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Wondering how to build a home design app like Design This Home?
This is a lucrative market for those who can get it right.
Let’s first review the features of the ‘Design This Home’ mobile app. Then we will show you how you can build such a home design app yourself.
An introduction to the “Design This Home” app
Design This Home is an “Augmented Reality” (AR)- based mobile game app and App Minis, the game studio has built this. This game app falls in the simulation category, and has the following features:
- Users can design and build DIY virtual 3D models of homes using this app, and the app also enables them to decorate it in real-time with interior design tools, thus giving them a chance to wear the hat of an interior designer.
- They can paint the wall, redo the living room, create floor plans, renovate both the interior and exterior, etc. in this fun game.
- App users can choose from a variety of styles like modern, traditional, country, etc to create 3d views for a dream home.
- The app features high-quality, photo-realistic retina art and animation for new home buildings.
- Users can share their designs with their friends over Facebook or email.
- The app offers in-app purchases.
Design This Home had over a million downloads. Apps like this are mobile AR apps, and research reports estimate that the number of users of mobile AR will reach 1.7 billion by 2024. Read more about this in this Statista report.
This is not surprising, considering AR has a rapidly growing market. The global market for AR will reach $198 billion, as this Statista report estimates.
Design This Home has an iOS app, and an Android app.
How to Create a Home Designing App like Design the Home?
A software development project to build a home designing app like Design This Home involves the following steps:
1. Agree on the home designing project scope
Work with your business stakeholders and define the project scope as follows:
- Plan on offering an iOS and an Android app.
- Offer features like AR simulation, sharing on Facebook, sharing using Gmail, in-app purchases, online payments, and push notifications.
- Build the app for launching it in one geography.
2. Select an appropriate “Software Development Life Cycle” (SDLC) model
I recommend that you launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) with the above-mentioned features, and launch it in the market. You can then enhance the app based on the response from the market.
This enhancement will likely take place in iterations. Such projects require the “Agile” SDLC model, and you can read “What is software development life cycle and what you plan for?” to understand why.
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3. Formulate a home designing app development approach
A right development approach can help you execute this project effectively, therefore, consider the following as part of this approach:
- Utilize a “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) platform, so that you can focus on the development, instead of having to manage the IT infrastructure.
- Make use of “Software Development Kits” (SDKs) and “Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs) for implementing the key features like AR simulation, sharing on Facebook, etc.
- Use “Integrated Development Environments” (IDEs) and frameworks to ease development and testing.
- Design and develop the app keeping in mind that you might launch it in other geographies too, in the future. This requires you to follow “app internationalization” guidelines, e.g., keeping the code separate from the content. You can learn more about it in “The ultimate guide to mobile app internationalization”.
4. Build a “Scrum team”
Use the “Scrum” technique to manage this agile project, since it‘s a tried-and-tested technique. The project manager (PM) performs the role of a “scrum master”, and forms small, cross-functional “scrum teams” where developers and testers work together.
The team works on “sprints”, i.e., iterations according to the Scrum terminology.
This scrum team requires the following technical roles:
- Business analysts;
- UI designers;
- Android developers, with Kotlin skills;
- iOS developers, with experience in Swift.
If you need guidance on the scrum technique, our guide “How to build a scrum development team?” can help.
5. Sign-up for an MBaaS platform
As an entrepreneur, your priority is to launch the app quickly to the market, and not IT infrastructure management. I recommend that you use an MBaaS platform since it offers several advantages, e.g.:
- You don‘t need to hire a cloud platform architect, moreover, you don‘t need a mobile backend developer. There is no need to spend your valuable resources on managing the mobile backend.
- An MBaaS provider manages cloud infrastructure and persistent file hosting services.
- While mobile app development can be complex due to the multitude of mobile platforms and devices, MBaaS platforms deal with this complexity.
- You can integrate 3rd party APIs easily, moreover, it‘s easier to implement features like security, user management, and push notifications.
