Innovating a Business App for Mobile

by Bulldog Drummond

Patrick Dodd is a good friend of Bulldog’s. His creativity and thought-leadership inspires us — he creates music, he manages Blinksale, produces SerialBox Presents and even finds the time to surf. Perhaps most importantly, he loves what he does.

We sat down with Patrick to discuss his recent work with his partners at Blinksale, designing a disruptive digital interface that takes an invoicing application mobile.

Why create an iPhone app?

The reasoning behind the Blinksale iPhone app was two-fold. With the iPhone growing as a business platform, we wanted our users to have access to manage business invoicing on-the-go. We also noticed a percentage of our users asking us to support a native app on the iOS platform. And because the iPhone audience continues to grow, we wanted to make sure to utilize the App Store platform to attract new users.

How did design thinking come into play?

We couldn’t just take the Blinksale web app and shove it into an iOS web view. Mobile is inherently different and requires rethinking pretty much everything. We used our experience creating other mobile apps, considered how the visual language would have to change and adapt to mobile, and took the time to play with ideas. It’s not a linear process, it’s a mindset for approaching problem-solving. We made time to combine play with design thinking.

Why was design at the forefront of the project?

Because that’s how Blinksale works. If we had simply designed in the browser and plugged in familiar libraries, we would end up doing what everyone else is doing. We love our devs, but we also love design. Design is planning and we plan before we build. I can’t imagine another way of doing it.

What makes the Blinksale team unique?

The beauty of this specific design collaboration is that the Blinksale team is remote. Jared (lead designer) is in the Dallas area, our lead engineer/CTO Istvan is in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and I’m in San Diego. Although Jared is extremely thoughtful in his design discipline, Istvan and I help flesh out the ideas with feedback from the beginning. Our lives all look very different, but combining our passion for Blinksale turned out beautifully.

Why should businesses and companies integrate apps into what they do?

As most app developers know, there are two types of apps: apps that save people time and apps that help them pass the time. With the Blinksale app, the goal is to create a scenario where users have the ability to use their thumbs to manage what has been restricted to desktops for 10+ years. To date, 75% of Blinksale users who use iOS have downloaded the app to send an invoice.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share with other companies hoping to integrate an app into their business?

  • React, adapt, evolve. Find that niche in your business and how you want to interact with your customers on one of two levels –saving time or passing time. It’s vital for understanding how to integrate an app into your business model.
  • Look at things through a new lens. Never underestimate the power of listening to what your users and customers have to say on a particular subject.
  • Every person counts. Adopting a collective mindset can take you far. By brainstorming and carving time to discuss a wide variety of solutions you can ensure you’re creating the right product for the right audience.
  • Break what you build. Keep an open mind and be willing to start over. In tech there’s always unforeseen hurdles.

Read more about the project here.

Download the app here.

Originally featured on the Bulldog Drummond blog.

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