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Know Your User
If you are building an app, you really need to make sure that you are building it with your target users in mind.
Knowing who your users are will give you a much better understanding of the platforms your application will need to
run on, the type of features that a platform can expose, and the functionality you have the potential of offering your
users. The type of user may also set a level of functional expectation, but we won't cover Personas 1 here.
For example, if your users are highly likely to have a new smartphone, you can start to think about accessing
newer technology and using advanced features such as the accelerometer or camera on the device. It also means that
you have the potential to build rich interactive web apps running in a modern mobile browser as well as native iOS
and Android apps.
Conversely, knowing your user will also help you identify the things you really shouldn't be focusing on; if you
know that all your users have a BlackBerry, there's no point in building an app for the iPhone (it really goes without
saying, but we're saying it just to make the point).
It's also worth considering where your application may be used by a user. You may have plans for an innovative
new control system in which a user interacts with the app through a series of star jumps monitored by the device's
camera. But this is unlikely to be viable if your target users are likely to want to use the app on a train where space may
be restricted. At the very least, they would receive a lot of strange looks from other passengers.
Similarly, if the user will be in a location where connectivity is restricted, an app shouldn't rely on retrieving data
from a hosted API.
There's no point building an awesome feature-rich application if nobody is going to use it. So, making potential
customers aware of your application is vital to its success.
Using a marketplace represents a great opportunity for ensuring that your app—your product—is, at the very
least, discoverable. There are more than half a million mobile apps on the App Store for iOS devices and Google
Play for Android devices, which clearly proves that a marketplace is a great location for your app to be discovered.
Microsoft has followed suit with the Windows Store. But you could, of course, argue that with so much competition it
actually makes finding your application very difficult due to the vast selection of apps.
apple redefined the meaning of apps : from simply representing a program that runs on some device to a
whole concept with a flourishing ecosystem, including micropayments, when they created the concept of the app store.
a marketplace for the marketing, sales, and distribution of a product: the app. This is an amazing marketing achievement.
As well as being discoverable, a presence in a marketplace means your app has the opportunity to benefit from
the in-marketplace review system. The theory is that if you build a great app, you'll receive great reviews and benefit
by soaring up the app charts.
Marketplaces were initially created for native apps and have proven to be highly successful. The idea has been
copied for web apps, but with much less success. There are efforts to change this, such as the Google Chrome Web
Store, 2 Firefox Marketplace, 3 Facebook App Center, 4 and even the Apple “web apps” directory, 5 but the uptake is much
slower than their native app counterparts.
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