The Oakley Mobile Blog

Cut the crApp! Part 2
Tuesday October 6, 2015

Cutthecrapp Mockup

Welcome to the second instalment of the ’cut The crApp’ trilogy. Having assumed you’ve read the first chapter which covered doing your research and choosing the right technologies, we now move onto the next phase of app development; priorities, relationships and functionality. Get these wrong and you may as well throw the towel in.

 

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6: Get your priorities right

Idea? Check!

Research? Check!

It’s not a copy and paste of your website? Check!

Great! The next stage of app development is prioritising your functionality. 

Brain babies can grow very quickly. During the research stage you will have many “oooh I could add that in too” moments, and before you know it you’ve got a kid in a sweet shop scenario.

This is the time to sit on the naughty step and think very carefully about what’s important. Don’t smother or spoil your original idea with unnecessary toys like bespoke social media messaging systems. Walk before you can run. You can always add in additional functionality later once you’re user base has grown. Just remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water. 

 

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7: Develop a hit relationship

Type ‘App Developers’ into Google and 670 million results await. But selecting one based on coding skills alone can be a big mistake. The relationship you develop is as important as the app development. So this is the perfect time to don your judges hat and start the audition process. 

Broadly speaking, there’s three categories of app developers. There’s the sunlight-averse bedroom coders, the overseas outsourcers, and the dedicated app development specialists (like us) with an in-house studio of coding and creative talent.

Perform a bootcamp, shortlist your final three and following an intense live head-to-head, choose the winner. Standing in between you and your app’s success is your developer. If your vote goes to your mum’s best friend’s third removed 12 yr old coding cousin, prepare yourself for a number one flop!

 

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8: Don't be a scope creep

Some call it moving the goal posts, others call it ‘moves adds and changes’. You can dress it up all you want, nothing compromises the development process like changing the brief half way through the project.

The average iPhone app is made up of 50,000 lines of code, so a fleeting “why can’t we change it…it’s not Temple Run?!” comment will have a big impact on the app’s time to market. 

Don’t get us wrong, tweaks can, and should be made to improve the overall app experience. But changing fundamental functionality after the app has been cooked is like sending a well done steak back because you now want it rare.

As part of appointing a ‘professional’ app development partner, a full scope will be written, signed, sealed and your app will be delivered. If you often say “I used to be decisive, but now I’m not so sure”, then maybe app development isn’t for you. 

 

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9: Function over style

In all this talk of app development, technology, functionality and code, it’s all easy to overlook the design, branding and proposition. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but we do. We’re a fickle species and first impressions count. An app’s screen shots can be the difference between installing or not. So creativity shouldn’t be under estimated.

Good technology should be simple to use and (more-or-less) invisible to the humans using it. This is where creative talent is a valuable resource and you should involve them as early as you can. Design and code should be a beautiful and lasting partnership, not a forced, last minute marriage of convenience.

If your Developer says he can knock up a logo in Word, please politely decline and plug him back into the matrix asap. You wouldn’t let a Designer develop your app, so don’t let the Developer design it either!

 

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10: Style over function

Lets cut to the chase, don’t try to hide bad functionality with good design. After reading ‘function over style’ then you probably think I’m back tracking, but hear me out. Creative plays a vital role in the success of your app. However, if your designer is effectively putting lipstick on a pig then this little piggy isn’t going to market!

There are many ‘polished’ apps that creatively look stunning. Animated transitions here, awe-inspiring visuals there. But scratch beneath that shiny exterior and you quickly find….well, nothing else. 

We might judge a book by it’s cover, but we won’t read it for very long if there’s no rhyme or reason. We may be fickle, but we’re not stupid. 

The third instalment of ‘cut the crApp’ looks at the final stages of app development; social media integration, in-app purchases and marketing.

 

Written by Barry R at 10:30

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