As a consultant, I’ve learned to start off asking “Why” vs. “How” as this helps prepare for the long journey of what you will be building. First let’s start off with the first few questions I believe need to be answered first.
What is an App?
For beginners, an “App” or Application helps you preform a task on a device such as smartphone, tablet, watch, laptop, desktop and even tv. An App can exist within a micro-services environment where it can access shared data and services. Netflix has many Apps across your Smartphones, TVs and Gaming Consoles powered by a cloud-based micro-services architecture. An app should be perfectly tailored for the environment for which it is used.
How much will it cost?
For starters, COST is only one factor out of three to consider. The other are PRICE and VALUE. Price is how much the market is willing to pay, and value is how much void you fill in someones life. A better question is to ask much margin can I expect? And how can I optimize to increase my margins overtime? The key to optimizing the ratios for a cash positive business is a little industry secret called Design Thinking… Good design thinking impacts:
- the quality of your product,
- the ease by which you develop and adapt,
- the features and methods of customer engagement
Empathy is Important
Understanding how to fulfill the needs of your user is the most important thing to focus on. Everything stems from that. Start with empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient of your product.
- Why would they include you in their lives?
- How would you introduce yourself?
- What voids do you fill?
- What are you asking in return?
This user centric approach helps you take an empathic view to you discover the voids to fill, and the value you can deliver which helps define price, which invariably helps you determine your margins over cost.
So once you know the void and the approaches you’d like to take, the next question is how technically feasible is it and how much does it cost.
Think Progress not Perfection
If you want a realistic picture of what it takes to build a great app or product, take a look at the Top 10 Product Designs of 2020 to get a sense of how they break from the pack and focus on what is valuable to their communities. Checkout the Top 10 Products in 2020
If you’re a startup thinking about building an app; take a step back and think about the larger business you may be building. If you’re a manager within a medium to larger organization think of an app within an eco-system of shared services so you can progress your company towards omni-channel customer engagement.
Clear design thinking will help answer the why, what and how and taking as step back to clarify your thoughts may save you enormous overhead during the development process as well as help you avoid serious mis-targeting of your audience and business model.
To build an app that is relevant in 2020 you have to have a holistic and contemporary engagement method. It’s all about attention, not just features.
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