One of the most common questions we hear from clients when we start to talk about mobile projects is “How much will it cost to build our app?” It’s a more than reasonable question on the surface, trying to ensure budget needs are considered. The problem is that it’s laden with assumptions. Is the app solving the right problems? How is it going to evolve in the future? How does it fit into people’s mobile moments?
When it comes down to it, a successful app is not just a one-off project. You’re building a product. If you want people to use your app, build it with the same attention to detail as the leading mobile products. They have set the bar for how mobile apps should work. The question that should be asked instead is, “What will it take to build the right product?” Switching to the product mindset changes the approach for how to deliver mobile projects. You’ll need to rely on 5 key ingredients if you want to succeed: process, capabilities, experience, thinking, and people.
You need a proven process. You’re not trying to just build features for the sake of features. You’re looking to create value, and that means understanding your audience and delivering to their needs. Cantina combines Lean UX with agile development. We place an emphasis on open communication, data-driven design, and continuous discovery. Our teams work hand-in-hand with clients to hone in on the right product for their audience. This collaboration leads to more predictable progress and fewer surprises.
To deliver on that process, you need the proper capabilities and expertise. Relying on development skills alone isn’t enough, even if you know the ins-and-outs of iOS and Android. You’ll also need the design skills to research, prototype, and craft engaging experiences. For mobile apps with a back end, the capabilities should extend into API design and technical architecture. Cantina is proud to host in-house expertise that can serve to across the full spectrum of mobile projects.
Capabilities are best when they’re bolstered by hands-on experience. The mobile world has matured a lot in the past few years. Those who have gotten their hands dirty understand the hidden traps that can send projects off the rails. They know the mobile platforms well enough to push the envelope on innovative solutions. Cantina has been building apps since 2008, pushing the boundaries of mobile. We have helped to innovate the world of video sharing, connect to lightbulbs (well before the Philips Hue), and develop for the Apple Watch within months of its launch.
One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten is the importance of innovative thinking. The mobile world is rife with complexities: technical, design, and customer complexities. When dealing with large-scale architectures, the name of the game is making sense of the technical complexities. Those same skills are critical in designing interfaces for an audience short on time and attention. Users have no patience to browse around to discover and learn everything about an app or read a help section. These people want to see something clean and simple. Cantina designers create an intuitive experiences out of often complex interactions. We embrace the label “designers” for both design and development, because they often leverage the same style of thinking.
Of all five ingredients, I’ve saved the secret sauce for last, as it’s the most important and brings the recipe together: the people. They’re the ones who make projects successful. If the people working on your product don’t stand out, your product won’t stand out. You want the kinds of people who build mobile games in their spare time, who teach in the community, who gather around the TV for Apple keynotes like they’re watching fireworks. You want people who dedicate their full attention to your product and care about it like it’s their own. Who work alongside you, not behind an email address or a webcam. This is the talent that Cantina brings to the table. Experienced, passionate, innovative thinkers who are always hungry for a tough challenge.
Increase the likelihood of success of your mobile project by approaching it with a product mindset and focusing on the full recipe. The lack of any one ingredient will foul up the recipe. Cantina is proud to bring all of them to the table to work with clients and deliver the right products to the right audience.