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Demo Apps for Clients: A Study in Practical Design

by Neel Kamal · 1 comment

If a client wants an app, the demo, ironically, can be more of a major production than the actual app when installed and doing its job.

The client, naturally, wants to evaluate what they’re paying for, and in many cases the sales and marketing guys will also have an important input. That can be a complex process and often gimmick-prone. If the client sells trophies, you may find that you’re expected to come up with an app that looks and acts like a trophie, despite the fact that the app is supposed to be a purchasing app.

Demo Apps: The consultation process

As all sales experts know, the person that actually sells the product to themselves is the client. They just provide the information and point out the range of options. That’s a particularly safe approach with clients looking for apps, especially if they don’t have the technical knowledge to understand much more than what an app is supposed to do.

If you stick to the client’s level of knowledge and concentrate on objectives, you can hold an intelligent conversation and find out what they really want, as well as what they need. This approach also has the advantage of creating a “same page” so everyone knows what’s supposed to be achieved.

Important: Specifications are supposed to be documented. Make sure they are, and that there’s no room for debate about what was agreed later.

(The risk is that the entire consultation can sidetrack if there’s any discussion of matters requiring the client to bring in other decision makers like CFOs, which involves repeating the whole process for no good reason. It can also mean quite literally dissecting the app, discussing/complaining about minutiae and reinventing the app in the process. This way, they want an app, they get an app, and both they and you know what they’re supposed to be getting.)

Creating the demo app

The consultation process heads off most of the extraneous garbage which can result in apps becoming major theatrical productions. The demo app, however, will quite rightly be subjected to a lot of scrutiny by any competent client. It needs to be set out so the client can see all the processes according to specifications, all the related visuals, and see any required performance demonstrations as well.

If you haven’t been through this particular blender before, it’s best to be prepared:

  • Create a demo app which matches the specifications, and test everything related to performance thoroughly. Performance should be flawless.
  • Separate the various visual elements of the app so the client can examine each of them. (The visual presentation of the app relates to marketing, and it is actually necessary to have some images, like a “How to use this app” sheet available for the client, however annoying to put together.)
  • Create flow chart(s) showing the app performance process for the specifications.

As you can see- No loose ends. All agreed specifications are covered and the client has a lot of information which can be used for promoting the app for their business. This approach keeps the entire process of app development on track.

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As you can see- No loose ends. All agreed specifications are covered and the client has a lot of information which can be used for promoting the app for their business. This approach keeps the entire process of app development on track.

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