Thousands of apps have been built by people all over the world during the AppMachine beta. The first entirely self-made AppMachine apps to reach the app stores were those of Club Red, a disco in the Dutch town of Leeuwarden, and Travel With Bender, a travel blog. We asked Club Red’s, Martin Meindertsma, and travel enthusiast, Josh Bender, how it was to work with AppMachine.
“All went well, it is quite easy to work with AppMachine,” says Martin, responsible for marketing and PR at Club Red.
What did Club Red want an app for?
“We see an app as a convenient way to keep our customers informed. People spend less and less time behind their pc, and reach for their phone more often. So next to a website, you want an app. For us, it is a way to show what we are up to. When we organise a festival, it can be announced in the app. We are organising a large event during Queen’s Day, so we show that in the app. The POI building block is nice to use, so you can show where the events will take place.”
Wasn’t designing the app difficult?
“No, I don’t think so. If you know what you are doing, and you know the fundamentals of design, then you are able to adapt your app with the color settings to your own branding. I did make my own top images. I was impressed by the simplicity. The support from AppMachine was good as well. They behaved politely and were clear. I had some questions and received professional answers. There are some minor things that still need to be sorted out like, there is something wrong with our Photos building block, but that’s what a beta is for and they are on the job.”
Any tips for future users of AppMachine?
“Yes, keep your texts short and use some photos inside longer texts in the information building block. An app differs from a website. Users read apps differently.”
“We were looking at new ways of engaging with the readers of our blog and a mobile app was a natural progression of that,” says Josh Bender, of travel blog Travel With Bender. “It means readers can view blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates wherever they are – even without an internet connection.”
How did you hear about AppMachine?
“I read an article about it in an online technology blog and it piqued my interest quickly because of the writer’s comparison to other tools which AppMachine left in the dust. I have tried other app building tools in the past, and they were either very limiting or not very cost-effective. The pricing model of AppMachine also really appealed to me since I could see the working app and even tweak it without any costs. I also loved the live preview tool for iPhone which made development and testing super easy.”
What was it like, building your app with AppMachine?
“After I watched the introduction video, all the features just made a lot of sense. I liked the “block” concept and was very intuitive adding new blocks, configuring options and rearranging them. As with any product in beta, there were a couple minor things missing or incomplete, but the overall experience building the app was very smooth compared to other tools I had tried. As a web developer and software developer myself, I liked that the features had been really well designed and executed. Like the ability to automatically scan a website for images and easily incorporate those into an app – very neat. At the time of publishing my app the Push Notifications block wasn’t fully ready, but I look forward to using that in the future.”
Did you need support? How were your experiences?
“I was really impressed with the fast, friendly response of the AppMachine team. I’m a real stickler for customer service as I run a business as well. So it’s always refreshing to interact with people who love what they do and actually care about their customers. This was evident in the way the support team communicated through the process and showed real initiative. I had some questions along the way and they always responded quickly and addressed my queries.”
Any tips for future AppMachine-users?
“Yes, take some time to play around with each of the blocks and get familiar with them. Then draw up a rough plan of how you want your app to look and perform (even a sketch on a piece of paper is fine). You definitely want to show the app preview to a few friends or potential users to get their feedback. That was very helpful for me to refine the app and often isn’t easy to do with alternative app building tools. If you have some graphic editing skills, then you will find incorporating custom graphics pretty easy. If not, there are some nice background images and icons to choose from. I would highly recommend AppMachine without a second thought. I realise the purpose of the beta is too smooth out any bugs and once the product is officially launched I know it will be a game-changer for the app development industry.”
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