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Is A Mobile App Right For You? Time To Discover and Define

Is an app right for you? Maybe it's time to Discover and Define. Throughout our years developing mobile apps we've found that a lot of the time, although you may think you need an app, it's not always the solution your looking for.



Some bloke called Mick Jagger once sang something quite prophetic, not about our Discover and Define process, but the sentiment is still the same.

You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need.

As an agency known for mobile app development, we often get enquiries from people who have already decided a mobile app is exactly what they need…

But is a mobile app right for you?

Mobile apps are incredible things, which have, for better or worse, changed the way the world works. But they aren’t a panacea…

They’re not always the right thing to do.

Of the last three Discover and Define processes’ we have carried out, one resulted in an online form, one in a communications model, and only one in a full mobile app.

Because we'd never build an app for the sake of it.

Because for us, life is too short and time too valuable to go through the process of designing and building solutions that aren’t fit for purpose, and ultimately don’t get used.

You’ve probably seen the image below shared on Slack/Twitter/in a talk on product design a thousand times. It’s usually sent as a wry nod to the fact that most products, when they get in the hands of users, are the bastard child of a series of Chinese whispers among different stakeholders.

The Project Management Problem

But it kills me a little bit every time I see it. Think of the hours, pain and heartache invested by all of these stakeholders to deliver something that ultimately isn’t really what anyone needs.

And it’s all avoidable if you just make sure you take the time to discover what people actually want, and then most importantly, make sure that everyone understands what that need actually is.

But to do that, you HAVE to leave your ego at the door.

You may think you have the answer. You may believe you know what it is all your users need to do, and you may be right.

If you check in with the user-base and you’re doing all these things, move forward with the confidence that you’re making the right decisions. Better still, if you check in with your user-base and the rest of the stakeholders, they can also move forward with confidence. But if you’re wrong you know why you’re wrong; and can scrap, change or tweak your approach so that you can all move forward with confidence together.

If you don’t, the confidence you’re feeling could well be hubris.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals NHS (RBCH NHS).

Take our D&D session with RBCH NHS for example, an app was an obvious solution to communication problems, but it wasn’t the right one.

After spending the day with different teams around the hospital, it became apparent that the actual solution was an internal model, that could provided staff with information on the best channels to contact different teams on.

“They didn’t come into the project with any preconceptions, and actually listened to our needs and asked about the structures we already have. They looked at the challenges and are willing to tailor a solution to us.”

– Head of Communications, Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Published on December 12, 2017, last updated on June 20, 2018

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