- Your team will find it easier to scale the app if you use an MBaaS platform.
Read “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?” to learn more about these advantages. You can use AWS Amplify, i.e., the MBaaS offering from AWS, and take advantage of the excellent cloud capabilities of AWS.
6. Get an AR engine for building the proposed interior design app
You need an AR engine to build a house design app. We recommend you use the Unity AR engine. The Unity AR engine is a part of Unity, the famous game development engine. It offers the following advantages:
- The Unity AR design software is user-friendly.
- It offers extensive tools for designing games and other AR software. They include 3D design tools, color palettes, etc.
- Unity AR engine offers useful libraries, powerful tools, and workflows for the use of AR developers.
- You can use the Unity AR engine in many industries. You can use it for creating a variety of apps including home design apps.
- The sophistication of the Unity AR engine helps you to get professional results.
- While the Unity AR engine is intuitive, you get extensive documentation too.
- You can build highly interactive home design apps using the Unity AR engine.
7. Find an API/SDK solution for enabling users to share their designs on Facebook
Your app users would like to share their designs with their friends on Facebook. You need to use the Facebook SDKs to enable this, and the following can help:
- Use the Facebook SDK for Android.
- Meta provides useful documentation for it.
- You can also find other important reference documentation for the Android SDK.
- Use the Facebook iOS SDK for the iOS app.
- Meta provides extensive documentation for the iOS SDK.
- You can get step-by-step instructions, FAQs, troubleshooting guides, etc.
8. Get a solution for Gmail integration
Users of the app would like to share their designs via email with their friends. I recommend that you use the Gmail API for this. Note the following quick facts with respect to this solution:
- You can use the Gmail REST API for your app.
- It‘s an easy-to-use API, and you can check out the API client libraries for more details.
- Check out the extensive learning resources for the Gmail API.
- Consult the Gmail API guides.
- Review the Gmail API references.
9. Sign-up for an API/SDK solution to implement the in-app purchase feature
An eCommerce API/SDK solution will make it easier to implement the in-app purchase feature in this app, therefore, I recommend that you sign-up with Shopify. You can use its solution as follows:
- Get access to the Shopify eCommerce API in the Shopify developer portal.
- Shopify offers extensive API guides.
- You can access the comprehensive Shopify API tutorials.
10. Find an API/SDK solution for the online payment feature
The app needs the online payment feature, therefore, I recommend that you use the payment gateway solution from Braintree. The following steps are involved here:
- Sign-up for the “Braintree Direct” solution.
- Braintree provides extensive documentation for this solution.
- The company offers comprehensive developer guides.
- Braintree provides tutorials for its APIs.
11. Get an API solution to implement push notifications in the home designing app
You would want to engage your app users and push notifications to help here. Implementing the push notifications feature is easier with a bulk SMS solution, therefore, I recommend that you use Twilio. You need to do the following:
- Sign-up for the “Programmable SMS” solution from Twilio.
- Sign up for the SMS API from Twilio.
- Review the API documentation from Twilio.
- Check out the messaging services guides.
- Review the Twilio pricing plans.
Twilio publishes its pricing plans here.
12. Obtain the required tools for home designing app development
You need to install the following “Integrated Development Environments” (IDEs) for this project:
- Android Studio, for Android app development;
- Xcode, for the iOS app development.
You need to test your app on a large number of devices. We recommend you use the Digital.ai web and mobile cloud testing solution for this.
Your testers also need detailed test reports and analytics, and commonly used open-source testing frameworks aren‘t quite enough for this. The Digital Test Analytics solution from Digital.ai can help.
13. The mobile app UI design
Your UI design team needs to design a great UI that‘s easy-to-use, yet appealing enough. I recommend the following resources for this task:
- Apple mandates “Human Interface Guidelines” for the UI design for iOS apps, and your team should follow this.
- For Android app UI design, the UI design team needs to consult the “Material design” guidelines.
