Category Archives: App Development

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.

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/

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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.

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.

Quick and Easy Steps to Becoming a Successful App Maker Today

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Mobile app development is booming these days. According to Statista, this February, the number of available apps in the Google Play Store was 2 million, while in the Apple App Store it surpassed 1.5 million apps. The demand is continuously growing, creating significant app backlogs. Fortunately, codeless mobile app development platforms solve this problem by allowing anyone – even with little or no programming background – to become a successful app maker provided that he/she follows these 4 steps.

Work out an Idea and Plan

Over 25% of apps are used once and then never opened again. That is why you as a mobile app developer should start by talking to potential users, conducting surveys, and thinking through in detail the functionality of your app and the features it will support. Making sure the UI is user friendly and intuitive is also of paramount importance.

Build Your App on a Codeless Platform

Since codeless platforms like Snappii’s have brought self-service mobile app creation to a vast audience, this step is significantly easier and faster than originally thought. With a “What You See Is What You Get” editor and ready-made templates, you can add necessary tabs, drag and drop elements and buttons, modify the design, and instantly see all the changes on your mobile device. As a result, mobile forms with multiple features and fields can be created and added into the app in just a matter of minutes.

Test Your Work

Quality Assurance (QA) or simply testing plays a vital role in the app creation process. QA should be involved at all stages, from concept creation to product release. While building mobile apps on the Snappii platform, app builders have an opportunity to immediately see the app in action on their mobile devices with our special Preview App, thereby timely identifying potential problems and fully debugging the application.

Optimize Your App in the App Stores

Getting a ready-made product and submitting it to the app stores marks the beginning of a new stage – App Store Optimization (ASO). Now your task is to ensure that your app gets easily found and downloaded by thousands of users, thus boosting search rankings and leading to new downloads and reviews. You can optimize your app yourself or entrust it to professionals, such as Gummicube. Gummicube is a real expert in all ASO solutions and your tour guide on the path to the success your app deserves.

Gartner, a leading technology research and advisory company, coined the phenomenon called a “citizen developer” to describe any user building apps without programming skills. The main benefits of this approach are high development speed, agility, and lower costs. In a word, today anyone can join this solution and make thousands of dollars.

alex bakmandisclaimer: Alex Bakman is a successful tech entrepreneur and innovator. Since 1994 Alex has founded and grown 3 companies to $10+ million in sales. Now he is CEO and Founder of Snappii, a mobile business app development company, which was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Rochester New Hampshire. Snappii has created a platform for developing sophisticated, feature rich mobile business apps without writing any code. Moreover, Snappii offers a wide selection of ready-made industry specific apps that can be downloaded from the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Website https://www.snappii.com/