Every computer science kid these days seems to have some kind of ‘app idea’. I’m sure you have one too. But how do you know if your idea is going to fly? Is there any way of trying to idea out against some sanity checks before investing time and money into development.


Realtor.ca - good example of Information, Communication, and Localization components implemented in one app

I’m sure there’s plenty of stuff online on the topic. But here’s my 5 cents. The tip comes from professor Umar Ruhi who teaches Mobile Marketing class at the University of Ottawa.

At one of the classes Umar introduced a C-L-I-P components framework for mobile commerce. The framework describes theoretical approach to functionalities of a mobile app helps developers decide which features should be added or eliminated on the stage of conceptualizing.

C-L-I-P stands for Communication, Locatabiltiy, Information, Payment. According to Ruhi’s assumption, a combination of any three of these components will boost your app’s chances for success on the market. So what are those components?

Communication has to do with the kind of communication channel your apps will be using: text, voice, video, data, one-way, two-way, wireless, browsing. A good practical example will be an ability to send an email, chat or fill in a form or leave comments. Skype’s mobile app, IMO.im or any other app that allows sending emails straight from its interface are the examples.

Locatability. Will your app know where you are and what sort of environment you’re in? Can it adapt itself to these settings? I.e. provide text-only version if the connection is bad, or offer a list of nearby restaurants if I am looking for a place to eat. To cut it short, the app should make use of inbuilt GPS-capability or any other location-determining functionality of your device (BlueTooth, WiFi triangulation, etc.) Square, Facebook (places), Google Latitude.

Information. Does your application provide access to unique set of data or presents data in an original way? Any database-driven functionality will be a good example. News apps will fit here too. App examples: Autotrader.ca, ZooCasa, Realtor, Reuters, Metro.

Payment. Is there a way to pay or receive payment using a particular device or application? This feature may be embedded into device/application itself or there should be some sort of convenient way to make use of another payment provider to enable commercial transactions. PayPal, ZoomPass or ScotiaBank mobile app are good example of this component being implemented.

Most of the apps I’ve mentioned have at least this functionality. As I previously said, this framework may come handy when app is being conceptualized or maybe used to identify the direction for adding new features.

Apple’s App Store is an excellent example of almost all four components being implemented. It provides a way for users to communicate with developers and other users by leaving comments and rating the apps. You can also register in the store through your iPhone by filling out the registration form; its location component is somewhat weaker and is based on your registration information (food for thought, Apple). Yet, it’s enough to allow the app to offer specific products for specific markets.

Its information component is huge and consists of humongous database of apps with searching and filtering capabilities;

and last but not least the payment module linked to your credit card which transforms Apple App Store into a standalone, fully functional money making machine.