9 things to include in a mobile app brief
or 'If your brief's not clear, the results will be hazy.'
The better your mobile app brief the better the results. The poorer the brief, or worse still no brief at all, makes for a disappointing outcome that could be expensive to fix.
Follow our guide to what to include in your mobile app brief and you will save time and money because all the important questions will have been answered at the start. Also your app development team should get it right first time, on time, and to budget.
No. 1 Tip: Use plain speaking language. Don’t use geek speak or fancy words terminology, jargon or acronyms. Include everything you can think of, no matter how small or trivial you think it might be. A good developer will strip out what they don’t need and ask questions about anything you may have forgotten.
So, here goes, include this information and you will be more than one step closer to a perfect mobile app:
Give brief details about your company and its products and services (your sales process, pricing and new product development should also be mentioned). If you have brand guidelines, provide these as well plus any information about your brand personality and philosophy. Include whether any research will be required to undertake this activity. If you don’t know, ask to your developers. If you have done some research of any kind already, provide this as an appendix.
Include a list of at least three main competitors and their websites. Have a look at what your competitors are doing, but don’t assume they are doing it well. Look at other brand leaders who appeal to your target audience and see what they are doing too. Include samples of things you like and dislike brand wise, app wise, design wise, promotion wise.
3. OBJECTIVES (The Why):
Have a think about why you need this app. What is it you are trying to achieve? Awareness? Trial? Data Collection? Loyalty? Is it a reward for doing something? Is it to deliver a service?
4. PROJECT REQUIREMENTS (The What):
Scope out the project requirements and what is not included. Is content included or extra? Who will create the content? What about technical and functional specifications? Who will design the information? Also, consider some user research (customer journey and usability) and have a think about how it will be promoted. Who will do that?
5. AUDIENCE (The Who):
Who is this mobile app being made for? Describe both the buyer and the user. Is there a secondary and primary audience too? Are there any influencers who can veto its purchase? How can we talk to them too them? Talk about why you think they need this app and what they think and do now (what is their pain), and what they will think and do when they get this app (the happy outcome).
6. MEASUREMENT (The How):
Think about what will a great result for creating this app look like. How will you measure if it works? Will you pilot it or test it first?
7. SINGLE MINDED PROPOSITION (SMP):
Try and put down in words the one most important thing this app will mean to be people. Be single-minded. It must and can only do one thing. This will form the basis of the focus for the app.
8. BUDGET & TIMINGS:
Include any timings, key milestones and budgets you are aware of. Budget being the most important. If you say ‘there isn’t a budget’, does that mean ‘what ever it takes’, or ‘we want it done on a shoe string’? If you give an indication of budget, the app won’t be designed out of your financial reach. Don’t forget to allow budget for any research and testing.
List all mandatories and limitations. For example, does your app require a strong call to action and should it have a brand tone of voice (or ear)? Does it need to ‘sound’ like your brand as well as look like it? List any legal, technology or functional limitations too. Also, is it DDA (Disability and Equality Discriminate) compliant?
In essence, it’s much more effective for your supplier to respond if you have a tight brief and a good indication of budget. Everyone is happy. A good app brief shows commitment and is a clear direction of requirements. If you don’t know why you need an app, or what its objectives are, maybe you don’t need one!
Note: If you don’t have any brand guidelines, we would also strongly recommend pulling some together. Essential for when working both internally and externally with any marketing communications.
If you find yourself giving out the same information to your marketing suppliers over and over again (like the sale process and pricing, organisational structure etc, you might also like to consider creating a ‘Supplier Marketing Manual’ that can be provided as an appendix to marketing briefs).
But what happens next? Look out for our blog ‘The 7 steps to developing an app’, which briefly covers the stages involved in developing an app so you’ll be better prepared in understanding what happens next.