web-design

Where Do Websites Commonly Fail?

Your company’s website is the centralised hub in which you intend to drive traffic, generate brand awareness and subsequently turn user engagement into acquisition, however its significance is subject to debate more than ever. Given the emergence of social media platforms it could be argued that these new channels are now being utilized more than ever to pump out content. This may well be true, but your website is always going to remain the final location where your users will make their final decision. Without a website PPC (pay-per-click) would be obsolete, the same also applies to targeted SEO campaigns. PR, content marketing and advertising would also lose their primary purpose if that hard earned company mention doesn’t link back to anything substantial or relevant enough for your user.

Your website should be broken down into three separate factors; structure, aesthetics and content, yet all should be kept in fine balance with one another. Websites generally fail if these aren’t done so as they tend to appear too overwhelming or underwhelming.

REMEMBER: STRUCTURE…AESTHETICS…CONTENT!

Overall when placing these components together put yourself in your user’s position and ask yourself whether your site is engaging enough for you to stay on. Thinking of every area (I.e, button locations, colour schemes, tone of phrasing) will place you in good stead as you remain objective in your pursuit of web success.

 

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Structure

The structure of your website is vital to keeping your user engaged. Poor manoeuvrability has the ability to ruin your users experience and deter them away from your service. A comment worth noting, you shouldn’t have to ask your user to do more than what is required to achieve what they came to your site to do.

Take a look at some of these examples of frustrating user experiences – http://uxfail.tumblr.com/

Ensuring that your entire website is SEO friendly will help your quest of becoming more visible on search engines. Carefully selecting relevant keywords and drafting appropriate Meta descriptions tags for individual landing pages will maximise your organic reach. By not utilizing the benefits of SEO means that you’ll potentially run the risk of being ousted by your competitors (who have made all aspects of their website SEO friendly).

 

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Aesthetics

The design element of your website is also another important factor you should carefully think about. Too much or too little design has the ability to either break the user experience or not engage the user as a result.

If a website contains far too many design elements (I.e., theme colours, animations, and movies) these may appear too overwhelming for the user and cause them to click away. You should think about what it is that you’re really trying to achieve with your websites aesthetics, and make sure you place these strategically around the place.

Not enough focus on design can unfortunately make your website seem unfinished or rather rushed, and therefore could potentially jeopardise the quality of the service you’re offering.

 

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Content

The content on your website should fundamentally sell your services and/or provide information in your specialist field, so it shouldn’t definitely sound like you know what you’re talking about. Not enough content or badly designed content (including structure and quality of copy) can once again tarnish the services that you’re offering. Ensure that every single piece of content that is published on your website is spell checked as even the slightest mistake can make your appear unorganised.

Website hotspots are still very much an important factor when deciding where to place your content, take a look at the following page for the reasons behind the theory – http://www.rocketface.com/organize_website/webpage_hotspots.html

 

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Go Mobile

Of course it also goes without saying that your website should be mobile friendly in order to organically reach as many people as possible. It’s not too long in the past that Google’s algorithm update ensured that mobile-friendly sites would outrank those that aren’t in acknowledgement of the rise of mobile searches. There are a number of considerations that should be taken into account whilst catering to the mobile sphere, yet the facts do prove that mobile is indeed becoming the more superior search device – http://selnd.com/1c1tKXg

Here at Big Orange Software we are able to offer a mobile-friendly tailored website for your business needs. If you wish to speak to someone about your current website or if you have some fresh ideas for something new then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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How To Keep Your App Secure

It’s something that businesses, app developers and users dread; a breach in one or several of their digital platforms. As an investment the last thing you want to do is leave your app or website vulnerable to possible data leaks. In the past there have been many high-profile cases where this has happened, and as a consequence, has lead to some pretty unwelcoming press attention. Given the severe rise in app production, along with a growing number of users engaging with these services, there has never been more pressure for companies to protect their digital infrastructure.

The latest high-profile hacking case of online cheating site Ashley Madison has proven that even the biggest companies with large user bases, in this case a staggering 37 million, aren’t as safe as they think. Although it hasn’t been clarified, Carphone Warehouse also supposedly suffered a hack two weeks ago whereby 2.4 million customers’s names, addresses and bank details were retrieved. Instances like these can potentially lead to a PR headache and a vast amount of negative press and a reduction in app usage as a consequence.

The unfortunate reality is that there are multiple ways that your software can get hacked, and as an app owner you are fully responsible for the security of your users data. Saying this there are simple precautionary measures that you can take to minimise your chances of this happening.

