All posts by Gummicube

How to Build an App People (and the App Store) Will Actually Embrace

App Craft 101: How to Build an App People (and the App Store) Will Actually Embrace

Do you know what the scariest part of mobile app development is? Submitting your app to the Apple App Store. Apple is well known for the high standards it upholds for each of its products. And the App Store is no different.

30% of submissions are outright rejected from the App Store, usually due to reasons that could have been addressed during development and design. While Apple does supply specific guidelines to increase your chances of submission success, there are still numerous nuances that iPad and iPhone developers should be aware of.

Let’s examine three essential elements you need to ensure your app will pass the App Store’s evaluation process and become a hit with users.

Everlasting Value

Will your app still be useful in one year? How about five years from now? Too often, developers focus on producing cloned versions of existing apps, hoping to instantly cash in on their success. Instead, they should concentrate on creating long-term value through original app design and objective improvements for features currently in the space.

One of Apple’s most important clauses is to ‘Create Lasting Value.’ While seemingly obscure, it does raise some important points: Does your app have longevity? Does it improve upon the competition? These are important questions to answer; they’ll ultimately determine your success.

For the questions above, look no further than the App Store itself. It’s home to over a million apps. Chances are good that someone has put out a product similar to your idea. But that’s okay — as long as your unique implementation is better, you’ll ensure you have staying power.

Here’s how Apple’s developer blog explains it: “Before creating your app, take a look at the apps in your category on the App Store and consider how you can provide an even better user experience.” The secret isn’t to create an original solution to a problem, but rather, to create a better solution to a problem than the current offerings.

UI and UX That Users Actually Love to Use

This next point should come as no surprise. After all, if your app isn’t easy or intuitive to operate, who would want to actually utilize it? Apple has exceptionally high standards for UX and UI. It’s what allowed the company to stand out from competitors like Microsoft in the 80s, and it’s still one of their main differentiators today.

If you build and design an app that users love to use, then it’s safe to assume that the App Store evaluators and testers (who are also human) will love it as well. The trick is to find a sweet spot between simplicity and sophistication. Being too simple or too complex can both lead to your app getting rejected.

Strike a fine balance that keeps your app easy to use but provides enough valuable features that your users will enjoy. The best way to do this is to start simple and add features selectively based on market analysis, prototype testing, and constant feedback. Great mobile games are prime examples; while they can be complex and have depth, their UI never bombards users with too many options or actions at once.

Check out Apple’s official list of UI Design Do’s and Don’ts for more guidance. For now, here are a few rules of thumb that every iPhone app developer should abide by:

  1. Only apply labels to buttons if absolutely necessary.
  2. Limit available user actions to four on any particular screen or prompt.
  3. Forgo unnecessarily ornate graphics and decorations. Instead, separate screen elements on a grid with flat colors.
  4. Leverage mockup tools to create prototypes that you can test with actual people. Refine according to patterns in the feedback.

Develop Distinct Branding

As mentioned before, there are over a million apps in Apple’s App Store. So competition isn’t only fierce, it’s crowded. To stand out from the noise, your branding must be as unique as your value proposition. It’s no wonder that each of the top apps right now has their own distinct voice and style.

Never underestimate the importance of developing a strong branding identity. Stay consistent in your overall messaging by paying attention to details like color palette and interface copy. This goes for peripheral material like your social media presence as well. Each interaction with your audience should feel candid and in-character.

Generic messages that sound like they came from robots is the fastest way to lose users. On the other hand, hand-crafted, personalized branding shows potential users that you care. And in turn, they’ll start to care about what you’re doing.

Ready for App Store Success?

Apple’s app review process can seem stringent and mysterious. Sometimes, apps are rejected for a surface-level problem, like too many buttons on the settings screen. Other times, a rejection alludes to a deeper issue with the app that requires more time to address and improve.

Take this constructive criticism to heart. And always strive to adhere to the essential elements we’ve discussed. This will make your final product a stronger contender once it reaches the App Store and will eventually lead to people embracing your app idea.

For more information about app store optimization, visit Gummicube here. Contact Dogtown Media to learn how we can help with the mobile app development and design process.

Marc Fischer HeadshotMarc Fischer is the CEO and co-founder of Dogtown Media, a mobile technology studio based in Venice, California and Montevideo, Uruguay. His company has been recognized as one of the Top Mobile App Developers globally (Clutch Research) and ranked #271 on the INC 500 list of Fastest Growing Companies in America. Marc has over a decade of experience designing, developing, and launching digital products for VC funded startups and Fortune 500's; including Red Bull, Google, CitiBank, and the United Nations.

How To Shop For A Budget Android Smartphone

Google’s Android OS has more than a few things going for it, and is constantly providing new enhancements and innovations to improve the user experience. The one strength that has managed to keep the competition at bay above all else is its openness. In addition to allowing users to download and install apps from anywhere, Android can be extensively customized by swapping UI launchers, installing new keyboards, replacing native apps with third-party applications, and so on.

