Here are the questions you need to ask as you prepare to develop an app.
“Today all businesses need to adapt to a mobile and digital landscape. Consumers are changing and so are your competitors,” says Ooder’s cofounder and director Rob de Rozario. “The average person spends two and half hours a day interacting with a mobile device and this will only increase with time.”
This Melbourne startup has built a mobile ordering platform for the hospitality industry, which allows venues to order their kitchen and dining equipment, fittings and fixtures from several suppliers in one place.
Rozario shares a number of lessons he’s learnt along the way – identifying four essential questions you need to ask before embarking on your project:
1. What are your marketing goals?
If you’re planning to build an app for your SME, have you asked yourself if your business really needs an app or if what you’re looking for is simply a mobile-responsive site? After all, sites that are not optimised for mobile are likely to be penalised by Google’s new algorithms.
“In most cases businesses don’t need a mobile app as such, they need a responsive website that does something for customers,” says Rozario. “Fortunately these days, you can buy some extremely well-designed responsive web templates from as little as $20.
“Spend a bit of time looking online for a template and decide if you can do it yourself. If not, you can always engage an agency.”
2. Can you define your typical user?
There are numerous decisions to be made before you begin the app development process, but your most important consideration is your audience.
“Ask who are you building this app for and what are they using it for? Engage with your audience, understand them and put together a list of typical use cases – typical ways in which your audience will use the product,” says Rozario.
“Then work out the design and flow. All other decisions will follow from here. Ultimately you need to build a product that your audience wants rather than a product you’d want them to have.”
3. What details matter to the user experience?
“App creators are increasingly dedicating more resources to UX and UI, and for good reason. That’s where the competition is,” says Rozario.
“When someone uses your app they’ll compare their experience to the experience they had with apps like Twitter and Tumblr. They won’t see that these other apps have hundreds of developers and designers building them and that you only have a team of five – all they care about is their user experience so it’s challenging,” he says.
“Overall, develop a keen understanding of how your design vision will translate across a range of devices. The best way to slow down the development of a product is to bulk it full of features.”
You’ll soon develop a killer app for your company by keeping things simple with a limited feature set, and by testing it for speed and loading times, he says.
4. Can you work effectively with developers?
“Make sure you have one person responsible for developing or managing the development of your app,” says Rozario.
“You don’t want to be in a position where your app isn’t delivered on time and multiple people are blaming each other for not delivering the product.”