Discussion with David Smith – App Furnace and Klynt
I had a meeting today with David Smith to primarily gain access to the App Furnace and Klynt software so i could prototype at home but also to discuss the feasibility of my new project idea. The last time I spoke with David we discussed my St Fagans project so this was another good time to pitch my idea briefly to get some feedback.
David used App Furnace to create his own location based app in Victoria Park Bristol so he is good person to talk to to get advise and point out some of the apps potential limits. He also created an app that worked across both Mobile and web with the Bristol ‘Arts on the hill’ project and ‘Park Hive’ so could advise on how to create an ongoing application.
Through talking to David I discovered a couple of big issues that I have to consider when building both my App and online project. One of the main problems is the amount of data used to power the app. App furnace downloads all the data needed to run the app to the phone on installation, this has both benefits and disadvantages, one of the benefits is that having all the data already accessible on the handset means that users won’t incur any additional data costs when using the app, the initial download will need data but this could be dealt with by providing a wifi hotpots at installation or making users aware of the data needed at installation so they can decide themselves if they wish to use the service. The disadvantage of having all the data downloaded in the App is that it could create a very large file, this could cause problems with users having used up a lot of their phones storage. Most Mobile apps are around 50mb – 200mb, they are more substantial for Games applications but users are willing to justify this extra storage because of the return (a game), we need to consider if making a large app will be acceptable to the end user.
There is a way to create a smaller app that would solve the data/storage size on the handset but this will involve adjusting the content of the app. Originally I wanted the app to contain images, video and audio. We can compress all of these to lower the size but by using video we will still be creating large file sizes. I need to weigh up if sacrificing the video element of the app and keeping this just for the online version will benefit the popularity with more users willing to download a simplified app that takes up less storage space, I also need to consider how this will impact on our proposed story.
The second issue that David highlighted was the AppFurnce software itself. When imagining the app I wanted to create something that would last after my University project, Much like Charlotte Crofts ‘Curzon’ project. I wanted to be able to modify it further and create a real something that can be developed further. The AppFurnce licence will only work until June, this means we have to either accept that it will disappear in the future or lok at ways at preserving it through another platform.
David suggested three options:
- Contact Calvium (the makers of AppFurnce) and commission them to re-produce the application to a professional standard and upload it to the app store. This could cost between £400 and £10,000 to create and would require funding from partners/local council.
- Employ a programmer to recreate the app and publish it to the app store.
- Use a software called AppMachine to re-create the app and publish it to the app store (approx £500.) This option is limited in it’s design.
Speaking With David has helped while planing the app and thinking about these limitations while planning with save us wasting time on concepts that may not be future proof. it will also meant that we will have to think more creatively about how we design a simple yet attractive and entertaining app. I’m also in a position now to start prototyping the app at the proposed location and finding out how it is received with my contributors.