Powerful Designers & Developers Mix

Collaborate more, communicate more – this is the most important motto of modern product development life cycle – very different to what it was in the past. Days when roles of designer and developer was so clearly separated from one another are gone.

We need to put them next to the same table and let to work as one man. This opens a world of opportunity to improve and speed up submitting finished product to the store.

 

 

How close cooperation between designer and developer can shorten the development process?

#1 Instant problem solving

In Mood Up Labs we’ve noticed that pulling conversations out of text barriers and even digital calls increased our productivity a lot. Gathering feedback is quicker, solutions can be found in fast team brain storming and everyone gets on the same page immediately.

Email isn’t fun. It’s also slow, hard-to-follow way of talking. We know it so we start use applications like Slack and Skype. They add a big dash of fun but still… explaining something by tapping many, many keyboards keys can be painful. So what next? Recording audio message? Video conversations?

Maybe just a quick talk face to face?

 

#2 No more backtracking

Designers developers together

We build app with the title powerful mix from scratch – working together prevents having to backtrack after something has already been approved by the client. In Mood Up Labs we know that joining forces can eliminate hiccups.

Designer is a keeper of client’s idea and he explore it everyday with developer who can make him evaluate the choices he might otherwise take for granted.

Pair programming is well known technique to boost yield, and simply being familiar with design before it hits developer plate can make building things so much easier for him, so we pair programming & designing to be sure that we can hit in client needs.

 

#3 Budget-friendly project

Both the developer and the designer have different tools and they use them in different ways. Developers are from technical standpoint and they can propose some new concept, more budget-friendly design, while designers being ingenious can meet it with original arrangement.

When two different minds collaborate to solve a problem, they create some type of harmony and we take advantage of it. There are situations when designer project something that looks like it will be superb, but once it gets built, it might not be so cool. Developer is the one who can foresee this might happen.

 

#4 Speed up the process

As we stated above, getting on the same page immediately is crucial to get things done easier and sooner but it’s not friendly to achive in industry passoniate by asynchronous electronic communication, that’s why we have both the designers and the developers on board in Mood Up Labs.

Documentation is irreplaceable as a reference but alone it often doesn’t matter – beyond that, there should be regular two-way solutions transmission in person. Marked-up screens aren’t the same as asking best friend sitting in front of you, especially in time when dynamic products require dynamic solutions.

 

Yes, it really can work

Designers developers together

When I joined Mood Up Labs, I’ve started to understand this. Communication is the key – found it incredibly useful to my designing to have developers in the same room. We start being collaborative team managing to accomplish significant amount of high-quality work in short timeframes.

We work in Agile and within our daily meetings, we discuss each other work, what and how have to be done further, find ways to improve and create well built product. It was new to me, but it turned out to be the best what we can do for clients.

 

We’d love to hear your opinion – what’s other ways that close cooperation between designer and developer benefit projects?

Why Agile is better for your product than fixed price?

Product will not be perfect, ever. I want to start with this because it’s important to make this clear from the beginning. Well, it’s not exactly new, is it?

Yet, many entrepreneurs don’t understand this or tend to forget quite often. Agile means quickness, ease of movement, lightness.  Here I will explain why, here at Mood Up Labs, we believe Agile is better for your product and costs less than fixed price.

 

“We don’t actually finish our films, we release them.” John Lasseter – Pixar executive

What John Lasseter said represent Agile approach pretty nicely. You will never be able to predict every bug, flaw, feature request of your product, not until you will offer it to the users. So developing a product isn’t something you can just finish and then sit back and relax. It’s constant development and improving that is deciding whether product is successful.

Succesfull product

To gain competetive advantage you have to be quick, that’s why so many products fail to succeed – time is wasted on polishing it, trying to predict every variable untill it’s too late. Competitor was quicker, the market has changed, money is short or there is no longer need for this ‘perfection’.

At the same time people responsible for the product who actually understand that they ‘don’t actually finish their product, they release it’ gain major advantage by launching it earlier.

It’s not that they will agree to offer something half-finished, no. They just decide that 90-95% is enough to release and that they will be able to work on the product further with great ally on their side – user’s feedback.

This is what we believe in Mood Up Labs – Agile is better for you product (app). There is plenty of information about this approach avaible and it all started with Agile Manifesto. You can find out more here:

 

It’s easy to understand why client thinks that given a specific time and amount of money – development team will turn the idea into a perfect product. Unfortunately, it’s almost never that easy.

Why Agile costs less than fixed price?

After you established which platform should you support, and how will you monetize your future app, three major obstacles you encouter during development process will be planning, mutual understanding and uncertainty:

  • Planning: objectives tend to change over time and some parts of the product that are already implemented need to be changed – waste of time and money, frustration
  • Mutual understanding of needs: client provides spec of the product. It needs to be correct and developer must understand it completely. If these conditions are not met – waste of time and money, frustration will occure
  • Uncertainty: projects are never the same so it’s impossible to tell exactly how much time will be needed with 100% accuracy, there are too many variables not to mention unpredicted problems – waste of time and money, frustration.

You see the pattern, right? That’s why here in Mood Up Labs we propose to follow Agile methodologies and to specify, design, implement and release iteratively.

agile-is-better-for-your-product

How we work

To prevent waste of time and money, frustration we work using ‘Sprints’ – defined 2-4 weeks work bursts. Each sprint is meant to deliver part of product that can be tested, in some cases it can even be released afterwards.

The unit of development is ‘user story’ – piece of client’s expectation that will be transformed into feature, e.g.: ‘As a user I want to sort my photos by date’.

Such stories are consulted thorougly with client and then turned into development tasks.

This helps describing exactly what will be the final effect that can be tested and implemented. It is also huge help in prioriotizing tasks, we can then choose which should be developed first – the most important ones for the client of course.

 

Summary

Client benefits by choosing Agile in number of ways:

  • He avoids bad surprises after months of development
  • Prioriorities are delivered in first place
  • There is flexibility to the changing market, unpredicted situations, change in objectives
  • He is in control of the development team’s progress and as such he can intervene early and still have something valuable at the end of sprint
  • There is less probability that conflict between client and development team occures
  • Tons and tons of papers, documentation and Q&A is not needed before the start of project

Have you ever worked in Agile? What are your experiences?

Choosing platform for my app: What should I consider?

With estimated more than 2 billions smartphone users in 2016, saying that mobile apps are playing important role in our lives on daily basis would be saying nothing. Average US adult citizen spent around 3 hours per day using his smarpthone on nonvoice activities last year. That’s 45 days in a year. This number doesn’t change much when it comes to users in EU.

Not suprisingly, the so called platform war was fierce, and only two preveiled: Android and iOS. Together they have over 90% market share. Everyday more than a thousand new apps are uploaded to both, App Store and Google Play. Windows Phone and Blackberry combined have only around 4% so it’s safe to say that generally they won’t be natural first choice.

So, you know which two operating systems to choose from when developing your app, the question is: which one will be right for you? Well, to answer this you need to consider couple of things described below.

Demographics

operating-system-market-share.aspx_-1 (1)

Mobile/Tablet Operating System Share via Netmarketshare

Average price for iPhone is around 2.7 times more than Android devices. The latter has biggest market share globally which means you will be able to reach more users. It’s very popular in developing countries and lower income areas.

Android devices are more affordable and this indicates also that user might prefer free apps.

On the other hand iOS users usually have higher income and are willing to spend more. That might make the number of users slightly less relevant.

via Fortune

via Fortune

Of course, those characteristics are general and as such shouldn’t be considered as written in stone.

Revenue model

This aspect is somehow representative for Google’s and Apple’s approach. According to report from app analytics company App Annie, despite number of downloads is much bigger for Android, iOS is still generating more revenue.

via App Annie

via App Annie

Loyalty

Another important factor to consider is customer retention and loss rate. Two year research conducted by CIRP (Customer Intelligence Research Partners) in US market shows that around 80% of Android and iOS users are sticking with previous operating system.

Customer Retention and Loss – Previous and Current Operating System for Customers Activating a New Mobile Phone, 2013-Q3 – 2015-Q2 via CIRP

Customer Retention and Loss – Previous and Current Operating System for Customers Activating a New Mobile Phone, 2013-Q3 – 2015-Q2 via CIRP

Percentage of switchers from iOS to Android is slightly higher than from Android to iOS. However, the most interesting fact is that over 60% of first time phone buyers choose Android, it’s big difference comparing to iOS – 24%.

Security and updating

iOS is considered more safe than Android, mainly because the latter makes it easy to configure the OS to allow personalization and flexibility. One of the biggest advantage of Android is what makes it vulnerabe.

Apple works hard to ensure the latest version of iOS (and with that also security updates) is installed and is known for triggering mass updates. As of today around 80% of devices are using iOS 9. On the other hand, 35% of devices have Android v. 21 (Lollipop) installed and there is already another one – Android v. 23 (Marshmallow), yet only 1.2%.

Android OS versions via Android

Android OS versions via Android

iOS versions via Apple

iOS versions via Apple

All this means that on iOS you are able to focus more on newest versions while being sure that it will reach broad audience. This should allow to stop supporting older devices sooner and overall reduce time spent on testing.

Tablets

Although tablet sales is slowing down, it’s estimated that in 2016, 15,6% of global population will use tablet. It suffices to say that number of potential users is not to be ignored.

Android is projected to hold over 60% of that market and iOS around 25%. However, it seems Apple’s iPad is more popular among business users. It will be a challenge to find Android tablet in a meeting room.

Conclusion

Hopefully, taking data from this article under cosideration when choosing platform for your app will be helpful in decision process. It all depends on your app so by keeping in mind all described factors you will be able to decide whether to support iOS, Android or both. It seems the best solution is to support both platforms right away but whatever you decide, don’t pick Blackberry as first choice :)