Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mobile web applications development - VIA class 3

This is the report from the third VIA class. Internet applications development course focusing on development of mobile web applications for students.

It was an interesting class today. Student teams were presenting projects proposals. CoreOfPoodle presented an app to quickly find the neareast cultural events. Eager Programmers team and Dynamic Core team are suggesting social web based application to organize free time. AdusMaraGoust Team introduced Car Share project desiged to search for cheap student travel. DEV-TEAM came with an interesting idea to share class supporting material generated by students accessible through a classes schedule. Sometimes it becomes very difficult to find friends and teachers at the university and the Fellow Me team is trying to make this simpler.

All teams set their home pages and those who have presented provided links to their presentation. Some of the presentations are in Czech but I hope, we fix this soon. All teams delivered good work presenting clearly what is their idea. We will finish the presentations in the next class.

Ok, we have some idea what to develop. But we only have hypotheses for an application. We must validate the proposed apps, make sure someone really needs it. How to do it? Teams have to test the hypotheses on their colleagues.

One way of doing it, is to create a paper mock up of an applications and test the interest, for example, in the university cafeteria. Asking students what they like, would they download the application, is something missing or what they do not need. All answers should be recorded, presented and then decisions need to be made. Other method is to create a web page, which is just showing a wireframe with some links. Route friends to the web and collect clicks with google analytics. Most frequently clicked feature is important, but be careful, it also depends on the web page layout, this experiment needs to be repeated with different layouts. Other methodology is to create a questionary and ask colleagues about their opinion. Some of you may develop a pdf mockup, with clickable links and run it on Android device to collect users response. The closer we can get to the final experience the better we can estimate the customers needs. In all cases we want to estimate what is the minimum features set.

Almost all of the applications are very ambitious. Some of the applications are only vaguely related to students needs. We will probably need to fix this. Keep in mind that most of the Android market apps are very simply accomplishing one thing with a minimum UI complexity. This does not mean the implementation is also simple. To destile the most important features and create a simple UI is the trick. This is the teams job now! Teams need to focus on reduction of functionality, implementing only what is necessary. This is probably the most difficult task.

The minimum viable products should be available just before Christmas and this is an extremely agressive target. We have to work hard ...


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