Data Encryption

Before we continue it’s important to establish the importance of data encryption when it comes to developing your app. This basic understanding should give you enough context to realise the importance and significance of effective encryption. Plus it’s also an interesting piece of history knowledge to take away!

Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in a way that only authorized figures can read and retrieve it. Today especially, given the popularity of internet communication,  it’s known as a conversion of electronic data into another form which is supposed to appear confusing to the normal eye.

However data encryption dates back way further than we think. One of the earliest known forms of encryption was the Ceaser Cipher, named after the Roman statesman. who used it in his private correspondence. The encryption worked by shifting each letter in a message by a fixed number of positions down the alphabet, so that in the event it was intercepted the message wouldn’t be as it seemed. For example if a ‘shift’ was 5 the letter A would actually be F

Now it’s your turn…

If the ‘shift’ was 3 what does the below encryption spell out? (Note – answer is at the bottom of this blog).

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Did you know? – Anything that you see on your page can be encrypted. That means both images and letters. An image remains as ones and zeros when it’s moved across the web and decrypted on the other side.

A good example of where you can utilize encryption in your app is by using HTTPS, which we’ll explore below.

Internet-Security

HTTP & HTTPS 

HTTPS is the De facto method of transport for the web, including the data that powers applications. As you’re sending data, whether it be entering your log in or bank details, HTTPS is an extension to this that encrypts this data as it moves back and forth.

In order to make your app as safe as possible you should look to use HTTPS as your default protocol for secure communication. Without it, hackers, eavesdroppers and surveillance programs can see exactly what you’re doing on your app.

Whether you opt for HTTP or HTTPS does however depend on whether your comfortable with your data being accessible. For instance the material in an enterprise app who are showcasing event space is nowhere near as delicate as, in this instance, the controversial online cheating service Ashley Madison.

Password Strength, Frequency & Notifications

Passwords act as the first line of defence against unauthorized access. It goes without saying that a stronger password will inevitably put your users in a stronger position to combat this, but this doesn’t necessarily refer to its length. Probably one of the biggest cliche’s in the book but it is all about the quality of the password rather than the quantity.

It’s all about finding the balance when it comes to assisting your users with their passwords, either actively or passively doing so:

Actively – Actively assisting means encouraging your users to change their passwords on a frequent basis. If you use Microsoft Outlook then you’ll be familiar with how they request that you change your password on a semi-regular basis. You’re even given timely reminders every day for a month so that you’re not left in the loop on day zero (we’ve all been there!).

Passively – Passively assisting means implementing features that generally don’t put extra responsibility on the user. Banking apps are a prime example of asking users to do as little as possible but with maximum effectiveness. For instance Natwest’s online banking app locally authenticates all user information to that particular smartphone which means that users haven’t got to remember their account number to login, but rather a memorable nifty code.

Notifications are also a great way to let users know of any unusual activity. If you attempt to access a service (in this case your Gmail account) via an unrecognised device then you’re automatically made aware of this. Not only does it allow that user to act on it quickly, it also shows a sign of impeccable customer service.

Fundamentally, the last thing that you want to do is make your users suffer when it comes to their password. Remain firm but fair, but maintain at all times that them selecting and altering their passwords is all in their best interests. After all, it is their data which may potentially be at risk.

Monitoring & Updating Software

Monitoring your application through means of app analytics, access logs and bug tracking software will give you a good chance to identify potential bugs that could lead to exploits.

As frustrating as they may appear for your user these updates are vital for your apps protection and consistency. In the event that you find a flaw (either through your app analytics or access logs) which could potentially be exploited by a hacker, try to approach this as soon as possible so that you minimise the risk of attack.

The time it takes to fix a bug is dependent on two things; identifying the problem and then fixing it, which can range from hours to days.

Android and iOS do in fact differ time wise when it comes to distributing the new apps. Android is notably the faster platform and takes around 40 minutes to do so, whereas iOS can take up to a week.

Also listen to your user base. Your loyal followers use your app on a day-to-day basis and if they claim that something is wrong then listen to their feedback.

Now we want your feedback…

Building an app is a long, complex process, and therefore it can be easy to overlook some parts of the development process. For us at Big Orange, security is our main priority.

If you feel that you have an idea for new app or are looking to develop an existing one then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

Answer – BIG ORANGE

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Facebook Live: What Does It Mean For Marketers…And Meerkaters?

