Building an app? 3 key considerations

iPhone apps

With more and more citizens looking to access local and central government services on a smartphone or tablet, an app could be the perfect way to serve them. But, if things go wrong, your app could be an embarrassing snafu that frustrates citizens and drives channel shift backwards.

Here are some key considerations for any council deciding whether to build an app:

Who will use it?

Before you do anything, sit down with your team and really hammer out the details of who will use your app and why. There’s no point in building something with no clear purpose. Be as specific as you can about your goals. The design and functionality will follow.

Your app can be as ambitious as your budget, but make decisions based on hard data. Perhaps one of your services is far more in demand than your others. If that’s the case, perhaps your app should focus on that service alone.

It’s better to have a thoughtfully designed app for a single service than an all-encompassing app that doesn’t work well.

How will you keep information safe?

Cybersecurity is of the utmost importance, so make sure you face this head on and invest in proper defences from the beginning of the planning process.

As a council you hold valuable personal information about every single one of your citizens; letting it fall into the wrong hands could make them vulnerable.

There’s also a credibility issue. If you allow personal information to be stolen, regardless whether or not it’s used for nefarious aims, your citizens will no longer trust you. Every possible prevention method should be in place right from the start.

dl100appmpubwHow much are you willing to invest?

As a budget-stretched local government, you have to make every penny count. Your supervisors will be expecting an impressive return on investment, so keep your numbers realistic. These projects can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. To ensure the best possible results and avoid the kind of unforeseen budget constraints that put entire projects in jeopardy you need to plan for costs on the high end of your estimate.

That being said, it’s important to invest for success. Nothing is worth doing if you don’t do it right; that old adage is doubly true here. Whatever the scale of your app, ensure that it’s done to a high standard. Not doing so will only lead to reluctant take-up, frustrated citizens and a low return on your investment.


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