At a broader perspective, Android’s open-source nature has encouraged many manufacturers and developers to base their hardware around the operating system. Consequently, Android is by far the number one platform by the sheer number of brands, with more than 25,000 different Android devices in use today. Therefore, although iOS limits smartphone buyers to a few overly-priced iPhones, Android offers a wide variety of gadgets to choose from, regardless of need, preference or budget.

If you’re in the market for a cheap smartphone, it goes without saying that your best bet lies with Android. With a myriad of viable options to choose from, however, picking the right device for your money may be a challenge. How do you ensure the smartphone you pick is the best your money can buy?

Below are five strategies that will help you to shop for a budget smartphone successfully.

1. Identify The Compromises To Make

Budget smartphones are “budget” for a reason; they all come with some trade-offs to keep the price tag low. While a proper flagship phone will typically look and feel stylish, and cruise through even the most demanding functions without breaking a sweat, pocket-friendly smartphones rarely tick all the boxes.

To land the best deal, therefore, it’s a good idea to have a list of requirements which your prospective smartphone must meet. For instance, if your top-most priority is mobile photography, the camera and battery life should take precedence over considerations like design and processing power. And if you love gaming, go for the phone that offers the best screen and performance within your budget, while downplaying factors like the camera, elegance, and portability.

identify-compromises

Successfully shopping for a budget smartphone starts with making peace with the fact that you can’t have everything, and then identifying the compromises you can make to strike the best deal.

2. Do Your Research

A smartphone, no matter how cheap, is an investment. Like any investment, due diligence is essential. Sure, your need for a phone may be too urgent to spare the time, but a few minutes of researching online is usually all it takes to trim your options and narrow down to the best picks.

Many experts feature extensive, up-to-date guides on the best budget handsets on the market and are a good place to start your research.

3. Identify The Best Time And Place To Shop

Knowing when and where to buy a smartphone is essential if you’re looking for a bargain. The best time to shop for a budget handset usually comes when new gadgets are released, and previous models become subject to price cuts. If you’re not in that much a rush, you can also wait to shop during holidays like Christmas, when stores usually offer compelling discounts to customers.

3d illustration of a large red SALE tag attached to an upright white touch screen smartphone

As for the place, it’s preferable to visit large stores with a good number of both recently released and older smartphone models, rather than smaller stores which may not have enough handsets to sift through for the best value. Also, keep on the lookout for seasonal sales and daily deals by retailers like Electroworld and CmK, and online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba. Taking advantage of a sale or a daily deal is a sure way of landing a good deal.

4. Buy A Contract Phone

These days, you don’t need to cough out the entire price of your desired smartphone to take it home with you. Contracts with mobile carriers allow buyers on a budget to pay a fraction of the total cost of the phone up-front, and then paying off the rest over time. Smart Communications, for example, offers shoppers in the Philippines great contract deals on some of the latest high-end smartphones.

Contracts are a great way to get your hands on premium gadgets without stretching your budget. If you can live with using one carrier until the term expires, a contract can be an excellent option.

5. Consider A Used Or Refurbished Device

Smartphone technology is advancing at a rapid pace, which means that the new device you buy can only remain trendy for so long. If you’re looking for the best value for your money, therefore, you may have more luck with a used handset. Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and OLX are all swarming with smartphone owners selling their used Droids at remarkable prices.

used-or refurbished device

Alternatively, you can opt for a refurbished version of a high-end phone. Contrary to popular belief, being labeled refurbished doesn’t always mean the gadget was defective. In fact, something as small as improper packaging or the omission of an accessory in the box can send a phone back to the manufacturer. Moreover, refurbished electronics are typically thoroughly tested before they’re reintroduced to the market, and some even come with warranties.

Buying a refurbished or used smartphone is admittedly risky, but with sufficient research and a bit of luck, you can land an unbelievable deal.

It’s never easy to shop for anything when you’re on a stiff budget. Nevertheless, the tips above will go a long way toward helping you get the best smartphone you can afford.

From our friends at ShopNinja
Unity featured

Unity Game Developers Must Pursue ASO Strategies to Ensure Their Success

In some ways, there’s never been a better time to be a mobile game developer. As a leading game engine, the Unity game creation software suite offers an unparalleled level of features, support and platform-independence. Its asset store accommodates development teams of all sizes to iterate quickly and incorporate high-quality assets into their titles while the ample documentation of Unity and its sub-systems makes it easy for even novice game developers to get their apps on the app store. But even with these advantages, there are serious challenges facing mobile game developers today.

Chief among these challenges is the ability to be discovered organically within the storefronts where the mobile game is available for download. Even a cursory search for “puzzle games” or “RTS games” in either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store will offer up thousands of results. Even a game with stellar graphics and unparalleled gameplay can easily be buried under games with lesser gameplay and underwhelming user interfaces if it lacks the downloads, reviews and exposure more established apps possess.

