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Creating a web-based app / platform yourself

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Lucky8, Oct 10, 2020.

  1. gpietersz

    gpietersz UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,573 391
    If the plugin does what you want, then its fine. As I said, if you are lucky you may find something that already has all the plguins you need.

    The problem is when plugins do not do what you need so you have to write custom code.

    If the CMS happens to gather exactly the information you need when it creates a profile. Otherwise you need custom code.

    Definitely take shortcuts, but there is a danger in this approach: you use an external service or off the shlef software, then you put a lot of effort into integrating it with everything else you do which then because a barrier (because you need to redo it all) to moving to a custom solution later.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: gpietersz Member since: Sep 10, 2019
    #61
  2. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    I agree with this point, and your whole post. I'm clear on the features and functionality. I think that the research part to find the off the shelf tools that do this means that I have to know how to specify those off the shelf tools in the first place. The surveymonkey example you gave is nice and simple - I've used surveymonkey too as a user so I'm very familiar with what it does. So it's easy to search for survey tools, as you say, drill down into the specific requirements and so on.

    This appears much more difficult. The primary feature, put crudely, is users are served up content depending on their profile settings. They might do this by logging into a website, or push notifications on their phone. That's where the technology questions become tougher. Another feature is occasional quizzes.

    Trying to frame the "which tool?" question to commence the search is maybe where I am at. To do that, the discussion has had to get technical, by its very nature. I agree too, the MVP is the way to go.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #62
  3. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,332 854
    It depends what you're trying to do. if it is standard user information, then any content management solution should be flexible enough to capture what you need. Of course, using off the shelf there is a compromise between what you gain in ease of use and speed of delivery compared to ultimate flexibility to go exactly what you want.

    That isn't really a danger, because the alternative to using off the shelf is building a custom solution from scratch and no one would do for an MVP.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
    #63
  4. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,479 9,924
    We are. UX is a hugely complicated subject. You rarely get a perfect fit for everyone. Which is why you end up doing a bespoke solution for each client. Unless you have a very narrow target for your marketing in which case you can build an off the shelf took. Marketing drives everything.
    Indeed, in the same way you can find a plugin to create user profile or a script to generate content from a library. But linking the profile to the quiz to the correct content and other functions needs coding. And you then discover you can't link the profile to the quiz because of how they work or the content becomes so generic as to be worthless.
    I don't know. I wasn't part of the costing team.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #64
  5. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,479 9,924
    Which means you need a website/web app AND a mobile app. Which means you may need a whole different architecture.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #65
  6. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,332 854
    I think you need to dig a bit deeper into your requirements. So for example, let's say a user completes a survey. "Are you married?", "Do you have kids?" etc.

    Then based on the answer the user is presented with several options. If they are married then they are prompted to add their wife to their private health insurance, if they have kids, then they are offered enhanced life insurance and so on?

    Is that along the lines of your thinking? To me, that sounds like fairly bread and butter stuff most content management systems should be able to do.

    And again, as @gpietersz says, there is nothing wrong with a bit of smoke and mirrors. Don't discount doing things by hand (you, not the user) until you have a subscriber base that justifies a more complex, automated solution.

    Finally, I know you are very keen on push notifications, but these are generally leading you down the route of native mobile apps, so again, for an MVP I would keep it simply and maybe focus on email?
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
    #66
  7. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    I think we are using different meanings for the word 'marketing' and 'marketing strategy'. Our business model, market analysis, proposition and research across everything drives the solution, not the marketing strategy. There may be small tailoring for each client, but we certainly won't be doing a bespoke solution for each client. That's not our business model, nor is it the business model of the off-the-shelf rewardsgateway.

    Or a list of the components then, without the cost?
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #67
  8. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    I've said all along we need that.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #68
  9. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    Surveys would be rare, but if we did them they'd be more passive and basic than that. Answers wouldn't drive the next content. Multiple-choice quizzes are more likely, we just need to serve up the questions, tailored to each user, it wouldn't be the same quiz across all 100 employees on the same day, tell them how many they got right, and their score is recorded in their profile, and the quiz was completed.

    Agreed. So that brings me right back to Page 1 and question 1 - because I want to create it with as little coding as possible on my own shoulders, without hiring developers at this stage, to show a working prototype, sell it to our first clients, evolve the prototype so it's at least does what I say it does, maybe manually slog away at the back end for a bit, but quickly know the route to getting it fully up and running if, say, a client with 3000 users suddenly yes please, thank you very much, where is it then?

    This problem with native apps is why I was asking if this could be done via a web app instead. I've considered emails for push, I'm not too keen, it just doesn't fit well. Someone suggested Slack?
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #69
  10. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,479 9,924
    OK. Then your development costs are going to be huge. The more generic the model to bigger the project as you have to build in zillions of options.

    A far easier way to do things is put together a very simple application and sell add on modules. It's a very lucrative business model. This way you can get something up and running in a few weeks to test the market.
    Sorry can't help you with this. In any case not sure it would be of much use. I know there was a complicated pdf generator for the coupons and a massive user table shared between a number of servers. Two of the developers only worked on the mobile app. I was part of the UI/UX team who did weeks of user testing. The whole thing was very modular with a scaled pricing structure. The free version just let you create coupons which users could redeem if they downloaded the app. But they couldn't convince people to get the app. We got corner shops offering 10p off a can of coke if you brought a mars bar. Nobody would bother installing an app for this.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #70
  11. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    How so? Again, I wonder if we're on the same page and talking about different things. The off-the shelf rewardsgateway has 3 fixed modules, within that the client journey is fixed, the options are the same, the UX is identical, job done. We'd probably have one fixed module/purpose, everything is fixed except some light tailoring which we may offer. By that I mean that red click box might be first for client 1, third for client 2.

    Now, in terms of extent of content, I think you're right. Let's say we want to serve up content for car buyers, house owners, and trapeze artists, we might only serve up the content for car owners first. I know that's not the modules you were talking about, but I'm with you on that general approach.

    The coupon platform you write about sounds like fundamentally it was a flawed business model, but it also sounds very complicated/expensive for a simple coupon system.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #71
  12. mattk

    mattk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2,332 854
    I'm still not 100% what you're trying to achieve, so I'll stick with my example for simplicity. What I would be looking for is a tool which allows user profiles and then based on the profiles the ability to present different content. I would get users to sign up, create a profile, then present them with a survey link, to complete the questions. Then, here is the smoke and mirrors bit, each night I would export the results from surveymonkey and upload them to user's profile. Then the tool would present content based on the survey results.

    Not elegant, but certainly enough for a working demo with only a few days of fettling to get it working right.

    In terms of research, on top of the survey tools I linked to early,here are a list of membership site builder/platforms.

    I'm certainly not a mobile app developer, but I am not aware of push notifications for web apps. I don't know how you could do push notifications in Slack either.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: mattk Member since: Dec 5, 2005
    #72
  13. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,479 9,924
    Dead easy to build. All the profile would do is have some checkboxes for the topics and when they login you show posts from the relevant category. You could build this in a day using something like WordPress.
    The idea was sound, it failed because they just couldn't get enough people to sign up and use the thing. Marketing again.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #73
  14. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    Sorry I should have clarified, the content is not survey dependent. I keep getting asked about surveys and quizzes, I keep answering, but that is giving the wrong impression! 90% of the feature is the serving up of content based on a user's profile. Quizzes, and rarely the odd survey, is something extra. There *might* be a need to change the serving up of some content depending on a quiz, but that's more a bell and whistle, not a key feature.

    Thanks for that link, very useful.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #74
  15. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    I'm asking this as I'm just curious - their route to market is different to ours - if the idea was sound, how was demand so low after £50k was spent marketing it? So hardly anyone in their desired market knew about it?
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #75
  16. gpietersz

    gpietersz UKBF Ace Full Member

    1,573 391
    That sounds like a job for a customised CMS, but it depends on what the content is. You are not doing everything rewardgateway.com does?

    You can have push notifications in a web app.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: gpietersz Member since: Sep 10, 2019
    #76
  17. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    Content format varies (mostly text, video occasionally etc). Functionality-wise (not proposition-wise), it's like the off-the-shelf rewardgateway.com, ie. a website/web app and/or app (don't want to start that again!) for employees. The stuff we need to record about the user and their interaction is a lot simpler than rewardgateway.com, but there is some two-way interaction, it's not zero.

    Yep, thought so. If we go down the web app route, rather than website + app, how does that change all the above recommendations and possible ways to make this happen?
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #77
  18. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,479 9,924
    Yes you can but the user needs to give permission. Most don't. And you can add push notifications to a website as well.
    Everyone knew about it. They just didn't want to download an app. Example: customer goes into fish and chip shop and sees a poster for the app. They see the type of coupon and decide it's not worth the effort. That's what happens to nearly every app - only a very few succeed.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #78
  19. Lucky8

    Lucky8 UKBF Regular Free Member

    187 23
    If they could not convince their market it was worth the effort, that doesn't sound like a sound business idea in the first place. If it were sound, demand (real demand) would be there.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: Lucky8 Member since: Jan 17, 2019
    #79
  20. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    33,479 9,924
    The internet is littered with great ideas that failed on launch. Market research gets loads of positive feedback, people sign up for testing and there is lots of positive press. But when users were asked to pay for the service all that support faded away.

    The apple watch, google glass and windows phone are just three examples.
     
    Posted: Oct 16, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #80