Group 2: Workshop

Introduction 

In the world that we live in today everything revolves around the ability to have everything at our fingertips at a moments notice. Instant gratification is exactly what we have all come to know and expect. Needless to say, the same goes for any business and its customers. Thus, it is extremely important no matter what company it is to have a properly running phone app. Apps keep the customer constantly in touch with the company and can always be accessed from just about anywhere. A proper app has even been known to increase sales within a business. There are plenty of articles throughout the internet that provide help with anything from explaining why apps are important to how to create your own app. Throughout this document we will cover exactly what we have learned about app design and building, which we feel will help us to create an ideal app for any business.

Creating a Mobile Application
The initial guidelines to creating a Mobile Application are simple:

1. Pick a Platform

Droid, iOS, Windows Mobile.

2. Tools: Make sure you have all the basic tools needed to execute the app

Get a smartphone or iPad

Join the apple iPhone Developer program

Prepare a Non-Discloser Agreement

Download and install the latest iPhone SDK


3. Get to know the jargon

4. Pick a concept

What will make your app stand out?

Does your app solve a unique problem?

Does your app serve a specific niche?

Is your app sticky enough to warrant return visits?


5. Research your competition

6. User Experience

Successful apps are fast, simple, and effective

Easy navigation is key


7. The App Store

Create your certificates

Define App ID’s

Create your distribution Provisioning Profile

Prepare Application

Upload iTunes Connect


8. Promotion

Through social media, online PR, app review panels, niche networks, to build

launch anticipation.

 

Online sources: Creating a Mobile Application, by Danielles Gatsos

Building an app: The designer’s perspective

“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”

Despite popular belief, designing an app is not just how the product looks and feels, but the interaction that takes place between the product and its users. Although many companies outsource application design due to the specialization of cross-platform development, it’s still an integral part of an overall marketing strategy. Here’s how to get started:

Assess your tasks:

What is your objective? Understand the important details such as extra revenue channels, brand identity, or simply a mobile version of a web product. Analyze your audience, and you will save yourself a lot of time trying to impress the wrong market. You wouldn’t want to put flashy cartoons on an app designed for medical purposes. Also, keep in mind your development budget.

Analyze competitors:

Search through blog content in various markets, as well as the app store, where your application will be published. Give competitive products a try. What works, and what doesn’t?

Search for inspiration:

Scoutzie, Dribble and Behance are a few of a great number of sites that compare products and opinions in various markets. Staying up to date on recent articles and design concepts can improve additional functionality. Explore other devices and platforms to see new and interesting mechanics. Afterwards, combine all your findings.

inhabitat.com

Here is where the development comes in…

Focus on the most important functions, and the product will work perfectly. It’s imperative to stay focused on the core of the product. How does this model stack up with the original goal? Does the design comply with the platform’s guidelines?

After initial development, test your prototypes in native environments. Is the layout comfortably arranged, is everything easily reachable on a touch screen? Test your layout in multiple screens (Large screen desktop, laptop, iPad, etc.)

Focus on the fine details, such as animations, putting them only when necessary. You can even pick action sounds and add little pleasant things that can enhance your application.
For your final developed product, participate in beta testing and perform a design review. After the app has gone to press, pay attention to reviews to gather interesting and useful information.

nonesnote.com

Online Sources:
How to design a mobile app. A Designer’s guide to the process. Step-by-step approach and recommendations, by Alexander Kirov
Designing a Mobile App? Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes, by Ryan Matzner

What it Takes to be an App Developer

“You’ll need a serious crash course in programming, and probably a healthy marketing budget, to even get noticed in today’s crowded app market.”

To build a successful app in massive market of applications is takes a lot of time and dedication, as well as a few bucks. Amateur app builders won’t last long term due to the increasing demand of applications. There are so many options and if a developer is not properly prepared, it’s highly unlikely that they will be successful at all.

