Episode 018: All About Web Apps

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Guest Photo

Guests: Jordan Deutsch and Trudy MacNabb
What they do: run a development-focused agency called Up At Five, and work predominately on web applications
Ponderance: What tips can they share on how to approach an app project?
Find them online:

On today’s episode, Avery meets with Jordan and Trudy of Up At Five, a digital studio focused on data-driven web applications. They cover everything from what it means to build one, what it might cost, and what kinds of considerations one should have as they plan to develop and produce a web application.

Click to tweet: "There’s no one-size-fits-all app solution; if there was, we’d all have the same apps and it’d be boring" - Up at Five team

Episode Highlights:

  • What is a web app?
  • Difference between web app, phone apps, and websites
  • Benefits of web apps
  • Process of creation of a technical project
  • Role of user testing
  • Cost of starting a web app
  • Long-term maintenance of a web app


Key Takeaways:

[3:44] Avery, Jordan, and Trudy cover exactly what a web app is, and how it differs from an app on your phone or a website. Unlike phone apps, web apps are “operating system agnostic,” so you can run it through any browser, and it also allows for more user interaction.

[6:18] Native applications — some web apps can be adapted to utilize special features of certain devices or operating systems.

[9:39] Listener mail from Orest: He found that the existing accounting websites, while they work for general businesses, he is looking for something that will support the needs of a specific industry. He wants to know what it takes to build a working model, and what steps or procedures are needed to develop such a site.

[11:48] Assuming the listener was trying to develop a web app, where would one even start? Understanding the features that will differentiate you from other products on the market is very important in developing something new.

[12:42] What is the process like to work with the Up At Five team on a project? Typically they start with an exploratory phase that considers expertise from the industry, as well careful consideration of what good things current programs have, and what things you think could be added or improved.

[14:26] Once high-level features have been nailed down, they go through a wire-framing process. This includes what a user flow would look like, and more finite detail about how the application will store and process information.

[16:04] They discuss the role of user testing in the development process, as well as the benefits of user testing. Not everyone is going to use a product in the same way, and it’s important to consider the widest variety of people in your user group. Synthesizing the feedback from different users helps to shed light on strengths and weaknesses.

[19:26] How much does a startup project for web apps cost? Jordan and Trudy recommend a website (see below) that allows you to enter the information for your project to get an idea of how much your idea might cost.

[22:06] They discuss long-term maintenance of web apps, in order to keep them current from both a content side and a technical side. It would be ideal to have someone technical, either in house or readily available.

[25:49] Make sure to leave time and money for the promotion of your product!

[26:14] What tips do the girls have for someone who wants to start a web app, in terms of working with a professional? Don’t be afraid to ask questions or bring up new ideas! There are a lot of exciting stories of success to use for inspiration!


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