Software Development: Think About These Critical Items Before the Construction!
We, developers, usually tend to start and create something beautiful, useful and sometimes some geeky. We usually don’t think much about some critical items:
What do our clients/users want to see?
We usually guess it instead of asking, researching on the market, traveling in Medium, etc… Creators usually over-estimates their creations. Because there are sweat, flesh and blood in it from the creators eyes. But users don’t give a sh*t and also don’t have to! If we want them use our product, we should find out their needs and desires.
What will our revenue model be like?
I have 4 different applications published in Google Play Store from my very early times in programming and also Android programming. Currently, I have 65k total downloads and 7k active users with those 4 apps. All of them are badly coded, constructed to be Minimum Viable Product applications, created to teach me about Android Programming and to see the market potential. Here I’m going to share my 2 years of experience in the market and construction.
When I started to learn Android programming, I saw a gap in the education industry in Turkey. Children have hard times while trying to track their study status like “how many questions I have solved this week?”. Then I’ve started to build an app which you can track your lectures and question numbers which you’ve solved with the right, wrong, empty results. I haven’t made any market research to see if there are any similar products. Or I haven’t asked students what do they want to track in their study.
The result was https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=centertable.calismagunlugum&hl=tr (Sorry, the only supported language is Turkish for this app)
I had faced a lot of problems after publishing:
- The scope was too narrow. It was not enough for people to track what they want to.
- No market research, there are REALLY good looking and more functional applications
- No user involvement; I have never known what they need functionally and non functionally (customizations, limitations, UI design…)
- No revenue model; bad, irritating, full-screen advertisements
- And more and more problems…
Currently, active users are too few and people don’t use it anymore. Also, I haven’t made any money from that application. Then I thought about items above more deeply and see some common problems. Actually, the problems are easy to solve but you should “know” them in the first place and you should see them as “problems”:
1. Identify the problem: At the beginning of a project, you have to point something to create. You should identify a problem and your solution should solve that problem for a successful project.
2. Make a market research for that problem and solution: Are there any similar solutions? They really have the problem which you exposed? You can make a quick search on Google, Google Play Store, other mobile stores, forums, dictionaries,…
3. How do people want to solve that problem? Is your solution in the exact scope? As I said earlier, developers tend to “guess” instead of questioning the potential users in the market. You have to get your hands dirty. If there are similar solutions, applications; you can take a look at their “user comments” and find out “what do people want” and also “what do people like” for those applications. We can point the problem but there may be more problems waiting to be solved. Always search for them from the user’s point of view.
4. What about your profits? If you want to get some revenue, you should think about your revenue model. You can think a free app with advertisements, demo app with less functionality of app with fee (give users a chance to look at it freely, if they like they can buy it), in-app purchase and more and more. In addition, how do you locate advertisements in the app for maximizing the revenue, gamification to motivate people to click your ads (maybe points, virtual currency, .. can be given to users). This part is really important for developers who want make some money with their products.
In conclusion; if you want to build a successful application and make money with it, don’t forget about “user involvement”, “market research”, “revenue model”.
Original post from my LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/software-development-think-critical-items-before-azmi-rutkay-biyik/
Have a nice day :)