The app, the concept and progress
At Urlist we have always believed in usability and the need to create services that fulfill users’ expectations. We saw Firefox OS and we were enchanted by the possibilities offered by an open platform and open environment. We felt the thrill of having access to 1.4 billion users that have never used a smartphone. Some of them don’t even have a desktop computer at home – their experience with internet is limited. This, of course, posed some challenges: our app had to be intuitive, self-explanatory and low on bandwidth usage. It also had to perform well on lower end handsets.
We have taken all those factors into consideration and created a new kind of experience. That is how Manana was born: an app to read, save and share your favorite articles. We wanted to enable users to do it offline and save on their data plans. We wanted it to be accessible in many different languages from the start. We wanted it to be fast and simple. Our plans for the app were and are that it should run one task in the best possible way.
We have encountered numerous challenges during the development process. FirefoxOS is an amazing, open platform, but it is also very young and not too many things are set in stone. It is a land of firsts – and as exciting as our journey was, it had these challenges in store for us:
- The user experience had to be the friendliest possible – our audience had mostly no previous knowledge of smartphones
- It was also difficult to get to know and research their expectations
People read and save links all over the world and they deserve to be able to do it in a simple way on even the simplest devices. That is why we chose FirefoxOS.
On the legal and practical side, Mozilla constantly updates and adds to the various aspects of FirefoxOS documentation, but still many things are not certain. Moreover, thanks to the open nature of the HTML5 the app can be used also on Android through Firefox Aurora – which means it can be accessible on more than one mobile platform. We also use Readability API, which to our knowledge has not been used in the FirefoxOS environment before.
From a developer point of view this situation is quite confusing. The guides are short and more user-oriented. A centralized document, outlining everything in one place would be a great help, together with an easy to access guide on how to fulfill all the requirements.
We adopted the same approach both inside the app and in the Marketplace. We believe that the format offered by iubenda gives user a clear overview and we found it beneficial to keep it outside the app. That way we are able to make most out of the iubenda auto-update feature and also preserve the format of the Policy.
What’s in store for the future?
Go ahead and try Manana here.