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We hear this question all the time: How Much Does It Cost To Develop an App?

Compared to client expectations about app development costs from three years ago, there is increasing evidence that apps are not “cheap” to develop. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that most apps are expected to be cloud connected and social.

Asking “How much does an app cost to develop” is much like asking “how much does it cost to build a house”, there is no definitive or easy answer.

Great Expectations

But any expectations around a mobile app costing only a few thousand dollars, and being easier easier to build than a web site, have largely disappeared. For those interested in factors contributing to application build costs, this article on formotus.com provides a good read and food for thought.

So What Stats Are there?

 
A survey of IT professionals by AnyPresence, a backend-as-a-service company, asked about the initial cost of developing a typical mobile application. Over half reported spending more than three months and over $50,000 developing a typical app. Very nearly a quarter reported spending over $100,000.
Read full story on www.formotus.com: Cost To Develop an App

Cost To Develop an App

For some additional resources and recent app cost calculators, see the following links:

KinveyKinvey’s App Cost Estimatorhttp://www.kinvey.com/app-cost-estimator
John RaineyHow much does it cost to develop an app?http://www.accella.net/how-much-will-my-mobile-app-cost-to-create/
Carter, Bluecloud SolutionsHow Much Will my Mobile App Cost to Create?http://www.bluecloudsolutions.com/blog/cost-develop-app/
By Aaron Maxwell, MashableIs Developing a Mobile App Worth the Cost?http://mashable.com/2011/02/24/mobile-app-dev-cost/

In Pounds Sterling:

This post provided some very detailed estimates by the CTO of 5App and his conclusion:

It’s safe to assume that using traditional development techniques to create a cross-platform enterprise app won’t come in under £100K.

I am so delighted and filled with gratitude when my clients, or my prospective clients, spontaneously say to me in a somewhat surprised tone:

“You have really helped me think this through.”

“I hadn’t seen it quite like that before.”

“I’m now seeing possibilities I hadn’t considered.”

“You’ve opened me up to a new way of thinking.”

Developmental Conversations

I’m delighted because that kind of feedback tells me our conversation has helped the client progress her thinking.  Together, we’ve created a developmental conversation.  The conversation has constructed something new for both of us.  She has some insights about her situation and me, and I have new insights about my situation and her.  And, I’m grateful because she was open to the inquiry.  She was receptive. She wanted to find a new way.  She was willing to explore and discover. Our generative conversation created the new possibilities.

appreciative inquiry design processOn the surface, Polymash is an app development agency.  But scratch a little below the surface and you’ll find that what we really do is develop people, and their ideas, and ultimately develop innovation behaviors.  We know that through our inquiry-based approach to our client engagements, we help them express that which they want to express.  We begin conversations with our goal to guide them so that eventually clients are able to express what they are wanting to achieve in the most positive way; they express what delights them; what they aspire to; and what brings life to their purpose in life and business. In our app development, we tap into the highest potential for people and for product. Our experience has been that people dig deep to contribute to something larger than themselves, something that allows their voice and creativity to rise to the top.  That’s how innovations happen. That’s how great design and user experience (UX) emerge organically.

Innovation Behaviors

When we come to a project with the mindset of people development over product development, we are focused on the human experience over the technological solution.  Our mindset, when we engage with clients, is that we want them to realize that through engagement with their apps, they can positively impact their user-base. Our Wild Dolphins iPad app and FilmOneFest iPad and smartphone apps are two examples where the inquiry-based approach resulted in not only producing highly attractive apps with great entertainment and utility, but also developed entire client teams involved in gathering all the content for the apps.  Teams can evolve to new heights in their relationships and productivity.  And, apps have the potential to create innovation behaviors among their customers – the users.

In the case of Wild Dolphins, we had members of the organization saying that being part of the content creation for the app was the best experience in their career to date.  They were amazed at how everyone just wanted to jump in and Wild Dolphins Appreciative Inquirycontribute.  They said productivity increased and leadership emerged where they had not seen it before.  New, innovation behaviors that have come from the app users have been greater awareness of what endangers the species, and what new, innovation behaviors they can adopt to help protect wild dolphins.  The Wild Dolphins‘ client wanted to put their mission into the world and be a force for good by bringing awareness to the positive human behaviors that will help protect dolphins in the wild.

FilmOneFest II app was also community-wide effort, where we engaged with various stakeholders whose content and ideas would be included in the app – filmmakers, film critics, sponsors, volunteers, business people. The articulated goal was to be able to show the one-minute films selected for viewing at the one-day film festival to help promote the filmmakers,  the event and the town.  What emerged from our inquiry was a whole new innovative approach to help promote the event and attract new filmmakers for future film festivals and an entirely innovative way of having filmmakers participate in all future events.

