Have an idea/project and don’t know where to start?
Take a look at our Case Study for Innovations Daily. This is a project we finished in early 2015 for iOS. We have illustrated the process that took place and have described the implemented functionality.
The client required us to design and develop a news delivery platform; however, they didn’t have a clear concept of what the final outcomes for the project would be.
We prepared a concept that explained the interface to agree on the required functionality. We also suggested an Admin panel (CMS) to manage users and their subscriptions.
To help the client communicate with the users, we customised Zoho CRM and provided a downloadable spreadsheet containing all the user data to be simply imported in the Zoho CRM.
About Innovations Daily App Project
You can access the Innovations Daily App for iPhone and read more about its features and development process in our Case Study, here.
INNOVATIONS DAILY is the news updating system you’ve been waiting for.
INNOVATIONS DAILY is here now to keep the professionals updated in a quick, simple and concise form about the latest innovations in various industry sectors from all over the world. The app comes with two main sections: START-UPS / LARGE FIRMS. The app allows you to customize your reading experience according to categories, sub-categories, country of origin and year of foundation (START-UPS).
Whether you are an investor, a researcher, a senior executive or a media professional, this app shows you where the trends are heading on a daily basis, which saves you time, resources and money.
INNOVATIONS DAILY offers:
- Simplified reading experience underlining relevant content that makes it easy but the time-poor professional to stay updated efficiently;
- We monitor global and multilingual sources, filter, customise and translate the content. This app gives you the content that you need and in your native language. We are starting with English, but more languages will come soon;
- Relevant simplified content: A short but concise description of the innovation, the name of the innovating company (R&D / START-UP / LARGE FIRM), country of origin, year of foundation (for START-UPS) and company’s website.
Planning your Mobile Application Project
The first steps were to discuss possible interface functionality, and the best way to achieve this is to prepare some wireframes or just to start with the main screens you can identify. We quickly drew basic screens in front of the client to discuss any possible functionality and logic.
From here, we explained what is displayed on the screens above.
Some iPhone App functionality we have introduced
Read Later and Saved Articles that later renamed to My Library. The articles added to the Read Later folder were accessed in this menu by swiping left, and the app will automatically remind you to read those articles. You can switch on/off reminders (push notifications) as well as customise their frequency in the Settings. An automatic clean-up occurs for the articles that are in this folder and are one month old.
My Library items will always stay there until you remove them yourself. Think of it as your favourite articles folder.
The Suggested Articles menu item displays the most viewed articles by Innovations Daily users. You can access them from the full list section view or side menu.
Our experience helps us to apply the best standards and practices for the project. At IPS, we have proven in-house guidelines that we apply to each project develop. These include proper registration flow with messages and verifications, notifications flow, and standard notifications such as admin or user’s FB friend joined the app.
To prepare short articles/news delivery platform system for iPhone including content management system (CMS). The app must have a subscription with a payment gateway implemented.
Wireframes to plan Mobile App Design and User Experience (UX):
We completed basic wireframes based on the functionality discussed with the client to create a preliminary version. This helps the client to understand the workflow of the app and reduce development risk. Today we use UXPin to create wireframes and prototypes. We have used Flinto before and found it excellent and easy to use; however, the UXPin is much more sophisticated and is done with high attention to usability.
Next, the wireframes were completed with all of the required screens that would show the screen flow based on different button selection. It illustrates a user-like behaviour clicking on various buttons on the phone application, as it would be on the actual mobile app.
Here is a sample wireframe snapshot from another project to illustrate the concept:
At this point, we understood that we had two main categories on the menu screen to manage the content that would be available on the home screen (or main controller, as coders call it):
- Large Firms
Both categories can have the same categories, subcategories, and countries and country origin of innovation.
We planned the design so that once the Content sections set by the user were established, the user will be able to access all of those articles on the home screen every time a user accesses the Innovations Daily app. We suggested a possible sign to direct the user to the Content section when a user accesses the app for the first time.
Use Case/Story Board
During this stage, we have to define all the possible parameters using a Use Case or StoryBoard.
Our goal at this point is to achieve is to identify every functionality and workflow with possible outcomes. This is done by having each screen defined with all the elements of a proper workflow. The storyboard would be based on the wireframes we prepared in the previous step. This can be subsequently supported by having a prototype made using various software, such as invision.com. It will help to ensure that you have a proper workflow that can be tried with dummy screens as it would work on the phone. For example, you can see the storyboard we have developed for the Utillix project, here in our portfolio.
We take a single screen and describe all of the possible functionality with the logic that would need to be implemented. For instance, we had the main controller also known as the home screen, which displays the articles from selected categories and subcategories in a table view.
We recommended implementing a search bar to search for the articles that have a required keyword. It was important to understand the logic for the requested search function, as it had to be adapted differently for various circumstances. We identified any possible actions users may want to do with the articles. Each cell must have a menu, so we decided to have a swipeable menu for additional options. We decided to use this for sharing and adding to My Library and Read Later sections accessible from the menu. The client approved and we moved on. To ensure consistency across the app, we also defined the Menu screen in the same way and have My Library and Read Later described as we did earlier. The date drop-down filter was used to order the list in ascending or descending order by date.
Freelancer vs. Agency
When you come with at least 50% of the required information, quality developers and freelancers who do not have proper teams in place (i.e. project managers, analytics, designers etc), should be able to understand your needs clearly. However, it is almost impossible to find a freelance developer who will be able to offer you all of these services at once. If the project is intended to make money, support business and its structure/infrastructure, or communicate with clients, it is important to find a good company that has a proper team in place to support your project at all levels. In the worst-case scenario, without having the proper people in place, you will end up connecting all of the ends yourself and risk exceeding your budget and timeframes. This also creates significant opportunity cost, as you have to invest more time.
Of course, once the core functionality is completed, it is usually easy to see what other required functionality is required. That is why it is better to develop projects in stages, especially complex ones.
iPhone Mobile App features Designed and Implemented
At the time of this writing, we have completed the following tasks since the first release:
- High load optimisation
- User can change font size and background colour
- User can listen to an automatic text reader
- Admin can add extra subscription days and push notification will be sent to a user
- Admin add new articles and push notifications are sent to alert the user
- Search and various filters for the admin panel
- Large screen view for the full article view when the user swipes to scroll to get to the bottom of the screen
- After the launch, we have also designed and implemented custom metrics indicators to manage the app – App Analytics and/or Data Management
There are a lot of works in front of us not including developing an Android version for the same project.
Project completed, but for you, it’s just the beginning! You finally got what you wanted and are hopefully happy with the outcome. Now it is time to start marketing the app.
The easiest and cheapest marketing strategies are to have a proper description, quality screenshots, and right keywords to be setup in iTunes Connect (where you manage your iPhone, iPad apps from). This ensures that more people can find your mobile app, and it will take them less time to understand what is about, which in turn gives you more downloads.
For this project, we also developed a SE-Optimised landing page and admin panel where the client can download a spreadsheet with the current users’ data. Then, we customised a CRM to suit the project requirements and uploaded press releases to support the launch. Here at IPS we can customise, automate and integrate with 3rd party systems to help manage your project efficiently.