More often than not, we have to perform a task on our iOS device(s), that involves some kind of repetition. Whether it be sending a template message (Can you pick me up at 2pm?), making a phone call or viewing the local weather report. Either way this can be a tedious and time consuming process - one which can easily be avoided!
Thats were the Actions app can help, it enables you to create and customise one tap actions for your everyday needs. Create an action to view the news, send a text message, find the nearest restaurant and much more, all in one app.
The user created actions are sorted into a neat list on the home section of the app. All actions have an associated user created tag, this helps with sorting actions into different categories and can help when searching through your actions.
The main emphasis of the app is speed, from creating an action to running one is a matter of seconds. Whats more, you only ever have to setup your desired actions once, after that one tap is all you need. To help maintain ease of access, the Actions app provides four main ways of running any action: via the main app, quick access widget, action notification or with a simple spotlight search.
No, I have been developing software for years (from desktop class applications, websites and databases all the way to mobile apps).
In the past I used to commute via the train on a daily basis, after a while found myself performing repetitive tasks on my iPhone such as: sending template based emails, viewing the news, searching Google for certain terms and checking the local weather report.
I got tired of having to perform copy/paste actions on my iPhone and decided to look into iOS automation software. The thing I don't like about most automation/launcher apps, is that they mostly rely on making you switch between an array of apps, just to get one task completed. This wastes battery life and decreases your productivity, as you end up having to switch back/forth between apps.
When I started working on Actions - Fast forward everyday tasks, my philosophy for the app was simple - design an all-in-one solution that removes the need to switch between apps and/or copy/ paste text/images/etc between apps. In other words, I wanted to create an app that would automate a lot of the repetitive tasks on my iPhone, whilst actually saving the user time.
I see software development as an art, its another way of bringing a simple idea to life. While software development can be great fun, it can also be very challenging (especially when you are trying to keep a simple idea… simple).
Its easy to get carried away with design (or aesthetics to be precise), but to actually translate your idea into a functional app, that is easy to use and actually useful, is a very big task. Thus the biggest difficulty I faced during the development of Actions - Fast forward everyday tasks, is the same difficulty I face with all my products - staying focused on the end goal.
You have to constantly think whether or not a particular element of the app (i.e: list, gesture, button, etc), actually adds value and helps to get the task at hand completed. More often than not, the answer is no - in which case you have to start from scratch, re-design and test. There is no point in creating a product, if its no good at solving the problem at hand.
Most new app developers create an app and hope that it becomes and overnight success on its own. In most cases this wont happen, therefore a marketing plan is imperative.
There are so many forms of marketing, writing on blogs/forums, content marketing, running giveaway competitions, creating a YouTube app video, paying for adverts on platforms such as Google AdWords, etc. The key is to identify the target market - build up a user profile which contains information about similarities between the types of people who express interest in your app - what types of sites to view, how much do they spend on apps per month, that types of apps are they interested, etc. As soon as you figure out who the end user of your app is, you can then create adverts (paid and free) that stand a higher chance of targeting potential customers.
My marketing plan started with a simple app beta. By using forums/blogs and paid adverts to help promote the app beta, I managed to gain over 500 keen testers in just three days! This provided me with great development feedback, but more importantly, it gave me a starting point at finding out who my target market is.
Marketing is a continuous effort, if you stop, your app sales gradually decrease - therefore another part of my marketing plan is to evaluate (on a weekly basis) how many new users have purchased my app. If the number decreases, then I adjust my marketing efforts to back to sources/methods that have produced better results in the past. I then make notes about what works and why, which in turn enables me to maintain a steady sale growth.
In my opinion, the best part of app development is customer feedback. I have received emails from multiple customers (and beta testers) stating how much they enjoy using the app. Pro tip: always reply to customer feedback (where appropriate), its an opportunity to potentially improve your marketing efforts. For example: a user may provide feedback stating why they like your app and what their favourite feature is. This information can be used in an advert or promotional video to help entice more potential customers.
There are so many features, action types, hardware updates, etc. that I want to add support for. My main goal however, is to do everything possible to make Actions - Fast forward everyday tasks the best automation app on the iOS platform.
Stay focused on the end goal! If you app aims to solve a particular problem, ensure that it actually does that, before moving onto the 'glitzy' stuff (i.e: design, images, logos, videos, etc). Its so easy to get distracted: "oh that feature would be really cool", "I like the logo with a red gradient background", "a blur layer looks beautiful", etc. Just get the app completed and ensure that it performs its sole task to the best possible standard. You can always add new features and UI enhancements in future app updates. If you lose focus, the end product may not be how you envisioned it.
My personal apps are developed and marketed by myself, however my collaborative co-funded software businesses are run and developed in small teams based around the world. For example: I take care of running the company and developing the software here in the UK, whilst the team in the US works on design and marketing.
I started developing mobile apps back in 2009, but my passion for computer software started when I was a kid. I used to write basic programs in C on my fathers old computer. Little by little I learnt more and more over the years.
I am based in the UK.