Our smart phones are loaded with numerous small applications — some free, some paid for. But, did you know there are over a million apps in the Apple app store alone?
I’ve been in some form of web development for the last 15 years. Of all the various projects I’ve worked on, I’ve never built an app. Curious about what it took to make one, I was given the opportunity to talk to Justin Hsu, co-creator of the toddler-appropriate app MarcoPolo Ocean. I was able to pick Justin’s brain on the various aspects of the app-creating process.
Here’s a list of things to know for those of us who want to build an app, someday:
1. Know Your Inspiration
What inspires your app? What is the main theme of what you’re doing? What do you want to accomplish? Know these things. I asked Justin what inspired the Ocean app:
“We are building a suite of apps, called the Discovery Series, that covers many of the many important parts of the natural world for kids to explore. Since 95% of the underwater world is unexplored, we felt this would be an ideal first stop in our journey.”
2. It Takes Time
While there are services, such as AppMakr that will allow you to create a turn-key app, creating a custom app takes time. Justin gave me some insight from his experience:
“First apps usually take longer, and efficiencies are gained over time. In all, Ocean took us about 4-5 months to develop. We expect future apps to take about 3 months to build.”
3. The Hardest Part: Finding the Right People
While you may think that just coming up with the right idea, the hardest part of building an app, according to Justin, is finding the right talent for the job. (Which would be true with most visions.) If you don’t have the right people to execute the vision, it stays a vision and not a reality.
4. Search for Those Talented People
We now know the hardest part of building an app is talent — well, where do you find that talent? Justin has a few suggestions:
“Research the market well, and figure out what exactly you want to build. Then, look online for the creatives you need to execute your vision. If you are looking for illustrators for example, there are sites like Behance where top quality talent is showcasing their work. You can send them a message to see if they are interested in working with you.”
5. Do Your Research
Justin’s words of wisdom for any app developer is to do your research.
“Make sure you are building something special that will stand out in the app store. Make sure you have talented people working with you.”
About MarcoPolo Ocean
Ocean and all other apps in the future of MarcoPolo will have a simple goal — to spark curiosity and to encourage questioning about important topics of the natural world. Read a full review of Justin’s app, MarcoPolo Ocean.