Sneak Peek: How you helped us redesign APPCityLife

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In today’s cacophony of incessant online conversation, there is no voice quite so powerful as that of the consumer – both the message of the satisfied customer who recommends a product to friends and the whirlwind of angry comments unleashed by unsatisfied clients.  So as we prepared for significant upgrades and changes to the APPCityLife iPhone app, our company sought the opinion that mattered most – the several thousand app users who have downloaded and use our app.  Who better to provide invaluable feedback about what did and didn’t work in the real world?

WHAT OUR USERS SAID (and what we’re doing about it)

Daily Users For the Daily Tab: Our One Year Anniversary Satisfaction Survey told us many things about what users did and did not like about their experience with APPCityLife, and one of the messages we were most pleased – and a bit surprised – to discover is that our users are, well, using the app – a lot.  66% of our survey respondents said they opened APPCityLife at least once a week, with 44% saying they opened the app several times a week.  Many users added notes to tell us they opened our app daily both for our aggregated news and social media feeds in the Daily Tab, to read our editorial Fresh Brew or find out about local events and to search for local businesses. This lets us know that we need to keep the information in the app fresh, new, and up to date.

Ready for Change: Not a single respondent said they would stop using the app if we changed the layout from lists to an image-driven interface.  In fact, some users were a little more direct, with 14% saying they wanted us to try something more fun than the current lists navigation.  We listened.  When we launch our new interface, the app will sport a completely new look along with some new content as well.  Instead of a list navigation, users will see image-driven menus (see the slide show above) that work for both the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as the iPad.

Long Term Planning

Some requests, such as those for a single event database for all local events, GPS-based notifications for both events and promotions, and more original local content will take longer – but we are moving in that direction.  Through a joint project this past semester, we worked with students at the University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management to create several new features for the app, and many of those center around events.  We are working to integrate all of the new content into one easier to use resource for locals and visitors wanting to quickly find out what is happening around them.

And the one thing that users asked for the most?  More local promotions.  So businesses, if you’re listening, it doesn’t get better than this: users are asking for you to entice them into your shop or restaurant.  The Old Town Merchants Association recently added all of their shops both to our Holiday Guide and to the new Shopping Section soon to be rolled out in the app, and one owner told us that several shoppers told him they found him through his promotion in our guide.  It feels great to be a part of that kind of interaction – bringing local businesses real and immediate connections with consumers while also providing consumers incentives and special offers to help them enjoy their experiences in new and better ways.

We’re not through listening.  We’ve only begun.  There are big changes coming to our app this year – with two new guides under construction and several more in the planning stages, exploring a new platform (Android) solution, and several other plans we still need to keep under our hat for now – we’re moving forward armed with the feedback that will help us the most: yours.

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About APPCityLife

APPCityLife connects people with cities through a complete end-to-end mobile and cloud platform where cities, developers, civic hackers, nonprofits, schools and enterprise can publish robust mobile apps with seamless Open Data integration. Our platform is powerful enough to support rapid prototyping for experienced coders and developers, but it is also easily accessible to those without any previous coding experience; we empower individuals to create solutions and build mobile apps which address challenges they see within their own community.
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2 Responses to Sneak Peek: How you helped us redesign APPCityLife

  1. gregmondro says:

    Great to see you guys are listening to the actual users!

    • appcitylife says:

      We’re grateful for every single individual who chooses to use APPCityLife, Greg. The way we look at it is this – if we listen to a client who wants us to do something that our users won’t like, we’ll get paid once by that client but lose users. If we help our clients interact with what users are telling us they want, we’ll not only gain more clients but keep our users happy.

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