Tuesday, June 07, 2011

#iel11 Managing App Development

Came in (just barely) on time. Thought I had the place scoped better than I did. Nice new facility. Coffee is OK too.
Twitter feed is at #iel11

Sorry this is so long. The guy did not take a break.
www.richardharringtonblog.com - where the slide deck will be posted.

- Learn how to identify your distribution options and register as a developer
- Target audience and refine functional goal of app
- Lear practical approaches for marketing your application to your target audience.

Latest statistics
- Assumption that we have ubiquitous internet now.
- Study from Edison Research - Infinite Dial

iCloud - everything now backed up in cloud vs. synching to computer. No charge.
- Really moving from local on device to "constant availability" esp with smart-cacheing.
- Personal: consumption 80% now on iPad.

Don't let your personal tendencies skew perspective
- People want quick content, easily accessible, entertaining + intuitive.
- Remember - only 1 of 3 people have smart phones, but growing.
- Other trends - Pandora widespread (25%).
- Twitter is about to explode (again) - apple just made it a default install (hooray - more fail whale)
+ Social media platform for mobile devices.

Global perspective - US does not crack top 10 in terms of availability. The other countries make it a public service.
- LOTS more people using SMS than internet to communicate (global)
- Travel apps - SMS, cached map, live GPS

Rise of Mobile computing
- Smartphone ownership growing very quickly.
- Driven from middle of market (young, emerging, mid-range professionals). Goes downhill past 25-34 age range.

Levels - Android 1, iOS 2, RIM/Blackberry 3.
- 1 out of 3 own an apple product
- 50% are carrying portable media player of some sort.
- All racing towards the middle. Apple now #1 gaming platform in the world.

iPhone /iPad - over 50% love for each. Android - only 49%
- "My next phone will be...
- iPhone nemesis - the network, not the OK

What are people doing on smartphones
- Most make phone calls. Smartphone users make phonecalls more often than regular phone users.
- Texting 2nd most common activity
- 1/3 people have actually used an ap that they download. But starting to download and use more apps. Becoming a regular part of what people do.

"Internet is most essential delivery vehicle" - 45%. Under 35 - 62%

Online video - one of the most engaging ways of communicating content. (...depends....)
- Under 35 - prefer to learn via video.

Bigger the screen gets - more folks want to sit back and entertain vs. interact.

Growth of YouTube. 41% over last month have watched a YouTube video.

More inclined to give up TV or SmartPhone?
- 58% - get rid of TV. 40% give up Smart Phone. 2% don't know

Screencasts should be part of app development.

Rise of people wanting to use social media to connect.

Distribution options
- Apple App Store (iTunes)
- Android Marketplace (http://market.android.com - FREE)
- Amazon Appstore for Android (free app every day - $99/yr)
- BlackBerry AppWorld (http://us.blackberry.com/developers - need to pass exam, pricing variable)
- Windows Marketplace (http://marketplace.windowsphone.com - $99/yr)

Get registered as a developer for the platforms you want (usually about $99 per year for most) - the advantage is early access to SW, documentation and training videos.

What is happening in the AppStore
- iOS - Almost 400k active apps. Over 100k inactive. 87k+ active publishers
- Games most popular paid category (esp with subscription category games).
+ Opportunities for visibility very limited.
+ You will need to do own promotion.
- Books 2nd most popular. Education 4th most popular.

App Store Approval Process (article from techcrunch)
- 95% approved within 14 days
- 40 full time reviewers
- 20% rejected, but sent back for tweaks and changes
+ If you want new content added - must be sold through THEIR store. Taking 30% (not necessarily a bad thing in comparison to old-school publishing. Will take care of infrastructure).
- App Store executive review board.
+ Determines procedures
+ Set policy for the review process
+ Reviews apps that are escalated to the board.

Very difficult to get past the $0.99 ap price. Avg price - $3.49

By Jan 2011 - 15 billion apps sold.

148Apps.biz - US app market
Appannie.com - can see trends if targeting international market

If you are going to develop an app - will be spending $$
If you don't understand the market and trends - wasting money.

Make sure you check the most recent information. This stuff moves very quickly. Looking at info older than a month - may be making bad decisions about planning.

Inspiration > Need > Context (how consume) > Strategy (devices targeted) > Design > Prototype > Develop > Test > Optimize (no extraneous code) > Port to devices

- 70% of effort on design phase. Make or break.
+ Prototype after design, but also merged with as refine.

Good ideas that are hard to use do not succeed in this economy

Exploring Context
- Who are the users?
- How will users best absorb content?
- When will they interact?
- WHere are the users>
- Why use app
- How using mobile device (portrait, landscape, held)

Features > Meaning
-GPS > Location-aware
-Touch > Intimate and Interactive
-Sensors (A/V) > Physical Intelligence
-Contacts > Personal and Social
-Portability > Relevant at point of consideration

MObile Website - enhances / streamlined (m.____.com) - for older web-enabled phones

Mobile Web Apps - can tie into phone itself. This is the growing. Also best experience and designed for one platform.
- Wordpress now turning sites into mobile web apps. Example Social Media Guide

3 styles of learning
- Auditory 20% connect with others verbally.
+ Pay attention to audio in App
- 35% visual.
- 45% kinesthetic - interacting with content. Using gestures, manipulating. Strongest group for app experience.

