Map-based services are developed in three phases. First we start off with an idea, then we work on the details. Finally we build a service that sweeps awards and doubles your business.
Mapdon supports you during all phases of the development process – in other words: in conception, prototyping and production. Read more on this page about the typical steps in the process, and about our services.
Conception or defining the goals of the project and the key features of the service
Stop. This is the most critical phase. Before we create any wireframe sketch or a line of code, it is crucial to spend some time on getting the story straight. What are we doing? Who is our target audience? And most importantly: Why are we doing this?
The purpose of concept planning is to save time and money towards the end of the project. The conception phase seeks answers to the most fundamental questions, such as who the users are and how will the service help them in practice.
Is the service used to sell something? Does it work as a search engine or a social platform? Are we talking about an index for other services, or does the map help users to find the way? By answering these and many other questions we ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows their roles in the next phases.
Besides identifying the user groups and defining the core features, the conception phase seeks answers to numerous technical questions. For example, which devices will the visitors use, and which language options should be offered?
The results are collected into a concept plan, which describes the users, contents, functions and other relevant details of the service. The most important functionalities and characteristics of the user interface are usually visualized through wireframe sketches, flowcharts and other reference material.
Prototyping or testing the features in practice and fine-tuning the details
When the vision is clear and the concept plan is done, we start to shake the hypotheses. Quick prototypes help us to focus on the critical features, and ensure we are on the right track.
The prototyping phase produces trial versions that look and feel like the real one. These functional prototypes allow us to simulate real-life use cases, collect feedback, and add to the understanding on the needs of users and other interest groups.
Feedback can be collected through, for example, interviews, surveys or automated analysis programs. The prototypes very quickly inform how the service is received, and how it is used in real situations. Which buttons do users tend to press first, and which ones remain untouched? Are we sure we did not forget anything crucial?
The prototyping phase tends to focus on the features visible to the user, such as the landing page and other key features and contents. This is also where the visualist steps in: graphic designer, interface designer, or other expert in all matters visual.
The underlying idea of prototyping is to recognize false assumptions as early as possible. At the same time it ensures we are not wasting time or money on the wrong things in the production phase. The result of the prototyping is a clear understanding on the critical features of the service, marking the steps to implement the service and a heads-up to guide investment decisions.
Production or building the finalized service and making things happen
The production phase starts with agreeing on the technical requirements and building the back-end systems accordingly. Then, the service is implemented – meaning written out into a program code.
The biggest difference between a prototype and the real service is that the prototype most often has no content management system, or other backend technologies. This is due to the fact that setting up these systems often consumes the most time and money in the project.
During the production phase, the service, website or application is tested continuously on various devices and platforms, test programs and user groups. Experiments, evaluation and fine-tuning go on until the end result meets both the technical quality criteria and the users’ requirements.
Normally the prototyping and production phases run side by side – the prototyping phase might already produce some code that is usable for the final version. On the other hand, the production phase might involve redoing the most critical features over and over again, until the service is ready to be launched.
The production phase usually continues past the release, as the final feedback comes from the outside, and possibly leads to some last fine-tuning. It is also good to remember that a digital service is never really ready – the service providers should come up with a maintenance and development plan at the very latest during the production phase.