Following my previous post about building products for the habits of your customers, I would like to further detail our philosophy about the mobile app building process, in a multi-platform environment. And I will take it, as usual, step by step.
20 years ago, the life of a software products company was simple: you had one architecture (PC), you had one operating system (Windows) and you had just a couple of programming languages (C/C++, Visual C++).
Today, as a mobile software products company (notice the segmentation), your life can be pretty complicated: you have Android, iOS, Windows 8 at least. And we don’t stop there: we have different device sizes (more for Android, a couple already for iOS) and 2 big groups: mobile devices and tablets. On top of that, you need a website. The architectures that you will use are ARMs, Intels with different flavors the operating systems you need to master range from Windows, OSX and Linux. For the programming languages, as a minimum skill set of a mobile team I would include C, C++, Objective C, Java and of course some web and serverside technologies like HTML, CSS3, JS or PHP.
User Experience – UX
In my little world, UX is already a buzz word. It defines the way a person (the user) feels about using the product. It is a combination of the easiness to use the product, its predictability and a little bit of wow. We can link the user experience with my previous post about habits, by saying that we create the application flow for the habits of the user.
In the fast paced life that we live these days, users want to get to the results as fast as possible, with as few interruptions as possible. And if they don’t get that, hell breaks loose, negative comments and ratings start flooding or worse: nobody uses the product.
Creating Mobile User Experience
As a mobile product developer, you create your app starting from a vision, your product vision: the app should do this for this group of people, it should look something like this etc. And you almost always create the User Interface and User Experience based on your experience, on your mobile phone.
This is ok, if you plan to build only for one mobile platform, but, if you want to make your product available for the whole mobile ecosystem: iPhone, iPad, Android (mobile and tablet), Windows 8, etc, you must think about how the user uses the app and follow the user experience guidelines of that specific platform.
I believe that all successful mobile products out there blend the User Experience guidelines of the mobile platform with their vision to create the best experience for their users.
Real Colors UX
With Real Colors for iPhone we faced the exact same problem: how do we port the app from Android to iPhone by taking into account the following factors: time, money, appeal. Before deciding, we looked at our Android user base: what do they appreciate at our app? It was two things: UI&UX and the technology. Those were our selling points: the look and feel of the app first and its functionality, second.
That was when we realized that we need to think the iPhone user interface and user experience specifically for our user, the iPhone user, so that we can replicate the first selling point: a great look and feel.
If you are an iPhone user, please check out the the recently launched Real Colors app, it is free and available here. Also, please help us make the app better by leaving a rating for the app