Mobile Product Evaluation Workshop

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Robert Russell

27 Jun 2018 - 8 min read

Does your mobile application have issues?  Is your app crashing or slow to respond?  Or, did you launch with great fanfare, only to be wondering why nobody’s using your mobile product? Maybe, whether you know the root cause of its poor performance or not, you know that your app should perform much better. But, what’s your next step? If you were sick, you’d go see a doctor before checking into a funeral home. Not to be morbid, but in the mobile world, there are millions of apps in the statistically dead pile. Some of them don’t need to be there and the same may go for yours.

Our Mobile Product Evaluation Workshop is a specialized service that we offer for businesses whose apps have issues – apps that don’t work correctly, perform well, or meet their business goals. It also helps with apps that users just don’t seem to like. Think of it as a top-to-bottom professional check-up of the health of your mobile product.

What Could Possibly Be Worng?

Very small things (like micro UX issues) can have a major adverse impact on a mobile product’s performance. Then there are the big things, like your app crashing, broken functions and features, backend failures, frequent disconnects, and security vulnerabilities. It could be a code issue, a UI/UX issue, a cloud architecture or third-party service issue. And there’s the problems we all love – the intermittent ones – that happen sometimes, seemingly at random. Plus, don’t forget about those internal business applications for your sales team and technicians that never get used, and without any good reasons why.

So a lot of things can go wrong. Mobile applications can be very complex products. Building your mobile product involved a significant investment. It plays an important part in your overarching business strategy. To fix it, you want to rely on a team that has experience in user-centric design and software engineering. You shouldn’t expect less than a thorough examination and a wellness plan with concrete recommendations.

Getting Started

Initiating the Product Evaluation Workshop typically involves 1-2 weeks of advance preparation. During this period, we work together to define the specifics of what you require. We start off by signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with you to keep anything you may share with us secure and just between us. All Reinvently employees have also signed an NDA with us for an extra layer of protection. Intellectual Property (IP) is protected by international law. As a service organization, we transfer all IP rights to you as documentation, code or designs, as they are being created and paid for.

Ten Essential Questions

This preparation time can be put to good use by having your team answer the following questions for the workshop. Input from your team provides you a checklist with all their concerns. Providing this information upfront will also make our first meeting much more productive, detailed and specific.

  1. Who is your intended target audience – who uses your app?
  2. What does your app do and what’s your current mobile strategy?
  3. Why do you believe people would want to download and use your app?
  4. What business goals do you expect your app to accomplish? Which goals are being achieved now? Which ones are not?
  5. How does your app fit into your overall business – software, databases, operations?
  6. What metrics and statistics are you tracking? Are there others you would like to track?
  7. What parts of your app are presently working as you intended?
  8. Which parts of your app are not working as you intended? Were they working previously? Have you added patches or updates since your launch? When did you first observe the feature or function was broken?
  9. Which of your features and functions are “mission essential” vs. “nice to have”?
  10. Your questions!
Is your app crashing? Our workshop can identify what's causing it and give you an actionable plan to continuously improve it.

Apps don’t need to crash to be “broken” – a poor UI, slow responses, and missing data could be to blame, too.

Stage 1. The Discovery Meeting

Your Product Evaluation Workshop will last from 7-10 business days. It always starts off with one or more vital Discovery Meetings. Both of our teams meet for a mutually open “Question and Answer” session. We’ll have many more questions for you, feeding off the 10 essential questions above. You’ll likely have many questions, too. We’ll be ready to answer them in as much detail as you require, in terms you understand.

The goal is to clarify and crystalize where your mobile app is at now vs. where you would like it to be. We must understand your vision, goals, features and functions, specific KPIs and challenges you are facing with your app. How does it fit in with your business and how do you manage your data? Equally important, we must understand your target audience. Who will be using your app? It could be customers, students, employees or other businesses.

The business and customer angles functionally define your main user scenarios. Your company’s branding, tone, positioning, and how well these elements translate to the present state of your app are also important. These all have a dramatic impact on your User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). All play a huge part in user retention and longevity of usage.

Stage 2. Comprehensive Analysis

Our Discovery Meeting showed us the present state of your mobile product and a vivid mental picture of the product you really want. Now it’s time to analyze the differences and identify what is needed to fulfill the vision you have for your product. A team of Reinvently specialists are involved in this process – including up to three developers (frontend, backend and mobile), a UI/UX designer, a technical architect and a quality assurance technician.

