Tag Archives: Company

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How to Invest Wisely in an Application Development Project

All well-designed apps begin with an efficient app development process. An inefficient app development process will result in succumbing to pitfalls that will not only prove costly, but also lead to sub-par functionality. Here are our top tips on how to invest wisely in an application development project:

COME PREPARED

When developing your app, you need to know all of the ins and outs of what you want out of your product. During the course of the development process, you will be asked every applicable question and you will need to be able to answer them and to communicate your vision to the app development team so that they are inside your head and know it almost as well as you do.

Rather than waiting for the question to come up, get ahead of it with thorough preparation.

App development starts with the creation of a specifications document elucidating all aspects of the app to be built to ensure a thorough understanding of the idea. Create your own specifications in advance of reaching out to teams and make sure it’s comprehensive. Review the app specifications document thoroughly with prospective partners, make sure they have a comprehensive understanding and it accounts for everything you need your app to do.

Preparation is absolutely vital to staying on the same page with your application development team and avoiding costly hiccups and rebuilds down the line.

FIND THE RIGHT TEAM

Every client has different needs and every app development company has different strengths and weaknesses. Finding the right team is crucial for building the product that will get your business to the next level.

Some clients only need app development specialists, while others look for companies that can take a more holistic approach to their projects and provide input or services on marketing, web development, design and more. Ruminate on your unique needs, research and understand prospective companies strengths and weaknesses, and ensure it is a good match before committing to a long-term partnership with a company.

We recommend seeking a collaborative team with experts in app development as well as project management and the ability to expedite development by putting more programmers on projects. The best app development teams have experienced programmers that have built many apps before and can walk you through the process with ease.

Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 1.27.16 PM

WIREFRAMES

The use of wireframes will save time and money in the app development process. A wireframe is a visual schematic or blueprint that outlines the design for an application without programming the core functions. Mobile app wireframes can take the form of downloadable apps or as websites. Wireframes replicate how the app will work and the flow of screens without incorporating core programming.

Wireframes save time and money because they help app developers get on the same page with their clients without requiring a hefty amount of programming. After reviewing the wireframes, clients can request modifications or approve the designs. The app development team then commences core programming.

The creation of wireframes before programming key functions and additions will save time, money, and headaches.

MAKE IT SCALABLE

Oftentimes when beginning the application development process, businesses elect to start by focusing on the Minimum Viable Product. While understanding what’s needed for the MVP and what’s extraneous to it, it’s vital to have an understanding of what features you may want to add in the future so that the application can be scalable to enable future iterations of the app.

While focusing on Phase 1 of the development process (building the MVP), keep a running wishlist of functions desired for Phase 2 of the development process so that as functions are added and modified, everyone remains cognizant of how current changes will support future functionality.

Mobile-app-testing

TEST, TEST, TEST

Testing doesn’t begin upon the completion of the application, it’s an ongoing process that occurs internally as new components of the app are built. It is vital not to underbudget for testing, a common mistake in the app development process.

Core functions need to be repeatedly tested, as does UI and usability. Employing dedicated testers to specialize in testing specific components like core functions, sound, design, and more will ensure a fully-functioning app.

Veteran developers use test-driven development (TDD) in which programmers create tests to define the function or improvements of a function, run tests to see if the test fails, write the code so that tests pass, run tests again, correct the code, and repeat until all tests are passed. Test-driven development guarantees code coverage with unit tests for all functions.

CONCLUSION

When hiring an app development company to build your application, hire for the long haul. An ongoing strategic relationship will help you grow and if you choose the right partner, efficiency will increase as your collaborative relationship develops. A mobile application is a major investment of time and money—invest wisely!

Contact us today to learn about how our team can efficiently build your next mobile app.

Water Cooler Tech Talk: What iOS 10 Can Do For Your Business

As we detailed last week, the release of iOS 10 marks a major turning point for the software. By opening up internal apps to developers, Apple has offered a major opportunity for businesses to improve and expand the functionality of their apps. Here are a few ways that iOS 10 can help your business.

CISCO INTEGRATION

Apple & Cisco (image via Apple)

While Apple announced their partnership with Cisco in August 2015, iOS 10 introduces the fruits of that partnership. Businesses which utilize Cisco networks and iOS devices will see a major improvement in functionality and compatibility. Companies with Cisco networks would be smart to encourage employees to switch to iOS, and companies which use other networks may want to take note of the new changes as they are designed to improve business processes.

OPTIMIZING WIFI

Finding the right AP can make or break major business processes. As a leading network provider, Cisco understands this issue and has used iOS 10 as an opportunity to address it. Devices with iOS 10 recognize Cisco networks, enabling WiFi optimization and prioritization for business critical apps. So if an employee is walking as they take a WebEx meeting on their iPad, rather than scanning all channels for the next strongest signal, Cisco networks use a 801.11k to provide a list of the top six neighboring APs. This saves time and battery. As iPhones reach the end of a cell, they check the location and create a short list of the next best AP based on signal and utilization.