Marketing Challenges

This major challenge can be limited through conventional marketing strategies. Pay-per-click ads, video ads bought on platforms like YouTube, press releases, and influencer collaborations are all ways that mobile games can receive exposure and garner downloads. These traditional approaches to marketing, while offering modest returns, also suffer from several drawbacks.

First, they can be extremely expensive depending on how competitive the area game developers are targeting. For example, RTS games are extremely competitive because these titles rely on a consistent stream of user acquisitions in order to generate revenue. Another downside is that these external marketing measures don’t help users organically find your app on the platform they’re searching in.

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So how can mobile app developers, who have invested a lot of time and effort into their projects, ensure their games get a fair shot at organic exposure on their apps’ respective storefronts? They need to make ASO, or App Store Optimization, a core part of their marketing strategy for their product.

How ASO Helps

For the uninitiated, ASO is a strategy that helps developers position their app within a digital marketplace by analyzing search trends and integrating those findings into an app’s listing. Optimizing the listing helps an app reach users organically through the search interface of an app store like Google Play or Apple’s App Store. At the core of ASO is the notion of making it easier for prospective users to find and engage with your software.

It’s easy to put on blinders and focus on just the content of your game, especially for game developers. Game devs are forever tweaking interface changes, adjusting enemy behavior, and polishing art assets for their games. And with post-launch patches, development on a game arguably never ends.

While this is great for perfectionists, sometimes this never-ending development can obscure the more important elements of a project, like branding and ASO. It’s important for Unity game developers to look beyond the immediate development needs of their games and focus on the big picture. ASO is a critical part of a mobile game’s success.

So for developers who are now considering making ASO part of their marketing efforts for their game, what should they know? First, a one-size-fits-all ASO strategy just isn’t enough anymore. Because of the competitive nature of the mobile game landscape, game developers should adopt platform-specific strategies. In other words, the keywords, descriptions, screenshots, and videos you’re using on Google Play are not necessarily the best fit for the Apple App store. You need to tailor your ASO approach based on the storefront you’re trying to garner users from. This is similar to how game developers will choose an engine that best suits their game’s conceptual and technical requirements.

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The other important thing to know about ASO is that you don’t have to go it alone. You can read hundreds of articles, watch hours of video content about ASO and not even scratch the surface of everything you need to know about the subject. But don’t let that deter you from implementing ASO for your title. Companies like Gummicube have done all that legwork for you. They offer software and services that can help your mobile game get found easily by the very people who are the most likely to engage with it. More engaged users mean more word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews, which in turn can help cement your game in the app store search hierarchy.

In Conclusion

If there’s only one thing to take away from this article, it’s that successful games don’t become successful because of their gameplay and graphics alone. Always consider the big picture: the context of your game within the online landscape. Make ASO a core part of launching your game and you are increasing your chances of connecting with your target players.

 

Author Bio

Jonathan Lynch is the Digital Content Editor at Zco Corporation, a software developer that specializes in mobile software. Jon writes about mobile technology, games, and industry trends. He hosts the video series TechBabble that discusses how technology shapes the world.

What Happens After an App is Developed

The custom software development process is complex and challenging. After developing an app, you might feel like you’re done, but not quite yet. There are several steps between finalizing the source code and launching your app in the App Store. These tasks will be completed by the software development company so you can rest assured that they will be completed appropriately.

Quality Assurance

Before moving past the development phase, an application should undergo a quality assurance process. Quality assurance ensures that the application is bug-free and ready for your users. The QA team should check for ease of use, proper workflow support, compliance with external industry requirements, end-user acceptance, and integration with external systems. Once everything has passed QA, your mobile app is one step closer to the App Store!

A variety of test can be conducted to ensure that your mobile app is functioning correctly. This includes usability tests, functional testing, and performance testing. These tests ensure that features work as described in the requirements and that they are user-friendly and intuitive.

Load Testing

This step is essential to providing a great user experience. Imagine if every time a large group of people accessed your app, it crashed. It’s frustrating for your users and it might be their first impression of your app.

Load testing consists of putting simulated demand on your application. It is performed to determine a system’s behavior under both normal and anticipated peak load conditions. It helps identify the maximum operating capacity of an application.

Product Website

You don’t need an elaborate website, but at least a splash page that explains the functionality and purpose of your app. This is a requirement if you want your mobile app to be showcased in the Apple App Store. 

3rd Party Security Audit

With the increased threat of security breaches and compromised accounts, maintaining your users’ information private is extremely important. Users will trust you to keep their information safe, and not doing so will harm your reputation.

Production Checklist

Before going live, you should create a production checklist to make sure everything is setup correctly. The specific items will depend heavily on the nature of your app, but some things to consider are:

  • Setting third party services like notifications to production mode.
  • Enabling real payments.
  • Switching from a test database to the production instance.
  • Turning on scaling and load balancing.

