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How far should you plan your app?

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LiveEntrepreneur

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Hi everyone I have been working on this app of mine with a developer. And I roughly planned out what I want, and its turning out great, but there are so many little tiny things that I don't realize until a lot later, like tons of bugs, a lot of issues that users will most likely run into. I try to plan it out as much as possible but always seems like there are 1000 other things I missed. Is this normal for developing an app? Or should every little detail be planned before even spending an hour of code onto it? I'm worried I will start burning through a lot of cash soon.
 
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nyc217

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Hi everyone I have been working on this app of mine with a developer. And I roughly planned out what I want, and its turning out great, but there are so many little tiny things that I don't realize until a lot later, like tons of bugs, a lot of issues that users will most likely run into. I try to plan it out as much as possible but always seems like there are 1000 other things I missed. Is this normal for developing an app? Or should every little detail be planned before even spending an hour of code onto it? I'm worried I will start burning through a lot of cash soon.

Hey there I work as a software developer during my day job; I would say that you should not be focused on every detail exactly; instead focus on mapping out your use cases.

What does this mean exactly ?

Imagine your building a todo list app that takes the todo task and due date for the task, the following could be some of your use cases:

- user enters fills out both fields and creates new task

- user tries to submit form without filling out both fields (handle this error)

- user submits an incorrect format for the date, (handle this error)

This sounds simple but make sure you write your use cases out. Because a bug is simply an undesired behavior that comes from incorrect logic or just from a lack of understanding the problem at hand.

Work with your partner to map out all use cases that way the code covers all of that.

I love to write code, but it is always better when you take a step back, map out your user cases, and ultimately you will be okay.

Also, don’t focus on writing the worlds greatest app. That how bugs get introduced as well. Doing too much too quick. Tell your developer friend to remember SRP (single responsibility principle).

Hope that helps.
 
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LiveEntrepreneur

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Hey there I work as a software developer during my day job; I would say that you should not be focused on every detail exactly. More like map out your use cases. Work with your partner to map out all use cases that way the code covers all of that.

Hope that helps.
Thanks for advice. So would an example of mapping out use cases on an app be like User presses button ---> User enters data ---> that data appears on another screen ?
 

nyc217

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Thanks for advice. So would an example of mapping out use cases on an app be like User presses button ---> User enters data ---> that data appears on another screen ?

Ah yes, something like that. Lol I was updating the comment when you posted it where I included an example because I know that helps; my bad for not including in the initial post. But yes, that is an example.

But try to be a little more specific.

What button is the user pressing? Why are they pressing it? What are they trying to accomplish? In every use case you have a “success” and “failure”.

Start from the basics and delve deeper from there.

So for every feature/functional aspect of your app it really helps to have these mapped out.
 
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hungryhippocampi

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My .02

Set the goal/scenario of the use case...example: User X registers and enters desired information. You may have multiple scenarios depending on your functionality.

Within each scenario, approach it as action/result. Then think of positive and negative cases. For example:
Positive use case -- 1) User clicks register button -- form with two fields to complete opens; 2) User enters data in both field and clicks submit -- data is saved and appears on another screen;
Negative use case -- 1) User clicks register button -- form with two fields to complete opens; 2) User enters data in only one field and clicks submit -- error message is displayed informing user to complete both fields.

Rinse...Repeat.
 

LiveEntrepreneur

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Ah yes, something like that. Lol I was updating the comment when you posted it where I included an example because I know that helps; my bad for not including in the initial post. But yes, that is an example.

But try to be a little more specific.

What button is the user pressing? Why are they pressing it? What are they trying to accomplish? In every use case you have a “success” and “failure”.

Start from the basics and delve deeper from there.

So for every feature/functional aspect of your app it really helps to have these mapped out.
Ok thanks.
 

LiveEntrepreneur

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Hey guys I wanted to ask, was going to make a thread but I guess I can write it here. Before release should I be constantly improving the app? I am worried I will use up a lot of money making so many changes, but worried if I release as is users might not get the best experience, and won't come back for a second visit. Like I already designed how its going to work but I found a even better way, to make things way easy for the user. Should I not worry about constantly improving it before release and just release it or should I make it as best as possible before release. Sounds like a silly question but I ask because they don't worry about making it perfect just get it out there, but at same time you want to give the user the best experience possible.
 
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Fid

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I've recently finished an online course on UX and the material covered exactly your issue. That's why you need a plan, which then you need to stick to.

