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mobile app development - where to start?

  • 1.  mobile app development - where to start?

    Posted 27 days ago
    Edited by Anissa New-Walker 27 days ago
    I work for a nonprofit conference and retreat center that prides itself on providing amazing guest experiences. We would like to develop a mobile app that would help our guests become acclimated to our campus and make their stay with us even easier.

    I have been involved in website redesigns, but I have never developed a mobile app before. Any best practices, tips regarding finding a developer and cost would be greatly appreciated.

    This is the wish list of functionality we want for the app:

    1. A place for guests to register upon arrival
    2. Interactive map of our campus
    3. A guest exit survey form
    4. A problem ticket form
    5. General information about the center to acclimate guests 
    6. Visual meal ticket to present at mealtimes in our dining room
    7. Keyless entry to guest room
    8. Transportation sign up
    9. Connect to our social media
    10. Our event/program listing

    Thanks in advance for any guidance and feedback you can provide!

    ------------------------------
    Anissa New-Walker
    Marketing and Communications Director
    Upper Nyack, NY
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 2.  RE: mobile app development - where to start?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Hello Anissa,

    I would recommend you start with the functionality that a responsive website could not provide. Getting people to download and learn an new app isn't easy, so for the app to be successful it needs to provide value that a good mobile website cannot. Maybe start with those features first, and then grow the app from there. Not sure if that's what you're asking - or if you're looking for help on actually building the app, in which case you should probably start by identifying the right partner. Happy to chat further if it's helpful!

    Best,
    Justin

    ------------------------------
    Justin Burniske
    Director, Enterprise Solutions
    jburniske@fusionspan.com
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    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 3.  RE: mobile app development - where to start?

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Justin,

    Yes, this is helpful. I think the best way to start is with a better mobile website. Greg Weiner of Whole Whale noticed that most of what I want could be handled with a better mobile website. 

    Thank you so much for your help!

    Best,
    Anissa

    --
    Anissa New-Walker
    Integrated Marketing Strategist  / mediabliss
    ph:  917.734.9582




       



    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 4.  RE: mobile app development - where to start?

    Posted 25 days ago
    Edited by Jason Cleaveland 25 days ago
    Hi Anissa,

    My question would be, "why an app"? They're expensive to build, finicky to use and typically have a pretty low adoption rate when it comes to specialized and one-time needs like events. They typically require different builds for different operating systems some of which have different capabilities.

    I could imagine a well executed multi-platform app serving all of the functionality you requested costing between 75k and 500k and requiring about half that per year to maintain as phones and operating systems are updated. What is your budget like? Is this in the realm of possibility for you and your organization?

    On the other hand all of the functionality you're looking for could be built into a well organized web application residing on your website behind a log-on which would limit the need for folks to install and learn to navigate another app. It would also minimize your need to pay another vendor to maintain a separate group of applications in addition to your website (one for Android, one for IOS).

    Depending on where and how and how your website is hosted, you might look into a plugin for WordPress like Event Espresso ( https://eventespresso.com/ ) I've used it successfully with some other extensions and custom code to build out sites that have functionality like you're requesting. While it doesn't do everything you're hoping for, it could be combined with a few other plugins ( namely a form builder like Formidable Forms https://formidableforms.com/ ) to achieve all of your goals for significantly less upfront cost than an app with easier management for you and your staff and reduced ongoing maintenance costs.

    I hope that's helpful :)

    ~jason

    ------------------------------
    Jason Cleaveland
    Founder | CEO
    Obodo
    St. Louis, MO
    www.obodo.is
    ------------------------------

    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline


  • 5.  RE: mobile app development - where to start?

    Posted 24 days ago
    Hi Jason,

    Exactly! "Why an app?" I have come to that conclusion myself. 

    My team needs a new website too, so it no longer makes sense from a budgetary perspective to do both when a better website will address so much of what we need. 

    Yes, yes, your guidance and advice is very much appreciated and helpful! Thank you so much!

    Best,
    Anissa

    --
    Anissa New-Walker
    Integrated Marketing Strategist  / mediabliss
    ph:  917.734.9582




       



    2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference Logo  w/ Baltimore Skyline