How to do the research for your app

Vasily Malyshev
team work

In the previous lesson we talked about how to begin working on your project. We laid out the three main things that you need to understand before moving forward: your goals, your users, and the list of features for your app.

Now let’s discuss the research you need to make before beginning the execution of your project. The research you’ll need to do focuses on your users, their needs and the competition.

Your users

The first step is researching your users. Here are the categories of information that you need to know about them:

  1. Demographics
    1. Age
      1. The interests of a 10-year-old are very different from those of a 30-year-old.
    2. Gender
      1. There is a difference in what appeals to different genders in many things. That is absolutely fine and it’s important to understand if there is a difference in your business.
    3. Income
      1. This will be one of the main factors that will determine your monetization strategy.
    4. Marital Status
      1. Being married with kids give a totally different perspective on what you want and need.
    5. Occupation/Industry
      1. The needs and comprehension levels of a person without a job and a senior software engineer are often very different.
    6. Educational Level
      1. How educated and sophisticated a person is can influence the design, monetization, need for onboarding and many other things.
  2. Interests and activities
    1. Write down a list of things your target audience likes to do. Study the target audience of other people doing similar activities to better understand their preferences and needs.
  3. Brands/companies they buy from and apps they use
    1. This will help you do two things: study and understand your target audience better by looking at competitors and will help you understand what designs, styles, and copywriting tone is your target audience used to or likes.

Problems users face

The second step would be to write down what they need or what problems do they have. Here, start with those problems you already know and are trying to solve but try to brainstorm a bit more and come up with other problems your target users have.

As you will be working on your app this will give you an idea for additional features, monetization methods and much more. For example, if you are a ride-sharing app targeted at people in the age of 25-45 you might understand that a lot of those people have kids and therefore decide to add a feature that will allow customers to transport their kids as well in a car equipped with a child car seat.

This will also help you ensure that as you implement your solutions they won’t make it harder for users to do something they already are doing. For example, launching a taxi app with motorcycles might not be a good idea if half of your users are travelling with kids.

Other solutions

Third, research what are some other ways people are solving the problem now. If there is a problem it is almost guaranteed that people have at least some solution for it. It might not be the best, more convenient, fastest option. But they are likely doing something already. People have been getting from point A to point B before uber with taxis and before that by foot. Before, ordering coffee with an app people came to the store and ordered in-person and before that just brewed it at home.

If people need something they probably have at least some ways of getting it in some shape or form. Make sure you understand all of your direct and indirect competitors. Write down what is good about those solutions and what is bad. Understand, what you can take and learn from others as well as what can you do better. Incorporate that into your future features. For example, one of the good things about getting coffee in person is that you can get a personal touch from barista who will smile at you, write something nice on your cup and it will make your day a little better. If so, why not add a little personalized sign from baristas on all pickup orders placed from the app? If time allows this might make your customers a little bit happier and that’s always a good thing.

Lastly, now that you have researched your users and understand your competition it’s time to adjust your features list or maybe even expand based on what you’ve learned. Make sure that your features help your target audience, don’t make it harder for them to achieve some of their other goals and make sure that your solution is an improvement from everything else on the market.