- You need to choose the right mobile navigation menu pattern for the UI. AR simulation is the main feature of this app, therefore, you need to ensure that the users focus on this. Use the “Hamburger menu”. Read our guide to mobile navigation.
- The mobile app UI needs an appropriate color scheme, which suits the characteristics of the app. Our guide to mobile app color schemes can help.
- Design the icons for the mobile app using the appropriate best practices. For e.g., the design should be simple and restrained, and you should design icons that are easy to recognize and remember. You can find more guidance in “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?”.
14. Developing the Android app
I recommend that you code the Android app using the modern open-source language Kotlin. It’s highly popular for Android development since developers can code fast and performant apps using it.
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The language has a concise syntax, which improves the productivity of programmers. Kotlin has powerful features that help developers avoid common errors like null pointer exceptions. I have explained the advantages of using Kotlin in “Kotlin vs Java: which is the best choice?”.
Developing the Android app involves the following steps:
- Use Android Studio to code the app. This popular IDE supports Kotlin, and there is guidance available in “Get Started with Kotlin on Android”.
- Integrate the different APIs.
- Use Espresso to test the app.
- Publish the app to Google Play.
15. Code, test, and publish the iOS app
Coming to the iOS app development, my recommendation is that you use Swift. Apple champions this language for developing apps for its platforms like iOS, macOS, tvOS, etc.
Swift has powerful features that help programmers become more productive, moreover, it enables coding fast and performant apps. The language enables bug-free coding. It‘s easy to read, making it easier to maintain the app.
Read our Objective-C-to-Swift migration guide for more insights.
Take the following steps for the iOS app development:
- Use Xcode to code the app.
- The next step is to integrate the SDKs/APIs for Sumerian, Facebook, Gmail, Shopify, Braintree, and Twilio in the code.
- Test the app using XCTest.
- Use the iOS app submission guidelines to publish the app to the Apple App Store.
16. Manage the home designing app project using an effective PM tool
A scrum team works as follows:
- A “Product owner” provides the requirements in a document called the “Product Backlog”.
- The team estimates the requirements, and plans sprints in “sprint planning meetings”.
- “Daily stand-up meetings” help the scrum master to gather the project status, and resolve issues.
- The team demonstrates the app in a “sprint review meeting”, where the project stakeholders approve the sprint, provided that the app works.
- A “Sprint retrospective meeting” after the completion of a sprint helps the team to learn the lessons from the work they just completed.
You need an effective PM tool to manage these activities, and I recommend Asana for this.
Additional tips for creating a house design app
We offer the following additional suggestions:
1. Review popular home design apps like Planner 5d
You can get great ideas by reviewing the best apps for home design. Review the following paid and free home design apps:
Houzz is a popular app and online community. Many users utilize it to engage architects, interior designers, or contractors for designing and building their own homes or office spaces.
Users can find excellent ideas on Houzz for designing and decorating their homes. Houzz is available on the web, Android devices, iPhones, and iPads.
B. Planner 5d
Planner 5D is a well-known home design app. Users can take advantage of its powerful 2D and 3D design capabilities. Modern technologies like AI and AR power this app.
Planner 5D offers features to design and plan rooms, kitchens, offices, bathrooms, etc. This app is available on the web, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
C. Home Design Makeover
Home Design Makeover is an interesting game for people interested in interior design, floor planning, and decoration. You can use it to design and renovate homes in different styles. This game is available on Android and iOS, and users can play it offline.
Magicplan is a powerful app for contractors. It offers powerful features like project estimation, sketching a floor plan, reporting, estimating building materials, etc.
Magicplan has integration with popular tools like Asana, Box, Trello, Dropbox, Google Sheets, Gmail, Google Drive, Onedrive, Salesforce, Zoho CRM, etc. This helps you to coordinate with different stakeholders in the real estate and construction sectors.
