Tag Archives: app development

Storytelling in app world needs both Agile and Waterfall

brooklyndesignBy Dennis Clemente

Does the Agile methodology work in storytelling? If you ask Brian Kelly of Small Planet Digital, a full service mobile agency with 57 apps in the Apple Store, he thinks storytelling needs both Agile and Waterfall.

Using TV series as a case study, Kelly argued how Agile alone is not enough. “A pilot is the MVP, the episode the sprint and the season the version. Nobody writes the season(s) upfront.”

Stressing this point, he said, “When Agile works, it works but we’re often hired to tell stories and create new narratives. And agile is not really good for telling these great emotional stories.”

Kelly was one of three presenters at the Brooklyn Mobile Designers meetup along with
Refinery 29’s UX director Eben Levy and senior UX designer Juan Sanchez as well as Luke Miller, formerly of Yahoo and whose energetic speaking voice, will do him well in his incarnation as a mentor at General Assemb.ly.

Both Levy and Sanchez talked about the lessons they’ve learned in mobile design. Some of the key learnings they shared:

• Never assume they’re going to use (a feature)
• Consistency of experience is important
• White space is part of our background
• The problems you face may not be the interactive but how you need to diversify interface points
• Work closely with data analysts, to (design) in an honest way
• The biggest thing for us is the monetization of mobile
• Challenge is how to balance advertising needs vs. user needs
• It uses an internal tool to test

Using a newsfeed as case study, Miller advised people to take these three points to heart: usability, pagination and universal app for mobile and tablets. He stresses how it’s wrong to use a product person (internal) as test user.

Miller talked about the tools he has used. At Yahoo Finance, Miller used Hype. For interaction, he now uses a new tool called Pixate. “(The latter is) almost object-oriented programming, not timeline based, and with no coding.”

He urges designers to use data collection. “It’s good for hypothesis.”

How to get noticed in a marketplace overflowing with apps

By Dennis Clemente

How many apps do you have on your smartphone? How many do you actually use? In a 2010 study by Localytics, 26% of apps downloaded were just used once. The problem persists to this day with nearly 7 billion mobile apps downloaded, but with one in four apps never used again. Consider that Apple has nearly 800,000 apps—and growing; we haven’t even mentioned the fact that most of them are free, not counting other apps made for Android and other devices. How do you get people to notice your app?

Still, app developers have a reason to be optimistic, when sales of apps, in-app purchases and subscriptions across smartphones and pads combined are projected to hit $36.7 billion by 2015, according to Canalys. Total of apps now is 1.7 million.

The potential to earn from apps is there as long as consumers can find you. For advertising, that’s a creative challenge. For a news hound, that’s a story. For a startup, that’s a daunting one that requires entrepreneurs of the app kind to come together.

Last April 30 at the Alley NYC, they gathered together to find out “How to get noticed in a marketplace overflowing with apps.” Jake Ward, executive director of the Application Developers Alliance, served as moderator, with guest speakers Arie Abecassis, co-founder of AppStori; Mark Ghermezian, CEO of Appboy; Louis Simeonidis, CMO of Applico; Michael Ludden, senior technical marketing manager at Samsung Developers; and Glen Nigel Straub, director of Global Monetization Solutions at Millennial Media.

Guest speakers at Alley NYC
Guest speakers at Alley NYC
Abecassis led the panel of speakers—and rightfully so, as his company AppStori serves a higher calling for the rest of us who may want to have our own app but can’t afford to do so. It’s kickstarter.com for apps, a crowdsourcing and funding platform that connects mobile app consumers with developers.

Abecassis talked about the importance of lead-generation marketing your mobile apps, from concept to completion. He cited the importance of relationships with bloggers and app review sites as well as cross promotions. He suggested appflood.com, the only 100% transparent and 100% commission-free platform for trading app installs. “Favorable reviews can create appvocates.”

If one has an advertising budget in place, he suggested pay per click mobile advertising, which can increase an app visibility and rate of conversion. Constantly tracking and analyzing your success or progress is also highly recommended.

“Don’t fall in love with your idea too much. Test as many tools as possible to see which tools yield the most downloads and usage for your apps,” he said.

Beyond marketing, it was also discussed how improving the experience for users may help promote apps more effectively. Would it, for example, be a good idea to try an app before downloading it? Should there be a better curation of all the apps?

And how much does it cost to succeed in this business?

It’s a question that proved to be the hardest to answer. For Ghermezian, it’s about choosing the right team, which everyone at the panel agreed. But everyone was also in agreement that you just can’t get the best team right away, so it’s essential that you launch an app project, even with all its imperfections.

Ghermezian was emphatic about just having your app out there instead of constantly tweaking one’s app.

Straub said creating apps for Microsoft and Blackberry, being new to the marketplace, could pay off. Ludden mentioned developing for Samsung, while Simeonidis said Facebook is another option.

“More than the cost, it’s the sweat equity you put in,” added Straub whose mobile ad company Millennial Media identifies the best ad types, features and actions that most effectively engage consumers.

The event was organized by the Applications Developers Alliance Emerging Technology & Research Working Group. Visit devsbuild.it for resources to grow and analyze your business.