An AP brief on building a news app

By Clyde Bentley on April 9, 2010 0 Comments

Clyde Bentley, 2009-2010 Fellow

Even in a world of digital wonder, sometimes you just have to love the get-to-the-point style of AP.  While the Think Mobile conference in New York wandered on with philosophical declarations Thursday afternoon, it was the short and sweet  morning presentation by Michael Boord that really wrapped up this two-day look at mobile and the media for me.


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Boord is the acting global director at AP and the person responsible for that wonderful AP app that alerts you to news, gives you the national story and pulls in copy from local papers.  So how do you create an app that good?  Step-by-step:

Five Things to Remember When You Design an App

•    Strategy -- What do you hope to accomplish with the app?
•    Business model -- How does it fit into the operational/financial structure of your organization?
•    Who will build it -- Will you hire developers or farm it out?
•    How will you support it? -- Even a good app will develop problems that someone must address.
•    How will you market and distribute it? -- A great app does no good just sitting on your server.

That was simple enough.  But you still need to know what type of app to build and that requires another Boord-ian checklist:

Finding the app for you

•    Free or paid? -- You get wide distribution with free but revenue with paid.
•    What customer support levels do you need? -- Will FAQs suffice or do you need a help desk?
•    Touch, non-touch or both? -- Some apps are interactive, others just supply information.
•    Does it require a network connection? -- Do you call it up on Web, does it require 3G to work?
•    Will it have ads? -- Advertisers will have their own demands you must address.
•    Offline functionality -- If you get on the plane or in the subway, should it still work?
•    Do you want the ability to linking out with app in the background? -- Some apps let you bounce to other sites and then back to the main app.
•    How will you market it? -- Will you advertise it?  Partner with Apple or Google?  Have it pre-installed on phones?
•    How will you distribute  it? - US or local? The digital world is global; mobile more so. Where will you app go?
•    Do you need an app or a widget?  Apps are fully functional programs.  Widgets provide seamless links to Mobile Web sites and are both less costly and easier to develop.

Thanks, Michael

-30-

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