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 […]
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 […]
By John Houghton on November 21, 2014
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 […]
By John Houghton on November 19, 2014
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 […]
By John Houghton on November 18, 2014
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 […]
By John Houghton on October 28, 2014
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 […]
By John Houghton on March 26, 2014
They say that the rising tide floats all ships. What about a tidal wave? Many people are dumbfounded at the valuations that app companies are receiving, especially in the messaging world, but looking back at history can provide some perspective.
Messaging has been hot for a while, starting with AOL in the 90s, then platforms were developed that integrated the many messaging solutions. Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011, and although that wasn’t an app deal, it set the tone. Facebook then bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012; the biggest app deal to date, and it seemed like a lot, but that deal has been totally eclipsed by Facebook’s latest $19 billion dollar […]
By John Houghton on March 18, 2014
“Customers who use the app actually shop with us two times more frequently and spend 40% more than a customer who doesn’t use our apps,” according to Wendy Bergh, Vice President, Mobile & Digital Strategy at Apps World 2014. While many companies want assurance of a return before they invest, Walmart is an example of an innovative company who took a risk by investing in mobile apps without any clear return in sight. By taking a risk and carefully listening to her customers she was able to provide a substantial return on investment to Walmart through mobile apps. It makes sense that Walmart would find this opportunity, because there is a lot of low hanging […]
By John Houghton on February 25, 2014
As part of our continuing coverage of Apps World 2014 in San Francisco, I talked to Brent Hieggelke, Chief Marketing Officer of Urban Airship. Urban Airship provides notification services for app developers, and this ties very nicely with beacons that can trigger events like personalized notifications when a user is at a particular location in the store.
Until now marketers could only learn about their customers through their web browsing and mobile app usage, but now data are available on a customer’s physical movements throughout the shopping experience. Can you imagine the possibilities? Thus far, advertising costs have dropped dramatically because of the very precise targeting available through online advertising. Now, retailers can set up all […]
By John Houghton on February 14, 2014
Last week I went to Apps World 2014 in San Francisco with the intent of interviewing thought leaders on a variety of topics, including User Experience (UX). Why user experience? Because if an app isn’t useable, it will fail; and many apps are failing because of usability. When you consider all of the other factors, you can max out each of them, but if your app’s UX (user experience) is poor, the app will fail. The UX of an app is one of the most determinate factors of success. This is why it’s so important for app developers to figure out what good UX is and implement this in their app. A good UX makes […]