Here at PropertyMe HQ, we have been working on something that will make life easier for our users. We’ve been creating an iOS app! As this is a big deal for tasks such as inspections, we want to share the experience of how this process was born, and why an app is so important for property managers.
Do we need an app?
The first question we needed to ask ourselves was ‘why do we need an app when PropertyMe can be accessed on any device anyway?'.
We boiled it down to these two questions:
- What would our users use the app for?
- What types of technology do our users use?
Based on these two factors, we dived into stealth research mode, to go ahead and understand what our users would benefit from. In order to create something that’s easy to use, there is a HUGE amount of planning and considerations that need to occur.
What do we put in the app?
So the decision is made that building an app is a good idea, and will benefit our clients enormously. Now comes the tough part, what do we actually put in it? We asked property managers what they would use it for, with the majority confirming that inspections and accessing information easily were the two major factors they wanted as part of an easy-to-use app. So we began with these two points in mind and drafted the design and functions about accessing information, how to use features such as the camera for inspections, where to store photos once taken, and using voice to text translation.
We had new tools and situations to consider that your desktop or laptop don’t have, so we wanted to make sure we could use these to their full potential such as;
- Will users always have wifi access?
This could create issues if they don’t, so we decided to have a ‘sync images on wifi only’, to ensure user data wouldn’t be taken up.
- Will users be using a work phone or their personal phone?
If users are using their personal phone/iPad, do they really want their photo gallery filled with images of broken windows and holes in the wall (we certainly wouldn’t)? To ensure this doesn’t happen, we built it so all photos are stored in a gallery within the app rather than on the device itself.
Android vs iOS
When making an app from scratch, you need to take into consideration what technology you will be building it for. We found that the majority of our clients and property managers within the industry were using some sort of mobile Apple device, be it an iPhone or iPad. So we decided to create an iOS App, to begin with. Ensuring the design and form factor takes months of work, so we want to make sure it's working properly before considering other app versions.