How to build an app for Apple:
Requires a Mac computer in order to run the proper tools. Then you have to pay Apple 99$ to become a developer for them officially.. The program that needs to be used is Objective-C, and another program called Cocoa Touch gives users some basic app developing tools to use. Once the app is finished, the developer can send it into apple and wait for approval, which takes a few weeks.

 

How to build an app for Android:
You need a computer, can be a Mac, Windows, or Linux. They offer a free developer software with no fee like Apple applies. The program that needs to be used is called Java. Google’s website has a bunch of guidelines for developers to follow in order to create the application. The app is then sent into Google for a technical review, and is generally easier to be accepted into the Android market in comparison to apple.

Online Sources:

What It Takes to Be an App Developer, by Brian Chen

How Free Apps Can Make More Money Than Paid Apps
“One of the hardest decisions an app developer has to make is how to get the app to pay for itself”

Social media has developed into one of the most used business tools for creating brand awareness.  Apps for desktop and mobile devices have become useful tools for branding as well.  The choice that businesses are faced with is what type of app, either free or paid, they will use to engage their customers.  John Monoogian III discusses how free apps can make more money than paid apps.

Developers tend to experiment with monetization through ads due to the fact that most Android and iOS users resist paying for apps.  “ A recent study by Cambridge University computer scientists found that 73% of apps in the Android marketplace were free, and of those, 80% relied on advertising as their main business model.”
Free apps are more popular to smartphone and tablet users, therefore it is beneficial for businesses to implement a free app and use advertisements as their business model.

The effort it takes to develop a free app versus a paid app is important to take into consideration.  Generally, businesses will have a free, ad-supported app as well as a paid, ad-free app.  This two-tiered approach is popular among businesses because it reaches both “price-sensitive” users as well as “pro” users who want to avoid advertisements.  For both approaches, you should consider how ads will affect user experience.

Online Sources:

How Free Apps Can Make More Money Than Paid Apps, By John Monoogian III

How to Design an App Specifically for the Android Market

        The android market currently has about 295,000,000 (worldwide) phones that are activated and with around 700,000 new android phones activated every day it is continuously growing. Needless to say it will be vital for a company to have a proper layout for their app in the android market.  The blog http://blog.mengto.com/how-to-design-for-android-devices/ speaks towards all the main ideas that will help create the best android app possible.


To begin, it might seem obvious but make sure that the app has a back button and proper resolutions before placing it into the market. According to the blog the back button will be vital to please customers while they are browsing the app. This way the user will be easily able to go from one page of content to another. On top of that the resolutions are slightly confusing and it is important to have them right. The proper resolution for an android app are 720×1280, 540×960, and 360×640. By using one of these three resolutions we can insure that the app will look proper to the user when purchased/used.
(Android 3 main resolutions)

The blog goes on to speak about 9-slice scaling and the action bar. 9-slice scaling is only specifically used for the android development process. It allows the builder to stretch and change which areas of the app they want. It is a very specific and precise tool that should be used as an advantage. The action bar layout on the android is a little different than what it is on the iPhone apps. The action bar is located on the upper left as opposed to the middle on iPhones. By tapping on the logo the drop down bar will give content choices for the users to choose from. It is important that the developer chooses the best possible content choices to make navigating the app simple and easy for the user.

(9-slice scaling picture)
(Android Action Bar)

         The final two main focus points the blog speaks towards are fonts and content dimensions.  Unfortunately, for the android market the fonts are device specific so the font you may choose for your app might not be available for a particular phone. This means that the developer must test the design on an old phone to make sure that the apps font will be legible. According to the blog the minimum content dimensions should be 28px for the text, 96px for the menus and headers, and 116px for the footer. This should leave the app legible and easy to navigate.


It is extremely important that the app developer constantly tests the app design on an android phone. This way if there are any issues at all it can be fixed before the app goes on the market. By previewing the design and fixing any flaws it should increase user happiness with the app and create more sales.

 

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