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How to make a successful app

I often meet excited people, especially in Indigitous, who are looking to make an app or have an idea for an app. You probably have a couple ideas yourself sitting there reading this: an app to make your problems go away, an app to make you rich — what about an app to tell you which app ideas are bad?

This raises two important questions.

  1. How hard is it to get an idea into reality?
  2. Is it even a good idea to make into an app in the first place?

These are great questions that I would like to explore today. To do that I’d like to consider Voke as a case study.

Let’s look at the first question. How hard is it to get an idea into reality? In a word: very. Take a look at this video on the making of Voke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2j6JCle26A&t=94s

Now that you watched that, what stood out to you at the process level? I certainly didn’t realize how much was involved.

Here’s a short list of some of the things we needed to do to bring Voke from concept to an app:

  • Human Centered Design interviews with students
    • What is the problem that needs a solution?
  • Decide: How can an app resolve the problem?
  • Design and Prototyping
  • UX considerations
  • Test the prototype on the real audience
  • Analyze the results of the testing
  • Validate the value of the app
  • Engage an engineering team to build the app
  • Test the code written and squash bugs (Quality Assurance)
  • Branding discussions
  • Position statement for the app
  • Partnerships with other organizations
  • Release to market and measure success
  • Continue to invest /support app or sunset and move on having learned lessons

Voke released for iOS last month and had already been around for Android phones. Go grab Voke and see if you like the user experience. Is there value to using this?

Not to say that it can’t be done, but it seems to me that there are a lot of conversations and other factors required to make a successful app. How can we make this process simple? That is certainly a goal of Indigitous. I think you will see some changes for the better coming to the project platform of Indigitous over the next 2 months aimed at helping with the process. We want it to be a place where others can get access to the talent and knowledge needed as well as a way for people to vote certain projects into development. Think of Kickstarter.

This leads to the second question. Does that need to be an app? Perhaps the lack of community votes would suggest an idea isn’t worthy of the investment. However, you collect your data, you need to be sure that there is actually a demand for the product you want to make.

So knowing these things, what ideas and input do you have in improving the Indigitous project platform going forwards?



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