Why You Need Pre-Planning for App Development (Part 2)

This is a two-part series on app development pre-planning, or mapping, as we call it. In Part 1, we shared what app development mapping is and why it’s an important part of a software deployment strategy. Here in Part 2, we will explore the steps involved in the mapping process so you can plan your next steps with confidence. 

 

Before any development or coding is done to create an application or software, there is an important process that will help minimize obstacles in the development journey. This pre-planning process, or “mapping” as we call it, can be the most vital part of a software deployment strategy.

As such, if you are considering a new business software or application, here are steps to help prepare you to launch your app effectively.

1. Define your app concept

Start by clearly laying out the concept of your app. Prepare a short description of your app so you can convey the core idea in simple terms. Broadly define the concept by answering these questions:

  • What business need or problem are you trying to solve?
  • What are your expectations for the app?
  • How will the app function?
  • How will it engage and be useful to end-users?

2. Identify target users

Have a clear understanding of the intended end-users. Additionally, invest time and effort into researching and understanding their characteristics. Create an empathy map to describe those characteristics, which will ultimately serve as a guide to how your app will be designed. 

An empathy map describes the characteristics of the software’s user(s), which will ultimately be a guide to how it will be designed.
An empathy map describes the characteristics of the software’s user(s), which will ultimately be a guide to how it will be designed.

3. Identify key project stakeholders

It’s also important to identify the roles and responsibilities of each person who will be involved with the app development strategy. These roles may include a project manager, who will communicate with external contacts, such as developers; and decision-makers who need to be involved in the approval process. It is recommended to include people from different departments in your organization in order to gain a variety of insights.

4. Consider the user experience

Using research on your end-user(s), determine what the app’s user experience will look and feel like. For example, if the end-user will be using the app on a construction field with gloves, you may want to consider screens that have minimal typing fields. Make a list of requirements for the best user experience.

5. Create the application flowchart

The creation of a flowchart allows you to translate your app idea into a visual aid illustrating the app idea, workflow and functionalities. A flowchart should represent the anatomy and high-level functionality of your app. 

The flowchart is a visual aid that represents the anatomy and high-level functionality, showing the complete flow of the application.
The flowchart is a visual aid that represents the anatomy and high-level functionality, showing the complete flow of the application.

6. Create wireframe models

Wireframes are essentially blueprints to detail each screen within your app. They are the first step toward defining the user experience of the application. Low-fidelity wireframes show basic content, while high-fidelity wireframes are more complete representations of the end product.

Low-fidelity wireframes are created as the first step toward the user experience of the application.
Low-fidelity wireframes are created as the first step toward the user experience of the application.
High-fidelity wireframes are more complete representations of the end product.
High-fidelity wireframes are more complete representations of the end product.

7. Create a prototype

A prototype is an interactive interface that mimics the actual look and functionality of the application. Typically, the prototype is created as the final stage of the design before development begins. An application prototype is powerful in two ways:

  • Having a holistic view of the design, functionality and user flow allows you to make calculated decisions prior to development, which can save money and time spent on changes further down the road.
  • The prototype can be used to showcase your app idea to potential investors if you need to gather early-stage investments.
A prototype is an interactive interface that mimics the actual look and functionality of the application.
A prototype is an interactive interface that mimics the actual look and functionality of the application.

One last step…Once your app is launched, it will eventually require updates and maintenance like bug fixes. In your deployment strategy, consider the level of support and maintenance that will be required based on your internal resources and budget.

The app development journey may seem daunting. We get it. That’s why we offer mapping services to help guide you through the pre-planning phase. 

We will also help you determine whether the best deployment strategy is to utilize existing software or build your own if you are unsure. We will guide you through the steps above and create deliverables that are yours to keep – everything from user research to wireframes and prototypes to technical scope documentation. 

By the end of the mapping process, you will be equipped with a software deployment strategy so you can plan your next steps with confidence. To explore more about FUSION OF IDEAS’ mapping process, contact our App Development Business Development team at info@fusionofideas.com

Why You Need Pre-Planning for App Development (Part 1)

This is a two-part series on app development pre-planning, or mapping, as we call it. In Part 1, we begin with what app development mapping is and why it’s an important part of a software deployment strategy. In Part 2, we will explore the steps involved in the mapping process so you can plan your next steps with confidence. 

 

The app development process begins as early as the initial idea of creating a business software or mobile app. The process of pre-planning, or “app development mapping,” guides you to a deployment strategy, whether that means utilizing existing software, or building your own.  

What is app development mapping?

Mapping is the exploratory phase of your app development strategy, in which you identify and explore fundamental questions about the app. 

We call this process “mapping” because building an app is a lot like taking a road trip. It can be long and time-consuming but having a strategy to get to your destination will save you time and (gas) money. To create an effective app solution, you have to have a good plan – or road map – to know where you are going and how you’re going to get there.

The mapping process of app development is like drawing out your route on the road map in preparation for your trip. 

During the process, you clarify things like:

  • What will the app do? 
  • What business problem(s) are you trying to solve?
  • Who will be using the app?
  • How will it function? 
  • Is the best solution to buy existing software or build your own? 
  • How long will it take to deploy and how much will it cost?

Why is pre-planning important?

