Chapter 8

Extra App Features

Do users rate or review?

Ratings and reviews are now the way of the internet. They are one of the top pieces of user generated content. In marketplace software, ratings can bolster users trust in one another. When publicly visible, search engines will also lean on this data to improve search results.

Amazon, Yelp, Google, and Airbnb rely heavily on customer generated reviews. Services like Glassdoor also use feedback, but instead of relying on customers it is built for employees to review their employers.

Does it use GPS or location services?

If you’re building a Native App, there are a number of native tools to plot a user’s location. Unfortunately, your ability to leverage certain location services on a mobile device will depend heavily on *why you need it*. For obvious reasons, having access to someone’s location comes with great responsibility.

The level of complexity involved with GPS features largely depends on how precise you need the coordinates. There can also be wide ranging results given the diverse quality within people’s devices.

Tools like Leaflet and JVestorMap are great for building map interfaces but Google Maps API still seems to be the reigning king. The Google Places feature can greatly improve a users experience searching for an address.

Are there reports on app data?

For tools like and Zoho, visualizing user data is a core part of their value. When planning a product, it’s also worth noting who (if anyone) can view reports. Sometimes basic reports for admin users is enough, whereas other times the value of the app depends heavily on reports.

Does it use machine learning or data science?

The terms *machine learning* and *data science* have moved to the front of the public consciousness in recent years. If you can corral large enough datasets, this could be a viable addition to a software project. In short, they involve leveraging data to enhance the users experience in some way. Target, the shopping empire, boasts one of the greatest data science experiments of all times. Allegedly, their understanding of customer buying patterns allows them to predict when a female customer is pregnant, in many cases before she even knows.

Social media uses similar data to curate a feed of content that you are most likely to engage.

Rather than starting with data science however, it’s worth remembering that successful software leaves a natural trail of data. Postponing machine learning efforts, unless mission critical, will likely free up significant resources.

Does it use any virtual or augmented reality?

Virtual and augmented reality are complex computing techniques that either manipulate or completely alter a users sensory experience. While the topics are cool to discuss, their implications are largely untested outside of pure entertainment.

Haagen Dazs Ice Cream built a unique implementation into the cartons of their ice cream. While a clever notion, it was hardly more than a PR stunt.

Is there an activity feed?

Displaying an activity feed can be a great way of highlighting product usage. Facebook’s feed popularized the notion of using an activity feed as the backbone for user engagement. Without much adoption however, it could have an adverse affect.

Does it communicate to other hardware, other than the device?

Bluetooth collections specifically can allow devices in close proximity to connect and exchange data. As IoT (internet of things) devices grow in popularity, this will become more of a norm especially with native apps.

Does it integrate with other services?

A large part of software power comes from the ability to connect with other systems. Many tools exist with the sole intention of providing integrations and increasing the power of other applications.


Previously mentioned, simplifies payment processing.


Easypost is a great integration to simplify shipping logistics among many different carriers.


Intercom allows any app to provide real time support to customers with less than a few hours of setup.


Sentry sophisticated error monitoring to illuminate issues you users are having and help to work through solutions.

Full Contact

Full Contact increases your understanding of users by curating their social accounts across the web.


Zapier is a single integration that unlocks a marketplace of other tools and services that can compliment your technology.

These tools are just the beginning of the integrations that can be used to amplify your apps effectiveness and save time. When considering a third party integration, it’s important to understand the tradeoffs. For less mainstream products, there can be additional costs around integrating or maintaining the integration over time.