Marketing

It’s time to identify the biggest challenges and opportunities for your mobile app. The most challenging aspect of developing an app is driving app adoption. It’s tough to get new users to download and use your app. Many apps in the app store are never even discovered or used.

Creating a go-to market strategy for your app is extremely important. Simply launching your app won’t attract hundreds or thousands of users. You need to make people aware that you’ve got a solution to their problem. You can work with a digital product agency that has experience in developing mobile apps as well as marketing, or you can hire a marketing consultant to help you create this plan.

Getting into the App Store

In order to get your newly designed and developed application into the App Store, you need to submit your app for review. You need to make sure your app is properly configured for release. You’ll need to submit several forms, marketing material, and screenshots and write a description.

Apple manually reviews all apps that are submitted, and it is possible for them to request that you make changes to your app to better comply with their regulations. When submitting your app for review you’ll want to update your product page. A few items to consider are your app’s name, icon, description, screenshots, app previews, and keywords. This white paper discusses how to make the most out of your product page on the App Store.

Software Updates

It’s naive to think that the mobile app development process ends when the app is placed in the App Store. Think about your favorite mobile apps – they’re always making software updates to make performance improvements, introduce new features, and eliminate any bugs.

The mobile app software development process is challenging and can be overwhelming. Although it takes a lot of time and effort, the process is very rewarding. It consists of a lot of steps, each one providing value to the process. It may be tempting to cut corners, but you should never skip a step. If you are considering developing a mobile or web app, Seamgen is an experienced software development company that creates cutting-edge applications. They are willing to learn about your next project and help you get the ball rolling.

Author – Bio

Jonathan Besquin

authorimagejonathanJonathan Besquin is a Marketing Manager at Seamgen, an industry-leading custom software development company. His dedication to content creation has yielded fruitful results for the company. He enjoys sharing his strong knowledge base with the rest of the tech community and wants to help you succeed. Being an avid adventurer, he likes to get outdoors and travel around the world.

Web: http://www.seamgen.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Seamgen

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/seamgen/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Seamgen/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seamgen/

social features of mobile apps

Social Features of a Popular Mobile App

As human beings we are social, we build connections, require appreciation and communicate. In times of globalization, it is easier to be cosmopolitan and expand our boundaries both physically and mentally. Add in the expansion of smartphones, and we get a social app as a communication channel.

There are a million reasons for creating a mobile application with social features, but not all of those factors make such an app popular. You can check if your idea has a chance to become famous right now by consulting the list below before developing your mobile application.

  1. Social networks integration

Accept the fact that your app is not isolated from the rest of the world. Keep it connected with user-favored social media. Use common social networks logins for registration, add sharing buttons and develop cross-posting functionality.

  1. User’s profile

Make sure users feel unique and special with your app. Give them an opportunity to show their individuality and talents. Leave as much space for profile customization as you can, but keep an eye on simplicity. Do not overload a profile with information. Ask only for data that is essential to boost the user’s experience.

  1. Application type and platforms

Cover popular mobile platforms and choose an application type that provides the best balance of technical possibilities, features and engagement. Your decision will depend on your mobile app’s goals and requirements. Nonetheless, current general recommendations are for two versions of native applications, designed for iOS and Android platforms.

  1. Design and usability

To be popular, your app should be pleasant to use, coherent and inviting to the eye. Scroll through marketplaces and identify trends. Keep navigation simple and intuitive. The fewer clicks users do to reach the desired goal, the better your UI is. People admire cool pictures and animations. Design elements that your users can play with, scroll, swipe, touch and so on.

  1. Interaction & Communication

Real life imitation. The more your app resembles the way people speak in real life, the more popular it can be. Statuses and emojis can help to show emotions. Messages and posts make statements and share news. Likes and comments express thoughts and feelings.

Friendship. Create the algorithm for making friends. Allow users to search for new connections. Give them recommendations, or not, and proclaim this as a benefit of your app.

Location relevant features. In a busy rush of everyday life, a feature that can save time and efforts would be valuable. Offer your users some activities that are based on their location.

Different content. Involve all receptors. Let your users share different types of content, see photos, watch videos, play songs, read and text. 

Notifications & feeds. Make your app useful. Keep your customers updated and connected, show them what is new and remind them of events.

  1. Performance, security and offline mode

Your app should work faultlessly and smoothly. An application dealing with sensitive data should be safe to use. Test the application’s performance before release. Provide the ability to report bugs and errors. Listen to suggestions and improve your app based upon them. With social applications, it is crucial to pay particular attention to its performance in an offline mode. Your app should not be helpless without an Internet connection. Keep it performing the usual way and make synchronization seamless.

  1. Promotion

Your mobile application will compete with others in the marketplaces. Do market research, define unique propositions and do not neglect app store optimization. Describe what a great app you have everywhere you can. Help your users to find it.

