If Team Fishers doesn’t ring a bell, check out my earlier post which provides some context about this exciting project! If it does, does three weeks to launch make you as nervous as it did me when I was informed of the timeline?!
That’s right, three weeks to sift content, organize said content, enter the content into the mobile app, add app “extras” (think labels, photos, icons), and then get the app approved through the Apple and Google Play stores. While I won’t walk step-by-step through the process, I will provide a few key things that helped me get this app cranked out in three weeks. Here goes nothing!
Use your app goals to guide your content. I was overwhelmed by content, and incredibly thankful to have a boss who was able to guide this part of the process. I think I’ve mentioned this before, my boss is a whiteboard queen. She’s able to throw everything up on the board, identify themes and then start moving into action items based on what those themes are derived to be. So that’s where we started. A giant white board with a few key players at the table brainstorming exactly what we wanted to host inside our app. For us, the main “buckets” our content fell into four categories: HR-related items, community, culture and happenings. Ladies and gentlemen, we have an app skeleton!
Create a support group. No, really. We’re simultaneously having conversations about an upcoming website renovation, so I was able to dual-purpose our website liaisons to also be my app test group (trust me, I’ve thanked them weekly since throwing them into this!). This group has proved and will probably continue proving to be one of the most valuable assets I have. Especially as we moved into the soft launch and looked forward to the full roll-out of this app for our organization, this group of employees was the first to provide feedback, trouble shoot the app and offer insights into how we could sell this app to around 500 employees across 11 departments.
Realize your app is in constant evolution. I eluded to this earlier, but good apps are never done. Instead, they’re in constant motion as you learn what your users like, where they’re navigating, and especially what they don’t find valuable in the app. This realization really helped me when strategizing the different parts of our app, on such an expedited timeline. Specifically in our instance, there were some very valid questions about the organization of our content, the integration of third-party vendors to create a deeper motivation for downloading the app. So, I decided we would create a phase II. The app launched on Friday, September 23rd, and we’re going to give our audience 30-45 days to use the app and see what happens. Then, when that time comes, I’ll pull analytics and start identifying what content is drawing people to engage it and what content is taking up valuable space, and we’ll revise. That way, as this app matures, there’s always a new, enticing reason for our team to continue using it.
Plan a roll-out! Being an employee engagement app, I find this step of the process so incredibly important. In our situation, we decided we would host a launch lunch, and while the details of the event are really cool and awesome, the way we incentivized employees to download our app (in my opinion of course), is what’s the coolest. We had two main incentives for downloading the app, a gift card bundle and a 43” TV – sweet right?! By simply downloading the app on their city-issued or personal device, employees could enter their name to win the gift card bundle. They simply stopped by our table during the event, showed their app and dropped their name into a fish bowl. The TV however, took a bit more effort! Employees had to download the app and complete a survey within the app. The survey was filled with 10 general questions that would help me gauge initial reactions to the app – information I need to improve the app!
There’s so much more to say when it comes to mobile app technology, especially at the intersection of employee engagement. I have no doubt that as this project progress, I’ll have even more lessons learned. But for now, I’m relishing in a successful app launch and a solid phase I. Tomorrow I’ll point my eyes towards prepping for strategic changes in phase II!