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App Spotlight: Informant 5

App Spotlight: Informant 5

Posted in Mobile App Spotlight on May 31, 2017

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Recently we had an opportunity to speak with Keith Norris , the CEO at Fanatic Software about Informant 5

Please share with us the backstory of what motivated you to create this app.

We wanted to build an app that helped us stay organized. At the time there wasn't anything else that integrated calendar & task together. We feel that apps that only do Calendar OR tasks are just insufficient. You really can't manage day w/ out both. We have been building Pocket Informant as a personal productivity software for close to 20 years on various platforms going back to the Pocket PC days. We use it every day ourselves so it is constantly getting tested and improved based on our, and our customers feedback.

Do you have any recommendations or advice for others wanting to create a mobile app?

Don't build (only) a free app. Too many people are building apps and just giving it away for free. If you can't build something that people will pay for (eventually), your future in the business is limited. Too many good apps and good ideas fail because they didn't have a monetization strategy. Start by solving a problem that someone has, then ask them to pay you for it.

How did you decide which platforms to release your app on and do you plan on releasing your app to other platforms?

We are heavy users of apple products internally so that is where our primary efforts are on the iOS (iPad & iPhone), and we have a Mac Desktop version that will be released as a 1.0 version soon. We also have an Android version, and are planning to get an update to that one out reasonably soon. We are also working on an online offering as well.

How is your app different than the rest of the market? Which unique need does it fill?

Informant is a full featured task AND a full featured calendar app. There are others who do one of the other well, but Informant is really the best at doing both together. We also now have a desktop app (for mac) that makes it more than just an excellent mobile app.

What features do you hope to roll out to your app in the future?

We are adding a Watch app, and sync with additional platforms such as PlanPlusOnline and others. Task collaboration, delegation, Touch bar, and windows/web access are on our radar as well

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the creation of this app?

Using it personally. I rely on it daily. It has extraordinary utility. I literally use it in numerous interactions every week, at work at home, in the grocery store, in meetings at church, etc. The utility is endless.

What is the coolest or most innovative feature of your app?

Our most innovative features have been:

1) New SmartBar, it's a 2 dimensional navigation menu,

2) Travel Assist; allows users to schedule appointments during scheduled trips to different timezones,

3) In App Customer support - Not sure if it is innovative, but is definitely cool. Most app developers don't even do real customer support. We answer every question and most with in 24 hours.

4) Customization: I doubt you would find a more customizable app in this category. We have user defined filters, views, and even custom navigation options.

5) Weather, integrated with the calendar.

6) Mac Ecosystem: iPhone/iPad + Mac Desktop app

7) We were the first to do location based alarms (even ahead of apple), and offered custom recurrence rules before anyone.

What surprised you most in your journey to create this app?

How very complex creating a calendar can actually be. (daylight savings, recurrence patterns, sync, etc.) You would think at times were building a time machine with how complex this stuff can be.

Another surprise is how passionate our customers can be. Mostly they love us, sometimes they hate us, but we are really surprised, impressed, and just grateful, for how passionate our customers are.

Which other mobile apps or technology have inspired you?

We are primarily driven by the new additions/changes in the Apple iOS APIs. We like to make sure we take advantage of the latest innovations offered by apple. Over the years things like; native data access, location based alerts, such as force touch, ibeacons, and touch bar have all inspired us to say "how can we use that in our app. It has been fun.

You can view Informant 5 here

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