E. Home Design 3D
Home Design 3D is a feature-rich app allowing a floor planner to build 3D models of homes. They can test their ideas before the actual construction. It’s available on the Web, Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
You can use the built-in zoom view. Home Design 3D facilitates walkthroughs of the 3D models. Users can inspect their creations at a granular level, e.g., they can examine the thickness of the walls.
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2. Review software solutions for offering great capabilities
You might need to integrate 3rd party API and SDKs to help home designers and home improvement professionals. Check out the following examples:
A. V-Ray app SDK
Home designers and home improvement professionals might need photo-realistic 3D rendering tools. Thankfully, there are several new photo-realistic 3D rendering technologies. V-Ray is a great architectural rendering software. Review the V-Ray app SDKs.
B. AutoCAD APIs
You can integrate AutoCAD into your application to provide specialized design and drafting capabilities. Review the AutoCAD developer documentation including its .NET API.
3. Focus on application security
A home design app will process sensitive information. You need to design and implement a comprehensive information security solution. Focus on the following:
- Mitigating top application security vulnerabilities;
- Utilizing modern technologies like multi-factor authentication (MFA), encryption, etc.;
- Using cloud computing smartly;
- Implementing thorough security and compliance testing process.
4. Build your own APIs
We recommend you build your own APIs for core features. This helps you to utilize your core business capabilities, furthermore, this reduces dependencies on external APIs.
Build RESTful APIs since REST (Representational State Transfer) is the de-facto API development standard. Design API endpoints smartly.
Use cloud computing platforms and modern SQL/NoSQL databases. Create effective rules for API requests/responses, and secure these APIs.
5. Assess the experience in home design app development when you interview developers
You need smart developers to develop your own home design app. To hire them, you need to evaluate their skills and experience thoroughly. We intend to provide a rough guide in this regard. Evaluate the following during the interview:
- Have the candidates worked on home design app development projects for real estate or interior decoration brands?
- Can the candidates show any reference interior design applications that they built?
- Which business models did the above-mentioned reference apps support, e.g., monthly fees, referral services, etc.?
- Did the developers develop features related to planning, e.g., creating floor plans, space planning, room planner, etc.?
- Have the candidates developed features related to furniture, e.g., options to add furniture, selecting high-end furniture, etc.?
- Did the candidates develop other functions like planning renovation projects, mood boards, etc.?
- Do the above-mentioned reference apps allow users to change the color of the walls by touching the walls virtually and selecting colors?
Essentially, we recommend you ask questions that assess the relevant experience of developers.
Planning to Build a Home Designing App like Design This Home?
According to Globes News Wire, “The interior design software market was valued at USD 3829 million in 2019, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 6433. 9 million by 2025”. You can mark your share in this lucrative market by developing a feature-rich yet secure home designing app.
No doubt, you can expedite a software development project like this by using an MBaaS platform, APIs/SDKs, IDEs, and frameworks. However, such projects tend to be complex, and I recommend that you engage a reputed development partner.
Our guide “How to find the best software development company?” can help you to find such a trusted and competent partner.
If you, as a business CEO or CTO, are still looking for experienced and skilled mobile application developers, why not contact DevTeam.Space by stating your product specifications via this quick form.
One of our account managers will get back to you to guide you on how you can partner with our field-expert software developers community vetted for high-quality software development practices based on the latest technologies.
Frequently Asked Questions on Home Design App
You can build a home designing app using “Augmented Reality” (AR), which involves the following steps:
Determine the requirements, formulate a development approach, plan the project, and form a team.
Use cloud platforms like AWS and AR development engines like Amazon Sumerian, moreover, build APIs for key functionalities.
Use the appropriate technology stack and code the app. Test and deploy it.
Augmented Reality (AR) helps users virtually try various home design ideas. They can use AR-powered mobile apps for this and try different design ideas. For example, they can rearrange pieces of furniture or place decorative pieces virtually using AR-powered apps.
The time required to build an AR home design app depends on the features you want to include in the app. Simple AR home designing apps might take a person-month to build, whereas, you might need 9 person-months to create a feature-rich app.