Before you build an app, get to know your user base – Ryan Allen, Dapper Gentlemen

With over 2.5 million mobile apps in the market, how will your app stand out and gain users?
This month’s Lunch and Learn speaker, ADDY award-winning, mobile and web developer Ryan Allen, co-founder Dapper Gentlemen, engaged our audience about the ins and outs of designing a mobile application.


Before you go out, spend money and start coding, Allen said that every developer has to identify the problem they are solving, interview people with that problem, and create a list of user needs before putting together an app idea.
“You need to have an open channel of communication with your users,” Allen said.
Allen stressed that every app idea needs a target market and to drill down exactly who is your user base; because “everyone” as a user is unrealistic.

WATCH: Jo Overline and Ryan Allen – “Embracing Disruptive Mobile Technology” for your business

Prototyping is another important aspect of developing apps. Allen prefers paper prototyping before building out an app because, more often than not, what you start with, will not be the end product. More importantly, this type of preplanning doesn’t burn through your development funds and encourages ideas to be written down.
Communication was one of the main points of Allen’s talk. Effective communication between developers, users, stakeholders, and everyone else helps a project proceed smoothly and correctly.
“Communication really is one of the hardest parts of developing any product,” Allen said.
Allen recommends using developer software such as OnTime to keep track of everyone’s progress.
Edits of the mobile app, is the hardest part of the process, according to Allen, but it can be expensive if you don’t take the time to do it. Know this, once an app is launched, it’s never done. Developers and entrepreneurs are alway fixing, editing, and advancing their products.
Finally, founders of a mobile app product are never done with communication and marketing to their user base. “Marketing never ends,” Allen said. “We are creating so much content as a society. How do you expect users to find your application?”
To help entrepreneurs estimate how much a mobile app might cost to build, Dapper Gentlemen created an application that allows potential clients to estimate the cost.
Allen recently took home an ADDY award for their design of an augmented reality tour for Lexus, which attracted the attention of BMW as well. He has done web design since 1995.
Dapper Gentlemen is located in Gilbert, AZ and San Francisco, CA. They have built over 100 apps for both small and large businesses since their launch in 2008.
Learn more about Dapper Gentlemen here.
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