How Hollywood Thinking Can Help Mobile App Development

Right brain versus left brain

Analytic versus creative

While everyone uses a bit of both sides, would most agree that software programmers by training and disposition exhibit more analytical than creative tendencies?

Not that long ago – less than ten years – nearly all enterprise mobile apps were text based. And, of course, the wireless Industrial mobile devices were primarily monochrome at that time (and many are still in use today). Software mobility programmers didn’t have to worry about graphics or colors or visual designs because it was all text. All they had to do was program mobile code to reflect Visio logic flow charts. These were straight forward programming tasks.

The exact date of when the world of mobile programming was turned upside down is debatable. Many would argue it really started in earnest on January 9, 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at MacWorld. It changed once again on January 27, 2010 when Steve introduced the iPad at a press conference in San Francisco.

Since then, mobile software programmers have been forced to consider and include visual design elements as they never had before. Abruptly, the analytical programming guys were also tasked to be creative. Talk about fish out of water!

So, how can IT managers today help those analytical programming guys address creative design image concerns and needs?

Take a hint from Hollywood.

Movies are complex visual creations, just like mobile apps. And, with the advent of computer created graphic special effects, movies have increasingly become huge technology IT projects.

However, movie directors don’t use Visio logic flow charts to construct the plot outline of a movie. Why? Logic flow charts don’t convey much information beyond what to do next if the answer is yes or the answer is no.

Movie directors need more contextual visual content and information. They use story boards.

Story boards are short-hand visual representations of all of the design and graphic elements that may be included in a single scene on the silver screen. Story boards are collaborative efforts from and used by graphic artists, designers, editors, and many others.

A storyboarding technique can be employed to assist programmers to aid their development of a uniform look and feel for their mobile screens, too. The best news is that everyone already has a handy tool on your desktop for just such a purpose: PowerPoint.

PowerPoint is a nifty graphic tool that can be utilized to create storyboards for an entire mobile app – screen-by-screen and function-by-function. And, using the embedded hyperlink capabilities in PowerPoint, one can simulate simple navigation to show what will happen if one pushes a screen button or enters a specific value.

The best part of using a PowerPoint storyboard is that it is a realistic visual representation of your mobile app that can quickly be created so that executives and other interested parties in your company can grasp intent, review content, and give final approval prior to any code being written.

Mock-up menu screen created in Powerpoint

Your company may save both time and money if you have collaborative meetings with your creative marketing team and your analytical programming team to hash out what is possible and what not possible before you have expensive project creep.

As the saying goes, one picture can be worth a thousand words and storyboards are a simple way to move forward with complex mobile application development.

Author: HorneMobile

World Traveler. Novelist with a day job. SME on supply chain solutions. SME on supply chain mobility. SME on Enterprise ERP solutions.

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