Development: Balancing Present and Future Needs

Rahnuma Feist-Hassan, operations manager at aio*, on new navigation and features in the latest iteration of the company’s app.

There are several considerations that have to be taken into account when planning a development cycle. Do we focus on features or do we spend time on back-end changes that will future proof the app but not be immediately apparent to our users. Do we focus on usability or do we make sure the aesthetics are pleasing. None of these aspects are mutually exclusive, but when you’re a startup with limited time and resources, you need to make some trade-offs.

When we released the first version of the aio* app, our priority was to get it into user hands as quickly as possible so that we could start getting some feedback on our features and ultimately on our business idea. This time round, having received positive feedback on the app’s functionality, we’ve spent more time refining the user experience elements, so that the tasks performed on aio* can be carried out faster.

The new app has been redesigned to improve the layout and make it easier to navigate. We’ve also taken the time to polish the it’s appearance, using icons to signpost information in the app more clearly. We’ve worked hard to make changes to the back-end to ensure that it’s easier to add new features in future releases so that we can expand our offering.

While this release isn’t heavy on new features, we do have a couple of them such as the ability to attach receipts sent from your email to your transactions, or the ability to search through spend and request categories when attaching them to a transaction. My favourite new addition is the ability to add emojis in all the text fields, so that you can now send requests or notes with cakes, hammers, and smiley faces in them. Sometimes, it’s the small things!

Another thing I’m excited about is the internationalisation of the app, which means we can now translate the app into different languages and eventually offer different currencies. As a first attempt, we’ve already translated the app into German, largely thanks to our CTO Max, with a small aside by me.