App Creation #59 – App Design – Content

Content for an app may already exist. This may be stored on a database, appear on a website, an RSS feed or you may have the unenviable job of starting completely from scratch.

So let’s take a look at a few examples…

Website

The most obvious data source for information is of course a website. Maybe you are utilising the content from your own site and wish to feature this in an app? Common choices of websites that work well within an app environment are those that offer rich details into news, reviews, previews, blogs, editorials and databases that include trivia, encyclopaedic knowledge and so on.

API

Facebook API
Facebook API

API short for ‘Application Program Interface’ allows you to tap into data in an advanced way, although the amount of information available is dependent on the API itself. Many website giants feature an API, allowing other websites and more importantly in our case ‘apps’ to feature content and share services. This may also result in the ability to login to your app using Facebook login credentials for example.

RSS Feed

Really Simple Syndication commonly known as RSS for short, is a collection of web based formats that allow websites to share information particularly news, however it can also expand to other areas as well.

With these feeds, content can be gathered and featured on other websites and indeed elsewhere.

RSS feed example
RSS feed example

User Created Content

Not all content is professionally written. In fact the World Wide Web is full of user opinions, reviews and discussion. This powers a whole universe of comparison, amateur experiences and a second layer of useful advice. Is your app suitable for such a gathering of data?

Disqus discussion
Disqus discussion

If not, is there any way you could incorporate it? Building a community around your app is a superb way of achieving positive notoriety while also providing continued app accesses as people track the conversations and user information.

Permissions

If your app is going to rely on external sources of information, you should of course always ask for permission, even if only as a courtesy. The data may be freely available; however it may still be legally protected.

Even without any protection of any kind, content providers won’t be best pleased if you do not correctly acknowledge and respect the source, so insure that you follow any guidelines they provide and most importantly keep them on your side. If you can strike a rapport with them and reach the point where you can share a few friendly conversations, no doubt they will offer advice and additional access to the areas of content you require.

Offline Content

Unfortunately, having a permanent connection to the online world isn’t always achievable. Either the device doesn’t have a form of mobile internet connection or worse they are in a zone where the coverage is extremely limited.

If your app depends on information that is almost completely online, your app will suffer in these situations. This would be a good time to consider whether content can be stored locally to the device your app is running on. For example, an app that relies on presenting map related information that fails while out in the countryside is of no use to anyone.

App Creation Series

There are literally hundreds of thousands of applications and games available to download using the digital marketplace. These range from basic clocks to fully fledged 3D gaming experiences rivalling even the leading portable devices that usually only specialise in this field.

Your challenge is competing with this vast library of already impressive offerings which, although a daunting prospect to the fledgling traveller, can be navigated successfully with the right ideas and implementation. Whether you want to create an income generator or simply desire recognition for your efforts, this book will aim to show you the path and inspire your imagination to overflow with possibilities.

Allow James Woodcock to guide you through the wilderness and raise your chances of realising your development dreams by detailing different routes with this light hearted tour of the Apps terrain. Featuring a myriad of exciting and surprising examples, you can glean important suggestions for your own creation.

App Creation Series Index:
App Creation – Beginners Guide to App Design, Development and Marketing

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James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.