Mobile Development in Today’s Tech-savvy World

Fuzz Productions, LLC, also known as Fuzz, is a technology company that designs and develops innovative digital solutions for companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 100, with a strong focus on mobile apps. Matthew Knuti, the director of strategy for Fuzz, took some time to share his insight on mobile development in today’s tech-savvy world.

BP: How can a gym determine if an app would benefit the company?

MK: Mobile is no longer optional for competitive businesses in any sector, least of all services that integrate into people’s daily schedules — which they manage through their smartphones. The metrics are overwhelming: smartphone ownership has hit 65 percent. More than half of internet usage in the U.S. will be on mobile this year and about 80 percent of mobile usage is through apps.

BP: How should Boxes go about developing an app – what should they look for in an app-developing company?

MK: Begin by searching out some app-building companies whose work you respect. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the health and fitness space. Develop a list and give them a call to hear their quick pitch on why you should work with them, and to ask, “What is the cost of a typical engagement with your company?” This will allow you to create a list of vendors you both like and can afford.

The next step is to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) that outlines their goals for the app, the available digital infrastructure at the [Box], target features and some guidance on budget (you don’t have to show your hand, but you also want to give structure to their recommendations). Set a deadline a few weeks out for responses and send the RFP to the list of vendors you curated.

Look for a company that has proven experience in mobile and can explain every step of their process clearly. Ask hard questions, and expect some surprising answers. Even if you have experience creating a website, the pain-points in mobile can often be surprising and you want a vendor that can guide you through difficult decisions in a way that sets you up for the long-term.

BP: What features do you think a Box app should boast?

MK: Start off by focusing on obvious features that make it easier for members to spend more time at the [Box] and consume additional services — when you’re open (especially on holidays), descriptions and prices for private trainers, class schedules and news about new offerings are all great places to start.

Scheduling is a key component of mobile behavior, and it’s crucial to [members] interacting with your gym. At its simplest, this could be relatively static class schedules. Those with larger budgets should consider appointment scheduling and class sign-up through the app.

BP: What’s a common mistake you think companies make when it comes to developing or launching apps?

MK: Trying to do too much, too soon. For instance, if you plan to build for iPhone and Android, do one first (usually iPhone), then apply what you’ve learned to Android.

Even if budget isn’t a factor, it’s a good idea to focus on a few core features, release the app and use the feedback you get through analytics and user reviews to evolve your app. You don’t need to build every feature under the sun right out of the gate.

And don’t try to be a content creator unless you’ve already had success with an existing blog or other web property. It will take a huge amount of effort to maintain on an ongoing basis, and it’s not what your customers come to you for.

BP: In your opinion, what makes a “great” app?

MK: Mobile should be the glue that binds the customer experience together. A great app makes it easier to integrate your services into the customers’ daily lives. New and novel features or apps are often flashes in the pan, abandoned after a couple visits. If you can afford a risky bet on a cool idea, go for it, but that should be in version 3.0.

CS: Is there anything else about apps you’d think Affiliates would benefit from knowing?

BP: An app is never perfect out of the gate. Make sure you include an analytics platform like Flurry (free) or Localytics (paid), and take the time to learn how to use it. This will tell you which features your customers actually use and what they’re ignoring so you can adapt for future releases.

Rachel Zabonick
Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Peake Media. Contact her at rachel@peakemedia.com.