A person looking at a laptop computer presumably contemplating custom apps

How to build custom apps in six steps

As your business grows, turnkey apps might not meet all your organizational and process-focused needs. Building a customizable application provides flexibility and options for users.

What is custom apps development?

Custom apps development is the designing of software applications for users in an organization to fulfill specific business needs. Designing and developing your own custom app addresses particular obligations rather than the more conventional and standard software.

While it may seem tempting to start with a no-code app builder for a quick turnaround, there’s no guarantee that it’ll have everything you need. Some benefits of creating your own custom apps are:

  • Eliminates changing business strategies or procedures to work with the predetermined software of turnkey apps.
  • Bypasses the need to use multiple applications for specific business functions.
  • Reduces external threats from hackers and other cyberthreats.
  • Gives your organization the rights to its own intellectual property to enhance and update the custom app as needed.
  • Saves money on hardware as your custom app is built within your infrastructure.
  • Provides full access to your development team so that issues can be resolved quickly.

After deciding to build your next custom app, you’ll have the full range of possibilities.

Steps for creating and building your custom apps

Before your team begins developing your next custom app, your developers and business decision makers need to understand your users’ requirements, both necessary and optional. Below are the steps to take when building your custom app.

  1. Determine your ideal app user.

    Figure out the types of people who’ll be using your app. Creating individual personas will help you decide who your users are, what they’ll need, and how often they’ll be using your app. By gathering this information, you’ll build detailed profiles of your app users and have a better understanding of the functions they’ll need.

  2. Translate your ideas into a prototype.

    Once you have the persona types of who is using the app and the functionalities they’ll need, you’ll need to create an interactive prototype to test. Rapid application development (RAD) methodology is a great way to enable users to give consistent, quick feedback over long-term planning while also allowing you to make changes on the fly. Make sure to A/B test any new features and validate the user experience before beginning the next stage of your launch.

  3. Build a minimum viable product (MVP).

    After a successful prototype, you can create your MVP to release to the world at large. Here, you can get feedback from real-life applications, not just your teammates. By offering your users the latest updates with continuous delivery, the newest compatible technologies, and encryption that protects your customers’ data, you’ll stay compliant and on top of personal privacy.

  4. Make sure your app stands out.

    You can stay on top of all the latest updates and features but if your custom app doesn’t offer anything special, users will look elsewhere. Make sure you have the latest features installed on all operating systems, integrate with other third-party apps, and stay abreast of log-in functionalities to help eliminate bugs and expedite the quality assurance (QA) process.

    Mobile teams don't always carefully plan for the necessary time it takes for QA to deliver a user-ready product. Focus on testing during your mobile apps development as it displays all types of user experiences, positive and negative.

  5. Determine which app is best for you: Web or mobile.

    There’s a common misconception that mobile and web apps are interchangeable. Knowing which app type you’re developing will have a huge impact on everything from design, to which app building software to use, to user experience (UX), to deployment. Mobile apps are restricted to your phone and platform specific, but they can access internal resources like GPS, photos, and contacts, are faster, and can function offline. On the other hand, web apps work just as any internet browser: No need to download or install them on your computer, and their ability to work is almost the same as on a mobile device.

    Both web and mobile apps can be considered custom apps so make sure you understand what users need and how they’ll be accessing your information.

  6. Consider the cost of custom apps development.

    Depending on your end goal, many instances factor into how much your app could cost. Build, maintenance, testing, functionality, updating to the newest features of both operating systems consistently—these all play a part in the end cost of your custom app. There are price points depending on each element so you making sure you have just what your users need is crucial.

    That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to have a functioning, user-friendly app. Microsoft Power Apps provides a cost-efficient, low-code solution to help build custom apps the way you like with embed dashboards, prebuilt templates, and quick deployment.

Build your custom apps with Microsoft Power Apps

To create a professional-level app tailored the way you want and with secure data access and seamless data analysis, consider Power Apps for custom apps development. Using low-code tools, your team can more easily and efficiently build intuitive, easy-to-use custom apps that attract and retain users. Get started with Power Apps to grow your knowledge and business.