Conclusion

Whether you are startup aiming to beat social monsters or a company requiring an app to provide a better client experience, the rules will be the same. Give people want they want, make it look attractive and perform like it is expected.

This article is written and submitted by our friends at Rozdoum.

5 Deadly App Localization Mistakes You’re Making and How to Avoid Them

App developers and marketers are striving to penetrate the foreign markets and countries with the highest number of potential customers for their products. There is a rush to reach out to as many customers as possible globally and this has made the competition even fiercer.

If you’re pitching your app to foreign customers, you need to attune the app to the needs and behavior of the local audience. Along with the language, other aspects such as the app’s name, keywords, color, symbols, currency and time-zone will be simultaneously localized. This is where the role of app localization comes into play.

Another reason being that more than 50% of the people across the world prefer to download or buy apps from websites in their own language. Moreover, only 15% of people worldwide use English as their first or second language, making app localization all the more necessary.

While expanding your app for the international audience, avoid these 5 common yet serious app localization mistakes.

#1. You haven’t thought about localization while developing the app

When developing your app, it must be flexible enough to adjust and adapt to different languages, cultures and regions if global penetration is the end goal. This makes it easier to roll out the app in multiple versions. Ideally, your app should be flexible to be customized for multiple local markets as well.

For instance, different languages take up different kerning space. While developing the app, take into consideration the physical space a particular language would take up. Your app should be flexible enough to accommodate multi-language internationalization.

Taking the example of “How are you” in English, which is made up of three words. The same in Chinese is “你好吗” and in Spanish is “Como Estas.”

To leave room for the app to be translated into multiple languages, separate the text from the code and let the developers’ use Unicode strings.

#2. Failing to translate the app’s name

Regardless of how interesting or unique the name sounds in English, if it displays a negative sentiment in another country, your app will receive backlash.

Choose a name which is easy to pronounce, remember and recognize. Optimize the description for the app store by incorporating the right keywords to gain visibility in a foreign app market.

When Nokia launched the Lumia in Spanish markets, the product name meant “prostitute” in Spanish. The product launch was a failure, as a result of which the brand received negative publicity.

On the flip side, many brands have changed their names to a different local name with the same meaning, while entering a new market.

To name a few examples, Coca-Cola, Burger King, KFC, Lays, Budweiser and many others have changed their brand names while entering a new market.

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Source

One reason to consider using a professional human translator instead of a machine translator is the human understands the context of the text and the name being translated.

While a machine gives a literal translation, the professional translator thinks about:

  • The thought which first comes to mind when you hear and see the name
  • Does the name have an underlying negative connotation?
  • Does the name resemble a similar local word?

The professional translator does the necessary research to come up with a name appropriate to the local market. 

#3. Missing out the cultural aspect

A majority of localization projects fail because they do not take into consideration the cultural aspect while presenting the app to the local audience.

Culture influences the communication and thereby any population in the following three ways:

  1. Firstly, the cognitive concerns have a great influence on the cultural framework of a country. For example, in the USA, independence and individuality underlie its cultural foundation. In the South East Asian countries, family plays a vital role in the person’s upbringing. People believe in depending on their families and being there for each other.
  1. Secondly, the idea of what should be considered an appropriate behavior varies from one culture to another. For example, in some geographies such as Africa and South East Asia, the blunt expression of all thoughts and ideas is not considered appropriate. Meanwhile, in the western countries, there is nothing wrong with being bold to express thoughts, ideas and beliefs.
  1. Finally, it is difficult to undermine the influence that emotions have on the culture of a country. While gestures or crude language can be used to convey ideas or explain thoughts in some cultures, it can be considered highly offensive to others. For example, the use of peace signs in the USA is considered fine. However, in the UK the use of a backward peace sign will be outright offensive.

In-depth research on the local culture and practices of the country you are planning to localize your app for will allow you to create a unique identity without disregarding the local sentiments.

#4. Using the same logo for different languages

From the average 3,000-20,000 brand messages and advertisements we are exposed to every day, we notice and remember a mere 12!  What are the chances that your app will be among those 12? This makes it ever so vital for your logo to create an impact on your audience.

Your app logo has to be compelling and easy to remember. The same icons will not have the very same appeal in all markets, and that’s because different regions have different understandings of symbols and colors.

For example, when Coca-Cola entered the Chinese market, their brand name did not mean anything in the local language. So, they chose a close-sounding equivalent of ‘Coca-Cola,’ i.e., ‘Kekou Kele,’ meaning “let your mouth rejoice” in the local language.

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Create a local identity using icons, names and images that maintain your brand’s distinctive features and are culturally appropriate.

#5. A frustrating user experience

Remember, your potential app users won’t flock to download instantly. You will have to design your app in a way that it caters to user expectations and solves their needs.

