Building an app as a non-technical person is quite hard, right?
The first thing you’ve probably done as a non-technical founder for your ‘revolutionary’ idea to ‘disrupt’ the market was… looking for a CTO or a technical founder.
Am I correct?
This is the wrong way to start…
The reason why is that in most cases you haven’t even started to work on the general concept of the application and you are being ‘blocked’ by not having a CTO on the board with you.
Did you know that you could build an app without having a clue about coding or design?
Below I’ve listed solutions for you to start building an app as a non-technical person. On top of that, you will find a list of tools you could use and a few great case studies from other non-technical founders with detailed instructions on how they did it.
To build a Minimum Viable Product or the first version of an app to validate a need for it and to get proper funding for development, you could do the same as the guys from Instagram did.
Learning how to code by yourself (Time>Money), finding a freelancer for building an app for you (Money>Time), hiring a software development company (Money>Time) or hacking your app…
Here you can learn how to develop an app:
You can find more here – 45 OF THE BEST PLACES TO LEARN TO CODE FOR FREE.
I’ve personally started with a step-by-step tutorial of building a static website with Bootstrap with this free youtube video course.
Start to design a prototype of an app in three easy steps:
Get inspired – use SketchAppResources, UI Patterns, or ProductHunt to look for inspiration of great products, or even use some open-source freebies of app interfaces (Freebiesbug) and tweak them a bit.
With such a prototype you can go and sell your product/vision to:
If you want to be as sure as possible that your newly built product fits the market, consider looking into Product Design Sprint. This process helps both small and enterprise-level organizations lay solid product foundations in just 3-5 days.
There are plenty of web platforms enabling you to build an app by drag & drop elements. You don’t need to code anything. The quality of the app in most of the cases is crappy and they are slow, but for your first MVP, it’s enough to validate a product.
You could use tools like:
More inspirations in a blog post from Product Hunt here.
Be aware that those solutions are great to validate the idea, but you won’t be able to scale the app, add custom features, and improve the UI/UX of it. The solution is pretty OK to start, but don’t expect any superb outcome.
If you need something simple (up to 1 month of work for 1 developer), without any automated tests, scalable backend, handle a huge amount of data, and you don’t burn to much cash for it, just hire a freelancer.
However, if you’re hiring one:
First things first – in 70% of the cases you don’t need an MVP done by a software development company. It will be too expensive and too robust.
However, if you know that you:
... working with a software development company might be your way to go.
If this description fits you, there are a few things to consider while talking with an outsourcing company to build an app as a non-technical person, like:
Working with a software development company isn’t cheap.
Building an app together with a software development shop is like hiring Navy SEALs to get your job done. They are experienced, well-trained and ready to ‘execute’ your idea.
However, you shouldn’t hire Navy SEALs (software house) to solve problems like getting a cat from a tree, but more to rescue a president from kidnappers.
To be more specific, there are a few reasons, why you would like to have an app built by Navy SEALs of software development:
Now, the fun part – building an app.Let me share a few inspiring case studies and how-to guides that you could just copy for yourself, as mentioned before.
There are so many existing solutions on which you can verify your business idea that it is sometimes hard to find a reason why to build an app from scratch. Let me show you a few online solutions that you could use to launch a business today.
I haven’t listed here all the huge startups/apps, which are your first inspirations for the next Uber for bicycles or Tinder for pets etc. There is a really easy pattern to find a clone app or SaaS service to help you start a business, where you pay a monthly fee and a small 1-3% fee on each transaction.
Do you know how to do it?
Ready? Google it using this pattern:
‘build a(n) TYPE A NAME OF AN APP like app’
ex. “build an UBER like app”
I’ve listed all the tools that I would recommend to a non-technical person to build a very first application.
Usually, you can find great case studies written by founders, who used their tools in non-conventional ways on the company’s blog (ex. Zapier).
Now is the time to build your MVP, your first application that you’ve dreamed of. Just pick your way to do it from the detailed list above and go for it.
I hope that I convinced you that you can build an app as a non-technical person.
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