Saying that mobile apps have profoundly changed our lives would be an understatement. Today, it's very hard to imagine a world without applications like Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, or Instagram.
Many people check their smartphones as soon as they wake up — and most of the time, what they look at is the content of different apps.
Statistics about smartphone usage show that an average person spends 2 hours and 51 minutes every day on their mobile device. But that’s not everything: 22% of people look at their phones every few minutes, and 51% check them a few times per hour.
An app can be an incredibly successful consumer product. But it can also become a driver of change inside an organization, offering enterprises an opportunity to become more agile and revamp its internal processes.
If you're toying with an idea of building an app for your business, you're probably wondering where the greatest ideas in the history of mobile development have come from. This blog post brings you a complete list of steps you should take to find a new idea for an app that is just bound to disrupt the market.
10 steps to find a new app idea
- Identify a problem for which there is no app yet
- Don't think of the business side of things (yet)
- Adjust an existing app
- Brainstorm ideas
- Browse through app stores
- Keep an eye on startups that are getting funded
- Look for inspiration on social media
- Build a long-term vision
- Take breaks to distance yourself from the problem
- Do your research
Step 1: Identify a problem for which there is no app yet
One of the most common scenarios among founders of successful apps is that they faced a problem they felt that no app could help solve. Consumers and businesses encounter different problems all the time. What's the easiest way to share files? What is the fastest way to purchase an item? These are just a few of the issues consumers and businesses deal with every single day.
Consider your life and take a closer look at your day, analyzing every moment. You might realize that there are, in fact, many problems that still need to be solved — and that there are no apps that do that yet. Which one is the most painful? Can it be solved with an app? Bingo, you've just stumbled upon a potentially valid app idea.
Step 2: Don't think of the business side of things (yet)
Even the best idea doesn't translate into an amazing business, at least during its first days. The best apps out there are the ones that were built to win people over. If the users of your app simply love the experience that your app provides, you can always find new ways to make money on it later on.
Did you know Whatsapp didn't make money at the beginning, even though right now it’s probably the most frequently used application on the planet? Don't be afraid to follow this method and build traction for your app early on, without worrying about monetization just yet.
Step 3: Adjust an existing app
Is there an app that you use while you actually hate the experience it provides? Are you wondering how it is possible that it became so successful? This could be your app idea. Take a closer look at it and consider how the experience could be improved.
Is there any way you could make an existing app even better at solving a given problem?
You can always find areas that need improvement. Take Instagram as an example. Instagram copied the stories feature from Snapchat. But today, nobody remembers that because Instagram has made the feature so good.
Step 4: Brainstorm ideas
Many great apps were born out of the combination of two totally disconnected industries. For example, Uber for groceries is InstaCart. And you could argue that Get Around is like Airbnb for cars. By combining different ideas together and brainstorming them, you might get a lot of new creative material. Keep on doing this exercise, and you're bound to improve every day.
The great thing about this method is that you can do it at any time of the day — for example, when commuting to work or standing in a line. Observe your surroundings closely; they're often a great source of ideas and opportunities. You might stumble upon a great idea because you saw a situation at a supermarket or heard a conversation between two people by pure accident.
Step 5: Browse through app stores
One good place for research is the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. The fact that the mobile scene is overcrowded can be a good thing. To avoid competition, you need to have a really good idea.
Check out different apps that solve a similar problem that you had in mind and check out the reviews. If these reviews are bad, this is a chance for you to improve the experience with your own app. For example, you might find a lot of travel booking applications, but only a few of them are widely used by people because they provide a good experience.
Find out what your competitors are doing well, but also what they're doing wrong.
You can also develop a successful app idea by targeting a niche. For instance, you can create an application, specifically business travel or booking luxurious hotels.
Step 6: Keep an eye on startups that are getting funded
Another way to approach mobile app development is to explore the ideas that investors seem to be interested in. Keep a close eye on investors that you deem knowledgeable in the area and figure out their investments. Many VCs and accelerators look for startups that realize ideas with a lot of potential.
They share their insights and news about investments on their websites, blogs, and social media channels. You can also check investor portfolio pages and develop a map of the investment landscape to understand which companies are getting the attention and manage to secure substantial funding.
By knowing which areas of business are getting a lot of attention, you might stumble upon an idea that offers a unique approach to what is already gaining traction.
Step 7: Look for inspiration on social media
There are a few places where you can find amazing inspiration for new products and services. Instagram feed, Reddit threads, Facebook groups, or LinkedIn groups are really amazing places to power-up your creativity.
Social media are a goldmine when it comes to gaining a better understanding of your target audience.
You can check out what people think, listen to people's pain points, and understand your niche better. Take advantage of the insights shared by people who are already looking for solutions to their problems.
Step 8: Build a long-term vision
Create your own vision of the future when toying with app ideas. Some of the best ideas for apps emerged when founders became truly innovative and thought ahead of their times. Apps like Uber or Airbnb play such a key role in consumer lives and change industries dramatically precisely because of that. Their founders created ideas that offered a future vision of services that already existed.
So, let your imagination go wild and think about the future. Your idea might not be instantly relevant to the current times. That's why the real challenge is keeping its flame alive and waiting for the right moment to reveal it to the world. Take action as soon as you can. If you wait for too long, you might be too late, and someone will claim that idea for themselves.
Step 9: Take breaks to distance yourself from the problem
Take regular breaks and distance yourself from the problem at hand. Keep an open mind to new ideas.
If you become too involved in the process, you risk losing sight of the bigger picture.
So, step out of your home or office, go for a stroll, jog around the park, or walk your dog. When doing so, keep your focus on what's going on around you.
- How are people interacting with the space around them?
- What can you do to help them become more efficient at solving a particular problem?
- How can you do it differently than other people?
By keeping your mind open and asking such questions, you will slowly arrive at the problem that might be just the idea you were looking for.
Step 10: Do your research
Searching for a new app essentially boils down to conducting research about your niche. When looking for ideas, research is inevitable. It doesn't only get you closer to new concepts but also helps to explore the potential market for your mobile app.
If you're toying with an idea for a business but you're not sure where to start, it's smart to begin by stripping that idea to the core and building a Proof of Concept, pilot application, or Minimum Viable Product (MVP). They all help to validate ideas on the market and test them among real-world users.
To validate your app idea, consider teaming up with a software development agency that offers Research & Development services. This is especially important for business founders and enterprise managers who are looking to launch a new product but aren't sure how to begin the process so that it's most efficient.
At Codete, we offer R&D services backed by many years of success in helping our clients come up with new ideas, validate them on the market, and go through the different stages of product development together. With this kind of support, you can be sure that your idea gets a solid chance to succeed.
We hope that this article shows you how easy — and at the same time difficult — it is to come up with a great idea for a new application.
There's no denying that the app market is overcrowded, and there are plenty of applications competing with one another. However, by coming up with a unique idea and building an app using modern technology stack, you can boost the chances of its success on the market.
Reach out to us if you would like to get started on polishing your app idea. Our consultants can help you at any stage of product development so that you deliver the best product possible to your target audience.