BUSINESS APP PRIORITIZATION

With the bevy of applications, devices and content constantly occupying business networks, network connections can easily become bogged down, slowing business critical processes. Networks typically give apps the same level of priority, regardless of whether they are business apps like voice, messaging, video conferencing and document sharing, or non-business apps like games, movies and social media apps.

Cisco networks allow users to not only configure QoS (Quality of Service) on company infrastructure, but to control the link from client to AP. Thus, even if a wireless network is congested with different app traffic, businesses can “whitelist” critical apps to prioritize them over noncritical apps. IT managers can even whitelist by SSID, allowing them to customize each user profile so that apps are prioritized by what is critical to the individual’s performance. Users can have different settings for different networks, optimizing connections for apps based on whether they are at their office network, school network, home network or somewhere else.

CISCO SPARK INTEGRATION

iOS 10 also includes CallKit, a new API which allows VoIP apps like Cisco Spark to be built to take advantage of the accessibility of iOS 10. CallKit enables VoIP apps to utilize the native phone app, ensuring continuity of habit with the native iPhone call experience, while allowing for the superior capabilities of Cisco Spark.

TAKEAWAYS

Cisco’s tests on iOS 10 integrated with Cisco networks have yielded the following results:

  • Up to 8 times faster roaming
  • 90 percent reduction in web browsing failures
  • Up to 66 percent more reliable calling
  • Management overhead can be reduced by 50 percent

iMESSAGE FOR BUSINESSES

iMessage (Image via Silicon Angle)

iMessage has opened its doors to developers, and with it, billions of dollars in market potential. Forbes recently commented: “The launch of the iMessage platform will mint a new generation of billionaire entrepreneurs and become the most valuable social platform in the west over the next five years.”

With a billion active iOS devices worldwide, the iMessage app store has 100 times the distribution footprint compared to the App Store when it launched in  2008. The iMessage store allows for Sticker Packs and iMessage Apps for free or purchase. Aside from creating branding opportunities for celebrities and a whole new platform for social gaming, the iMessage app store opens the door for companies to create extension of their existing apps which utilize iMessage. By integrating internal business apps with internal iOS apps, companies can simplify communication by keeping everything on the same thread.

iOS 10 FOR BUSINESSES

Utilizing the latest software will only improve business processes. iOS 10 provides numerous opportunities for businesses to create more efficient business processes and consolidate business communication on personal devices. It also opens the door for a bevy of future possibilities for businesses to take advantage of as the software evolves. Bring it up at the water cooler and you could change your company for the better.

5 Trendy Web Design Techniques to Modernize Your Website

In the age of digital commerce, it’s vital to have a spiffy website. Even if a business does sell its products online, the first impression customers have of a brand often stems from the website. A messy website brings to mind a messy product. In this post, we will examine how 2015’s upcoming web design trends present ways in which to improve websites to make them look modern.

1.    Nail Your Landing Page

The landing page is the first impression a visitor has of a website, thus it’s a great opportunity to dazzle the viewer. Many websites have landing pages which are not only physically big, with imagery and design taking up most of the screen, but also large in metaphorical scale. Check out the website of Born Group, a creative media company with an extremely ambitious landing page.

Born sells something intangible—creative services. Their product is the ability to provoke emotion. As a creative agency, it’s vital for them to establish that they produce emotionally riveting content. The image of the ape is not only beautifully photographed, it’s powerful. If a prospective customer were on the verge of hiring Born Group, they would indubitably be swayed in the right direction from the moment they hit the landing page.

2.    Video Rules

For some companies, going for a message as big as Born would come off as overly self-involved. Born has an intangible product and sells B2B (Business-to-Business). They need to sell an idea and if they bring in a single project, it will pay for a big-budget investment in their site.

For smaller companies with tangible products, it’s important to put the product itself front-and-center. One way of doing this is to embed a video on the landing page of your site. For example, check out the salivating video on the landing page of Dunwell Donuts, a vegan Brooklyn donut shop.

The video succeeds on nearly every level. It makes the viewer crave donuts, artfully portrays the product, and tells the story of the founders of the business in an extremely intimate manner.

3.    Tell Your Story

The primary accomplishment of the Dunwell video is in the arena of storytelling. The Dunwell video tells the story of the company brand in an intimate way. By the end of the video, the viewer feels like they have a good sense of who runs Dunwell Donuts and what donuts mean to them.

A video is a cost-effective way of telling the personal story of a brand. Storytelling is a powerful medium because it creates an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject when executed effectively. For a business (especially a small business), this translates directly to brand loyalty. We’ve detailed other ways in which one can tell the personal story of a brand in our Parallax Scrolling article.

4.    Flat Design

Minimal web design is in. Apple’s design technique, flat design, is defined as “a style of interface design which removes any stylistic choices that give the illusion of three-dimensions (such as drop shadows, gradients, textures, or other tools that add depth) and is focused on a minimalist use of simple elements, typography and flat colors.”

