Make your own app with these DIY services

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
25 June, 2015
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iOS, apps, iphone, ipad, macworld australiaSmall business owners: have you ever considered going mobile? That is, making an app for your business, whether it’s a restaurant, store or events company?

It’s not a bad idea, right? After all, you know your customers are on their phones 24/7, so you may as well capitalise on that.

Good news: going mobile isn’t nearly as difficult or as expensive as you may think. In fact, you don’t even need to hire an outside developer to create an app for your business. There are plenty of do-it-yourself app building services on the market, which offer intuitive app creation tools and app hosting for a low monthly fee.

Appy Pie

Appy Pie prides itself on being simple and easy to use – hence its tagline, ‘make an app, as easy as pie’. Its code-free drag-and-drop app builder is easy to navigate (and supported with helpful pop-ups, video tutorials and a live chat box), and even a complete tech newbie will be able to create a professional-looking app in a few hours. The main drawback of Appy Pie’s service is that the app page layouts are fairly rigid, and so anyone not familiar with code will end up with a fairly cookie-cutter app. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking to create a work of art, Appy Pie’s basic builder may be too simple for your project.

Como

If you’ve already got a robust Facebook page or website, Como makes app-making even easier than Appy Pie does. Como is very similar to Appy Pie, but with one major (possibly game-changing) difference – in the second step of Como’s app-building process, it asks you to input your Facebook page or website URL, and then they pull your existing content and info to create a template for your app. This feature is especially nice because it helps give you an idea of what pages you may want to add to your app (Appy Pie recommends pages based on your app category, but Como chooses a category for you).

GoodBarber

GoodBarber is all about sexy mobile apps – heck, even its splash page is a minimalist rainbow blend of watercolours and text. While Appy Pie offers up a few generic stock photos, and Como gives you four or five basic themes, GoodBarber has an entire theme library, complete with custom fonts and high-resolution stock photos from Unsplash (a free stock photo library). If you want to make a pretty app, and you don’t have the time to find or create content yourself, GoodBarber can definitely help you with aesthetics.

An expanded version of this article, with instructions on using each service will appear in the August issue Macworld Australia magazine. You can subscribe to Macworld Australia digitally through Zinio or you can get a copy of the magazine delivered to your door each month by subscribing to the print edition.

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