By Paul Watson
In Part 1 of this blog we talked about some of the issues you might be thinking of before deciding to dive into the world of medical app development.
Now we've explored those, you're probably excited & raring to go...
So, talk me through the process of app design
It helps to break the process down into several discreet steps. This way you'll pick up any bugs with the process even before you start to code or pay someone else.
Inspiration - You need a great idea that will meet a current need, make things run smoother / save time, make a process safer or better..
Imagination - The most important part of the whole process. Think deeply about the core of the solution - what is the 'one purpose' of the app? Take time to dream about your solution from multiple angles. Expand your thinking along all possible tangents; play with the ideas. Finally pare it down to the essence and come up with a mental model of the solution in app form.
Paper model - cut several sheets of paper, one to represent each screen of your app. Roughly draw the image each page will have, along with functional buttons leading to new pages. This is a low cost method to develop your app concept.
Testing - Test the logic of your app user journey by trying out different pathways through your 'paper app' pages. Make sure there are no dead ends!
Wireframe - Code the structure of your app (pages, links) using Xcode/Android Studio/Flutter according to your platform.
Testing - Test the user journey again on your wireframe app
Fleshing it out - Graphics, icons, colour palettes, text..
Backend - If your app will collect or generate data, you'll want to connect it to a 'backend' database. You may also want to store the information visible on the app on a backend server. There are many services to choose from, including Google's Firebase, Amazon's AWS - each with pros & cons. Here's a good article introducing them, and here's another.
Submitting to Apple & GooglePlay - Your app is finished & tested. Hooray. Now it's time to submit to the app store. Submitting your Android app to Google Play takes about 20 mins, and your app will be up and available to download before the day's out. Submitting to Apple's App Store requires jumping through a painful series of hoops, takes about a week (seriously). But eventually, if you follow the requirements, your app will become available to all on the App Store. And when you see it there, it's a great feeling.
Release - You can set a release date in the future, or ask for the app to be released as soon as accepted by the relevant store.
Marketing - There's no use having a great app out there if no-one knows about it. Tell the world by word of mouth, social media and relevant third parties (your Trust or Royal College perhaps).
I hope you've found this article helpful & inspired you to start your own journey in medical app development. We'd be really interested to hear about your experiences, project plans and successes. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know. Happy coding!