While Japan, Australia, USA, UK and China have the largest number of iPhone users, the Android penetration is the greatest in India, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil. Instagram launched their Android app in the US one and half years after releasing their iOS app. At that time they had nearly 30 million iOS users. Had it been in a country with a greater number of Android users, their strategy would’ve been different.

If you look at Apple’s US and UK website, you’ll see that they’ve adjusted the date and time to be localized. Doing so causes no disruptions for users as they see the website in a format that is familiar to them.

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If you look at Apple’s India and US website, they have adjusted the names on the homepage to be localized. Doing so causes no disruptions for users as they see the website in a format that is familiar to them.

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Source – Apple’s India website

 

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Source – Apple’s US website

Your app should provide an optimal user experience for the users of the region you are targeting.

For example, if your app provides purchase options, make sure that they can be done in local currency. The price of the products should be converted to that region’s local currency for the convenience of the users.

Conclusion Keeping yourself updated on the latest trends in the international markets will help you effectively implement your app localization strategy.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below and let me know if you know about any other mistakes.


Alpi MantryAbout the author – Alpi Mantry is the VP of growth and relationship at Translate By Humans. With her 10-years of experience at Oracle, Deloitte and Infosys, she now helps Translate By Humans cater to global brands such as Vogue, Nike, HSBC Europe, Amazon and many more.

The Viral Loop: Get Your Users Doing the Heavy Lifting

From lead generation to customer generation, getting new users and clients on board isn’t cheap. When it comes to app user generation, this is no different. Depending on your product and marketing style, creating, distributing and maintaining an app can be costly.

Effective social media campaigns can help reduce the financial blow. But by far the best method is to create a viral loop –  turning your app into its own user generator. Let’s dig a little deeper into what viral loops are, the different strategies you can use, and which companies are doing it best.

What is a viral loop?

Essentially, a viral loop is a type of marketing campaign designed to promote your app. As the name suggests, a viral loop is created to “infect” a user and cause them to share it with others. There are usually steps in place for the user to invite a new set of users, a process that is repeated in exactly the same way each time.

For mobile apps, viral loops offer a cheap and easy way to establish your name and drive growth – as customers can do most of the heavy lifting for you. However, there are different types of viral loops, so it’s important to consider which one is right for your mobile app.

What types of viral loops work well with mobile apps?

Every viral loop should revolve around an incentive for the user to pass it on. This is viral loop marketing 101. Different strategies work well across a variety of platforms, but some work better with mobile apps. Here are four strategies you can use:

  1. The user gets something in return

Put simply, this is the “give and get more” type of strategy. When your customer shares your app with a new user, they get some kind of upgrade or benefit to their own experience of the app.

  1. Create a social community

Tap into everyone’s love of sharing their news, progress or achievements on social media. If you’ve created a mobile game, this might mean allowing users to share high scores via Facebook. You can then reward users with upgrades or other benefits when they publish content. This strategy encourages users to be active, as well as get others involved.

  1. Offer a monetary incentive

Whether it’s a saving, discount or some bonus credit, offering a monetary incentive is another way to motivate users to share your app and sign new people up.

  1. Be a do-gooder

With access to more information, the world is rapidly becoming more socially, ethically and environmentally conscious. There are plenty of problems in the world, which means there are plenty of ways you can help out.

Donating a portion of your profits with each share or invite is a simple way to entice users to take action. Creating a viral loop that rewards people will not only enhance your reputation but will also help you make a difference.

From Uber to Candy Crush: great examples of viral loops

Uber and Candy Crush are two of the most successful apps on the market. Part of this comes down to their viral loop marketing efforts. To get you inspired, let’s take a closer look.

How Uber is driving growth

Uber, the largest ride-sharing service in the world, has taken advantage of the monetary incentive strategy. But instead of the existing user only experiencing the benefits, the new user does too.

Uber has a dual-side referral code system. Essentially, the existing user receives an attractive amount of credit when the new user signs up using the existing user’s code, and the new user also gets the same amount of credit. It’s simple, generous, and has significantly boosted the company’s customer base.

How Candy Crush is crushing it

Candy Crush is one of the most popular viral apps out there. It has millions of users who continue to tell their friends about it, and has been sitting near the top of the app store for years. How do they do it?

The game uses a combination of the first and second strategies mentioned above. Candy Crush allows you to share your progress with others. By doing this, users also get something in return – such as help from friends, new content, or more lives. This currency of sharing and receiving, combined with persuasive and emotional in-app copywriting, taps into fundamental human desires. Sometimes this is all you need to create a successful viral app.

Over to you

Done right, viral loops are an ingenious way to build your app’s user base, turning each one into an individual marketing machine. But this doesn’t happen overnight, or simply because your app is incredible.

Strategy is key. Take into consideration the above points, as well as inspiration from successful apps such as Uber and Candy Crush, and you’ll have a better chance of creating viral loops that are truly infectious.


