Hit the road, Jack!

or how getting an app is just like getting a car

In our last post you had to use your imagination. Well, I hope you are ready, because now you have to use it again. Let’s say, your name is Jack. You had your birthday recently. Best wishes, Jack! But let’s focus — you run a business, and a few days ago you gained some potential customers in another city. You have arranged a business meeting with them. After that, you realised that there is quite a journey ahead of you. You can take the bus, go by train or tram, but these forms of transport are slow and uncomfortable. You are also afraid you would look unprofessional. Getting there by car would be the best solution. So now you need one.

Just think about it — buses, trams and trains are an outdated and ineffective media at the moment. You have to reach your clients in the most efficient and fast way possible. Now just replace the car with an application. Makes sense now, doesn’t it?

The very beginning of your experience with applications may look confusing and difficult. You may feel that you are not qualified enough to deal with all of these unfamiliar terms and issues. The truth is that getting an app is like getting a car — you don’t have to know everything about engines and chassis to buy a nice car, do you? As long as you work with professionals who understand your needs, everything is going to be okay.

First choices

Firstly, you do a lot of research. In effect, you choose your car dealer — that is your agency. Then you initiate the first contact, most possibly by sending an email with the examples of cars (meaning: apps) that you find appealing. You get a response — your dealer asks to meet you in person because he wants to understand your needs completely (that would be the workshops). He brings some of his employees — they know best about engines, interior or bodyworks (meaning: OS types, UX or UI).

They ask you a lot of questions — for example:

  • Do you want a new car or a used one (an entirely new app or a redeveloped one)?
  • Do you need it for yourself OR for the entire family? (what’s your target group)?
  • Will you drive it for long or short distances (do you need a local or a global reach)?
  • Do you want your car to be family-friendly or a sports one (do you want an app with native or custom elements)?
  • What colour do you want your car to be (what are your color scheme preferences)?
  • Do you want it small or big (do you want an MVP or a fully developed product)?
  • How much money do you want to spend (what is your budget)?

And the list goes on and on.

What do you want?

By talking, consulting and verifying your needs and ideas you determine what kind of car — meaning what kind of application — you really need. Will it be an old Fiat, pretty slow yet easy to park with, whose parts are cheap but have a high possibility of breaking down quickly and a great risk of not going through the MOT? In the language of apps it would be a web-hybrid — that may be slower to run but good for MVP, with updates that are easier to get, but with a probability of crashing and risk of being rejected by the App Store. Or will it be a Porsche that requires a lot of money and its parts are expensive, but fits your needs easily and has a low possibility of breaking down? As an application, this would be a native OS: fast to run, requiring a big budget and longer updates, but easy to customize and with low possibility of crushing.

We have to dig deeper!

At this point, you probably know more about cars than about your family’s genealogical tree (shame on you, Jack!). But you still have to decide on so many things! So many important things, to be more precise — like, what kind of engine you want. In the world of applications, we can say that an operating system is our engine. And as we have types of engines such as those running on gasoline, diesel or electric ones, in the magical world of apps you can choose between iOS, Android or Windows.

You have to ask yourself a very important question — do you want your car to be family-friendly or sports? Meaning: do you want elements of your application to be native or custom? Family friendly equipment is easy to maintain but common and uncomfortable, as native elements are easy to create yet user-hostile and unattractive. On the other hand, sport equipment is harder to maintain, however original and comfortable, meaning that custom elements of an application are more time-consuming to create but charming and user-friendly.

Production line

The first thing to construct after all of these arrangements is the chassis — it is the base that everything will be built on. It is a crucial element that cannot be avoided. You can’t begin the process of development without it. Just like a car needs a reliable chassis, your application needs a good wireframe. After that, it is possible to design the body of the car. You’ll be able to see how your machine is going to look like. You may say that the mockups are kind of like the body of the car — an advanced visualisation of your oncoming product.

Now your product is ready to be developed — God bless the code! The interior, meaning our UX, has to be pleasurable and cozy. Then we also have the UI, which is just like the bodywork — it must be clear and functional. What else is there left to do now? Only the construction — and that is where the coding takes the lead. This is in the hands of programmers — you can take a rest now and wait for the effect of their work.

Test drive

The responsible seller always makes sure that his product runs smoothly before passing it on to the client. The car should be safe and the application should work flawlessly. It would be highly inappropriate for a car dealer to sell a vehicle that may suddenly break down. This also applies to the app development agency. Prior to the first ride, the car has to be given a review in order to find all of its malfunctions. Analogically, the application has to go through the maintenance process to catch all of the possible crashes.

You also have the access to the car service in the form of our support — imagine that a flat tire is the equivalent of an external app bug. If anything bad happens, you have the team to help you.

Enjoy the ride!

Congratulations, Jack — you just became a happy owner of your very own car! Either you enjoyed the ride or not so much, you still can’t take the eyes off your little miracle. You are testing, touching and telling everyone around about it. But the best is yet to come — thanks to the car now you can reach your destination.

Remember — from now on, you have to take care of your beloved child. Most dealers suggest purchasing repair services. And they sure are worth a go, since the maintenance is almost as important as the process of buying itself.

Again, replace “car” with “application” and you have the whole process completed. It doesn’t really matter if your app is big or small, if it is a web-hybrid or a native. It is meant to meet your expectations, needs and wishes, and as long as you are pleased with the results, then everything is great. Remember that the application is all about reaching your goal, it is a tool for you and your customers to use — but that tool is meant to be the most effective, the most appealing and the most useful. So? Do you need a car?

human-centric software design & development. check out our website: www.iteo.com