Waqas Pitafi runs DevBatch– a rapidly growing apps development company, which has delivered over 15,000 hours of app development since 2010- kindly agreed to answer some questions on the app economy, the future of apps and how to decide on your next app project!
1. Can you tell us a little about your background? How did you get into app development?
I’ve been involved with software development as my professional career from the very start (14 years and counting). In May 2010 I started to setup a business of my own and that’s where I found the most lucrative of software to develop is app development.
2. What are your current thoughts on the mobile app industry, and what do you predict for the future?
I feel the mobile app industry is very fluid right now. With the advent of smartphones there was a lot of real estate up for grabs so we saw a massive rush, but its starting to stabilise quite a bit now. New apps don’t find the same traction that they’d breeze through 3-4 years ago. Now it’s back to the same rules as it was for any new software that you’d like to build.
In future it will be even more fragile as the form factors are rapidly changing. You can see that many people are interested in wearable devices and normal PCs are shrinking everyday, making them more and more mobile. I feel soon that everyone will need just device with enough power that they can project its output to big TV screens or desktop screen or on smartphone screens. Similarly, input could be possible to manage through a touch devices (phone/watch/glass) or sensors (Kinect, etc.) or physical keyboards and trackpads. You’ll be using a combination of input and output devices based on situation and your expectation. If this happens, this will be major shift for the way we develop apps todays. As they say; ‘keep watching this space’.
3. If you could change one thing about the app industry, what would it be?
It would most certainly be Apps discovery system. Currently its not done in the most ideal way.
4. How do you decide on which app idea to build next? Do you test the market to make sure it’s ready for the idea before you begin programming?
We’ve got our marketing team and marketing partners. Usually the idea is discussed at a forum among the group before a selection is made.
5. What features or characteristics does an idea for an app need to have for it to peak your interest?
a. it should be exciting to create a great UX, b. it should have the possibility to touch people in great numbers.
6. Can you tell us a little about your latest project, Ordering App? Where did the idea come from, and what problem does it solve?
Ordering app (a.k.a. iReady2Sell) is a product we built with the focus being on providing easy technology access to small to mid sized food business. Using our product F&B businesses can have their very own mobile apps up and running within couple of weeks. From consumers’ point of view, it allows them to stay connected with their favorite restaurant and submit orders smoothly.
7. Once you’re happy with your completed app, do you have a process you follow for a successful launch?
Obviously this depends on the nature of the app. If it is a game, we do grand launch to attract focus of press and if it is iReady2Sell we go to our marketing partners and look for allies to help sell the product.
8. How much time and effort do you put into marketing your apps once the ‘launch phase’ is over?
Its a continuous journey. We assess marketing to be 60-70% of the development costs to make a product successful. Whether it happens this way or not is another story.
9. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring mobile app developers, what would it be?
Focus on UX, UX and UX.
10. What would you say is the most underrated, underutilized marketing method that’s available to anyone launching a mobile app?
Personally I’m not a marketing expert yet so can’t say this with confidence.
11. What’s next for you?
Would like to see one of our products getting acquired soon and we move on to new ideas.