In Part I of this series we discussed the importance of having a marketing vision and plan before embarking on your new App project. Our next topic is also an important part of your preliminary work before you get into the meat of your App. Mobile Apps are currently mostly distributed through vendort-specific App Stores such as:

Every App Store has its own unique guidelines relating to Apps that it will accept into the store. Some App Stores are much more stringent than others (Apple has by far the most draconian rules).

You need to carefully and in detail study the guidelines for each App Store. Even the smallest infraction of the review can derail your App idea. It is much cheaper to find out at this stage that your App idea is a violation of the guidelines than when you have invested tens of thousands of pounds in having your App created!
Let’s have a look at a few examples…

1. Search And Rescue Dispatch App

This App idea is to create an iPhone App with a single red button in it. In an emergency, if a user clicks the button, their GPS co-ordinates are transmitted to an emergency dispatch centre. The centre sends out a search and rescue team to recover the user.
This sounds like a great idea until we check section 4.3 of the App Store Review Guidelines which states:
4.3 Apps that use location-based APIs for emergency services will be rejected
This single line of the guidelines means that we cannot distribute our App on the App Store and so we should not progress with it.

2. Case Law App

This App will present legal case law summaries and details to Android tablet owners. The App is planned to be distributed on the Google Play Store. The owner plans to charge a recurring monthly subscription from inside the App using his company PayPal account.
Again this sounds reasonable until we consult the In-app purchases section of the guidelines:
Developers offering additional content, services or functionality within another category of app downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play’s in-app billing service as the method of payment, except:
where payment is primarily for physical goods or services (e.g., buying movie tickets, or buying a publication where the price also includes a hard copy subscription); or
where payment is for digital content or goods that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g., buying songs that can be played on other music players).

We can see here that this App will be rejected because it does no use the App Store specific billing mechanism. However, this App idea is salvageable providing that it is rewritten to use the App Store specific billing mechanism.

3. Corporation Tax Calculator

This App will allow UK business owners with Microsoft Surfaces to enter financial information and have their annual Corporation Tax liability calculated. The plan is for the App to download some new code from a web server every year which will reflect changes in Corporation Tax legislation. Our problem here is in section 3.9 of the App Certification Requirements:

3.9 All app logic must originate from, and reside in, your app package
Your app must not attempt to change or extend the packaged content through any form of dynamic inclusion of code that changes how the application behaves with regard to Store certification requirements. Your app should not, for example, download a remote script and subsequently execute that script in the local context of the app package.

Conclusion

Do your homework on your App Store specific requirements to find out early if your App idea violates any of the guidelines. If in doubt, contact the App Store and find out what their opinion on your idea is. Also bear in mind that the App Stores are run by enormous companies. This means they are not going to make an exception for your App! Make sure you follow the guidelines!

Next: Writing Your Requirements

In our next article we will examine how to articulate your App idea into requirements that can be used to plan out your Aoo.

Nick is the CEO of McKenna Consultants Ltd, based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK. Nick is 1 of only 6 Certified Scrum Coaches in the UK. McKenna Consultants are a professional team of computer programmers delivering the highest quality software specialising in a broad range of technologies for windows, web-based and mobile applications, including apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile. McKenna Consultants also deliver Agile coaching, consultancy and training to organisations of all sizes. For more information on the services that Nick and McKenna Consultants provide, please visit: http://www.mckennaconsultants.com/