Smartphones are everywhere – there are currently over 2 billion of them in active use worldwide. This ubiquitousness has made the smartphone market a very fertile ground for people and organizations looking to build new services and products for smartphones. One of the most popular smartphone services in use today is the smartphone app. With over 4 million applications on the two mainstream mobile OSes – iOS and android, and more being added daily, the smartphone market is one that is growing at a rapid rate. So maybe you want to join this fray – for whatever reason. Maybe you want to build an app and don’t have any app ideas for what it will do yet. While it’s advisable to only build something when you see need for it, and not just for the sake of building things, for most people, the experience of app-building might be it’s own reward, just as the experience of flying in an airplane may be the reward for people who have never flown in one before, instead of flying to get to a destination.
So if, for whatever motivations, you have decided to build an app, and are stumped for app ideas, this article shows how to come up with ideas for that new app you want to build.
- Be your target demographic:
This is probably one of the easiest ways to get app ideas. The target should be you – think of yourself as the user of the app and generate ideas for apps to solve problems that you have – be it an app for your work, a hobby or a problem that you encounter in your normal everyday activities. This is called scratching your itch. You know better than anybody else where the problem is and the kind of solution you want. Building something you use is very rewarding and if it solves a problem for you, chances are that there are other people who need it to solve the same problem.
- Adaptation of existing apps:
This is another easy way to come up with app ideas. A less original way to go about it is to clone an already popular app and reproduce its functions. If, however you want to take a more original route, there’s no problem with borrowing functionalities from already popular apps and using them in your app in another way for a different market. The concepts you borrow from these already popular apps are the ones that you will integrate into your own app. For example: the concept of slack is simple messaging for work, without all the added features that would otherwise make it just another social network. If you apply this concept in a different app for a different market, you would no doubt get interesting results.
- Find a common problem and try to solve it:
Several successful apps became famous by solving simple problems that people have. These problems could be in virtually any area, from keeping in touch to the need to have a voice. Find such problems and tailor your app ideas to solve them. If you think hard enough, you’ll remember at least a couple of instances when you searched your app store for an app, but came up empty. You could also find an existing app that solves a problem, but doesn’t perform up to standard or lacks some features you feel are needed. Create an app with the same basic functionality, but added features which should make your own better.
- Get ideas from friends and family:
You can throw this question to your friends while hanging out. Keep it fun, but impress on them the kind of app ideas you’re looking for – apps that solve a problem, that have features that have been previously implemented in another app with success and that are usable by everyday people like you. Let them keep coming up with app ideas and see how many you think are promising. Let everyone know your purpose, however and make sure they’re comfortable with giving you access to their intellectual property to avoid claims of stolen ideas later on.
- Scour social media:
So many people speak about their experiences with apps – both the good and the bad on social media. More professional platforms like Linkedin and Google+ will have more groups related to apps and app ideas you can borrow from. Using tools like Hootsuite and Social Mention allows you to find out what people need. Use keywords such as “I wish…” to collect information on these tools.
Keep in mind that app ideas are just the first step, you have to set about validating the idea and then building the app if you can. Otherwise find a developer to help you out.