What do you want it to do?
- Utility - a simple at-a-glance tool
- Locale - application based on the physical context
+ See disney apps for ride info
- Informative - application meant to inform
- Productivity - increase available time (like a to-do list)
- Immersive - distract or entertain (like a zen garden app)

When is building an app the right choice?
- Charging money (most important reason). People used to paying money (though less than $5)
- Game
- Location-based services
- Cameras
- Accelerometers
- Device Filesystem - getting easier with cloud computing
- Offline access

There is an app - turns your camera into a Super 8 camera with editor.
Instagram - to take pictures and share.

Class participation - can upload audio, video and plugins during class.
- Can do self-reporting, logs and journals
- Voice logs

Wordpress app - can publish video and pictures directly from Android / iPhone

Hot trends in App Development
- Sensoring
- Biometrics
- Transactions
- Lifestreaming
- Recommendation
- Image recognition
- Augmented Reality
- Mobile Connected Games
- Location-based social media
- Retail proximity consumption

People want to get real - allow you to interact with people based on current location
- Meetup.com
- FourSquare
- Texas A&M Scavenger Hunt (why fight what is already working. Tie services that pre-exist that people use into app.

Join them or use them. Don't fight them

GroupOn - more popular. Urbanspoon.

Social Media Growth
- Use blogs for testing and marketing. Mainstream media now
- Be very transparent during development.
- Let people test and feedback (rapid prototyping)

GSA recommendations (NASA as example of use)
- Use technologies in your life
- Start where you can
- Use examples to show it can be done
- Develop and borrow interim policies. Keep flexible
- Proceed

Live Video Streaming
- Device to Device (not just phone to phone). Facetime
- Skype - impt for the live video chat.

People moving from pictures to video with phone.

Warning - avg. price is going to be about $2.00. You won't be making tons of coin.

Most profitable model - get paid up front by sponsor.
- If you plan to self fund off of consumers, not going to work so well unless you somehow create angry birds.

Android paid app rate is lower, but avg sell price is higher. Not as controlled. People experimenting with price.
- Games fastest growing category
- Books and education way down list for Android.
- android.appstorehq.com
+ Top apps and what selling for with marketing.

Project Management

Project Management works for app development too.

Triple constraint - scope, schedule, budget
- Cut features to get launched. What is the small list - minimums needed (37signals)
- What are the time constraints for the project?
+ No guarantee will show up "on time". Leave lots of time if trying to hit a timeline.
- What are the financial constraints of the project?

- Develop concept
- Resources
- Define goals
- Match people
- Try to get schedule, time, budget
- etc etc etc (basic project management)

Project Management is NOT using MS Project. About breaking the steps of the project down to manageable chunks that you can communicate.

At each stage - fill out what needs to be done with info and what needs to happen

Work breakdown structure
- Major tasks and to small enough pieces to hand off to another.

Good project management - basically being able to say "let's break down further" and get the resources to focus on their piece.

Scoping / COntracts - put it ALL in writing
- Always do a scoping document
+ 2-16 hours
+ Objectives and deliverables
+ Get the sign off for EVERYTHING, including what to call the project.

- Get right people at meeting and buy in from employees.

- Internal - scoping document is the internal document between departments.
+ Minimize conflict, identify risk.
+ If not on the piece of paper, need time, money or both.
+ More than 3 days - full scoping document

Look for apps you like, then look in credits for development team or developer to find people.
- Get the roles of folks in writing. Also establish reporting frequency, esp for contractors.

Basecamp - use it for managing projects online. Widely used in public space.
- Can put up lots of media.
- Scalable. Single project for free. 15 projects for $24/mo.

Video and audio feedback - put in counters for feedback

Development process

MObile Design and Development - Brian Fling

Look at positive and negative reviews

How does the app solve a particular problem?
- Gotta turn the need into context. Have the need lead to action. This adds value.
+ Which features of the device are you going to engage?

Strategy (how is this going to be packaged to the end-user)
- What makes you different?
- How do you want to be perceived?
- What design approach will you undertake?

Getting Real - 37 signals (free online read)
- Build stuff YOU will use. Will be more invested.

First couple of projects - something you care about.

Determine devices you wish to target (check the market)
- Most either Android or iOS, then port to the other later.
- Keep list narrow and look for simularities

Adobe Device Central - database of various devices (have it - very useful, esp for mobile development when getting screensizes for Captivate)
- Will support virtual testing

Design - this is where most of us have influence
- Overall look and feel you are trying to create.
- www.fromideatoapp.com
- www.buildingiphoneapps.com

Ask people what they DON'T want.
- apps streamline the experience.

Remember - look at other apps for ideas.
- The interface.
- Download 5 or 6 apps. How are they different? Where do they rank?

Start with the user interface.
- You can do mock-ups on paper or tool.
- Prototyping is cheap.
- Slide presentation or wireframe that works out all navigation before start programming.

The interface is your product!
- The information you are selling is usually available elsewhere.