You start by defining business and users' goals, e.g. imagine you want to build a dating app. Buisness goal would be to gather n users, users' goal would be to meet new people. It would be best to get the requirements directly from the potential users.
Then you move to specifying problems and solutions (requirements) for the process (above mentioned use cases, scenarios, personas, etc.)
Then you design the general information architecture, proceed to design the skeleton of the app (the general layout, navigation, information flow, what paths the users will take within your app).
Then you proceed to sketching wireframes and final design (fonts, colors, space usage).

What is important is that
a) decisions in every step are based on decisions made in previous steps
b) concluding from a), every decision should be based on the user and business goals

Also, you need to focus on your resources, mainly time and money. These are limited, so you want to focus on features of your app that are the most feasible and crucial for your business and user goals. Forget this shiny, great-to-have feature that will consume much effort and little to no users will use. Look up Pareto principle, if you dont know it yet

Split your features/updates into batches. Define what each of the batches contains, and focus solely on the progress of the current batch. Most new ideas/improvements, no matter how easy, fun, and quick, should be considered for the future releases, once you decide on what you are implementing now (of course there will be vital bug fixes or patches that have high priority, dont neglect these). These will prevent you from burning resources on perpetual beta.
 

LiveEntrepreneur

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Ok th
I've recently finished an online course on UX and the material covered exactly your issue. That's why you need a plan, which then you need to stick to.

You start by defining business and users' goals, e.g. imagine you want to build a dating app. Buisness goal would be to gather n users, users' goal would be to meet new people. It would be best to get the requirements directly from the potential users.
Then you move to specifying problems and solutions (requirements) for the process (above mentioned use cases, scenarios, personas, etc.)
Then you design the general information architecture, proceed to design the skeleton of the app (the general layout, navigation, information flow, what paths the users will take within your app).
Then you proceed to sketching wireframes and final design (fonts, colors, space usage).

What is important is that
a) decisions in every step are based on decisions made in previous steps
b) concluding from a), every decision should be based on the user and business goals

Also, you need to focus on your resources, mainly time and money. These are limited, so you want to focus on features of your app that are the most feasible and crucial for your business and user goals. Forget this shiny, great-to-have feature that will consume much effort and little to no users will use. Look up Pareto principle, if you dont know it yet

Split your features/updates into batches. Define what each of the batches contains, and focus solely on the progress of the current batch. Most new ideas/improvements, no matter how easy, fun, and quick, should be considered for the future releases, once you decide on what you are implementing now (of course there will be vital bug fixes or patches that have high priority, dont neglect these). These will prevent you from burning resources on perpetual beta.
Thanks for the help. From what I understand you said every decision should be based on the user and business goals, my user goals are for example to make the app as simple to use as possible and provide the best experience. But I should go deeper right? On how will I provide the best experience? Then would it make sense to say, I will make the best user experience possible by reducing the amount they have to type?
 

Fid

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Yes, you do go deeper. Generally speaking, make goals, plan how to achieve these goals, then refine the plan and finally implement once you decide the plan is ready. Refine the plan instead of refining implementation.

If you just start implementing your blurred vision on what the app should be like, then you will easily fall into the trap of infinite improvements ('oh this should be here, oh and I could add this and that feature, oh this does not make sense, oh this will be much better, oh but what should I do with this feature now?').
State the goals (you've done that), think of/ask users what problems they have and how to solve them, thoroughly plan the architecture and the design, implement your plan and then ask users for feedback (run some surveys, AB tests), which will tell you what parts of your app need changes. This is much better approach than trying to implement a perfect app from the beginning. Don't worry about users coming, leaving and never coming back - this is feedback (your product does not meet their needs) and will happen anyway (you cant satisfy 100% of users).

Good luck mate!
 
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LiveEntrepreneur

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Yes, you do go deeper. Generally speaking, make goals, plan how to achieve these goals, then refine the plan and finally implement once you decide the plan is ready. Refine the plan instead of refining implementation.

If you just start implementing your blurred vision on what the app should be like, then you will easily fall into the trap of infinite improvements ('oh this should be here, oh and I could add this and that feature, oh this does not make sense, oh this will be much better, oh but what should I do with this feature now?').
State the goals (you've done that), think of/ask users what problems they have and how to solve them, thoroughly plan the architecture and the design, implement your plan and then ask users for feedback (run some surveys, AB tests), which will tell you what parts of your app need changes. This is much better approach than trying to implement a perfect app from the beginning. Don't worry about users coming, leaving and never coming back - this is feedback (your product does not meet their needs) and will happen anyway (you cant satisfy 100% of users).

Good luck mate!
Ah! So its sort of similar to what I been doing. This makes sense, thank you so much for the information.
 

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