How to Pitch Your App

You’ve done the hard work in designing, prototyping, and testing your app, and the next phase looms: How do you pitch your app?

App Design Journal & Workbook

Luckily, if we were using the App Design Journal to figure out how to build our app, the last phase, where we evaluate what we’ve done, includes some tips on what to include in your app pitch.

Even if you’ve used the App Design Workbook, you’ll still have a lot of answers to these questions you need to answer to build your pitch.

These are great tools to help put shape to your project. So often projects go off the rails because we don’t have an overriding vision to stick to… that’s not saying the vision doesn’t change during the lifetime of a project, but at least in each phase you have a good idea what you’re marching towards.

And ultimately, your destination is getting your project used by someone, and that means convincing them it’s worth their while.

What’s the Story?

You usually have a limited amount of time to make your pitch… even if there’s not a set time limit, like in front of a hackathon judging panel, people only have so much attention span.

So you want to make sure you answer this major question, above and beyond anything else:


Why did you build this? Why have you invested all your time and energy into this project?

If you have an origin story for the idea, even better. Give them the story, with a bit of a hero (which might be your app). Who else is key to the story? Is it a friend, relative, yourself?

How to Speak

If you want to watch a master lecturer and speaker in action, Patrick Winston used to give a “How to Speak” lecture every year at MIT, and you can watch his 2018 talk here:

He gives you some amazing tips on what works well when you’re presenting, including how to structure your talk. Because after we’ve done all the work defining our app, iterating over prototypes and testing out the idea and different implementations of it we don’t want to fall at the next hurdle, which is getting other people interested in it, too!

Practice Makes Better

I’m a volleyball coach, too, so I know that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it will make things much, much better.

Rehearse your presentation a few times. Run a timer. If you use Keynote to present it has a handy timer on the presenter display for you to use.

Go grab some people unfamiliar with your app or project and ask them to sit and listen to you for 5 minutes. You can ask them to:

  • Get them to troubleshoot what might make it more clear, what might inspire their interest in it
  • Comment on how clear your vision was in the presentation
  • Ask them if they can explain your solution, as you’ve presented it

Keep in mind the advice from early in the App Design Workbook: Keep an open mind. Getting feedback, especially when you’ve put your heart and soul into it, can be rough.

Not the End

Even if you’re doing this for a hackathon, this isn’t the end. If your idea has legs, it will keep going long after the hackathon, even if it’s not THE winner. You’ll need to pitch the app again and again to get people to use it. Just like your prototype and implementation, your pitch will undergo a series of revisions each time you tell the story. It will change, depending on the audience. Different people will see different uses for what you’ve done.

So collect feedback from people to whom you present the idea and keep that in mind for future presentations.

Use tools like the App Design Workbook’s closing slides, that show you, depending on the feedback you get, where you need to go for the next iteration of your project.