Flat design is visually sleek and virtually inexpensive way of displaying one’s brand in a modern way. Check out some of the best flat design websites on the internet here.

5.    KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

A really well-designed landing page with minimal content looks much better than a lot of redundant, visually lacking pages. For an alternate approach to the donut vertical, check out the site for Elsie’s Donut Shop. It’s flat, minimal, sleek and to the point, stressing the products.

With the internet working more and more as a gatekeeper for customers to select which businesses they choose to solicit, modern aesthetics have a direct impact on business. Equipping a business with a sleek, modernized website puts them in the best position to excel in the marketplace.

Mystic Media is a web design and application development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, click here or contact us by phone at 801.994.6815.

How Sharing Economy Apps and Collaborative Consumption May Reshape the Future of Business

In recent years, the tech community has seen a surge in popularity of apps which utilize the latest technology to link supply and demand in previously impossible ways. These apps have been deemed “Sharing Economy” apps and are shaking up not only the tech sphere, but the verticals in which each app operates. In an article at Forbes, Joe Kraus (a general partner at Google) says: “The sharing economy is a real trend. I don’t think this is some small blip.”

Previously, if you needed a taxi in the city, you would have to either wave one down or call a taxi company. Now with Uber, not only is a certified driver a tap away: payment is paperless, you can rate your driver, track his progress to your pick-up location in real-time, and, on top of all that, you can DJ your ride using Spotify.

Uber is among the most popular and successful sharing economy apps. It recently received a $1.2 billion investment and is currently valued at $17 billion. As astonishing as these numbers are, Uber gets even more shocking upon closer examination. Uber revenue is doubling every six months. That revenue is coming primarily from only five cities in which the app is well-established. Uber has been introduced in 125 additional cities where it hopes to develop into a mature business.

Only four years after its launch, Uber has made a major impact in public transportation and has incited widespread protests both internally from it’s workers and externally from taxi drivers. While the exceptional growth of the company has caused controversy, one thing is for sure: users love it.

Like Uber, Airbnb is also among the leading sharing economy apps. Airbnb connects tourists who need a place to stay and locals with extra rooms. Airbnb not only cuts out the middleman of hotels, it also encourages the formation of connections. The idea of Airbnb creating a community is a major part of their marketing strategy.

Airbnb recently received a $13 billion valuation, making it the second most valuable private company in the Silicon Valley to Uber. Airbnb has also received it’s share of controversy. New York is a hotbed for both Airbnb users and residents frustrated with the patrons of the new service. San Francisco also represents a major beacon of Airbnb usage. SF mayor Ed Lee recently signed legislation which made short term rentals of 30 days or less legal with a 14.5 percent hotel tax.

While both Uber and Airbnb are among the fastest growing companies in the nation, The New York Times recently argued that the one thing they have in common is the willingness to take risks. The same article claims Uber employed a surge of drivers in their rise to prominence and asked them to push any damage claims through their personal insurance companies despite the fact that most personal insurance companies don’t cover commercial activity.

Airbnb recently announced they will offer free $1 million liability coverage for its tens of thousands of US listings in 2015; however, this insurance will be secondary. Like Uber, Airbnb expects hosts to go through their personal insurance companies first.

Airbnb and Uber aren’t the only sharing economy apps on the rise. In fact, there’s been a massive flood of sharing economy apps pushing “collaborative consumption.” Chegg allows students to rent or buy college textbooks on the cheap. Lyft, an alternative to Uber, is described by co-founder John Zimmer as: “Your friend with a car on demand.” ParkAtMyHouse.com allows people in the UK to rent out parking spaces in their driveways. Getaround allows you to search for cars in your area which you can rent hourly or daily. Timebanks allows users to trade an hour of work in their specialty for an hour of work in another’s specialty. In other words, a cook can trade an hour of cooking to a plumber for an hour of plumbing.

These sharing economy apps all run with varying levels of success, but the underlying idea of “collaborative consumption” is what has tech gurus inspired. Collaborative consumption is how each of these apps works. According to Greenopedia, collaborative consumption is: “a global concept that involves sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping goods instead of buying them.” It’s disruptive to the standard business model of supply and demand.

The ideology behind the sharing economy and collaborative consumption is potentially revolutionary—especially as sustainability continues to rise in prominence as a global issue. It conveniently connects consumers to what they desire on the cheap, cutting out the middleman. Rachel Botsman claims it leverages technology to allow us to interact and transact in a way which is more natural to our species. It creates an economy of trust. And as evidenced by Uber and Airbnb, if one can find the right niche, it can also mean big business.

For more on Sharing Economy apps and the idea of “collaborative consumption,” check out these incredibly insightful 2010 and 2012 Ted Talks by Rachel Botsman.

At Mystic Media, we are constantly on the lookout for the next big vertical. We’re experts in all things web, mobile, application, social media and marketing. To learn more about our services, contact us today by clicking here, or by phone at 801.994.6815