5 - Create (and test) wireframes

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When it comes to app design, getting wireframes is your first port of call.

These are visual guides that form the skeleton of your app, helping you understand its structure before you start developing it.

Importantly, this structure allows you to get feedback from other stakeholders, iterate on your initial designs and better serve your user base.

Plus, you can keep app development costs to a minimum as you’ll avoid making mistakes early on in the app making process.

6 - Map out user journeys

Mobile app prototypes with user journey mapping for mobile applications

Creating an effective user journey map is key to understanding and meeting real users’ objectives as they flow through your app.

By removing as much friction as possible — for example, resolving unclear calls to action (CTAs) or changing your colour scheme to meet accessibility requirements — you have a far greater chance of establishing a relationship with app users and building loyalty.

But without empathy for your user base, they’ll abandon your app in a flash, forcing you to over index on user acquisition.

Obviously, this is an iterative process and you can use any data you gather to further optimise user experience (UX).

7 - Pitch to investors using an app prototype

To take your project to the next level, you need to secure app funding.

And sure:

You could just present your finished app to investors. But this is the most time and labour intensive method available to you.

App prototypes, on the other hand, work better because they function as a digital model of your app, rather than being hard coded.

This means you can use investor feedback to iterate on your app design without making tons of backend changes after the fact.

8 - Create an MVP

Once you’ve actioned investors’ suggestions, it’s time to start programming. And the first task you should complete is creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

This is a hard coded but unfinished version of your app, allowing you to test user interface (UI) and UX before inputting customer feedback and finalising your app.

9 - Create an MMP

To move beyond the MVP stage and towards the Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) stage, you need to have clear improvement points for your app as well as an understanding of how it can develop in future.

For example, app monetization may be one of your key long term goals and your MVP findings may inform the strategy you pursue. As part of your MMP, you could then leverage in-app purchases (IAPs), a freemium model or a hybrid to fit your needs.

Although your MMP isn’t the finished product, it does allow you to reduce your time to market and keep your promises to investors.

10 - Launch your app on mobile app stores

Creating an app for a mobile device is like creating any kind of content. Just because it exists, that doesn’t necessarily mean people will discover it.

And the best way to ensure your app reaches the mass market is via mobile app stores.

If you’ve created an Android app, the best places to list your app are the Google Play Store and the Amazon Appstore. Meanwhile, if you’ve created an iOS app, the best place to list your app is the Apple App Store.

Whatever your chosen platform, app store optimization will ensure your app ranks above your competitors.

This process entails creating optimised titles and descriptions for your app by including relevant keywords. Meanwhile, adding screenshots and videos that demonstrate your app’s functionality and value propositions will encourage your user base to download.

Arguably the most important factor, though, are the reviews you’re able to generate from actual users. And incentivising them for early adopters could propel you to position #1 in the App Store rankings.

11 - Finalise and optimise your app

If your app isn’t up to scratch, you can bet your house that your target users will let you know about it, whether that’s on socials, through DMs or directly on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

And it isn’t personal. Most of the time anyway.

So make sure this testimony doesn’t go to waste by finalising your app with user feedback in mind.

Supplementing this with hard data, generated by formal tests will help ensure that you continue to adapt to emerging customer needs and don’t make sweeping changes, just because a rogue user told you to.

Here are some of the testing frameworks you could leverage to help with this:

  • Agile - A continuous, iterative approach to software development
  • Waterfall - A sequence of changes where the output of each stage becomes the input for the next
  • A/B - Two versions of the same variable are tested and served to a randomised audience


Creating apps from scratch is the digital equivalent of rubbing your stomach and patting your head.

While juggling. On a unicycle.

And only religiously committed technical entrepreneurs should even consider it.

If that's not you, or you've got the ick from the rigmarole involved in the entire process, we can help you out: is an app building platform that can create both pre-packaged and custom apps for you, allowing you to spend less time coding and more time playing frisbee with your Afghan Hound. Or whatever.

If that sounds good, here's what our process looks like:

  • Match with an expert - They’ll manage everything – from kick-off to delivery
  • Share your app idea - Spec out your app with your expert – we’ll give you a fixed price and clear timelines for your project
  • AI assembles your app - We select the template and you choose the features – then AI fits them together.
  • Specialists customise your app - Designers and developers tailor your features – making your app uniquely yours.
  • Your app is ready! - We deliver your app so you can launch – plus we help you maintain it with aftercare.

Book a demo 👈 now to see exactly how app-building software could help you!

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Priyanka Kochhar

VP of Product at

Entrepreneurial senior management executive of fast growing technology businesses. Successful in taking ideas from concept to profitability, using a blend of lean, agile and rapid result methodologies. A background in building and managing cross-functional and hybrid teams, with a record for retaining talented individuals and delivering results. Skilled in developing and maintaining a clear product and project vision, strategy and roadmap. Willing and able to adapt to changing environments. Often named as a Crisis Manager with a vision to “Make Things Happen”.

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