Prototyping tools
- Mobile GUI - mobilegui.net
- UI Stencils - uistencils.com
- Mobile Sketchbook - mobilesketchbook.com
- Pocket Sketches - pocketsketches.com
- App Cooker ($20.00)- appcooker.com
- OmniGraffle - www.omnigroup.com

iOS - Human Interface Guidelines
- Much of the information also useful for other apps
- Use the features of the phone
- Display is paramount (remember - you don't have a very big canvas)
- Remember how the user interfaces with the tool (navigation) and apps seen as tactile.

Remember to focus on the primary task of the app.
- Think top of screen down
- Give people logical task
- Minimize effort to enter table
- Tap button and see stuff.
- Start instantly, save automatically
- No quit button on app.

People are used to updates to apps every week. Start small and roll out incrementally.

Have folks prototype - include target audience, kids, mom

There are 3rd party tools for development.
- Adobe digital publishing suite (Adobe InDesign)
- LiveCode
- Appcelerator Titanium
- PhoneGap
- Whoop (WYSIWIG Design)

AppMakr - through web interface (presenting later today)
- Can use self-publishing option (cost effective)
- Can use as protyper
May want to run feeds through feedburner.
- Can update rss feed without having to republish the app.
- Also get reports through feedburner.

New content comes in whenever app is launched if use RSS feeds.

Test, test, test
- run in emulator from manufacturer
- test on multiple devices and versions (very tricky on Android)

- compress, compress, compress
- Keep file sizes as small as possible
- What can you get rid of
- Download time makes a big difference in usage and sales.

Compression tools
- QuickTime Pro
- Procoder
- Adobe Media Encoder
- MPEG Streamclip
- Cinematize
- Episode and Episode Pro
- Sorenson Squeeze

iOS - MPEG-4, H.264

If no video into app itself - YouTube compatibility.
- Warning - if you upload to YouTube, you are giving it to them.

Port - getting it to other devices.
-Some tools allow you to port different versions.
- May need to reformat graphics and other assets
- Target most relevant devices.

Best solution - use the actual development tool.
- Most feature rich - native app
- Lower cost - 3rd party developer with multi-port function.

Twitter - embracing idea as "headline news" service.
- More likely to follow brand on twitter vs. elsewhere
- Trying to put out information that entices people.
- more opportunities to engage app using twitter
- Built into app.
- Twitter - real time. Stuff gone. Can back up tweets, but old news.
- Reduces the skeletons in closet
- Better for searches. Can favorite
- Becoming system-level communication tool
- You have control over what shows up

Benefit of twitter followers - about total number of "real" followers. Highest educated, most social people.
- Most likely to resent your info.

8% usage, but 93% awareness for Twitter.

51% of Americans use facebook.

Just let people connect to their facebook and twitter accounts vs. creating a new one (again)

2 best places for interactivity
- Twitter - quality of participation
- Facebook - more people / volume

Both apps integrate to device
(I have mixed feelings about the auto contacts. I wind up with a ton of garbage in my phone.)

Brand throughout the application
- Consistent look and feel that matches your brand
+ Colors
+ Fonts etc
+ Artwork / logos

Icons - Glyphish ($25 / user interface icons and fonts)
- Free version requiring citation
Kuler - interactive color picker and community

Starting to see more touch interface in PC interfaces.

Video - used to be expensive
- All of it - editing sw, hardware, cameras etc
- As put together web video, give thought to content
+ Strong relevant videos
+ Engaging on-camera presence
- Screencasts - live host, because people more likely to pay attention.
+ 2 minutes
+ Cut away to just what is good. Minimize
- Make sure the video adds value. Don't force-fit

Getting discovered
- Search - based on popularity and relevance (relevance, apps description and keywords. Write accurate description. Also use keywords to address misspellings and additional search criteria.

- Featured Content - based on quality of app (good idea, great design, use OS feature well) and by attractive artwork

- Top Lists - top apps in each category. Coordinate efforts to create spike. Earn it or lose it.

Can use social media as promotion strategy
- Sharing (facebook and twitter)
- Blogging
- Use twitter (Amex - individuals initialing tweets)
- 36% think more positively about companies who blog.

Writing and posting
- Start soliciting early. Generate buzz early.
- Get domain name early and let people sign up. Notification as soon as approve.
- promo codes / giveaway
- People scan - look for things that jump out
- Headlines, bullets and boldface
- Links and images. More visuals.

Keep it short (less than 250 words for blogs - 7th grade audience)
- (ignore this blog)

1 topic per post. No jargon etc

Press Coverage - photos of screenshots and artworks easily accessable
- Links + phone number
- Maintain the relationship with press. Call them, exclusives, etc.
- Tie content into bigger picture.

Teaser > Preview > Launch
Hints and development cycle > preview features and ad hoc builds, beta test, trailer > emails out, notify, get blogs to link to you, launch full marketing site.

Extra technologies
- feedburner
- Feed Validator www.feedvalidator.org (tell you what wrong with them)

Search - iTunes Podcasts Tech specs

Lijit - seeing where people searching and what searching on.

Animoto - combine photos and music into animated slide show / music video.

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