Picture1Akash is a technical strategist in business growth and development. Having worked with more than 500 businesses over 3 years Akash is well versed across a range of industries specialising in strategic mobile app and website development at EB Pearls.

Google’s Poly API: Access 3D Objects for VR/AR Apps

Since Pokemon Go was launched, VR/AR technology remained a hype in the market. Not just for games, developers are employing VR/AR technology for enhancing the app user experience also.

According to Digi Capital Augmented/Virtual Reality Report 2017, VR/AR market will hit $150 billion revenue by 2020, with AR having a share of about $120 billion and VR of $25 billion. Moreover, Mobile VR/AR will be the fundamental driver of this market revenue. This has skyrocketed the demand for AR/VR-based mobile apps, which has eventually increased the demand for 3D models and scene required for providing the realistic AR/VR environments. To cope up with this, Google has been continuously offering a wide number of 3D object creation tools.

Just a month ago, Google launched a platform for browsing, downloading and uploading 3D object, called Poly. And now, has come up with Poly API, which enables the developers to easily integrate 3D assets into their games and apps. Even after being awfully new in the app industry, world’s renowned mobile app developers are using the API for browsing and downloading 3D objects on demand for their VR/AR app projects.

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Interested to know about Poly? Let’s explore together.

Poly is an online warehouse of 3D objects and scenes created using Blocks, Tilt Brush, or any other such 3D program. The platform allows developers to access the objects for free and remix them under the ‘CC By’ license, i.e., until the credit is given to the creator.

The assets are available under a wide range of category and can be filtered as per the requirement. In other words, one can employ Poly API to:

  • Sort assets on the basis of the following filters:
    • Keyword
    • Category (Technology, People, Creature, etc.)
    • Asset type (Tilt Brush, Blocks, etc.)
    • Complexity (Low, Medium, High)
  • Get user’s own models
  • Get objects user liked
  • Get a particular asset by ID
  • Download assets as per the asset type (GLTF1, GLTF2, OBJ)
  • Download material files and textures from 3D models and scenes.
  • Fetch asset metadata (author, title, creation time, description, license, etc.)
  • Get access to thumbnails for assets.

The 3D model and scene can be employed for developing Android, Web and iOS augmented reality apps, as well as linked with Unity and Unreal game engine. The developers can consolidate the available 3D assets into their project either at edit-time or at runtime. Edit-time refers to manually downloading models from Poly, collecting them at a particular location, and importing in app’s project later. This is the right option in case you wish to quickly add fixed assets. Whereas, Runtime means downloading 3D objects when the application is running. This lets the developers explore the Poly library and integrate the 3D assets at the same time.

Curious to know how to use Poly API with iOS, Android or Web app?

For Android App

For integrating Poly API with Android mobile apps, Google team has provided the Android sample code, consisting of a fundamental sample with no external dependencies, and another sample showing how to integrate Poly API with ARCore.

The sample basically describes how to make asynchronous HTTP connections to the Poly API, downloading of 3D asset files, conversion of OBJ and MTL files to OpenGL- compatible IBOs and VBOs, dynamically integrate the objects downloaded from Poly with ARCore, and so on.

For iOS App

For iOS app developers, Google team has two samples (one with SceneKit and one with ARKit) to show how to build a ‘top-grossing’ iOS application and import assets from Poly. The samples describe all the logic required to open an HTTP connection, generate an API request, parse the results, create 3D models from the data and put them on the scene.

For Web App

Google team has offered a complete WebGL sample using Three.js, in which they have shown how to acquire and display a specific model or execute searches. Besides this, there is also a sample demonstrating how to get and present Tilt Brush sketches.

 

Besides this, Google has also offered Poly Toolkit for Unreal as well as Poly ToolKit for Unity game engine, using which they can easily wrap the APIs, download and import models from Poly platform, and much more. In a nutshell, Poly API is a great help from Google to all those game and mobile app developers who wish to deliver high-quality AR/VR experience to the users and thus, increase engagement and drive high revenue.

How Google’s New Android Go OS Will Change The App Market

Will Google’s Android Go Change The App Marketplace?

At Google I/O 2017, Google’s developer conference, there were a number of important announcements made, but perhaps the most interesting was the reveal of their new operating system, Android Go.

Android Go is essentially going to be a lightweight version of Android O, which is currently in its Beta phase, and this OS will focus on low-end devices that are utilised in limited internet connectivity environments. Google has long been trying to crack the developing world markets, and they hope that with Android Go, they’ll finally get their chance.

Second Time Around

It’s interesting to note that this is not Google’s first foray into the entry-level market, as in 2014 they announced Android One. With Android One they laid down regulations for OEM’s to manufacture smartphones specifically compatible with emerging markets, but this seemed to fall somewhat short of the mark and never really got off the ground.

Fast forward 3 years and Google are trying again, and for developers who worked with Android One, it’s clear that Android Go is essentially a rebrand. However, this time around Android Go is set to feature its own Google Play Store and available optimised apps will be able to run on mobile devices that have as little as 512GB of RAM.

