How to determine app idea is technically feasible as a non-technical founder?

26 November 2023 ยท Updated 26 November 2023

I'm a non-technical founder with a concept for a productivity app that sets screen time limits and rewards users for staying below these limits. However, I'm struggling to determine if this idea is technically feasible, especially considering the data access restrictions imposed by platforms like iOS. Despite extensive research on Apple's developer forums I'm still not sure. I'm seeking advice on how a non-technical founder like myself should approach verifying the technical feasibility of such an app idea before committing to bringing on technical co-founders or starting development.


Congratulations on finding an idea worth pursuing. So let’s talk about feasibility and understanding if it’s at all possible to do.

First things first โ€” Reaching out to app development companies is a solid starting point. These consultations can provide invaluable insights, not just into the feasibility of your idea but also into the nuances of app development that you might not have considered. They’re completely free, as you will only get billed if you really work with them, so getting a dev agency to estimate the complexity is the first thing that I would do. Remember, it’s not just about finding out if something can be done but also how it should be done for optimal performance and user experience. When you talk to these tech teams, donโ€™t just nod along. Grill them. What can and canโ€™t be done? What are the potential roadblocks?

Now regarding your appโ€™s specific functionality โ€“ setting screen time limits and issuing rewards โ€“ itโ€™s crucial to recognize the constraints imposed by platforms like iOS and Android. Apple, in particular, is known for its stringent privacy policies and limited access to certain system-level data. I mean, your app can only do as much as Apple and Google allow it to do. Sad pill to swallow, but its the truth nonetheless.

If you’re somewhat sure, it should be able to work โ€” Hiring a senior iOS or Android expert to create a POC is an excellent way to test how the app should be able to perform. This doesn’t need to be a fully functional app but rather a basic model to demonstrate whether the core functionality โ€“ monitoring and rewarding screen time โ€“ is possible with the current platform constraints.

Another easy way to gauge feasibility – post a job ad on Upwork. Assessing the responses and suggestions from various developers can offer you diverse perspectives on how your idea can be implemented. It also helps in validating the expertise of the developers you might end up working with. I would not post a job for the full app, but the Proof of Concept. If there’s a dev who can quickly get it done, and he delivers the prototype โ€” you’re set and can continue working with him to deliver the full scope.

From the looks of it, I would say the idea is not possible, as again, IOS is quite stingy with how much you can do/measure outside of your app context, but I’m not an iOS expert so consult with some professionals.

Wishing you all the best in your entrepreneurial journey.

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  • RetroGamer

    When I decided to dive into app development, my first stop wasn’t a dev agency; it was GitHub. I knew people submitted code there so I tried to piece together a prototype from whatever open-source projects I could find. This DIY approach was all about hands-on learning. The eventual product was still built by more competent people than me, but the prototype i did myself.

  • Eugene

    When I was brainstorming my first app, I hit up GitHub for tools that could prototype my idea. I figured, why not see what it looks like before spending any real cash? I learned a ton from just tweaking code and posting my progress on forums for feedback. Honestly, those early prototypes, hacked together from open-source projects, showed me the real gaps in my understanding and what users actually wanted.

  • Manav

    Getting real users to test your early app version, like a POC, can give super useful feedback that you might not think of. They can tell you if your app’s doing what they need, or if it needs tweaks. Saves a ton of time making sure your app’s heading the right way from the get-go. Plus, keeping a way for users to give feedback as they use the app makes it better and more user-friendly as it grows. It’s really about making sure your app fits what people actually want, big plus for standing out in the crowded app market. You guys tried this?