End user definition focus essential for app differentiation

“Know your user or risk failure” warns developer

18 JUN 2013

LIVE FROM COMMUNICASIA 2013: Developers should start the development process by defining a user persona for their apps, to ensure they are meeting real needs rather than getting drawn into a battle of features, according to Zhou Wenhan, co-founder of agency 2359 Media.

Speaking in a session here in Singapore today, he said: “If you cannot clearly define the end user, there is a huge butterfly effect on the value proposition, differentiation, and the marketing plan”.

Noting the possibility of getting drawn into a battle of features, driven by the needs of multiple stakeholders and the capabilities of rival products, he said: “Having a specific user persona allows you to change the decision making process. You can ask: ‘is this feature important for the our user?’ It’s a very powerful question.”

“When you end up with a feature list of ten items, and all of them are important, you can go back to the user persona and ask ‘which is the most important now? We only have the time and budget for five.’ And the team can do a prioritisation, and launch an app that comes out on time.”

Noting that the app market is already mature and competitive, he also cautioned that when attempting to measure up against competitors, “you are looking at successful apps. Apps that have done a very good job, they have a very good team, they have a lot more budget than you because they have already proven their success, and they started earlier.”

“To catch up, you’d need a much bigger budget and a much bigger team, but you’re just starting out. Is your management going to give you so much budget for your application?”

“To aspire to build a superior application based on features is really just dooming yourself to failure six months down the road,” he warned.

He advised: “You can find a specific benefit that is not being provided by the other applications. That then becomes your differentiation statement.”

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Steve Costello

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