Apps are what make your smartphone really smart. And today you will find an app for just about anything. Whether you want to kill some time, book a flight, get the latest news, or connect with others like you – you have an app for everything.
The app ecosystem is such that there is always space for more even though developing an app is not particularly easy. Its success depends on a number of factors. To begin with, the idea has to be strong, it should relate to the target audience and, most importantly,it has to have intuitive design.
The very same factors relate to rolling out updates updates to any app .
Today’s blog is a short overview of the latest update of our flagship Windows Phone app, GPS Voice Navigation. Let me briefly introduce v4.00:.
The application provides turn-by-turn voice driving navigation with a choice of 4 map and routing providers: Google®, Bing®, Nokia® and MapQuest®.
The new features include:
* Fresh Windows 8 style redesign and a ‘quick start’ screen
* Improved map and search interface
* Option to display points of interest as layers on the map
* Integration with phone contacts
* Pin to start option for destinations
* Trip pause/resume button
* Russian language (currently supported EN, PT, DE, FR, SP, IT & BG)
Researching the competition is a crucial step. We needed to know what other apps in the same category are doing right and wrong, in order to learn from it. Taking into consideration user reviews is just as important, as meeting and exceeding user needs is essential to success.
GPS Voice Navigation has few competitors on Windows Phone Store. From the user reviews of our and our competitor’s apps we identified several features which we were missing or did not get entirely right. For example, the map and search interface, the lack of integration with contacts and offline maps (this feature we plan to integrate in a future update).
The development process took us about 2 months, though we were working on other projects simultaneously. During that time, we were holding everyday SCRUM meetings to align the different teams’ progress. Perhaps we will convince one of our developers to talk about the development challenges in a future post because there is a lot to be discussed there as well.
We were aiming at a clean, attractive and intuitive interface as we know that the ease and quality of the app design is what drives consumers towards app stores downloads and purchases. This is why we decided to integrate the Windows 8 style design into the app, thus making it more intuitive for users with Windows Phones. It was important not to clutter any single screen, yet have all of the many app features handy at any time. The quick start screen serves this purpose well. In addition, we added a new section on the map screen, showing written directions. We rearranged the position of the other elements in map view to accommodate this change and reserve as much space for a clean map view as possible.
We have formed a small community of beta testers (and we are looking for more enthusiasts, wink-wink, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org) who are key in reviewing new features before they reach the wider public. Their feedback was very important as it helped us gather valuable information about the user perspective. We loved their feedback, which ranged from: “It´s working ok, but the german translations are not very good” to “sometimes I get the message, that the route is recalculated but it wasn´t necessary because I was still on the route”
Finally, the app went through extensive testing from our experienced quality assurance (QA) team to remove any bugs and inconsistencies. The final result: we have a much better and more polished product than the one we started with.
Marketing & Launch
The marketing process was going on throughout the development period. A detailed marketing plan outlined all tasks related to positioning the app on the market and announcing and advertising the new update. The smart thing to do here, we learned, is to be in constant dialogue with the development, design and QA team, because we need to be in the know of every detail related to the app in order to communicate its features to the world in the best way.
The process was exhausting but rewarding, especially when we read something like this:
“GPS Voice Navigation has always been a nice navigation option for your Windows Phone but with the update, it’s better. Which is the goal of any update” @wpcentral