We reviewed the IntoWine Food & Wine Pairing App a short time ago, (you can read the full review here) but we also wanted to find out more background to this remarkable app. We interviewed Brad Prescott the developer and he provided us with a very honest and comprehensive interview. It reveals the trials and tribulations of app development as well as the successes and rewards that make it such a worthwhile exercise. Read our exclusive interview below…
1 Please explain how your app was originally thought of and what were your thoughts behind the marketplace, specifically?
We have a ton of wine recommendation content on the parent site IntoWine.com (http://www.IntoWine.com), including a food and wine pairing tool (http://www.intowine.com/food-wine-pairing-tool ). As the app market was starting to explode, I asked myself what content on IntoWine would be most useful as a wine app. I didn’t want to make an app that was just another way to access the web site. Wine and food pairing and wine recommendations became the obvious choice. The tool is just super handy at the grocery store or wine store when you are planning a meal or if you need to bring a certain type of wine to a dinner party.
2 Explain the design, how you came up with the colors and themes.
We just tried to keep it user friendly and crisp. Ease of navigation is key.
3 Who do you see as the main target market for this app in terms of age, genre and expenditure?
The app (and IntoWine.com as a whole) are both geared towards the wine curious. These are people who have realized they love wine and have embarked on the life long journey to learn about it. There is just so much to learn about wine before you ever feel like an “expert”. Having guidance, be it a friend who knows more than you do about wine, your local wine shop owner, or an app like what we have with the Food and Wine Pairing App, is key to learning. Otherwise you are just tasting randomly, which is fun of course, but not ideal for education yourself.
4 How long did it take from the original planning to the production process of this app?
A few months but it was not a full time project. I outsourced the development to an excellent app developer, Sumit Kataria, who is based in India. He was patient, helpful, and most importantly willing to work within my budget.
5 How do you predict sales to be, is there a good solid market for this style of app?
For an app like this that isn’t a game or gimmick, it’s tough to know what constitutes “success” as apps as a channel are so new and evolving so rapidly. I mainly just wanted to be in the game and learning. The whole process has been eye opening and very much worth the effort. I can’t wait until we do the upgrade to version 2.
6 What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome regarding this app development?
Promotion on the iTunes store. The app is but one of many features associated with IntoWine.com. iTunes is great in so many ways but one way they are not is that the search function to find apps is very poor. They base their results on sales and activity (comments and reviews) and often reward the apps that have the most time and money to spend gaming their system. I know there are a lot of wine apps that aren’t nearly as useful as ours that “rank” better in the store.
7 Would you consider developing apps for third parties?
I did and I would again.
The App Store
8 What have you learnt from the App Store?
I can see why Apple gets some push back from developers. Apple has their system in place and it’s not very flexible. I can see why they do it this way but it makes the launch process much more difficult. My wish is that they would really invest in a robust iTunes search platform that takes into account more than just sales and activity. You could build the best app in the world but iTunes won’t “rank it” highly unless it has sales and activity associated with it. Sort of a chicken and an egg issue. If it were me, I would hire category managers and have their input factor in concerning which apps get featured. Finding the best apps in a sea of apps is tough for the consumer.
9 Have Apple supported you well with your App development?
For the most part yes. Their launch system is very sensitive. You must jump through every hoop they put in front of you or your app will never launch. Sometimes the hoops are frustrating or their response time slow. For the most part I am happy though.
10 What next, are you developing another app, would you go for the same genre again, if not which?
We will just keep improving our same app for now. Refining it and making it that much more useful.
11 What do you think about TheAppWhisperer.com? Have we helped you? Would you recommend us? Have we been supportive?
TheAppWhisperer.com is great. I am proud to be a part of it. Thanks for including us.