6 Steps to On-Demand App Development

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Build an on-demand app for your service business in 6 steps [list of typical features & cost breakdown included].

The rise of the customer-centric on-demand economy made us get used to receiving the services we need immediately.

Now, we can book a taxi, have food delivered, or choose a room for renting right from our phones.

The basis of on-demand services functioning is, of course, on-demand apps that instantly connect customers with service providers. 

Downloading a mobile app is a simple and convenient way of interaction for both vendors and customers, helping them achieve their goals from any location and mobile device. That’s why the on-demand apps became an integral part of our lives, and the pandemic just accelerated & scaled this demand.

Working with customers from different industries, we learned a thing or two about on-demand app building and are about to share the best practices with you.

On-demand services: best practices for app development

Even though there’s a great number of on-demand applications for different business industries, all of them follow the shared principles.

Instant result. Whether customers order pizza, make an appointment with a doctor, or search for a dog groomer, they want to get connected with service providers as soon as possible. This is exactly what on-demand apps are for!

Synchronized experience. The on-demand economy implies the active participation of both service providers and customers. It means the application should instantly synchronize their activity, allowing for tracking the geolocation, sending/receiving instant chat messages, and getting real-time notifications.

Priority to mobile devices. The application should provide both customers and service providers with a superior mobile-first user experience so that they won’t search for another digital solution to accomplish their goals.

Keeping these principles in mind, you still have to customize your app to the specific industry, making sure your users get the best experience ever.

Getting started with on-demand app development

Before jumping into one of the on-demand niches with your idea, it’s worth doing some groundwork to make sure you won’t spend your resources in vain.

Of course, the best way to validate your idea is to build the first version of your product (MVP) that contains only one-two killer feature(s) for showing it to real users and gathering their feedback.

However, there are some ways to recognize your idea won’t work even before investing in minimum viable product creation.

Choose your niche

A long way of transforming your idea into a product begins with identifying a problem to solve and thorough market research.

Keep in mind that having an in-depth knowledge of a specific on-demand niche and understanding the industry will be an advantage.

Alternatively, you should spend more time here researching the market you’re going to enter and the people you want to sell to.

The main question you should find answers to at this stage are:

  • Is there a problem?
  • Who has this problem I’m about to solve?
  • Is this problem really huge?
  • How could I solve it with my product?

The answers to these questions help you write down the app idea and formulate the high-level product strategy using the business canvas:

Get to know your customers

Understanding who your customers are, their routine, and pain points is an essential part of working on your app, because it directly determines the number and type of features the first version of your product will contain.

At this stage, you can check how accurate your assumptions from the previous stage are and gather the customer requirements using the following instruments:

  • User experience research that seeks to understand the needs of your customers through observation & analysis.
  • Product discovery that uses the customer development interviews techniques to learn even more about your end-users firsthand, approving/disapproving your assumptions (a problem to solve, UX/UI details) and making a list of features for your app.

Define key features [+ rough estimation]

After having gathered the stakeholders’ requirements, you’d specify a functionality your application should have, starting to form the project backlog.

The list of your features should be definitely customized based on the data collected during the research (industry/niche, customer demand, your unique value proposition).

Luckily, on-demand apps aren’t rocket science as we actually use them on a daily basis and have tons of examples before our eyes. That’s why I’ve made the list of the frequently used features for an on-demand app and even asked our team leader for a rough estimation so that you’ll have an idea of how much time & money the development process might take.

* The rough estimation is calculated based on our SDK (starter development kit) – an “assembly line” for web & mobile projects the Jellyfish.tech team has built to accelerate the development process making it more predictable. The starter development kit is to cover the typical units of functionality (authorization & login, payment, content upload) with the pre-built parts of code that help us focus on custom features, saving your budget. 

However, the features can’t exist independently: we should groom the backlog first, set up the project environment, define the app architecture so that it will be scalable in the future, test the features before and after the release so that they work impeccably.

That’s why I’ve to add to the rough estimate:

  • Business analytics: +30%
  • Infrastructure: +30%
  • Quality assurance: + 20%
  • Project management: +20%

We strongly recommend starting small & keeping your MVP simple not to invest an arm and a leg in the first version of your product before making sure your customers love it.

After having your idea validated by the real users, you could easily add or enhance features, make compelling designs, or pivot.

Get your MVP build

Now all you need is to share the documentation you’ve created at the previous stages with your technical team and get your app built.

A piece of cake? Maybe.

At this stage, it’s extremely important to communicate your ideas & requirements properly and make sure you’re on the same page with the technical team.

During working on the product for our customers, we usually set up sprint 0 (in case, a customer have already identified all the requirements and done the groundwork) to:

  • sync up,
  • groom the backlog,
  • create user stories (the tasks for the development team written in simple words based on the features),
  • have a meeting to sum it up and make sure we have a shared vision of the product development process.

Although the process could vary from vendor to vendor, the essential is to have your time for synchronization and explaining the littlest detail to your tech partner. It’s also crucial to stay in touch during the whole process of mobile development, answering the questions, being involved in the discussion, and giving feedback. In this case, you’ll have a great chance to get your MVP done exactly in the way you want it to be.

Gather customer feedback

After the first version of your product is ready, we’re approaching the most curious part of the whole process: getting customers’ feedback as an integral part of validating your MVP.

Let’s take a look at the most common ways of collecting customer feedback.

Scale & support

Having completed the previous stages successfully and getting strong feedback from your target users, you can really go further, adjusting your product according to this feedback. You can implement additional features, create cool design solutions, and make everything to make your users even happier.

It’s important that the initial architecture of the app implies the possibility of adding new features. That’s why you’d discuss the scalability of your product with your vendor in advance (among a bunch of other things).

Wrap it up

Being an integral part of the global economy, on-demand services are deeply rooted in our everyday life. The list of business industries that don’t take advantage of the sharing economy is decreasing, while on-demand applications are becoming handier, faster, and more cost-efficient. The number of service providers and users of on-demand applications is growing that, in turn, increases the market competition.

However, everything is possible with a good idea, proper instruments, the right team, and hard work. Although the idea is on you, the Jellyfish.tech team could help you with the rest of the list. Having built the products for mobile booking and tutoring, we know the pitfalls you might face and the ways to solve them at the lowest cost.