Here at Magora, we talk a lot about “value” and achieving it for your company. It’s far more than just a buzzword, however. We do achieve value and we do it in measurable ways, although its meaning morphs from business to business. Today, we will discuss how to measure value in mobile and web applications for your business and ensure your final product meets or exceeds those expectations.
To begin, you must know why you want an app in order to measure how well you’ve met your goals later. You should have a better reason than, “We don’t have an app”. When I buy a fizzy drink, it’s not because my hands are empty, but because I am thirsty and it will quench that thirst (And satisfy my sweet tooth at the same time). So, begin by trying to understanding what problems you face and wish to address with your application. Usually these fall into three categories:
Fix: You know that something is broken or outdated
Solve: You are facing an obstacle and looking for creative ways to navigate through it
Avoid: You foresee loss of sales, competitor actions or other potentially dangerous scenarios and want to pre-empt them.
Sometimes a mobile app is not the answer to these questions, but we always enter into a conversation with you before beginning every project. There we discuss our own perceptions of these problems, based upon years of business and technical experience. Together we can establish real goals.
First of all, who is this app for? Do you know who your end users will be? What do you know about them? How will they use these applications? If you can answer all these questions, then you are well on your way to establishing your target audience, but it never hurts to know more. If you can’t answer, then you should get started on some market research. The end goal is to encourage customer engagement – usage, downloading of content and purchasing. Know your customers and you will be able to show them why they need your app.
Determining which platform to go with is also dictated by this information. Certain markets and demographics tend towards Android, many more towards iOS, without mentioning the many others. We have explored the pros and cons of the two main platforms in a past article, so you explore more about iOS and Android here.
Once you’ve got a handle on finding and getting your audience in the door, think about how to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Imagine a utility billing system, and think of those automated services that ask you to repeat all your information 15 times before you can be put on hold. From a technical standpoint, they are efficient, but many a poor soul has cursed their own existence trying to use one of those, so people avoid them whenever possible. You want your application to be simple and intuitive. Not every experience is fun, but you want your user to walk away from every use feeling your app was an easy way to deal with their situation (and will be in future situations).
Now that we’ve tackled the business aspects, let’s take a moment to think on some more technical components. How dynamic is your content going to be? Do you need to keep customers informed of up-to-date inventory in a warehouse? If you plan to have the type of interactivity these features would offer, you need to think about what’s going on behind the curtain. Do you want new information to be a) “embedded” or b) on the server. Option A simplifies coding, but makes updates harder. Option B simplifies updates, but increases demands on initial server integration. Here you must choose how to balance user experience and workload.
You have identified your problems, planned accordingly and now you should start putting faces to names. Get to know the company and individuals involved in the development of your idea. Learn all that you can about them and ensure that they will be able to offer you the best project for your money. You will be in continued communication with these people throughout the process, so establishing clear channels for this at the beginning is crucial. Here clarity and transparency are key, so be clear on roles and expectations from the start. As a note, some freelance developers will outsource project components to third parties. Determine whether this will happen and be sure to learn as much as you would about these individuals as you would about everyone involved on your project.
Nothing is worse than preparing to launch a product and realising something simple from the first day doesn’t work with all your other features, and now the developers must dig back down to the beginning to fix it. Something tiny becomes gigantic, but you can avoid that will regular testing. At every stage, your app should be tested. If a problem arises, it is best to deal with it at that stage of development. Successful applications are tested ones, and that quality control gives you great confidence in your product.
Now we approach the finish line. We have identified our target audience, considered technical support, vetted everyone involved and forged a testing plan to ensure high-quality. Proper application of these principles to a mobile and web app decreases costs, delays and uncertainties, while increasing ROI, savings and the overall value of your project. You can begin discussing how to gain value for your business through mobile and web application development today.