Why make an app?
• To make money. Tablets continue to become more popular, and software applications created specifically for tablets make content more desirable to consumers. Selling apps is one way to make money, but not the only way. Derive value from other sources: advertising, e-commerce, marketing, cost savings and brand building.
• To deliver more effective messaging. 82% of consumers primarily use their tablets in the home, uninterrupted by work, and 1 in 3 uses their tablet more than their TV. Users are more likely to spend extended periods consuming content on tablets, without the disruptions of text messages on phones and banner ads on desktops and laptops.
• To present enhanced content. Bigger screens, powerful processors and added memory make tablets ideal for multimedia content. By downloading an app, the user effectively preloads the content on his or her device. This allows developers to deploy large applications that deliver immersive storytelling experiences.
• To round out a communications strategy. Phones are best for delivering short blasts of content. Print goes deeper, but only words and pictures. Websites go deeper yet, adding multimedia, but force content into cookie-cutter templates. Tablets extend the ecosystem of content and context, offering a freeform environment for the richest-possible storytelling. Social media and cross-promotion drive traffic to apps; push notifications and app updates keep people coming back.
• To provide companies with greater control. Companies large and small are turning to apps as a way to deliver managed content to customers and employees. Apps allow businesses to measure activity, confine specific content to password-protected areas, perform remote operations including updates, and much more.
Why apps and not websites?
There's no getting around it, apps can be expensive to produce and cumbersome to download. For those reasons, they must be special enough to justify the added burden on the producer and the consumer. Consider making an app instead of a website when you have . . .
• Exclusive content that can't be obtained elsewhere.
• Content that benefits from flexible design that mixes together words, pictures, animation, audio and video. This promotes interaction and gets people to spend more time with your app.
• Content that could be accessible offline, making it portable regardless of whether the user has an internet connection.
• Interactive content that should work instantly and reliably, regardless of file size, because it doesn't have to be streamed.
• Experiential content that leverages the features of a tablet: gyroscopes, cameras, microphones, maps, e-commerce applications, etc.
Otherwise, consider making a website.
And keep in mind, using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, we can present our apps on desktop computers, too — like this.
Will you make my website?
Sorry, but we don't make websites. They're different from apps, for the reasons stated above. We focus on what we're best at, which is making apps. But not every kind of app.
What kind of apps do you make?
We don't generally make utility apps that track your inventory or count your calories.
We don't generally make game apps like Angry Birds or Cut the Rope (but we do sometimes play them).
What will it cost?
It varies, depending on the complexity of the project.
Budget is one factor that determines whether we take on a project; the opportunity to make something groundbreaking is just as important. We are selective about what projects we take on, to ensure that every app is special and every client is satisfied. As a result, our fees are sometimes higher than those of other developers.
We prefer developing iPad apps because that's what most consumers are using to consume content. But we can also make apps for iPhone, Kindle and Android. The more platforms you target, the more it will cost. If you decide to go iPad-only, you won't be alone.
We design and develop most of our apps using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, which lets us work faster and more flexibly than other developers. The platform is built around Adobe InDesign, an intuitive page layout application, allowing us to spend more time thinking about content than coding.
Our clients often decide to purchase their own Adobe DPS license in order to update or manage their own apps once we have launched them. Adobe offers three flavors: Single Edition, Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition. Single Edition is a way to publish standalone apps. The other editions add storefronts for magazine-style apps with separate issues. Enterprise Edition allows you to customize your storefront and distribute private apps outside of the App Store.
Adobe charges $6,000 per year for Professional Edition. If you're producing a magazine-style app, there's an additional charge of 30 cents per issue download. Costs vary for Enterprise Edition; we can put you in touch with Adobe if you're interested.
How do I make my money back?
• Make an app so extraordinary that people will pay for it.
• Wean consumers from content that has to be printed and distributed but cannot be measured. Instead, deploy digital content that convert users to buyers, sharers and joiners, with analytics that measure the effectiveness of your content.
• Consumers are more likely to try something that's free. Our recommendation, in most cases: Don't charge for your app. Make it free, and build a large audience so that you can . . .
. . . sell advertising to companies that want to reach that targeted audience.
. . . sell products inside of the app.
. . . draw attention to products people can buy outside of the app.
. . . build customer loyalty by making your brand more accessible.
. . . build your brand itself, so that anything else you sell is more valuable.
(Case in point: This FAQ. There's plenty of valuable content within it that could be packaged as an app or e-book and made available for sale. By distributing it free we've gotten you to read it, and maybe you'll someday buy something from us.)
What's the secret to success?
1. Make an extraordinary product. Here's some inspiration.
2. Market it aggressively.
3. Listen to what people say about it.
4. Make it better.
Where do I begin?
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us what you want to achieve.
And let's make something extraordinary together.