Investing the time upfront to identify and answer the critical questions about your business needs can help define your software deployment strategy and reduce time to market. The end result might be a technology solution that will jumpstart your new business idea, an efficient tool to help your employees’ productivity or a completely custom solution that will help your business scale and gain a competitive edge.

The benefits of pre-planning include:

  • A clear understanding of development processes, including design concepts, phases of development and expectations, and time to market
  • Early insight into design trends, functionality, and best practices 
  • Cost and time projection for development.

A lack of pre-planning could result in:

  • Lack of clarity in concept due to insufficient information
  • Time constraints or deployment delays due to considerations that were overlooked before development 
  • Extra costs due to a lack of planning, organization and communication.

At the end of the mapping process, you should have a clear understanding of the look, feel and flow of your intended software solution. You will also have expectations for budget and estimated time frames to build and deploy. 

 

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll tell you how to get there. We will take you through the steps of the mapping process to help you launch your app in a manageable way.

How to Increase Workplace Productivity Without Increasing Headcount

Staying competitive in the age of digital transformation means doing more with less. Your organization may not have the available budget for new hires to cover business growth, or you may be dealing with a talent shortage in the areas that you need help with. The good news is that you can increase workplace productivity without increasing your headcount. 

Identify and Address Your Processes

One of the major culprits that slow down productivity may be your workplace processes.

While processes are supposed to help organizations scale up, they are often complex with layers, workplace politics, and interface structures.

When employers can address that pain point by developing streamlined processes, not only can the business dramatically improve the customer experience, it can also increase job satisfaction for its employees. Additionally, you free up time for your employees by creating efficiencies, giving them more room to innovate. A little automation goes a long way. 

Utilize technology

The truth is, staying abreast of technology is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but is vital to compete with the early adopters in your niche.

Go through a complete audit process on your current technology and look for the areas that are most productive as well as the least productive. Get feedback from the users on exactly what would make their jobs easier to do and start looking for platforms that match these requirements. 

Once you have a good sense of your technology needs, have a strategy in place before making software or hardware purchases. Every off-the-shelf software solution does something specific to solve a specific task or process. And it can get complicated quickly when you have multiple software solutions that need to integrate together.

Consider working with an IT consultant to see if developing a custom software solution from the ground up makes better business sense.

Prepare and position for success

You’re making that technology investment to help your employees work smarter. And you’ll be giving them the tools. The third step in the process is making sure they have the know-how to use them.

Make sure you offer the proper training across the company to ensure your employees understand the new processes. Some companies have found that peer-to-peer training keeps employees more engaged and ambitious. Every company will train differently based on its workplace culture. Find that method resonates best with your employees.

To consult with FUSION OF IDEAS’ software development experts on your technology needs, call us at 949-453-0740 or visit https://fusionofideas.com/dev.php.

Continuing the Kidd’s Kids Tradition

For more than 25 years, Kidd’s Kids has taken children with life-threatening and life-altering conditions and their families on an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

For the ninth consecutive year, FUSION OF IDEAS has gratefully donated our app development and customization services to this amazing cause. Together with Best Buy and Microsoft, we provided and personally handed out customized Microsoft Surface laptops to each Kidd’s Kids family. Each laptop was personalized with trip information preloaded in the devices.

Customized Microsoft Surface laptops were presented to each Kidd's Kids family.
Customized Microsoft Surface laptops were presented to each Kidd’s Kids family.

The gift of technology is an impactful one for the families. The children use these devices for schoolwork as well as entertainment when they are in the hospital, and for some, who are nonverbal, technology devices are valuable communication tools.

Kidd Kraddick founded Kidd’s Kids in 1991 with a dream to make a difference in the lives of children and their families who were dealing with life-altering conditions. The Irving, Texas-based organization has sent over 4,000 children and their families on a trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The FUSION OF IDEAS team and families onsite to help present the laptops.
The FUSION OF IDEAS team and families onsite to help present the laptops.

Overcoming the Construction Industry’s Pain Points

Part of sustaining a business, no matter the industry, is staying current and rolling with change. In the construction business, many companies are held up with time tracking, offline capabilities, field data capturing challenges, which are the most common pain points in the industry. 

Because these challenges disrupt the daily workflow, a savvy software implementation to overcome these obstacles can be the difference between winning a project bid or not. 

While there are easy, off-the-shelf solutions to each of these areas, it’s not as cost-effective as you may think. SaaS spend and adoption continued to grow quickly across all company sizes. In 2018, the average company spent $343,000 a year on SaaS, a 78% increase from the previous year

A custom software, one that can tackle your entire workflow in one single app is customized for your business to help these common pain points:  

  1. Time Tracking – Time tracking in the field is a common pain point in construction. Even with time-tracking software, many solutions have a complicated user interface or depend on connectivity to the Internet.  
  2. Offline Capabilities – If you’re using web-based field software that doesn’t have offline capabilities, your workforce may be delayed in completing critical tasks like inspection reports and safety incident reports.
  3. Data Collection – Gathering and sorting essential business data can be a time-consuming task, especially when data is being collected in several programs or platforms. Chances are, the bigger your organization, the more apps or software your company may be using. And having data in various places offers more risk in errors when collecting data, which can hinder critical business decisions.
  4. Real-Time Communications – Communication is the backbone of all efficient operations. Improving communications can massively streamline operations and improve accuracy by allowing real-time communication between all members invested in a project on the field and at the office.