The launch of Facebook Live, where verified celebrities are able to broadcast directly to fans, is sure to be getting a lot of people excited, ourselves included! Not only does it allow us to get up close and personal with our favourite stars but it’s also a strong indication of the things to come. With Facebook (undeniably the most popular social media platform on the globe) getting on board with the live-streaming craze, does this mean that other social channels are going to be forced to follow suit? Will it soon be a case that social media is built around the same principles as FaceTime and Google Hangouts? Perhaps we’re beginning to notice a shift in user traits by swapping the LOL’s, BRB’s and TBH’s with face to face interaction, via streaming?

CELEBRITY – FAN OR SELLER – CONSUMER…?

Looking at the larger picture, the rise of livestreaming and social integration will get marketers thinking about what it could do for brand awareness and customer engagement. Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and tennis star Serena Williams are among the first celebrities to use the service, and although it may appear like a light hearted way for celebrities to interact with trusty fans, sponsors and marketers may will see this differently. In this context the live streaming service will provide ample opportunity for A-listers to promote upcoming events, whether it be a new film release or a product launch. So now what was initially perceived as a relationship from celebrity-fan is now crossing into the territory of seller-consumer. And the fact that you’re broadcasting live to your social media fan base doesn’t only mean that you’re integrating with those that use the platform on a day-to-day basis, but you’re also targeting those that care about your brand the most.

The fundamental point that we’re trying to get at is that maybe it’s time that brands (regardless of size) start to think about how they’re going to utilize the free service if and when it becomes available to all. Certainly from a psychological point of view live streaming/interacting with a brand could be perceived as a more engaging experience. There are a whole heap of marketing events such as Q&A’s, in-depth interviews or lectures that could take place on the streaming service, plus it will accommodate to those users that are ‘on-the-go’.

WILL IT SAVE TIME AND RESOURCES?

We all know that live visual streaming isn’t anything new, even within apps. We have services out there such as Meerkat and Periscope who continue to battle it out to be the dominant force, but the introduction of Facebook Live appears to be something of a game changer. Unlike the pair, Live will allow you to watch the video on the figure’s site and will only be deleted if done so by that person. In terms of marketing opportunities these videos can be used time and time again which both saves time and resources at a later date.

What Live may prove is that if you take a popular service and include basic yet effective upgrades it may have the capability to oust competition completely, purely because they’ve listened to what consumers want. At a point in time where more and more people are using social media, Live has ensured that users encounter less fuss as possible (note: changing to different social accounts) in order to be closer to the stars.

This said, the latest release is still in its honeymoon stage and the success of it will be reviewed at a later date. One thing is clear however, social media has never been as exposed as it is now to the power of live-streaming, and may well prove to be a key area that marketers thrive on in the not so distant future.

 

Here at Big Orange Software we create bespoke apps for a range corporations, large, medium and small business. If you feel that you have an idea for new app or are looking to develop an existing one then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

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The Benefits of Going Enterprise

It’s not just consumer apps that are taking the mobile world by storm, enterprise apps are also joining the party. They come packed with benefits for both internal and external requirements and are altering the way that business are operating, for the noticeable better!

You probably hear it on a daily basis but everything mobile is on the rise. That includes the amount of mobile devices currently available, the amount of apps available on various app stores and the amount of usage time recorded on them. According to a report published earlier this year 51% of all time spent on digital media is being done so via mobile apps, as mobile devices overtake desktop in their quest of become the dominant data usage platform.

With these statistics in the forefronts of our minds, it’s time that businesses start to think how they can capitalise and utilize the benefits these apps will bring. Embedding an enterprise app into the workplace will enhance a number of workplace-related factors. Whether you’re working for a large corporation or a small/middle-sized company, the benefit of establishing an enterprise app is that they’ll always remain universal.

SO WHAT DO THEY DO?

Productivity

As a business owner or a leader of a team you’ll agree that productivity in the workplace is vital. Productivity is a combination of saving time and maximising efficiency, with the ultimate aim of generating ROI with the least amount of fuss. An app will be able to facilitate this by providing instant internal communication, information to training resources and links to health and safety compliance documents, and more.

Last year the Harvard Business Review produced a report which stipulates that, when asked, organizations believed if given an enterprise app they believe that overall workplace productivity would rise by 40%.

 

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Accessibilty

Accessibility is another strong attribute of going enterprise. Information sent to an app can be accessed anywhere via a smartphone or tablet device, even in offline mode.

Users will also be able to access the app via the applicable store as they would a regular app, making it a straight forward and stress free action.

