For many brands in this day and age, having a mobile app is just as imperative as having a functional website. It resembles an extension of your brand that optimizes convenience, ease, and basic usability. As the art of mobile apps becomes increasingly normalized, it’s beneficial for brands to consider ways they can outperform competitors by elevating their app with groundbreaking ideas. On your next big app design project, prioritize a little pre-planning brainstorm sesh, and ask yourself these questions.

Who are you targeting?

Your ultimate goal in creating an app is to create something that adds value to the lives of your users, and in order to be successful, you must first start by thinking about the needs and wants of the target audience. What are the biggest priorities in their lives, and what needs do they have? What types of apps are they currently using? What’s currently in the market and how can it be improved? This type of research can make or break your app, so be sure to commit yourself to it—talk to people, do the research, and ultimately you’ll be able to serve your audience with an app that becomes an essential to their every day lives.

What's your selling point?

When it comes to app options, it’s all about survival of the fittest. Many apps exist with the same functions and the ability to do the same thing, but what compels consumers is the selling point. In other words, what makes your app different? Is the design better? Have you improved and/or elevated the usability? What types of features have you added to make it easier to use? These details are the ones that will differentiate you from other white-noise options on the market. Take note of emerging trends, consumer behaviors, and elements of other apps that are working well. Doing so will allow you to identify opportunities to give your market something they didn’t even know they needed.

Does the selling point translate as a solution?

If you’re doing it right, the selling point of your app will double as a solution to a real-world problem. Again, this all comes back to creating a clear-cut opportunity for yourself to be different from your competitors. It takes planning and preparation, but if you can find a creative idea that hasn’t been tapped yet, you’ve already cultivated some success for yourself. The bottom line is this: You’re going to create an app that assimilates to what’s already out there, but you’ve got to offer up something new and intriguing to reap the benefits of long-term growth.

How will you execute it?

Development can translate as a huge hit or miss when it comes to app design. Given that iOS and Android function differently, knowing the needs of your audience will guide you in making the most informed decision. We’ve talked a bit about how advantageous it can be to invest in conversations with your audience, and talking to developers to gain more insights can be just as beneficial.

What legal obligations are on the table?

Legal matters are often overlooked in the app design process, and it can be a huge setback for developers. Consider what your legal obligations are from the start. Things like entity formation, registering an LLC, navigating Intellectual Property (IP), and solidifying ownership, trademarks, copyrights, and patents are all to-do’s that should be viewed as an absolute necessity in your process. Ensuring you’re thinking through all these details will ensure legal protection in the long run. You should also prepare Terms of Use and Privacy Policies, and be sure to have these documents ready for users upon your launch date.

How will the app function following its launch?

The design and development of the app itself is just the first phase of the process. Once it’s completed, you’ll need to consider how you want to keep it up and running. How will you delegate responsibilities in way of maintenance and support? Will the app be managed internally or will you outsource the help? Do you need to hire additional employees or consider a budget? Thinking with the big picture in mind will help to alleviate any pitfalls that may arise down the road, so be sure to make every decision with the end goal in mind.