Anyone who has had their ear to the ground of the mobile app world lately will have noticed a rather amazing new trend unfolding for everyday mobile device users: DIY mobile app building. The development is so profound in fact that the most fitting analogy is to reference the Web site building frenzy that occurred in the late 90s and early part of the 21st century with the likes of AOL and Geocities. In fact, the latest research shows that mobile device users now spend more time on apps than on the Web. According to December 2011 stats from Flurry Analytics, mobile users devote an average of 94 minutes of the day to apps, while they give just 72 minutes to the Web. As the Flurry site mentions, “The era of mobile computing, catalyzed by Apple and Google, is driving among the largest shifts in consumer behavior over the last forty years.” Apple’s App Store crossed the 25 billion mark in downloaded apps in March 2012 and in December 2011, Google announced that 10 billion Android apps had been downloaded onto mobile devices.
Some of the barriers to entry into the Mobile app market have been the obvious cost of hiring a programmer or team of developers to implement an app; the cost of such a move is prohibitive for most startups. And who has time for learning code to write apps? While DIY mobile apps are ever growing in popularity, so far the development tools for these programs have tended to be clunky and difficult to manage. As a recent article made clear, “There is no shortage of do-it-yourself (DIY) app making tools, but have any of them delivered a truly simple experience that’s accessible to novice users and busy small business owners?”
KitApps is one innovative new startup that has caught the attention lately of DIY’ers in the increasingly competitive mobile app market space. With the introduction of its new Mobile App “Wizard,” KitApps seeks to revolutionize the fragile App building process by making it more intuitive and much easier to manage for the novice SMB owner. The company’s first app targets the Conference & Events industry and provides planners and organizers a way to place their conference guide onto a native iPhone or Android app, and to do so in as little as 30 minutes. The company carefully chose this industry as an entry point into the Mobile app development market, making the compelling case as follows:
“Most of us have been to a conference and know what the experience is like: You show up at 8:30am half-awake with a cup of Starbucks to pickup your badge. Along with the badge you’re handed a stack of papers with the schedules, speaker profiles, sponsor collateral, etc. Those pages are your only guide for the next 2-3 days. You’re stuck carrying them around everywhere you go, fumbling through them to figure out which session to attend next, and towards the end of day 2 you’ve probably lost a few copies, or is that just us? To put things mildly, the experience could be much better, especially since we’re all carrying iPhone or Android devices. ”
KitApps is busily revolutionizing the Events & Conference industry by bringing it into the digital age with a sleek and efficient approach to developing conference guide mobile apps. But that’s not all . . . the company is also planning a rapid expansion into restaurants, real estate agencies, schools & universities, and news organizations.
The signup process for KitApps is quick and easy. Upon receiving the confirmation email, you can immediately go into the dashboard and launch a new application by selecting “Create a New App”.
The first section, “Info & Icon,” allows the user to provide Name & Description information for their app; this requires providing a name for the App, an Icon label, a brief Description, and also uploading an Icon image (screenshot below), which will show up in the iPhone template. In this example, we’ve setup a made-up technology conference in Boston, MA.
The second section called “Tabs & Appearance” enables the user to control the Appearance of the app and to configure various Tabs, which provide details about the conference in question. The options here consist of a Twitter profile, a Map to the event, Speakers at the conference, RSS news feeds, and more.
The third step is for the app “Content” and in this example, consists of an About section, a Map to the conference, and a Schedule of daily events
The final step before submitting the app is a review of the overall setup, to ensure that the app is configured correctly. Once everything is set, the user submits the app for publishing.
As demonstrated, KitApps provides an efficient and easy way for a SMB owner to create a Conference & Events-based app. Most importantly, this process really can be done by any novice in 30 minutes or less. This is a great value proposition when SMBs have to consider difficult budget decisions and short turn-around times for planning conferences or any other event. The publishing rate is fairly quick as far as app publishing goes: the website suggests a turn-around time of 3 days for a mobile app to get posted on Android, and up to 2 weeks on iPhone. Through its App Studio, KitApps enables the user to test an app instantly on their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
The KitApp wizard offers a very user friendly entry point, with free trial and no obligation nor credit card necessary. The regular service costs $249/year to publish your App on both iOS & Android platforms, which amounts to less than $20 a month for publishing as many apps as you need for your SMB. Just think of the savings cost here once you rid yourself of the paper-based conference guides and go completely digital. KitApps is bringing conferencing and event planning into the digital age and is sure to continue applying its easy and agile Mobile App development approach to other industries soon. Stay tuned!