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Make your own app with these DIY services

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | June 25, 2015
Small 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?

Step two is the longest step, and this is where you'll do all of the app creation. Appy Pie's app builder features what they call a "drag-and-drop" interface (but what is actually more of a "click-and-fill-out-a-form" interface) alongside a large live preview of what your finished app will look like. The builder has two main sections--"App Pages," which is where you will add and edit the different pages for your app; and "Style & Navigation," which is where you can edit how the app looks, including changing the background, icon, splash screen, colors, and navigation layout.

Adding pages and content to your app is "as easy as pie." In the App Pages tab, you'll see several boxes along the top of the screen, each of which represents a different page in your app. To add a new page, simply click one of the boxes that doesn't currently have a page, and then choose a page layout to add it to the mix. Depending on what type of business you have, Appy Pie offers a variety of pre-made layouts, including information pages (about your company, contact, customer testimonials), social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn), multimedia pages (RSS feed, photo, video, blog), and mobile commerce pages (commerce, coupons, loyalty cards). Each layout has its own specific customization options, but you'll always be able to change the page's name (how it appears in your app's navigation) and icon.

Some of Appy Pie's page layouts let you build your own content--there's a form builder for creating fillable forms, a quiz option, and straight text and code pages if you really want to build from scratch.

Once you've added pages to your app, you can start editing the aesthetics in the Style & Navigation tab. Here, you can change your app's icon, upload a new splash screen, change your app's category, and edit the title that appears at the top of the app screen (you can change it, upload a banner, or choose to have no title displayed at all). You can also upload a new background image--only one for the entire app, though, not per page. Appy Pie lets you pick from five different navigation layouts, including the classic five icons along the bottom of the screen, a list, two different matrices, and a menu that slides out when you tap a button in the upper left corner.

If you spend a few hours with Appy Pie's builder, you can make a polished, professional-looking app with ease. While it won't necessarily be in the running to win any design awards, it should suit most small businesses, restaurants, and events looking to get their info out there and integrate social media and mobile commerce. The nicest thing about Appy Pie is that it's clearly designed with beginners in mind, and each page layout comes with its own video tutorial just in case you get lost.


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