Can you develop a demo style app that is not the full product to test the market?
My advice would be to always build a mobile website and then once the market ist tested then move it to an app.
I have personally done both and we now have an app that's not used as the model was wrong.
Hope that heaps.
We would have saved 8.5k knowing this.
I always encourage people to prototype first. Start with paper sketches. Put them in front of potential customer to see if they understand the basic concepts. If they don't, ask for feedback and refine them.
Once you are a bit more confident with your approach, create a slightly interactive prototype using either (HTML / CSS) or a prototyping app (InVision, Marvel, Axure, Prototyper, etc.). Gather more feedback.
There are other app platforms that you can use such as Ionic, Polymer, Cordova and others that let you wrap HTML/CSS/JS into a app. The frameworks usually have a way to port the prototype to your phone (without actually putting the app into the app store). This gives you the ability to test the app on the actual devices but limits the exposure and risk before you are prepared for real users to bang on the app.
I hope that is helpful. Remember, validate ideas as soon as possible as inexpesnively as possible.
Demo style apps can be very expensive if you want someone else to do it.
You might find other inexpensive ways to do your market research before making such an investment
Absolutely - validate, validate, validate!
Start simple with sketches or just static mockups of how you intend the app should look and function. This not only gives you a chance to validate your idea, but you will be amazed at how much you can improve your idea by simply going through this process. When you lay it out, you will pick up on potential issues early on and save yourself a lot of time and money on development.
A lot of our clients get designs done up first, go and speak to their potential customers, make adjustments and then move into development. This is often enough as a starting point.
Alternatively, there are plenty of app mockup websites available that you can work with to get a more high fidelity prototype. InVision is great. Others include:
- Adobe Experience Design
We would also strongly recommend that you are constantly testing and refining as you go, not just at the start of a project.