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How to Build a Web App in 10 Steps

Building a web app is no small feat. You need to have a clear vision of the final project and understand how to build it. In this Insight, we’ll walk you through the basic foundations of building a winning web app from start to finish.

Emil Pruden
6 min read

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Building a web app is no small feat. You need to have a clear vision of the final project and understand how to build it. In this Insight, we’ll walk you through the basic foundations of building a winning web app from start to finish.

How to Build a Web App in 10 Steps

1. Identify a problem that we humans have

The first step in building a web app is to identify the problems we humans have. The problem can be anything from “I’m unhealthy and need help to become more healthy” to “It’s so hard to create good quality marketing assets for social media quickly.” Think about something you struggled with that caused pain, frustration, or even anger. Think about your business’s pain points too. Then, ask yourself, will a web app solve this? Building around a problem you’ve encountered (not made up) in a nutshell helps validate the very early stages of your idea, highlighting demand.

2. Competitive analysis

Next, it’s essential to do some research on the competition. This process is called competitive analysis, and it allows you to identify the following:

  • Similar products and services in the market or features and functionalities offered by existing solutions
  • Trends, patterns, commonalities, gaps in the market and opportunities to improve on existing products or services.

Don’t know where to start? Head over to Google and start searching. And remember, try to think about both direct and indirect competition.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

Now, identify your target audience. You need to know who you are building the app for, their needs, and how they will use it.

For example, if you’re creating a new online reading app, your target audience is book lovers (who also like technology). You know they want an easy way to discover new books based on their reading history and preferences. They want a great reading experience with no distractions when they’re ready to relax with a good book on their phone or tablet.

4. Look to achieve product-market fit

You might have an excellent idea for a web app, but if there’s no one out there who wants what you’re building, then it doesn’t matter how much hard work or money goes into building an app people don’t care about. It’s important not to waste time and money until you have a product-market fit, also known as proof of concept. You can do this through a simple landing page to gauge interest or set up focus groups and interviews.

5. Create Wireframes

Wireframes are an important step in the design process. They show how your app will look, how it will function and what data will be displayed.

Wireframing is a way to communicate ideas and concepts to your team members and target users. It can be done by hand in its simplest form. However, a quicker and more effective way is to use one of many digital tools like Balsamiq or Flowmapp.

6. Build a Prototype

Prototyping is a mock-up of your product. What’s a mock-up, you ask? It’s a simulation or illustration of your final product’s appearance and can have minimal functionality, depending on the tool you use. Prototypes help you test ideas and gather feedback before building the real thing minimising risk.

We recommend using modern prototyping tools like Figma, Axure or Adobe XD. You can use these tools to create realistic interactive prototypes by adding animation effects, gestures (like tapping) and transitions between pages — even simulating different screen sizes!

7. Test, Test, and Test Again

Testing your app is incredibly important. It’s a great way to ensure everything works as expected and helps you identify potential issues. This should be a fundamental part of your web app’s design and development, creating a feedback loop. Here at Hiyield, our studio ethos is underpinned by an Agile methodology, which heavily involves an iterative approach with feedback loops at every step, ensuring maximum efficiency.

You’re testing should involve the following:

  • Your target audience. If you’re building an app for kids or teenagers, get them involved early on. Find out what they like about other apps already out there and how they want yours to be different. Then build specifically for them based on their feedback. Do this again and again.
  • Your product team. You need everyone involved because each group brings different skill sets.
  • Your development team. Testing with people who will (or have) be building your app will help ensure its quality.

8. Choose the Right Technologies and Tools

You will need to choose the right technologies and tools to get started. There are some key things you should consider:

  • A language. You might have heard that one of the best languages for beginners is Python, but JavaScript is also a good choice. They both have many frameworks that make it easy to build web apps quickly, but they’re different enough that you may want to talk to someone who knows both before making a decision.
  • A framework. Frameworks let you concentrate on building your app instead of worrying about how database tables are structured or how the HTTP protocol works—they provide libraries for those things so you can focus on writing code for your application. Django and Express are two great frameworks. In contrast, Koa and VueJS are great options if your goal is to start building web apps quickly.
  • A database type: The relational database types PostgreSQL and MySQL are popular choices because they’re very stable and can handle almost any data set without slowing down too much over time (unlike NoSQL databases). If performance matters most, then use PostgreSQL; otherwise, go with MySQL since it’s easier/cheaper/less likely to break under pressure from stakeholders.

Time to get building. Whether that’s you or an agency, now is the time to build your web app from the ground up using your validated and well-tested web app design.

9. Launch and Go Live

With your web app live and accessible to users, it’s time to start marketing and promoting through channels such as:

  • Organic social media
  • Search Engine Optimisation: Landing pages and blog posts
  • Paid Media. Google, Meta, Tiktok
  • Events!

10. Continue to monitor and iterate to meet the user’s needs

Once the app is live, you must monitor and iterate on your product. This is an ongoing process that never stops. It’s essential to keep an eye on how users are using your app so that you can make changes as needed. For example, if they aren’t engaging with a specific feature, it could mean it needs more work or rethought altogether. An excellent way to do this is by using an online form with an incentive.

Building web apps take time

As you can see, building a web app is a process that takes time. However, this doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. The steps outlined in this article will help you build a product people want or need. Of course, each step has many techniques and methods, but we hope this has given you the foundations to get started.

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