We have a customer at Endava who is at the innovative end of the spectrum. I wouldn’t describe them at ‘bleeding edge’, however they are willing to take some risks by prototyping new technologies and if the ideas succeed, a more rubust version will be built.
Last year they produced a number of prototypes for an annual event – a YouTube channel, the start of a social media implementation, and an iPhone app.
The iPhone app was more successful than a most expected, for a very simple reason. The web analytics from the website showed a low number of users were browsing their main website using an iPhone. So there was little evidence that an iPhone app would work.
However, as soon as the iPhone app was launched, it was downloaded in the tens of thousands within a week. The following year, a new version was released and downloaded 250,000 times in the same period.
What we’re learnt from this experience is that iPhone apps are another route to market. They exist in parallel to your website rather than a promotional element of it. For this client, the app was hardly promoted on the main website.
It’s ever been quicker or cheaper to produce prototypes such as the ones listed above as long as the core infrastructure is in place – specifically APIs and a decent Content Management System. 10 years ago, these types of prototypes would cost 10 times as much for equivalent first versions (a WAP site, a video portal and as for social media – it hardly existed!).
So the answer to the question in the title – try it.