By Emma Brannam for Newshub Connect
In a world where we're glued to our smartphones for most of the day, it's useful to know how to create apps. For a select few, it can even be a fast route to riches - just look at the success of Tinder or Pokémon Go.
So, if you've got an idea for the next best-selling game, or you simply want to improve your business, here are some tips on how to get started creating apps yourself.
Do your homework
Don't spend a cent until you've spent some time. Ask yourself: who does your app help and why?
"When I started high school I wanted something to remember my homework," says Kerman Kohli, the 18 year-old Kiwi whizz kid behind the highly successful Homework App. "It was that simple."
Simple but effective - it's been downloaded more than a million times.
Apps, even fun ones like games, have to solve a problem.
"Look at games that do really well," Australian developer Andy Sum told Newshub after the phenomenal success of Crossy Road. "Why are they doing well? We wanted something that was funny, that people would share."
Pick up a pen
Start with paper, not a smartphone. Sketch out your app idea to visualise the layout and structure. Figure out how to fund it. Will your app be free with in-app purchases or will you charge a download fee?
"Put a business plan around your idea," says Rubin Bijil from Smudge Apps, the company that's mentoring tech start-ups at Vodafone xone. "It doesn't have to be very complicated. Where's the money coming from, how's it going to get spent?"
Learn to code
This is not as scary as it sounds. While there are plenty of good tertiary courses in New Zealand that will teach you the skills, you don't need to study computer science to be an app developer. You should, however, learn to code.
"I'm a big believer in trying to build it yourself. There are so many good resources available to do it,' says Mr Bijil.
Google has a tutorial on building your first android app, there's plenty of help on YouTube, and those who sign up for Apple's developer programme get all sorts of online help.
Next month, Apple will release Swift Playgrounds to help children learn to code using Swift, the language used to create apps for the app store.
Test it out
Vodafone xone has an app testing facility. If you're an individual, firm or community organisation you can ask to use it. It's full of the latest handsets, tablets and AR headsets to check apps work before they deploy.
Ask the experts
If DIY fails, a quick Google search shows a wide variety of app developers and app development companies in New Zealand. Make sure to check out the apps they've created and how well they work before making your choice. To save yourself time and effort, do that homework and business plan first.
This article was created by Newshub Connect for Vodafone. Check out Vodafone xone to find out what some of the country's brightest startups are up to now and how it could help you.