Occasionally I make apps. I don't love the code engineering process in making apps, but I love coming up with ideas and using the App Store as a platform to share my ideas. I often hear about people who want to make a ground-breaking app for the iPhone or iPad. Everybody has a lot of ideas of what should be an app. Typically it's motivated by the stories of people getting rich from a smash hit like Angry Birds. My motivation for making apps has not been the same; my motivation for making apps has been that I've wanted those apps.
Two questions to help me decide what's worth building:
Do I want this app?
If you want to make an app and don't find yourself wanting to use it, don't waste your time. As I built Clips, I continually found myself using it as a resource even in the early stages. I wanted to use Clips, so I built it and released it. I did not decide to make Clips because market research told me that there was a possibility that I could sell a product, but because as I used my iPhone I knew that it would help me. And if it would help me, it might help my volunteers. And if if was helping my volunteers, I might be able to sell it to other youth workers throughout the country.
"Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?" - Steve Jobs
Can I Actually Pull It Off?
I've had lots of ideas that have never become apps. These ideas have been apps that I absolutely would use, but unfortunately I couldn't technically pull it off. If you're going to make an app, a helpful question to decide very early on, is can you actually produce the app that you envision? The earlier you can figure that out, the more time and money it will save you. I have lots of code and web domains that could of been saved simply by knowing the scope of possibilities with my own code-writing skills.
Photo Credit: Guilherme-Pavan