Today, the Guardian has mentioned Mubaloo in an article about how to create an app for your business. It’s a great piece that discusses the fact that creating apps isn’t as simple as some may think. It also does a great job of dispelling the myth that a good app can be created for under £5,000. We recommend reading the piece, but we also wanted to add a few more thoughts.
Firstly, it’s important for companies to remember that we aren’t in 2008 anymore. Creating an app shouldn’t be thought of as a marketing or PR activity – there are millions of apps out there, so ‘having an app’ isn’t really a compelling reason to get excited for employees, customers, journalists or other audiences.
The number of apps out there also means that users will see through an app that doesn’t really serve a purpose, or appears to be poorly designed or implemented. As data from last year shows, the average number of U.S. iOS and Android users use 26.8 apps per month (Nielson). This means that there is a limit to the number of apps people will use, many of which will be entertainment, social media, productivity and gaming apps.
One of the reasons that apps matter is the amount of time users spend in them. Users over the age of 18, in America, spend 30 hours, 15 minutes per month using apps (q4 2013). That’s almost the amount of time many people spend at work during a week, indicating that app usage is not only strong, but growing (it was up 65 percent on 2011). With smartphone penetration higher than it was in 2013, and the success of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Netflix and other apps, it’s likely this figure is at its highest today.
Becoming one of the apps that people use on a regular basis means helping to make a users life easier, or adding value, such as entertainment. This is often the approach that Mubaloo takes when working with companies. There are thousands of productivity apps available that help companies with thousands of different tasks, that any company can use. We help companies identify where the gaps are, providing them an advantage they couldn’t get anywhere else.
It’s never about creating an app for apps sake. It’s about creating an app because it provides the company, its employees or its end users with something that delivers value. This is why, when creating apps, it’s important to gather a range of people together to find out where challenges are. It’s important to understand the process that different job roles need to follow, and how they can be improved or helped. It’s important to understand the current landscape of a company and where it wants to be. All of these things are the initial questions we’ll seek to ask.
Once we understand these things, we’re able to look at what the roadmap looks like. It’s unlikely that any company will just need a single app these days, but instead a variety of apps for different audiences, that meet different business or user needs. From here, we’ll help companies to understand where the priorities are and the best route to deploying apps.
This generally involves looking to start at the simplest point, whether that’s an app that easily solves an obvious need, or a more complex app, where a minimal viable start can be made to test whether it delivers value. From here, it’s possible to then build on the app with more features by understanding user behaviour through analytics. This is what we see with some of the most successful apps, where developers are continually working to refine, improve and streamline the way apps work.
As The Guardian article points out, creating an app isn’t necessarily a cheap thing to do. A lot of time, resource and expertise goes into creating an app that delivers companies with something that delivers them value. This is why, in many cases, apps we’ve created end up paying for themselves within a few months.