Greatest Energy and Excitements

Our approach to our work is grounded in a special kind of inquiry:  Appreciative Inquiry.  By “Inquiry,” we mean asking carefully crafted questions that to seek to expand the thinking and enlarge the conversation and its potential.  By “Appreciative,” we mean inquiring through a lens that seeks to appreciate or  “increase in value” whatever the topic of the inquiry is.  So applying the Appreciative Inquiry framework, we engage with our clients through a lens that looks for what is to be valued, successful and appreciated.  Energy and engagement result.  Creativity is unleashed and innovations pop up from unexpected sources.

What if, instead of looking for “the pain points and problems” in clients’ situations, we inquired into areas of “greatest energy and excitements.”  What if we stopped thinking and acting from a position of “what we lack and our weaknesses” and instead began to focus on “past successes, current best assets and individual and collective strengths?”  When you inquire from that perspective, shift happens!

To learn more and apply Appreciative Inquiry, download our iPad app Embracing Change which leads users through change.  To learn more about the principles of Appreciative Inquiry as a method of inquiry that results in stories of personal and professional triumph, download our smartphone and iPad app Appreciative Inquiry – an Introduction.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you thinking of creating an app?

In this post we outline some readiness factors to consider before getting started.

Since 2010 we’ve had lots of people approach us with great ideas for apps. Many clients share our vision that the future of accessing content is on mobile devices, and they visualize their own ideas or content as engaging, beautiful, stunning apps.

But before launching straight into developing an app, we help our clients understand the mobile market as a whole, and also help them assess their own readiness to launch a mobile strategy for their business. With this we introduce our assessment tool, and also invite you to download our comprehensive and free “Mobile 2012” white paper.

Mobile Devices? It’s humans who are mobile.

Mobile devices are still relatively new.  The fact is humans have always been mobile.  It’s only now we have the technologies that allow us to access the content we value 24/7 in exciting ways.  This has been possible only in the last couple of years…. thinking here of how the iPad has transformed publishing, news, social media and just about everything else the internet allowed us to do in limited ways.  Apps on mobile devices allow us to interact with content and people in much more compelling, more beautiful and playful ways, wherever we are and whenever we want.  Pretty powerful stuff.

Transform Your Existing Content

If you are already mobile savvy and have fresh app ideas or novel app concepts, you may like following our app design process to create rapid wireframes & prototypes. Many others, like authors or leaders in their field, may be less mobile savvy but already have content they believe is of value to people.  Perhaps the following examples resonate with you:

  • It could be a book you’ve already published, or want to publish
  • It could be training materials that you have developed
  • It could be you have a particular methodology or tool kit that has helped clients in your professional field
  • It could be you have curated a photo or art collection of specific era, or subject matter
  • It could be you have a hobby that you want to document and share with others who share the passion
  • It could be you are a specialist in your discipline of health, fitness, education, medicine, history, astrology, biology, anthropology, or any of the sciences.
  • It could be you have a children’s story that you’ve created and want to interactivate it!

So the question to ask is “How mobile ready are you?” You want to give yourself or your business the best launch possible into the mobile space.

If you have the dream, a strong belief and the content, that’s what counts

Polymash has had 100s of conversations on this topic with individual content owners and businesses.  After years of building relationships and educating clients, we have been able to distill the key drivers to successful app creation to six major dimensions.  This assessment takes a very real look at what it takes to make a successful app in a still relatively new, yet rapidly growing market place.  The self-assessment is not for the faint-hearted.  And, it’s not to say, if you’re strong in few dimensions that you can’t start.  If you have the content and a strong belief and a dream, that’s what counts.

What does it take to make an app, and how ready are you?

  • Know your market – who your users are and what they will do with your app
  • Compelling content – what assets can you provide – images, stories, models, videos, graphics
  • Organization culture – the supportive work context – leadership support, finances, timeframes, innovative mindsets
  • Mobile Device awareness – experience consuming content on mobile, so you’re able to discern good user experience
  • Marketing and Social Media Savvy – a product launch is a product launch, requiring marketing investment and social proof
  • Aligned Strategy including Web – going mobile is a strategic undertaking; a holistic integrated web strategy is important

What does it take to make an app?

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Readiness Assessment Tool

What does it take to make an app? Take Polymash’s Assessment Tool to find our your current state of readiness.

  • Discover where your strengths already exist.
  • Find out what opportunities there are for you to prepare yourself for your greatest success.
  • Learn from our experience and how we have helped many like you who have created apps to serve their user base and grow their global reach.

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As part of the free Readiness Assessment Tool and in addition to your results, you will also receive a comprehensive report and state of the mobile landscape as of July 2012.

Get ahead now in understanding mobile trends and position yourself for the future!

For us in the Digital Publishing and App development world, this is an
interesting week. Watch out for Adobe MAX announcement about the Adobe Digital
Publishing Suite, and catch the keynote events live. For  those of us not able to attend this week’s Adobe MAX conference in person, below  are resources to follow along in social media, as well as a daily summary of all the action. Visit the paper.li magazine I’ve set up at  “This week in Hollywood: Adobe Max

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[button link=”http://max.adobe.com/online/” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] See Keynotes Live[/button]


[button link=”http://max.adobe.com/socialmedia/” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] AdobeMAX Social Media[/button]


[button link=”http://twitter.com/search/%23adobemax” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] AdobeMAX on Twitter[/button]
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[button link=”http://twitter.com/#!/AdobeDigitalPub” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] Adobe Digital Publishing on Twitter[/button]

[button link=”https://max.adobe.com/schedule/by-session/#” color=”silver” newwindow=”yes”] AdobeMAX Sessions[/button]

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SlideShare on IPad and iPhoneI am as big fan of SlideShare, but have been visiting less often over the last year since my primary web browsing device has become the iPad. So I’m happy to hear that SlideShare is now introducing an HTML5 compatible upgrade of their site that will allow slideshows to display on mobile devices, including the iPad. Plus they are launching a mobile App, so Kudos!

So look for some great embedded slide presentations on Polymash.com as well as in our Apps soon, and in the meantime, check out their announcement:

We have been listening to your feedback, reading your tweets and talking with you about the evolution of SlideShare. As our CTO Jon Boutelle explains in his blog post, you want your presentations to load faster, cleaner, and display on any platform including iPads, iPhones and all kinds of mobile devices. Is that too much to ask? Community, your wish has come true. We are pleased to introduce the new HTML5 SlideShare!

read the full article at slideshare.net

How long will Apple hang onto its leadership position in the tablet market?
With a slew of new tablets having been announced in recent months, one might be forgiven to interpret the plethora of upcoming devices as an indication of upcoming alternatives to Apple’s domination in this space. However such a perception overlooks the fact that Apple still represents 90% of all tablets sold:

Apple has sold nearly 15 million iPads since the product’s release last
April, and the device now accounts for close to 90% of all tablets
shipped worldwide, according to market research firm IDC. Apple also
says it has 160 million users who have credit cards on file. That means
if publishers want to sell books or magazines to tablet readers, they
have to go through Apple. (via LA Times)

And most upcoming Android tablets do not seem to significantly break Apple’s price point: The Motorola Xoom will be approx $800.00, other popular models are similarly priced

Turning the screws
In addition, the primary reason Apple’s device has become so popular so quickly are the quality and choice of software content available, namely apps, and their associated market place in iTunes. And here is where Apple is starting to turn the screws, as evidenced by their recent announcement of new digital content subscription models that fundamentally change the way publishers have positioned apps in the app store. In many cases magazine and e-Reader apps existed in the iTunes app store solely to sell content outside of the app store: examples of this are Amazon’s Kindle app, which offered books on the web only, downloading this content to the iPad’s Kindle app, bypassing Apple’s 30% apps store share. But Apple will now begin to kick out apps from the app store that offer outside purchase or subscription based products, unless these products are also made available as in-app or iTunes purchases.

For consumers this is great news, and represents an easy one-click way to purchase subscriptions. For many publishers however, this represents a 30% revenue sharing loss they did not have before.

How quickly is Google catching up?
Google on Wednesday announced their own digital subscription mechanism called “One Pass”. It is rumored to charge publishers only 18%, but details are sketchy at this point, and from a content perspective Apple has a huge lead in the app store market for the time being.

So for larger publishers, what does this all mean?
My interpretation is that there is no good immediate alternative to staying out of the iTunes app store, and that it will be quite some time before Android devices and Android app marketplaces present a significant leverage point for publishers to pressure Apple into changing their 30% subscription fees. The LA Times agrees:

Android tablets from Samsung, Dell and others have not gained the
traction with consumers that could present publishers with a clear
alternative.

