Research the problem and other solutions to the problem
There are different types of research you will need to do to develop your App successfully. We do research to see how other people have tried to solve the problem that you are trying to solve. For instance, if you are trying to solve fitness, you would go to the App store and the Google play store and see what other fitness Apps are out there that are related to what you are proposing for your solution. Just because there are fitness apps out there doesn’t mean you can’t create your own solution. You can provide a different solution to the same problem. There are lots different ways to solve the same problem, so it’s up to you to come up with an innovative difference to what’s already out there. One of the tools we use when we do our this research is a competitor analysis. This is where we identify competitors by evaluating their strengths, and their weaknesses and their strategies to see how they are related to what you are proposing as your App or your solution.
We put together our competitor analysis in a table much like our skills matrix, where we list each of the features of the Apps down the left hand side so for instance, you might list navigation, you might list colour scheme, you might list logical flow, you might list a login, you might list use of databases, in app purchases, think about what the key features of the App are and key structures of the App and then we want to right them down on the left hand side of our table and across the top we want to list each of our competitors, so we suggest you look at 3-5 competitors. List them and then essentially fill in the boxes in terms of what each features each of Apps has and doesn’t have, this will give you a clear idea of the strengths of different Apps and where your solution can add something that is not already in the market place. See the business plan for a template.
If you are like our Vocabulary Voyagers team from last year who developed an app for helping children prepare for NAPLAN, they did trend research to see how many students were struggling to get through NAPLAN. In doing that, they looked at the literacy levels of children in Australian schools, and they then used that as a starting point for developing their solution. They gamified literacy: they took four elements for the NAPLAN school program and made them into games. Their justification: firstly literacy levels in Australia are much poorer than they should be. Secondly, they found that children preparing for NAPLAN found it was quite a boring process, so they wanted to add a bit of fun. Thirdly, games are a great way to engage people, and if you can find a way to gamify things, such as the Fit Bit - the Fit Bit essentially gamifies fitness because you can compete with your friends. So this makes it a whole lot more for fun for many people. So think about these elements in terms of what trends you might like to base your solution on.
Another type of research relates to asking your potential customers what they think of the problem you are trying to solve, and what they think of your proposed solution. We often design a survey or do an interview to ask these questions. Then we document the results in our business plan. You can type of and print your surveys to hand out or you can use a free online service like Survey Monkey to type it up and email it out. Try to get at least 20 people to complete your survey. Or you can interview people with a list of questions, and take notes on their replies. You may also like to get some video footage for your final pitch video. Ask them if they would use your App, when would they use it, and how would they use it. How much would they pay for it? What features are most important?
Where is there a need for [describe what your app does]?
What currently fills that need?
If your app existed, would people use it? How often?
How much would people pay for it?
Which features are most important for your app to have?
BE SURE TO DOCUMENT ALL OF YOUR RESEARCH IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN.