Breaking the monotony of ‘dry January’ we meet once again to discuss all that is mobile - this week covering accessibility, the distinction between customers and clients, using git in a team and more!

First though, we were treated to a little surprise as @alecholmes brought in a Samsung Gear VR and a copy of Land’s End for us to try! A fully immersive experience, the game places you on an island where you solve puzzles by looking around the environment. We were impressed with the fidelity of both the graphics and also the tracking - feels like ustwo have another hit on their hands!

After that excitement we went straight into our lean coffee discussion, this week covering:

Accessibility

  • How do people who don’t need accessibility features go about testing that they have implemented the right accessibility features?
  • A few people admitted that they just don’t do it.
  • Others argued that it was about demographics - understanding the needs of your users and factoring that into task prioritisation.
  • But, should it be a task or should every task be completed with appropriate accessibility? Or are there some diminishing returns with that approach?
  • In any case, the best strategy to test is with real users who need that feature.

Steps to build an Android / iOS App

  • There were some newcomers this week who don’t have a background in apps or software and asked ‘how do you build an app?’
  • General feedback was to be sure of the business plan and idea before starting to code.
  • First question was to ask how well formed the idea was. Is there a prototype? A roadmap? How well understood is the idea to be able to direct a team to build it? Need some definition up front.
  • Additionally, defining the user base was important. Do you need translation? What sort of devices do the target users have?
  • And of course, before investing in a ‘big build’ look to MVP techniques to validate the ideas. Don’t make assumptions, and don’t blindly trust what your investors tell you - learn from the users.
  • And of course, if the business plan is more than an app and includes some other service, maybe take a second to decide if building an app is a distinctive competence of your team? It’s not a trivial journey, could you offload that and focus on areas you have an edge?

Using Git in teams

  • A member told us how his team had grown and now was looking to see how best to use Git in a larger team.
  • The common git-flow method was discussed, as well as a Google variant, both using branches and pull requests.
  • But - is all necessary? Why not just have people push to master? Would promote small commits and force. Although this does depend on a good TDD and CI structure also.
  • Ultimately it’s about what works for your team.
  • With the popularity of tools such as Slack, what is the future of the incumbent open alternatives? e.g. IRC?
  • When making a choice of a tool, how should one choose?
  • ‘Go where the users are’ - don’t try to force another tool on individuals if they already are familiar with one.
  • With regards to Slack, should it be provided to clients? Depends on how well you set the expectations at the beginning - are you able to respond in a more real time fashion?
  • Of course, maybe that something is ‘open’ is a red herring - do the users care about that?

Customers vs clients

  • Finally we discussed the difference between customers and clients, and how to transition one to another.
  • Clients were defined as those who pay exclusively for the output and as such get direct control on what that is.
  • Customers on the other hand were consumers of a product, and have influence on a roadmap but not exclusively.
  • Is one better than the other? Can you manage both in the same environment?
  • Indeed, the culture in a team can be tuned to the type of arrangement - might be hard to run both in the same environment.
  • To move one to another, you need a compelling event - maybe a new version as a motivation to move.
  • Or, if a specific piece of client work is profitable in it’s own right, maybe you spin that off and keep it separate.

Some of the topics that didn’t make it this week:

  • Mobile App banking
  • Xamarin Test Recorder
  • Polymer Web Components
  • Offline Passwords
  • VR & Unity
  • CloudKitJS
  • LaunchKit
  • React Native
  • Ionic

Maybe they’ll be raised again next time …

February

Looking forward to the next event on Feb 10 we’ll be doing more Lean Coffee, but adding in one or two lightning talks at the beginning - watch our Twitter for details. If you’ve got anything you want to tell or hear about with like minded mobile developers than grab a ticket and come along!