“If you look out over the coming several months, there’s probably
nowhere else [besides iPad] for those content producers to go,” said
Yair Reiner, an Apple analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

And for smaller publishers like us?
And as a smaller independent publisher I’m seeing opportunities in creating products and apps that leverage the ease of the new subscription models. Because we are reaching mostly new global market segments with our upcoming apps, Apple’s new subscription announcement represents no loss of existing revenue, but an opportunity to conveniently offer subscription based products world wide.

The tablet market is continuing to exhibit astonishing growth (17 billion in revenue forecasted for mobile applications in 2011 – source: Gartner)

It is not surprising that more platforms for digital publishing and porting content onto the tablet format are cropping up.

At this week’s O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conference , one of the more intriguing announcements comes from a French company that has created a digital publishing platform which will go live in March.

From their press release today:

Aquafadas Digital Publishing Platform offers key advantages in digital publishing:

  • It enables designers to create well-designed digital content
    quickly through easy-to-use plugins for Adobe® InDesign® and
    QuarkXPress® — no coding required
  • Publications can be based on PDF or XML , enhanced by picture galleries, slide shows, videos, and sound
  • Aquafadas ’s Solution makes it easy to deploy digital publications
    to multiple devices, such as tablets and smartphones, and to multiple
    operating systems, such as iOS® and Android™ — simultaneously
  • Publications can be published as interactive PDF, custom Apps, and
    in an unique, XML-based format that supports text reflow while
    maintaining the publication’s design

Unlike other approaches Aquafadas’ provides a complete and
cost-effective end-to-end solution for digital publishing from creation
to delivery.

Leading corporate and professional publishers such as Galleries
Lafayette, Reader’s Digest, and Carlsen Verlag already selected
Aquafadas’ solution as their digital publishing tool of choice.

We will post a follow up once the pricing model becomes available.

Apple announced the terms of their new digital magazine subscription model yesterday in an agreement with app developer and digital publisher Texterity, which they posted on their web site last night. It clears up a number of concerns to the publishing industry, and finally clears the hurdle for existing subscribers of print content not having to pay again for a digital version of the same magazine.

From the Texterity Web Post:

Publishers can sell print subscriptions, and offer “digital companion” access through an app as long as there is no additional fee for those subscribers. It’s a way to offer another incentive for print subs to stay loyal and engaged. Read more

Please note: This app was replaced in early 2018

This app had a great 6-year run since it’s launch in 2012. Nonetheless, we’ve been focused on creating great universal web experiences and have launched other resources to take the app’s place.

We’ve recently launched a brand new site with both free and paid in-depth training courses on creating positive change, at home, at work, and in your communities. So please visit our new site at positivechange.training:

 

We are extremely pleased to share that “Embracing Change”, our most recent app, is now available in the iTunes app store.

Deal with Disruptive Change *** Discover your Strengths *** Dream & Design your Best Future

This app supports you in embracing change – personally and professionally – in your relationships at home and at work. Just about every change has high points and low points. This app helps you deal with change and disruptive forces, whether you chose them or not.

You follow a world-acclaimed method and practice, (Appreciative Inquiry and the 4-D cycle: Discover, Dream, Design, Destiny), that allows you to discover your own strengths in dealing with change; you go on to envision how to apply your strengths, organize yourself and identify resources to embrace future changes. This app works for individuals and teams. The approach taps into your imagination and is sustainable.

To find out more visit iTunes or the app’s page.

Embracing Change - The App

 

Is it just me, or does it seem that European magazines are way more active in developing iPad and tablet digital publications?

Recently there have been a slew of digital magazines released in Europe, and Axel Springer Verlag is just the latest examples of this. It would also appear to me that the pricing and subscription models are more consumer friendly in the EU compared to the US, where publishers seem determined to set an example and train tablet users to expect high pricing models for Magazine Content.

So which is the better strategy? Attracting loyal readership with low pricing and making money through sales volume is one way, or hold out for higher pricing and risk fewer readers of the digital editions?

While I think the production costs for digital content may seem high to publishers initially, I feel the exponential growth of the tablet market on multiple platforms is being ignored in the US approach. Production costs may be high, but ultimately the distribution costs are not when scaling to potentially millions of readers. To me the scalability of the digital platforms are the real differentiation to print, where each additional copy costs extra ink, paper, packaging, transportation, distribution, warehousing, inventory and waste copies.

So I guess personally I come down on the side of lower pricing and future volume, even if this initially means subsidizing the effort slightly. Plus, establishing and automating digital publishing work flows is an experience best had in the beginning of the upcoming rush to tablet publishing.

What do you think?