As a 12-year-old software development company, Oursky has worked with a number of clients on building great digital products. Throughout our journey, we learned a lot in refining our approach and process for developing minimum viable products (MVP). These learning experiences helped us build mobile apps for our clients that are featured by the App Store and loved by users, and get millions of downloads and active users.
We would love to share one of our journeys: the development of Jamn Multi-Tool, which was featured by the Apple App Store in different countries and was selected as Best of 2013 in Music Category.
It all started with an MVP
Most of our clients want to build a huge product. The problem is that there are always many presumptions: You assume you know what your users are looking for, how the design should work, and the marketing strategy that will work for your target user. If your assumptions do not work, your huge investment would give little return.
That’s where MVP can prove useful. It pushes startups to test assumptions with minimal effort. It is what we encourage every single one of our customers to do. In the case of the Jamn Multi-Tool, our client already got a paper prototype and conducted tests with potential users. What we did was to digitize the MVP and see how well it worked on an iPhone.
This is what we got for the MVP version. With this level of engineering, we believed it was enough to test out how well the digital version of a chord wheel worked for musicians.
Next, we went on to test if presenting an instrument interface, which showed how a chord was played, would help our users. It turned out users loved it as well.
We went through iterations one step at a time, adding features and changing UI. We gradually found out what users love and what they don’t, and Jamn Multi-Tool has grown its userbase into 3.5 million downloads today.
Here is a list of modifications we added on over the years:
- A guitar tuner with algorithm tailored for iOS devices
- Scale of different styles
- Illustration of how the chords are played on different instruments
- Multiple iterations of UI
- More interactive ser experience (UX) via better sliding behavior
- Updates on graphic design and texture of buttons and surfaces
- Restructured placements of buttons for a more cohesive experience.
This is the final product:
How can it be outsourced?
You may be surprised at how a sophisticated app like Jamn Multi-Tool is built through outsourcing, without an internal technical team.
MiQ Limited, the owner of Jamn, has now grown into a larger team and working on a brand new app! Click here to join them if you are a passionate developer!
First of all, it takes a lot of trust between the vendor and client. It empowers both parties to give its best shot and ensure the project’s success. It takes a lot of communication between the two parties in order to build the relationship. Understanding the software engineering process and setting expectations on how updates are communicated are done is vital.
To make things work efficiently, a good communication pattern is needed as well. Usually, we schedule a Skype meeting with our client every two to three days for design-related activities. This ensures we get their feedback on different design iterations. Going into the development stage, we will schedule a meeting every week in order to keep clients posted with the latest updates of the project.
For product development, a man-days-based contract may be a better arrangement compared to a fixed-scope project, so that changes between iterations can be easier to accomplish. Both parties can communicate and decide the priorities between speed, quality of code, and fixing of technical debt.
A data-driven mindset is another key to a successful project. This is why our project manager always dig into the data collected from the app. It has helped us a great deal in making the most appropriate iteration to the product for our client.
Last but not the least, a team of passionate and experienced designers, developers and project managers are the ultimate ingredients to a successful project! That is why we always proudly say ‘Made with love by Oursky’! We’ve enjoyed the journey with MiQ Limited and we’re glad to have worked with the branding agency, Stepworks!
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Dennis does all sorts of growth hacking, content marketing, and data-driven goodies at Oursky. He loves cats, too. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org.