What is app specification and why should you write one?

So you’ve got a great idea for an app and you’re looking for someone to build it for you? What you need at this point is an app specification document. Sure, it’s not always easy to put a spec together but it’s really worth all the time spent. Check out why an app specification is a key to the app development process and get to know 4 great tips to help you write one that will serve as the foundation for your app’s success.

WHY APP SPECIFICATION MATTERS?

App specification documents your entire app strategy. Are you developing an app for the first time? Perhaps you’re a business owner looking to develop an app you could sell to managers? App specification offer background information that helps developers to better understand your needs and create a product aligned with your objectives.

What’s more, without an app specification, you won’t get an accurate quote from the software company responsible for building your app. If you’re coming to a developer team without an app spec, make sure they prepare one for you.

HERE IS HOW TO WRITE A GOOD APP SPECIFICATION:

1. DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE

Who will use your app? Identify your target audience and you’ll be able to easily make many other decisions regarding your app, from its graphic design to user experience. Create a customer persona and attach it to your specification.

If you have already conducted market research to better situate your app on the market, you can attach key findings as well. All this will help developers understand what type of experience you want to provide with your app.

2. EXPLAIN EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS

Describe the critical objectives of your app. Would you like to increase the productivity of your staff? Or perhaps make consumers interact with your brand in a new way?

You need to define the problem your app can solve too. It’s not so much about what it does, but about what it’s designed to do – to users, to your brand, to the industry. Be specific in setting your goals – look for relevant current metrics and decide which improvements you’d like to achieve with your app.

Finally, explain what the app will do. Make it a simple, one sentence answer. Just imagine that your app is ready and you’re about to publish it on the app store – how would you describe it to potential users?

3. LIST ALL FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITIES

This doesn’t mean that you should be the one to define the actual user interface or experience design – you can leave that to developers. But a detailed and carefully described set of features is a must. This is how agencies will be able to give you an accurate quote for creating the app. Examples include push notification, geolocation, log ins or social integration.

You can start by describing the process – what happens when users open the app and start using it. Think about the capabilities of smartphones and other mobile devices – how can you make the most out of them in your app?

4. IDENTIFY KEY FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Another critical area of your app specification are functional requirements. This section is closely connected with the one which lists features and functionalities. If you’re interested in integrating your app with social media, decide which platforms you want to prioritize here. The same goes for other requirements like compatibility with ecommerce engines, data caching for offline work, in-app purchases, geolocation or printing functionalities. You can add information about usability as well – for instance, the app’s vooice modes, menus, screens and user interface.
 
Writing an app specification can be challenging, but it’s an essential step in developing your idea for a mobile app. You don’t want to end up with a product that isn’t perfectly aligned with your key business goals, do you? Use these tips to write a detailed spec document and you’re bound to easily strike an agreement with app developers.
 
Still not sure how to write a good specification that will be useful for an app developer? Book a free and confidential 20 minute app consultation and ask our experts.

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