Australian web development is a hot market, as is app development and associated offerings like SEO, integration and intranet services. Make no mistake- there are a lot of fancy items in the tech world you may not need floating about. They often spark our interest for their innovation and imagination. Spending time developing a new product takes resources, time and energy away from other parts of the business. So it can be tough to risk a lot of labour and money on the latest technology craze.
At Webcoda, we believe information is power. That making fully formed and informed business decisions save a lot of hassles later on.
So today, we’re taking you through how to spot good Australian web development and associated geekery by using a sound decision making process for your latest technology based idea
Start with your audience
If you’ve worked with Webcoda before, you’ll know we spent a lot of time focusing on the audience and building their stories. The standard terms are persona building and user stories. We like to think of this as a process of getting to know the people you intend to service and sell to.
The kinds of web development or platform you choose must match your audience. Certain audiences require more attention and features than others to access technology.
To help define your audience, you can look at the following things:
Any existing database you have available. From birth dates through to postcodes, sales habits and interaction, you can often find a lot about your audience from your existing databases
Social media analytics. Facebook, Twitter and most of the social media platforms come with rich analytics you can tap into. Seeing the sorts of people that are interested in your business or organisation on social media can help inform you on all kinds of data
Google Analytics. Google Analytics are a powerful source of information for determining how your customers and members use your website. They also give you the opportunity to find out more about the people that use it
Consider surveys and polls. From small polls on Facebook or through other tools through to surveys via applications like Survey Monkey, you can use surveys and polls to fill in the gaps of your information
Look for super users. If you know what sort of customer you want to attract, bring the people that embody those qualities closer to you. Ask them for their impressions, ideas and get them involved in information gathering and testing phases
Find research of like audiences. Looking at organisations that have shared audiences or the customers you aspire to have in future can be incredibly worthwhile. You can use tools to pull apart how these other organisations are doing. You can also look for information in places such as their published reports, media kits and case studies
Chart out special requirements. If you find that your audience is scattered to the four winds, has a disability that impacts their usage of technology or has varying degrees of technology adoption, make a note of this. It’s important to cover all bases as it may influence what platforms you choose and the way you build and deploy the technology
Knowing your audience inside and out will help you save time and effort in the long run. It also minimises the risk associated with building a solution that doesn’t get the adoption you expect.
Make criteria for your products
The best way to ensure the technology you use meets your requirements now and in the future is to be sure of what you need. This means drilling down on the nitty gritty. The Australian web development scene is a fan of processes like Agile and Waterfall for pinning down this level of detail for good reason.
Things you may need to consider in selecting the criteria for your technology are:
The kind of platform it is based on
How the user interface works
The style of logins you need (e.g. guest, paid user, trial etc)
What constitutes the features attached to a login
The sorts of security and authentication requirements you may have
Connectivity and integration with other platforms – e.g. tablet versus computer or app versus website
What’s needed to manage content, member experience, sales and more
Customer service abilities – e.g. do you need IM, chat bots, email, extensive libraries, demo videos etc to make the customer feel looked after?
Maintenance needs – e.g. whether you want to do it in house or outsource. Whether you need 247 service etc
Once you’ve chosen the criteria for the audience to have a good experience, you then need to visit the technology available to see what is required to make that experience happen.
Webcoda will spend the time here working out how we can give you the most criteria for the timeline and budget you have specified. We’ll also stage out the project if needs be to meet the timelines and budgets you have.
Consider evolving technology and needs in tandem
One of the toughest parts of dealing with technology is the rapid way in which is grows and morphs. Consider early Facebook and how it has changed in ten years. Or what mobile technology or SEO looked like in the early internet days. Very few of us in the Australian web development and technology scene could have foreseen the rapid changes and just how far we would come.
This is why it’s important to keep your design and development hat in two camps- the present and the future. What you want to aim for is scaling to suit the needs of your customers, the technology and your staff.
It can sound like a tricky thing to do, but you can ensure you’re ahead of the curve by building with the right technology.
At Webcoda, we’ve chosen to work with Kentico as our Australian website development platform of choice. We pair this with capabilities in Microsoft SharePoint, mobile app building, systems integration and SEO for a reason. We’ve done this because we’re choosing platforms to work with that allow us the ability to be flexible and build to your needs. Also, Cloud is where it’s at from the technology side of things these days. So Kentico Cloud gives us a unique opportunity to maximise that potential.
One thing you can do is write down what you need to fix for now and what your goals are for the future. Then we can help you build a foundation that allows you to scale and develop for the future audience based on the technology you choose to employ now.
Impacts that you should consider may be:
Maturing customer habits – e.g. are your customers moving from desktop to mobile or web to app?
Changes to your workforce- e.g. are people in the office now but able to work remotely in the future?
Your current budget and future needs – there’s nothing to say that a project cannot begin from a basic foundation and have layers added to it in line with quarterly or yearly budgets
Adoption rates – e.g. if you have to spend time getting customers used to one new piece of technology, how long can it be before new feature sets or platforms are added?
Accessibility and adoption
One of the scariest parts of developing technology is building something nobody uses. Every field that takes what humans needs through from theory to practical application has to cross this bridge at one stage or another.
Luckily, online technology and product development has more safeguards than most.
When looking at a development project, in addition to the features and ideas integrated within, we think deeply about how humans interact with technology.
This includes looking at things like:
Is it easy to learn? How can the time required to become familiar with the product be reduced? What kind of support is required?
Can it be trialled? From staff to customer, we all like to have a play before we dive in!
Is it efficient compared to other options currently available? No one is going to adopt technology that makes their life more difficult
Does it allow for self research? Is there enough information available via blogs, FAQs, videos and other supporting materials to raise confidence in the customer?
Can it be accessed across a variety of different technologies? Not just web or smartphone based or Apple versus Android. Can it cope with slower internet? Does it have the capacity for people with disabilities?
Do people understand the basics of using the product? Humans are creatures of habit and while we’ll adopt new technology, we need to have a framework we understand in order to do so with a smile
How can we ensure appropriate support for using the product before and after purchase?
Is the value equation right? From the lifetime value to initial purchase, time given and more, your customers want to know they are receiving value to stay loyal
Is it safe? Ensuring security and making your customers feel safe and looked after can be two different things that influence how they use a product
Planning to make the transition to new technology is one that requires a lot of care and planning. Integrating signals and processes within the platforms and apps you build can go a long way to making it successful.
Good technology is what we bring
Need a hand making your way through the technology maze? Webcoda has your back. You can contact us and talk about websites, integration, SharePoint, apps and more.
Call us today! We’re the Australian web development and app building agency that’s ready to help you!