Crafting Value for Digital Spaces.
As a mobile focused designer I often have people tell me about their next great idea. It’s exciting and rewarding to see product owners take on problems in the real world and craft solutions that intuitively solve them. I’ve found from helping product owner’s build their own companies there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the real value of a mobile application, and how you as a product owner can relate that to users.
A product owner is an individual who is in charge of decisions that impact a product’s lifecycle. They are the final say in what does/doesn’t happen and the process for prioritizing and building features. They are also challenged with bringing their solution to the masses, and create real value for end-users to continue using their product.
I’ve seen product owners use an investment as a personal incentive, which sacrifices the value for their users in the quality of their product. Sometimes the true value of building a mobile application can get lost. By creating a user-centered application you are servicing a user group that could include hundreds of thousands of users, and providing a solution for them to make their lives easier. Whether you are saving them time by summarizing a news article or showing them the best places to eat in a new area, the focus should be on providing valuable digital experiences. I often find a difficult balance between satisfying personal or organizational expectations, while aligning that to some user-centered principle. I find research and comparative/competitive analysis as the biggest pieces that help give justify design decisions and take it out of a personalized environment to service users.
A misconception on the value within the mobile app space is usually monetarily driven, rather than focused on crafting lasting experiences to keep users engaged. I agree that product owners add a unique level of invention within their digital services and should merit some monetary gain, but this can cause concern from using an investment as an end-goal to build a product or service. Most approach building their mobile app as inexpensive as possible, with the hope that an investor will see the value and help you take the next steps to achieve it. This aspect has the potential to leave out what should be your most important focus, your user.
The reality is building a mobile app is a very in-depth and complex process. There are few people that can guide you in the right way, and I have heard of many clients being lead down paths that are costly and provide unusable code. If you are able to successfully gain an investment it still requires you being apart of that plan to expand and grow. If you built an app without best practices in mind it might require you to rebuild the entire code base later down the road. Depending on the terms of the investment it could also be a while before you see any real monetary gain from your hard work.
The real value in my perspective is building elegant digital solutions that bring tangible benefits to end-users in the digital space.