A guide for App Development

Published: 02 February 2017
Last edited: 08 August 2017

App development and use is a strategic process. This guide aims to assist in this process, follwing the Digital Principles.

First objectives and types of apps are analysed, before looking at strenghts and weaknesses, as well as alternatives to smartphones and apps as technology. A guide on researching the existing app market concludes this chapter.

Secondly the enabling environment of app development is considered, from user centred development, over budget considerations and development options.

Lastly, technical aspects of app development are explored, dwelling on user needs, functionality, platforms, back and frontend, distribution and hardware considerations.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Management planning
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

Successful development depends on enabling factors, following a strategic process that helps to ensure that the app solution

  • is tailored to user's needs
  • uses the right type of technology to address the identified objective
  • doesn't reinvent the wheel, if other suitable solutions already exist
  • is within the budget
  • is developed, using resources effectively
  • has the required functionality
  • uses the most suitable platform
  • combines backend end frontend
  • is distributed well
  • considers hardware and connectivity

Lessons learned

The below decision tree can help to understand whether and how an app may be a useful solution to a given problem statement, following these guiding questions:


  • "Do I need an App for that?",
  • "Who makes an App for that?" and
  • "How to make an App for this?"

This structure is based on our experience and aims to avoid app solutions that do not properly consider objective, user need, available resources and technical requirements.