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Backendless CEO Mark Piller Shares Essential Strategies for Going from Idea to Application



For entrepreneurs seeking new ways to interact and communicate with their clients, building a mobile app presents many intriguing possibilities. And with the rise of no-code programming, it seems on the surface that as long as you have an idea, you can build an application.

However, this way of thinking often leads business owners to run into critical barriers in the development process, leading to frustration and stalled or even abandoned ideas. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.
As Backendless founder and CEO Mark Piller explains, entrepreneurs who are willing to follow a series of simple steps will find greater success in the development process. Best of all, many of these action steps can be completed without computer science experience – and without investing massive amounts and time and money into hiring a team of developers.

“When building applications, there needs to be a methodology to follow,” Piller says. “And in order to implement an application, you first need to understand what it will actually look like.”

The challenge for many entrepreneurs, Piller says, is that they have a good idea of what they want their app to do, a better idea of the value it will provide, but do not spend enough time on what the user will actually see when they run and use the app. When you are first conceptualizing your application, you should always begin with a visual model.
This can be done with software, or it can be done in a more low-tech way: sketching out the app with paper and pencil.

“Schematically, you can just sketch on a piece of paper, just draw a rectangle to represent the shape of a phone or a browser screen, and that becomes your canvas,” Piller says.

“And then you can start placing the individual buttons and where the text is going to be, and what the forms look like, and then you start materializing the idea in the form of a sketch. It becomes an artifact to help you visualize your thoughts on paper.”
This exercise is useful for building applications, but it also has a larger and more profound purpose. In thinking about the user experience, entrepreneurs are forced to break down a large problem into a smaller set of action steps. It allows them to see any weaknesses in their original idea – and it empowers them to clarify their vision so that when it is time to start building the application, they know exactly how they want the end product to appear.
“This is something an entrepreneur can do on their own,” Piller says. “There is really no need to outsource and spend money, especially if you’re trying to bootstrap your business and minimize costs.”

Once you have your sketches ready, you can begin soliciting feedback from friends, colleagues, and members of your team. Again, this can be done without spending additional resources and provides the additional benefit of clearing up confusion or mistakes that you may have missed during the drawing stage.
If you want to make an investment at this point, you might hire a graphic designer to create a pixel-perfect rendering of how your app will appear when it has been built.

Gathering feedback before you begin the building process is essential, Piller says. It allows you to go into the next step – when you might need to invest resources into a developer or team – with the confidence of knowing exactly what you want.

And for entrepreneurs who want to manage the entire process on their own, Piller says there are solutions for them, too. Backendless provides a secure and user-friendly visual app building platform that enables individuals to create beautiful apps even if they do not have coding experience. Backendless helps users not only build and deploy successful apps but educates them along the way, providing access to their robust educational resources and community forum monitored by members of Piller’s team.

In the end, Piller says, it is not enough to simply have an idea. But when you can clearly articulate and visualize the user experience, that is when Backendless can help you most.
“There are different tools out there for implementation, and we are just one of them,” Piller says. “But we believe that we make it better than anyone else.”

Backendless is committed to delivering a complete visual app builder that makes apps intuitive to develop and easy to manage, regardless of programming experience. To learn more about Backendless, visit their website today.

Jerry Cooper is a reporter who is based in New York. He has previously worked for several media organizations, including NY Wire.