The app will also act as an additional aid to workers who aren’t able to access resources for reasons out their control. For instance he or she may wish to work from a coffee shop via a laptop however can’t locate a plug socket. In this instance the app shall prove to an equally adequate source which both increases productivity and prevent frustrating user scenarios.

Communication

An enterprise app can also improve communication amongst colleagues and customers alike. The app can facilitate a forum feature by where cluster groups are centralised for informal purposes.

Similarly the app can allow hierarchal figures to send messages to workers and schedule meetings. Like social media apps, notifications can be received in real-time to ensure that tasks can be actioned as soon as possible.

For Appearance Sake

If you’re considering constructing an enterprise app it’ll also make your company appear current, slick and technology savvy. You’ll also be joining a growing percentage of companies globally who are deploying mobile apps across their organization. Today, 1 in 5 tablets sold will specifically be used for enterprise use, accounting for 18% of all total worldwide sales.

 

Here at Big Orange Software we have created bespoke enterprise apps for businesses. If you feel that your company can also benefit from one then we would like to hear from you.

If you wish to speak to someone about an enterprise app then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

Th Uber Technologies Inc. car service application (app) is demonstrated for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. For San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. which recently raised $1.2 billion of investors' financing at $17 billion valuation, New York is its biggest by revenue among the 150 cities in which it operates across 42 countries. The Hamptons are a pop-up market for high-end season weekends where the average trip is three time that of an average trip in New York City. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Why Exactly Is Uber Winning?

It’s fair to say that taxi-riding firm Uber aren’t amateurs when it comes to being on the receiving end of lawsuits and general backlash. Whether they’re being taken to court by Californian District Attorneys or causing a standstill on the streets of London, Uber aren’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon if the statistics are anything to go by. Their expansion and controversy is visible to pretty much anyone that has access to any news source or a black taxi driver. But what is it that they’re doing with their app that keeps consumers going back for more?

If you strip Uber down to the core and forget the controversy surrounding it, the app’s functionalities strive to ensure that we go back time after time. The rather simplistic features aren’t particularly difficult to implement, but how they make customers feel whilst engaging with them are responsible for Uber remaining dominant in the market.

Sit back and enjoy as we explore the app’s key features which have contributed to the taxi-giant’s rise to fame.

 

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In the midst of Uber’s operation 

When you’re selecting your pickup location the mini black cars dotted around the place make us feel safe, connected and most importantly, an integral part of Ubers operation. The supposed “real time” functionality of the location feature means that consumers have full control of what they’re doing and where they’re doing it. The sheer amount (subject to availability ofcourse) of black cabs travelling across your screen also gives you the impression that you’ll be seen too as soon as humanly possible, however this has recently been scrutinised. According to WIRED the moving vehicles are a meer visual effect in order to showcase the range of vehicles on offer. A theory which hasn’t been proven nor denied, yet the concept could arguably be one of Uber’s most successful in attracting and retaining their user base.


A part of the Uber family

Once you’ve requested a ride you’ll be issued a driver and vehicle instantly which gives you a sense of assurance and safety. This may not apply to all drivers, but an image of a smiley employee adds a friendly touch onto a somewhat dreary service that needs to be purchased from time to time.


Like you’re receiving the best possible deal 

Everyone knows that Uber is known for being notoriously cheap (at least in comparison with other cab companies) and they make you fully aware of this. The fact that you get to select the type of service you want once again makes you feel in complete control. It also cleverly tailors to a the sheer diversity of Uber’s userbase, meaning that any potential risk of skipping a potential customer is limited.


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Relaxed

The one thing that can be particularly stressful when flagging down a non-Uber taxi is the issue of having the appropriate amount of cash to cover your journey. The worst case scenario of this is that you’ll have to pull over and withdraw more which will incur additional costs. By allowing customers to get a fare estimate and then pay for that respective service without the hassle above, it limits the amount of hassle regardless of your location.


Opinions matter

The fact that you get to instantly rate your experience after your journey makes you feel as if your opinion really does matter. From Uber’s perspective the rating feature acts as a great form of customer retention as it allows them to voice their opinion. Whether these ratings are taken into careful consideration we’re not entirely sure of, yet the functionality makes consumers feel like they can make a valid contribution to the overall service…for  better or worse!

 

 

Here at Big Orange Software we have created bespoke apps for businesses of all sizes and sectors. If you feel that your company could benefit from our services then we would like to hear from you on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88 

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

my-own-app

The Beauty App: The Rise & Benefits

It’s evident that the rise in technology has altered the way in which we interact with beauty brands. Just only ten years ago it was a case of simply entering a store, buying a product from a brand and then hoping that it was ‘for you’. But now, courtesy of the boom in social interaction between brands and consumers via smart devices, we’re able to contemplate, query and research well before purchasing goods.

