Web apps are a great first step into the technical world of app-building. They’re more simple than native mobile apps which run on Android and iOS and are much easier to get started on.
One of the most valuable developments in the world of web-app development recently has been the rise of no-code builders. Without a doubt, it’s the best way to build a modern day web app easily and quickly – without having any coding knowledge.
This post breaks down the world of no-code and how you can get started on building your own web app without code.
Introduction to No-Code
What is No-Code?
It’s software development, without code.
You heard me right. No-code tools are specifically designed so that almost anyone can build software and internal tools for their businesses that can be used by employee’s. They don’t require any formal software training because the interface through which you create software is a drag-and-drop builder, that makes sense to anyone.
No-code tools are designed to lower the barrier to entry for businesses and individuals when it comes to software development. Instead of having to learn different languages, tech-stacks and infrastructures, no-code tools allow a user to intuitively build a process that people can use and interact with.
Why No-Code Tools?
The benefits of no-code tools are substantial. Here’s why no-code tools are more than likely the best solution for your automation needs.
The truth is, 80% to 90% of what will make up your web app has likely been coded by someone out there before. So, why would you go and write that code from scratch again? There’s no point, right?
That’s where no-code is so handy. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, you’re just using pre-built components that can be pieced together like a puzzle, and then styled according to your preferences. Its much simpler and faster!
Other benefits of no-code tools include:
- Saving time. Speed of development is much faster. You will have a product to use, test and deploy in a time frame that is 10X better than the traditional process.
- Saving money. Because of the reduced development time, money gets saved throughout the whole process.
- Improved customer experience. Because no-code tools lower the barrier to entry for custom software solutions, your business is more likely and able to deploy a customer-facing product that makes their experience of interacting with your business much more efficient.
So, you might be a bit more convinced on the viability of no-code as a way to build your web app, now, let’s dive into how to actually get started.
How to Get Started
Step 1: Build it Yourself or Choose A Partner
First off, ask yourself what your goals are for the project. Are you building this web app primarily as a learning experience, with the secondary goal of starting a business? Or are you building this to get to revenue as fast as possible?
This will drive your decision on whether to build it yourself, or find an agency or assisted build dev-house like Builder.ai to help you out.
An assisted build is going to take you from idea to a polished product in a matter of weeks. To knock something out of similar quality with any no-code tools on the market will take months of hard work and learning.
Consider your options!
Step 2: Create a Customer Persona
This step is super important, and one not enough people spend enough time and effort on. If you don’t know who will be using your product, then you don’t know what you’ll need to build it for.
Get into the mind of your customer. Who are they, what are their wants and needs, what do they like and dislike. Once you can answer these questions, you’ll have a much clearer picture of what you need to build.
Once you’ve got a clear picture of your target customer, you can do some market research.
Step 3: Do Market Research
Market research is all about finding out what’s out there and what sort of market you’re entering into.
The main goal here is starting to develop your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). This is what’s going to set you apart from competitors, and appeal directly to the customer you described in step 2.
Some great ways to do market research include:
- Asking your customers in person,
- Sending out surveys,
- Asking people on Reddit, Quora or Facebook Groups.
Once you start seeing patterns in the feedback you’re getting you know that your research is working and you can start looking at moving onto your next step.
Step 4: Socialize Your Idea
Once you’ve got an idea of how your app is going to work, develop your elevator pitch for it. It’s just the 30-second explainer that you can tell anyone at the drop of a hat.
Spend some time speaking to people and tell them the problem you’re trying to solve, why, and how you’re going to do it.
Ask for feedback on why they think it might not work.
Avoid asking friends and family who are sensitive to your feelings. You want to break your idea here and see the flaws in it!
Step 5: Choose Your No-Code Platform
Once you’ve done your market research and developed your UVP, you can start looking for a no-code platform.
There are a multitude of platforms out there that you can choose from. The best one for you is going to be the one that meets the requirements of your web app.
The following questions are a good starting point:
- What features do I need?
- Are there any integrations you need?
- How custom is the web app, or can it mostly be built from pre-built components?
- How fast do I want to get to market?
- How many potential users could the platform have in the long term?
Take these questions and find the platform that best meets your needs.
Step 6: Plan Your MVP
Once you’ve chosen your platform, you can start planning your Minimum VIable Product (MVP).
You’re going to be using your work done in Steps 1 to 5 to build out a set of features that your users require.
This is your Minimum Viable Product.
Step 7: Simplify Your MVP
Once you’re finished planning, take a step back and look at your plan. Are there any features which are not absolutely critical to solving the problems of your users?
If there are, cut them. You want the absolute simplest version of your product possible.
Step 8: Build Your MVP
The fun part!
Get stuck into building your web app using your chosen platform.
As a good rule of thumb, the first thing you should always focus on is a reference Style Guide. That way, all the typography, brand elements and colours that you use are based off a dynamic set of elements which you can use to change the global look and feel of your web app.
If you ever catch yourself hard-coding a value for something, reconsider how you can do it with dynamic elements to make your app more scalable.
Step 9: Refine and Improve
The last (and probably most critical for long-term success) step in building your web app is constant improvement.
Setup a scalable method of soliciting reviews and feedback from your customers so your app is constantly evolving to meet the needs of your 1000 true fans.
And that’s it! How to start your web app in 9 steps. Good luck, and enjoy the journey.