Stage 2A. Technology Audit and Reports

To fully assess what is and what is not working with your product, we examine each and every technology component involved and how they fit together. Typically, this is divided into five technical reviews, as follows:

  • Mobile App Code Review
  • Backend Code Review
  • Architecture Review
  • Hosting Environment Review (DevOps)
  • Third-Party and Integrated Services Review

Reviews and audits involve two separate tasks. Our developers conduct both – a personal review for code quality and a computer-assisted audit. The audit helps to rapidly identify what’s behind your app crashing, missing and extra code elements and most security vulnerabilities.

Stage 2B. Design and Usability Analysis

Design reflects the soul of your product. We closely examine your mobile product’s interface, user experience and continuity for ways to improve user satisfaction and ease of use.

  • End-to-end User Experience Review
  • Screen by Screen User Interface Review
  • Product Branding and Style Review

While examining each and every screen, we also construct a storyboard. The storyboard reflects every part of your app, screen by screen, showing how everything fits together. This is also known as a wireframe and works as a blueprint for mobile apps. Below is a generic example of what a storyboard looks like – except it will be specific to your app.

An example of a storyboard - also known as a wireframe, which we create for your app in the Mobile Product Evaluation Workshop. It can help identify what's behind your app crashing.

A storyboard like this is created for your app in our Mobile Product Evaluation Workshop.

Stage 2C. Quality Assurance

Your product’s problems can come from any direction, not just in the code, but in the interface, the backend and possibly your service provider. And while your product’s features might work individually, some may not work together. In some cases, only rigorous end-to-end testing can identify the root cause. The QA analysis includes:

  • Regression Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Other End-to-End Testing as required

Updates, patches and configuration changes can introduce new problems to your app and its performance. Today’s users do not have much patience for slow apps, so performance and responsiveness (as perceived by your users) must also be taken into account.

Stage 3. Recommendations

Just as your product undergoes three sets of audits, you are provided with three comprehensive reports of our findings. These reports clearly define what is and is not working, what’s behind issues like your app crashing, and with special attention to everything that is hurting your product’s performance. Each report also provides you with actionable recommendations to fix and improve your app from a technical, UI/UX, and full-featured end-to-end product perspective.

Stage 3A. Technology

Our assessment comprehensively reviews your application, backend, third-party services and end-to-end product. You are provided with a clear and detailed report of how to improve your product’s technology and scalability.

  • Code Quality and Architecture Report
  • Refactoring Recommendations
  • DevOps Recommendations (Hosting Plan and Services)

Stage 3B. Design & Usability

We report on your product’s complete design, including a screen-by-screen assessment of issues and improvements. Our aim: to elevate and reinvent your customer experience.

  • UX Report and Recommendations
  • UX Roadmap
  • Product Branding Report

Stage 3C. Quality Assurance

You can’t improve your product without identifying your problems. Our QA report identifies issues that are hard to identify without deep, exhaustive testing and extensive root cause analysis.

  • Prioritized Bug Report

Stage 4. A Customized Business Plan

The analysis, reports and recommendations provide a path forward for your mobile product. They define precisely what you need to fix any broken features of your app, improve user engagement and performance. You are entirely free to use all the materials provided in any way you see fit. Nevertheless, you still need someone to implement the fixes and recommendations.

We would like to do that for you. Following the delivery of our reports, we’ll present a customized proposal to carry out our recommendations. As an added bonus, if you choose to have Reinvently rebuild your mobile product, we deduct the cost of the workshop from your project. The proposition includes:

  • Product Roadmap, including refactoring, UI changes and new features implementation.
  • A sequential and prioritized plan to fix and improve all your mobile product issues.
  • A detailed and transparent cost and budget overview.

Our plan considers a long-term approach of continuous product improvement tied to product measurements, analytics and KPIs. Thanks to our work together, we will have gained an intimate understanding of what is needed to transform your current challenges into a smarter, more beautiful and functional mobile product. And it all gets done using our time-tested process that we call Continuous Product Development, so you’ll always have that same level of intimacy and transparency as your mobile product gets better and better.

To paraphrase the end of the movie Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Recommended Reading:

There's a Better Way to Manage Your Mobile Business

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