How to hold a “UI paper-prototyping-party” to develop your app’s user interface
Monday, August 19, 2013/
Perch, an app for locating and promoting deals and events around Brisbane, will launch in alpha version next week after several years of development and business model tweaking to make sure the app stands out and is financially sustainable.
Co-founder Simone Perkins told StartupSmart they had been working to create the best possible version of the app for almost two years.
“For the last few years we’d watched apps in a similar space, such as Urban Spoon and Groupon,” she says.
“We reckon there’s a gap for us, in the targeted market in the 18 to 35 space, especially here in Brisbane.”
Originally a website, the iOS app was developed in the iLab tech accelerator program, based at Queensland University, earlier this year.
Perkins says they ran a closed beta after a series of three “paper prototyping parties” with about 10 people. They drew out every page of their app and talked people through the process so they realised the app was still a draft, and felt empowered to suggest changes.
“It makes it really clear where people get confused, and we evolved a lot in that process,” Perkins says. “Get everyone to test it and play with it. You get too close to your baby and need fresh eyes. Each party, we invited a couple of the same people so they could review the changes and tell us if they were better or worse, but we had fresh eyes coming through.”
Perkins says the combination of the prototyping events followed by the closed beta round helped them make the app as simple as possible.
“The more specific you can be about every single step the better. If you think you’ve got everything covered, you don’t. Stop dreaming and go back and do the work,” she says.
With the app almost ready to roll out, Perkins says they’re focusing on approaching vendors about the marketing possibilities of the app.
“With the current manifestation, we were determined to have a strong business model and good app as well,” she says.
Perch will be a free app for users, and vendors don’t need to pay to be listed. Once the app has launched, vendors will be able to pay to push their deals to users.
“We wanted a very data rich app to start with, so we’ve kept the barriers as low as possible,” Perkins says. “We’ve modelled our revenue stream so it’s not a huge sell for the vendor, we’ll list them, and then when they want to they can pivot into more direct marketing.”
Perkins says the app will be a capped, pay-per-perch (check-in) system so vendors can directly link their marketing spend with customers and sales.
She adds that most event and dining apps available don’t have a local presence in Brisbane, so they miss the best deals and lack the local flavour.
“We want to get people to feel personally involved in the app, as opposed instantly going for global presence. That would be great, but we want it to feel local and relevant first,” Perkins says.
“Brisbane is a really exciting space to focus on, as we’re about to flip over into being a bigger city like Sydney and Melbourne and there is so much going on we’re looking forward to sharing.”
A cultural war: What Hayne's report means for fintechs, accountants and small-business lending Charlotte Petris Timelio founder
In a perfect world: Canva's Melanie Perkins dreams about the future of Australian startups Melanie Perkins Canva co-founder
Swipe right for (data) validation: What dating apps can teach us about data security Leah Callon-Butler intimate.io co-founder
How do Australian startups tap into the $140 billion of dry powder sitting in the US? Andrea Kowalski Bailador partner
No silver bullet: Four steps to find the perfect sales and marketing channel for your startup Vinne Schifferstein Vidal Botown founder
Buzinga to Appster: An insider's theory on why the app giants keep falling Joseph Russell DreamWalk Apps co-founder
Got brand goals? The four most marketable sports of 2019 Andrew Montesi Pickstar head of marketing
What founders can do now to prepare for a possible 2019 recession Les Szekely EVP co-founder