The Dangers of Mobile App Development Without Design Documents

By John Houghton on April 9, 2015

In the last few months I have come across a lot of failed projects.  I suppose the main reason for failure is because of a poor quality offshore team (or sometimes on-shore), but what contributes to failure and makes the project hard to salvage is that there are no design documents (a.k.a. Product Requirements Documents).  A PRD can increase the quality of work of any team.

When the project comes to me and I’m asked to save it, I look at the barely functioning app and I’m not sure what it is supposed to do.  Looking at the code isn’t helpful, because in looking at it, the previous developer didn’t seem clear about what […]

Improve Mobile App Development Quality By Using A Bug Database

By John Houghton on April 9, 2015

As the owner of a Mobile App Development company, I see a lot of projects go wrong.  In the last article, I talked about the problems of not using a repository and in this article I’ll talk about the problems associate with not using a bug database.  Established developers will wonder why I’m writing about this, and it’s because I see a large number of failed app development projects that don’t use repositories, bug databases, or design documents.  These projects are commonly initiated by non-software developers, and sometimes, serious money is spent and wasted. 

If you’re new to mobile app development, this article will help save you from one of the major pitfalls of […]

Staying In Control Of Your Mobile App Development Project With A Repository

By John Houghton on April 9, 2015

In my position, I help out hundreds of people who are either investors or stakeholders of mobile development projects and I’d like to share with you what can go terribly wrong if you do not set up and use a repository.  This article isn’t so much for established teams at large software companies, but small teams where a basic processes and structures haven’t yet been set up.  Let’s say that you’re not very technical, but you need to understand what’s going on with your mobile app development project and stay in control.  A repository will help you keep ownership of the project and verify completed work as it happens.  By sticking to these tips, […]

HTML5 Is An Alternative When Getting Started With Apps

By John Houghton on November 22, 2014

Screen Shot of Good UI/UX.

At the DEMO Fall 2014 conference what we do is watch other companies debut their products and then take feedback from a panel of judges.  I watched Brad Lawler of Draft present and the judges liked his financial services solution and they commented a lot on the excellent look-and-feel of his app.  

Sorry to say, but appearances make a huge difference in just about everything these days and mobile apps are no exception.  Incredible to me is that Brad designed the app himself.  He says he studied design for a few years on his own, and when it came time to design his app, he worked with a few different agencies, where he learned a lot […]

DEMO Fall 2014: Mobile Trends

By John Houghton on November 21, 2014

Single purpose apps are a trend such as Valet Anywhere.

I was excited to cover DEMO Fall 2014, which ended yesterday. I have a lot of content and thoughts, some of it is already out and I’ll be pushing the rest of it out as time permits. What I want to bring you is a sense of what you would learn if you were there and I’ve picked a good person to interview to give you that perspective (I encourage you to catch the next DEMO event). Erick Schonfeld is the executive producer of DEMO and he and his team reviewed scores of startups and selected the 40 who are attending. After reviewing so many startups in the space and considering he’s been covering technology […]

Advice to Wearables Entrepreneurs From Skully CEO

By John Houghton on November 19, 2014

Skully Wearables Helmet

I spoke with Marcus Weller, CEO of Skully today at DEMO Fall 2014. I asked him what advice he would give to entrepreneurs who are thinking about getting involved in wearables. He had some great advice and that is to focus on your core use case and get that right before you move on. I thought that was spot on, because you may have read other posts of mine where Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says, “It’s easy to add; it’s hard to edit – it’s hard to focus.”  Apple is successful because Apple has always focused.  That’s what entrepreneurs these days need to do and not only that, there are many executives at important […]

Payment System Turns People Into ATMs

By John Houghton on November 18, 2014

Hello Bit Payment System

One of the things I love about conferences like DEMO Fall 2014 is they get you outside of your normal way of thinking, and that’s what is necessary to be truly innovative. Who ever thought of turning people into ATMs? It’s pretty crazy and it could either go wrong or it could go right. Just like the mobile carriers were disintermediated by WhatsApp, this payment solution by Ali Goss of HelloBit could push banks aside for at least one of their services – money transfer.

International money transfer processes are full of friction.  It’s hard to pay vendors overseas, there are hefty fees involved, and it usually requires a special trip to the bank where you fill […]

DEMO 2014: Software Keyboard for iOS and Android

By John Houghton on November 18, 2014

Software app keyboard

Many people are not aware that it is possible to swap in your own custom keyboard in iOS 8 (a software keyboard, not a hardware keyboard).  Such keyboards have been possible on Android for a while. I talked with Ping Wang of iQ Technology and the CEO Ray Chao about their new DejaVu Keyboard product at the opening welcome reception at DEMO Fall 2014.  

The main benefit is it helps you type faster and is useful for words that are unique to you or your profession.  Let’s face it, the rate a which you can type on a mobile keyboard is a big friction point on mobile devices and DejaVu Keyboard can really speed things up for users. […]

The Decline of the Web and Rise of Apps

By John Houghton on November 17, 2014

Using an app.

The Wall Street Journal wrote a good article on the decline of the web, “The Web Is Dying; Apps Are Killing It.”  The article cites Flurry as a source, but Steve Jobs also noted back in 2010 at D8 that users were spending most of their time in apps, rather than the web.  You can’t say we didn’t have any notice on this one.

Some companies did well with the web, some did just OK.  Whether you did well or didn’t, now the new thing has come along, and it’s still early. It’s time to gain/regain ground.

Why apps versus websites? First of all, people are more likely to pull out their mobile device instead of running to a […]

Building Successful Apps: It’s All About The User Experience

By John Houghton on October 28, 2014

Apple's user experience is simple.

When we look at Apple’s products, such as the iPhone, it is no wonder the device caught on so quickly.  It’s so intuitive and easy to use.  The simplicity of the product is what gives it such traction in the marketplace.  The reason it’s so simple and intuitive is because Apple invested heavily in something called user experience, which is more than just design. 

It encompasses the totality of the experience of interacting with your brand through a specific piece of software.  When when you go off the beaten path of the top apps, the most common experience with the average app is a feeling of frustration, because most apps are poorly conceived and designed. 

Best practices for […]

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