We live in an increasingly complex and fast paced world where people seemingly expect everything real time verses waiting. Whether fast food, dry cleaning, communication, etc., consumers have built up demand for the “I want it now factor”. We’ve gone from email to text-messaging. Social media drives much of what we do and how we interact with each other.
Now businesses find that they must position their business model to leverage the power and accessibility to a mobile world. Mobile is another avenue for brand and business development along with assortment of other activities. It’s not just enough to simply have a mobile presence, it’s important to consider the business ends – what does the end user really want and/or gain out of the experience. Whether you select a mobile web site or native application (e.g. something you download and install on the mobile device) isn’t always a clear and simple decision. There are trade-offs and benefits either way. Experts in the field help clients navigate the mobile environment; educate them on the features, benefits and costs so they can an informed decision.
Some of the things to consider when designing a mobile site and/or application are:
- Location – where the end user resides
- Coverage – whether the user network works where the user is located
- User type – casual vs. expert
- How they use it (business need) – what is the end user interested in? How does the app or mobile site add value to the user’s busy lives?
- Budget – determined by scope, which sets the stage for what the application is going to do for the user. In the case of Apple an application must be deemed to “enhance the user experience” and to that end simple applications are rejected. Open source options
Having a clear vision about what is desired for the end solution is important. Expert developers can help you identify value add features. A strong and well-constructed proposal process is essential as the developer creates the layout of your project, including the business needs, scope and budget. A proposal really helps client’s visual and bring clarity to their project. Through storyboarding developers will help to define the solution and ensure that business needs are met. One of the more common approaches to managing a project is the “Agile” approach. In this approach a developer works with clients over short two to three week time periods on their project, which gives ample opportunity to identify and fix problems early on. Through a collaborative approach a final end is reached and clients can select the level of involvement in the process.
Critical things to consider when selecting a developer:
- Agility and attention whereby developer is big enough to provide depth and stability but is also customer centric
- Developer should have experience with relevant and reputable firms
- Skilled resources and technology depth are must, whereby developer has experience across many different languages and technologies
- Business needs first focus is critical
- A proven track record of experience documented
- A global view is often critical to success in the mobile world
- Length of business history of ten plus years
- Leadership strength as demonstrated through patents, business partnerships, and recognition
- Price and value should math with the quality of work delivered. Lowest price doesn’t rule
Typically the best approaches model is using the Agile project management approach whereby the developer works in two to three week sprints on the project and related deliverables concluding with review in conjunction with the client to work through bugs and changes. This process has shown to be a much more effective and efficient method to avoid costly delays and mistakes commonly associated with other less hands-on approaches and it also provides the client a stronger role (to whatever degree they prefer) in the final delivery of concept. As a value add exercise on option is to deploy intention-based gap-analysis, whereby after defining the business need and story-board an interactive prototype actual designed graphical elements is created and sample user base is asked to complete the core tasks of the application where information is recorded on their actions electronically and visually.
As a final word it’s best to do research and interview two or three development shops to compare service, quality and price. Remember though that a low price may likely deliver an inferior end product.