3 must-have apps

Ami Kapilevich is creator of the Vodacom Rugby App, now on 90 000+ downloads and 1.1m+ sessions.

They’re good because they follow the three rules of app-making, says Ami Kapilevich.

I got a new phone recently. But this time I didn’t automatically port all my apps onto my new device. I wanted to clear the mobile desktop a little. Start afresh. Sort of a little digital spring-cleaning, if you will.

But along the increasingly groovy native extras like Health and Weather, and the absolute no-brainers like WhatsApp, Twitter and Cricinfo, there were some apps I simply had to keep.

 The Practical App: Loadshed

2015-03-13 10.05.43Developers: Virtual Architects / Publisher: MADE Agency

South Africa has been identified – by PricewaterhouseCoopers, no less: http://www.pwc.co.za/en/press-room/digital-era.jhtml – as being on the brink of a digital revolution. Now all we need is electricity, right? Needless to say, it wasn’t long before developers (working to the drone of the generator outside, no doubt) had a number of load shedding apps in response to SA’s power crisis. Even Eskom released a loadshedding app. It wasn’t very good.

The golden rule with all apps is keep it simple, so for me Loadshed is the winner. With a few taps you select your area(s) and the app tells you if you have juice for the day. My only criticism is that it doesn’t currently allow notifications – but many people prefer that.

A quick aside: interesting to note that the other country with apps for loadshedding is Nepal – a country on the UN’s slightly awkward Least Developed Country list.

The Smooth Operator: Imdb

imdbDevelopers: Imdb / Publisher: Imdb

The second rule of building apps is: don’t just replicate the website. But there’s always an exception. The Imdb [Internet Movie Database] app is actually BETTER than the website. It’s incredibly fast, super smooth and just so pretty that I want to play with it for no reason other than to marvel at how fast, smooth and pretty it is. (And write scathing reviews of awful movies.)

If I knew anything about coding, I’m convinced the code beneath this app would deserve some sort of prize. With the amount of backend work that must have gone into integrating it with the Internet’s biggest movie database, it’s no wonder they developed it in-house – and the results show what the benefits of growing your own dev capacity can be.

Tinkering with this app makes me want to stand and clap afterwards, and renews my hope for peace in the Middle East.

The Good Sport: Vodacom Rugby App

rubgy appDevelopers: Maxxor / Publisher: New Media Publishing

Full disclosure: this one is my baby!

The app was created primarily as a live Super Rugby stats cruncher for players and teams, but quickly grew to encompass a range of functionality and tournaments. Uniquely, it ranks players in 28 categories – not just the top three, we show you how many tackles every single player in the competition made.

When Super Rugby released what looks like a very official app at the beginning of this year, we all sat up and took notice. And at first glance it’s a nifty looking thing. But it’s a bit buggy and the Live Match feature is not working. Rule number 3 (and one I’ve broken more often than I’d like to admit): don’t add features unless they’re working 100%.

On the other hand you have an app like Ultimate Rugby, which is an absolute gem. It’s the leading rugby app in the world for a very good reason. Slick, deep, and with a brand-building web and social presence. It’s even endorsed (and, I’m led to believe, part owned) by Brian O’Driscoll.

But by offering granular stats and ranking players in tournaments like the Currie Cup, the Vodacom Rugby app still manages to do things that Ultimate Rugby doesn’t. And that’s a remarkable achievement.

So I strongly recommend that you download it immediately. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Download the app – search the App Store for Vodacom Rugby.

Any bugs you think need fixing on the Rugby app? Here’s your platform – comment below.

Click here to see the Vodacom account on our main site.

Written by Ami Kapilevich

One thought on “3 must-have apps

  1. Thanks Ami – the IMDb app should be required downloading for everyone at MultiChoice (or maybe it already is, and I’m just a late developer).

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *