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Budget app a waste of money

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, May 29th, 2012 - 17 comments
Categories: budget2012 - Tags:

National is crowing that 8,600 people downloaded the Budget App. Pity it doesn’t work. Crashes every time on my phone and my mates’. Everyone on twitter says it doesn’t work.

The one person who got it to work says its not actually the budget, just 15 pages of ‘key facts’. And, of course, you can view the whole budget via your phone or tablet’s browser already, without an expensive ‘app’.

The Nats reckon the $59,000 cost ($6.90 per download) is ‘free’ because it came from printing fewer paper editions – a bit like how if you save $100 at a sale it doesn’t matter if you set $60 on fire.

17 comments on “Budget app a waste of money”

  1. shorts 1

    app works for me (iphone 4s) – took ages for the info to load… had to close app and retry several times but once there its, well, there (the data finally loaded the day after the budget was announced so was pretty much redundant)

    I project managed an app for work last year and from my experience the entire process was a complete waste of time & money given the results (similar dl’s & spend to the budget app, for less platforms) – this with the benefit of hindsight, we had a very good app that constantly updates but even with some very targeted marketing we didn’t get the numbers we’d like using it…

    You’re better off making a website (or microssite) that displays well and functions on smartphones (hint hint the standard)

    There is a lot to take this govt to task over – this is not a major one in other words

    [lprent: Have to round out the bugs in the beta version of the current project first. But I’d agree. An hardware engineer did the IOS as a side project because it is more a matter of showing it is feasible for marketing reasons rather than functional. I’m working on making the embedded infrastructure work. It is heading to certification this week. Then the many maintenance tasks here will get some attention. ]

    • Zetetic 1.1

      So, it works, late, on a top-end smartphone, and supplies useless data.

      On budget day, I didn’t know you had to go to the google play sure to download the app, so i went to the treaury site – it asked if I was on a mobile device and then became a smartphone friendly budget interface that worked and gave full info. Actually useful, not a $59000 gimmick.

      • Malcolm 1.1.1

        Probably got the same data as the app anyway. I am guessing the app was just a simplified browser to access the site. Most of the developement cost would probably have been on creating/configuring/testing the CMS to deliver and present the data. At least it should be in place for future budgets etc. Although claiming they saved the printed cost for each download of the app is deceitful as most people who downloaded probably wouldn’t have got the paper version of the budget otherwise. Advertising you have an app to deliver the budget is more media/buzzword friendly than saying you have a website, just need to through in ‘the cloud’ or ‘virtual’ in there somewhere and you could score well in the marketing jargon bingo game.

        • Deano 1.1.1.1

          If the app had just reproduced everything you get through the browser, that would at least have been useful but all you got (when it didn’t crash) was the fluffy ‘facts for taxpayers’ BS.

  2. Rich 2

    I was going to make an app that alerts one when the government is lying – the trouble is, it would be continuously bingling.

    • Matthew 2.1

      There is already an app for that, its called the ‘tonight in politics’ section of One News

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    No, not a waste. A step in the right direction. It’s called development and we need more of it and to stop whinging when first instances of a new technology aren’t perfect.

    • Enough is Enough 3.1

      Agreed, the more information we have available to us the better. hopefully they can sort the problems out in the next 12 months

      • Deano 3.1.1

        but, there’s no additional information available. It’s less than what’s on the browser.

        And if it ever came to be that there was budget data that was only available by smartphone app, well that would be a serious problem.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          but, there’s no additional information available. It’s less than what’s on the browser.

          Yep, so more development necessary.

          And if it ever came to be that there was budget data that was only available by smartphone app, well that would be a serious problem.

          The data should be available through an open standard API which can then be used by any programmer who wants to make an app for whichever platform.

          • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.1.1.1


            The availability of information is very rarely a development issue. That’s content, and shouldn’t need a dedicated developer if the app has been coded by someone who is actually worth paying.

            The data should be available through an open standard API which can then be used by any programmer who wants to make an app for whichever platform.

            Now you’re getting somewhere. That’s what the money should have been spent on- that and making sure that they could port from Word (or whatever program the budget is usually prepared in) to their API.

            • Roflcopter 3.1.1.1.1.1

              One of the basic questions they didn’t consider in the development was the life-span of the “budget event”. When the lifespan of the budget information is only going to be of use for basic reading and analysis over a short period of time, there was no real need to even develop an app for it. What’s the point of having a dedicated app button for an event that occurs once a year? And couple that with the need to develop for multiple OS’s (android, iOS etc), and changes that may need to be made to apps based on possible OS changes in the future.

              The better approach would have been to assume that if that people found it of use once a year, let them bookmark the site on their mobile browser, and develop a microsite based on the HTML5/CSS3 suite of tools to deliver a browsing experience independent of any application. Maintain the control of the presentation of site contents with the website, no need to pass it to an application.

              The budget document was probably drafted in Word, but wouldn’t have been laid out and finalised for print in it. That document was laid out in InDesign. CS6 has a great set of tools for further re-purposing content across a large number of mobile devices, the ability to see how that content looks prior to publishing, and the ability to generate the appropriate code. This code is then managed by the site, which detects the browser that is looking at it, and adjusts its viewing accordingly.

              Was this a $60k project? No, paid too much and probably got caught up in the hype of trying to be too clever.

              Could this have been done for $10k? No, not for the first year, but ongoing you could just about squeeze it out for that.

  4. Steve 4

    It worked fine on the iPad – tablet edition has a lot more in it like expenditures tables when compared to the iPhone edition

  5. illuminatedtiger 5

    It took 59k to develop a smart phone app? We all got fleeced.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Yeah I know guys who would have done the job just as good for $10K or less.

      They wouldn’t have been English’s mates though.

  6. captain hook 6

    how about an app for poverty, doctors bills and more teachers.
    all the rest is just the sort of nonsense that the national party specialises in.
    all talk and no do except when its cash falling into their own pockets.

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