Industry tips for mobile developers: test, test and test again

Alex Walls
April 4, 2013

Thinking of developing that rocket launcher app into a viable business idea for beer distribution?

What Mobile got some tips from three start-ups who have won places in Telefonica’s Wayra academy, which will give them access to ‚¬40,000 in funding as well as workspace and mentors for six to nine months.

Print to digital locator app Peekster scans newspaper headings and searches for said article online, to add to your news reader or share with your friends, because searching manually takes too much time in this laziest of eras (plus, you know, forgetfulness)  The company planned to transfer from Slovenia to the UK and then target the UK/United States market, chief  executive Tine Hamler said.

Competition’s fierce

Hamler said developing an app the right way was a hard job, requiring management of multiple things and care taken over small details.

It was hard to get noticed due to the amount of competition, but this was a good thing.

“It forces developers, designers to be even better and more creative. We do not need average apps and services.”

Another winner was iHelp, a mobile application and platform aiming to increase safety and provide help in emergencies.  The company would create a UK website and adapt the mobile application to the market, followed by building a network of emergency professional rescuers, volunteers and customers, which would identify business partners such as Red Cross, insurance companies and mobile operators, founder Andraz Ogorevc said.

App development was very challenging in today’s market, particularly with limited funds, he said.  It was important to focus on the minimum available product version of an application, enabling the company to get useful information about how the app works and fits into the market.

“However, even the best product will not get noticed in the market without a smart marketing approach. Thus, to overcome money obstacles, we focus on the scalability through strategic business partners who together with their users play an important role in the growth and recognition of the iHELP network.”

iHelp in particular was connected with health and safety related issues, which weren’t normally very popular, he said.  A positive and likeable approach to raising awareness about such issues was therefore necessary for the app to be successful.

“On the other hand, safety is one of the most important human needs and a lot of people, especially those with health problems want to maximize theirs. Therefore, a product enabling you to increase the chance of survival by efficiently connecting family, friends and local community and in consequence shortening the response time in case of an emergency, should not have problems getting noticed.”

Dattch is a mobile app for  dating app build for lesbian bi and curious women.  The company planned to refine  its new build, hire a full time Apple iOS developer and launch the app to the rest of the UK, co-founder Robyn Exton (pictured) said.

App development, and getting noticed, could be tough, with the development cycle being one of the bigger learning experiences, she said.

The start-up did a lot of work with customer development to get early insight, since working with iOS meant the app couldn’t be tested and refined as quickly as with web development.

Tips for success

Hamler’s said aspiring developers should try and find a problem and then create an app for it, not the other way around.

“And don’t forget about design, it’s equal important as the funcionality itself.  So if you have a good idea and if you are willing to work hard for it, eventually you will succeed.”

Ogorevc said developers should find a solution to an existing problem, and the bigger this was, the easier creating an app for it should be.  Developers should analyze the market and get customer feedback with minimum funds.

“Focus on scalability. Strive to find strategic investors or business partners at early stages, because without sufficient funds it is not possible to develop anything. And off course do not forget about the importance of a team!”

Exton said customer development had been one of the more helpful parts of the app’s development.  Developers should start small, and build out.

“Test everything. And test it again. If your app gets approved with a bug in it ‘ you’ve got to wait another week before it gets fixed so make sure you are thoroughly tested.”

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