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New Opportunities for Developers

In true Google style, they are hoping that the release of Android Go will attract new interest from developers and that this new OS will have a significant, positive effect on the app marketplace. A whole new Play Store has been developed especially for Android Go apps, giving developers a broader scope with which to work, and the opportunity to reach new and emerging markets with their products.

The focus will be on simpler apps that require less memory; so many new or less experienced developers are sure to try their hand at creating apps that run on low-end devices. This means that even more apps will be added to the marketplace, but it does not necessarily mean that quantity will equal quality. Developers, like those at Synergo, may also see the Android Go app store as a starting point and use this platform to release apps that they will then go on to develop further, making them more suitable for higher end devices.

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Growing the Mobile Audience

The demands of developing countries differ greatly to developed regions, so the apps that will do well will be ones that target the correct demographic. This opens the door for developers to try something different and to grow their focus and adjust their core views.

For many, Internet access will be limited too, so the challenge arises in creating an app that does not require a stable Internet connection to run smoothly. Game apps will always be popular but in the case of Android Go, the focus may shift more to apps that offer a service or can fulfil a function, rather than entertain. The more people who are able to buy smartphones and access the web the greater the potential reach of developers, and Android Go is set to expand the global reach and grow the audience.

Developer Guidelines

Google is extremely determined to penetrate the emerging markets with cheap phones and apps that offer a good user experience. They have said that they will release tools for developers and instructions for writing apps that will be optimised to run smoothly on Android Go. Additionally, Google has pledged to release a Go version for every major Android version that follows.

It’s safe to say that if Android Go takes off, the app market will change. It will grow and expand and offer greater scope for developers to create products that appeal to users from all walks of life.

5 Ingredients of an Outstanding Chatbot

Most businesses want to stay competitive and on top of trends. While it has been said that chatbots have both perceived benefits and risks, this competitive advantage outweighs any perceived risks for most companies. Chatbots are all about productivity and now more than ever they are ready to be one of the major trends of 2017. They can easily answer all users simultaneously, irrespective of their location and time of the day. They also make it easy to perform several tasks with no need to skip from one app or web page to another.

Certain studies show that most consumers choose a chat with a brand as the most preferable way of connection.

Even though most of us do not pay attention to the structure of an app or a chatbot, we subconsciously evaluate it, developing definite opinions and attitudes. Having a wide range of various resources available for building a chatbot today (with or without coding), it is quite important to know certain primary issues in order to develop a successful and efficient chatbot.

1.Developing a chatbot without a specific purpose is useless.

The success of your chatbot leans on your awareness of your target audience and relevant content. Focus on and deliberate your chatbot’s aims.

Besides being an information service that reflects the content and functions of an application or a website, chatbots can become an additional useful service; focusing not only on a product itself but on providing consumers with supplementary services.

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  1. The first message a user sees in a chatbot is a welcome message.

It should be quite simple and contain information about who user is “speaking” with and a short description. Additionally, you can provide users with a kind of guideline including a couple of hints in the form of buttons or quick replies to let them know the options of their next steps. Link to the “Help” card with information about what your chatbot can do is a great way out.

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  1. Due to the rapid increase in the number of chatbots, it is essential to make your own bot quite memorable, recognizable and special, with a personal style.

Flow is one of the most important parts of the chatbot, as it is exactly that body that keeps users interested and plugged in.

While thinking over the flow, consider the appropriateness of the content. This depends on your target audience and brand.

Don’t forget about making the flow user- friendly. Do not include a lot of text; remember that using a chatbot is about chatting, not reading. Make use of emojis and a couple of jokes when appropriate. Light humor always works.

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  1. Try to avoid frequent breaking of your chatbot.

Despite being easy to understand because of its conversational UI, always provide users with navigation. In order to decrease the number of times that your chatbot is breaking, drive users throughout the flow with the help of buttons and quick replies. This helps to avoid dead ends and those cases when users just leave because they have no idea of what to do next (or if they’re just being lazy). Try to interchange or alternate buttons, quick replies and typed user input, so that the user doesn’t become bored. This will contribute to developing not only a useful but also an interactive chatbot, so that users will want to use it again and again.

Default messages should not be mechanic. In case something goes wrong, receiving the same robotic message will only annoy users. Live agent integration could be an alternative way out when AI is not able to handle the issue or a user needs a more personal approach.

 

  1. Be open to feedback and suggestions.

Users like to be heard: give them a medium to share their opinions. This can be via email or by submitting a query right through the chatbot (with no need to go to the website or mailing system).

Meanwhile you only win: getting to know your users, their expectations concerning your chatbot and showing your openness to changes and consumer opinion.

Chatbots are a developing field of AI. Moreover, the development is going at a high speed, so consequently more and more new features are appearing. That’s why it is important to follow the trends in order not to lag behind.