The statistics on the UK beauty industry speak volumes. Market research specialists Racounteur state that beauty retail sales grew by a billion pounds from 2008 through to 2013, which contributed to the overall £8.9 billion spent during the latter. Some have even gone as far to say that the beauty industry is “recession-proof”.

One can only assume that the above statistic has been achieved by the sheer expansion of beauty companies, who have been provided with new digital marketing platforms to reach more people than ever before. Beauty-focused apps are a prime example of the industry’s attempts to broaden their audience, with the likes of firmly established brands L’Oreal, John Frieda, Veet, as well as a growing number of local businesses, getting on board the app craze.

It goes without saying that generating a profitable ROI is the key focus for beauty companies (like any business), and there are a number of app features that can be utilized to achieve this.

Product Testing

L’Oréal Paris introduced its virtual makeup application tester ‘Makeup Genius’ app last year, and has since started a mobile trend. Its functionality allows users to upload a ‘selfie’ image on to a mobile device and test out various types of makeup in real-time. The benefit of providing your users with this (via a free download worth noting) is that not only will they sample a range of your products, it’s also a fun gimmick which has the power to get people talking and sharing.

Take a look at the L’Oréal Paris Makeup Genius app here – http://bit.ly/1r6HFPy

It appears that the time of consumers basing their purchase decisions on physically engaging with a product are rapidly disappearing into the past…

Location Extension

A benefit that beauty companies have are that they aren’t restricted purely to the online sphere. If you run a beauty salon who also sell products online you can use the app as a tool to visit your store and in turn spend more on additional services. By including a contact telephone number, email address or a ‘get in touch’ form you’ll be maximising your chances of a client dropping by for a personable experience.

Push Notifications/Re-Marketing

Implementing push notifications can act as an effective method of re-attracting your app users via special offers/promotions. You can also tailor the timing of your push message to coincide with the location of your user, meaning that once again you’ll maximise your chance of generating a sale.

Advertising

There are now more and simpler advertising platforms available than ever to pretty much every technology user. By the term ‘simpler’ we mean that digital advertisements today have significantly shrunk the time and effort needed for a potential consumer to acknowledge and purchase a product. A user scrolling through their timeline will now be presented with a small advert consisting of two lines of text, an image and a download prompt. Making it simpler for a user to engage with a brand (in this case a beauty brand) simply with the touch of a button.

Social media channels continue to be invaluable for brands during the current rise in mobile advertising, with Facebook (and its subsidiary companies) being the latest to announce their official figures. According to CNN Money mobile advertising revenue made up 73% of Facebook’s total advertising revenue during the first three months of 2015, up from 69% at the end of 2014.

Looking forward to the foreseeable future mobile advertising is projected to go from strength to strength. Zenith Optimedia (via Reuters) has predicted 2017 will bear witness to the internet becoming the biggest advertising medium in a third of the globe, with mobile contributing to 70 per cent of all global ad spend.

 

Here at Big Orange Software we make bespoke apps in a number of specialist areas. If you wish to speak to someone about a establishing a beauty app or modifying an existing one then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

Or feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook 

The Essential App Start-Up Toolkit

When it comes to creating an app there are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration. It goes without saying that a well-constructed app is vital to you achieving downloads, but it’s also very important that you also carefully think about the environment that you’re placing your app into. How and where are you going to get your app noticed? What are your competitors doing around the time of your release? Have you secured the appropriate licenses?  How are you planning on generating your revenue?

Fortunately we’ve created a handy app start-up toolkit which contains everything that you need to address before, during and after your apps construction. To some start-ups the prospect of creating an app from scratch may seem like a daunting prospect, that is until now of course…

 

Marketing

Marketing

The world of marketing is broad and diverse, yet exciting with plenty of scope for opportunity. Marketing is key to generating excitement for your product and should be the first factor you address and constantly in the back of your mind as your app is being built. By utilizing a range of relevant media platforms (including traditional and new media), along with producing innovative content, you’ll maximise the chance of getting your app in all of the right places! These include:

  • Targeting key influencers and bloggers to review and rate your app
  • Creating blog content to accompany your company’s platforms
  • Implementing PPC (pay-per-click) advertising
  • Ensuring that all content produced is SEO friendly
  • Creating, executing and monitoring social media campaigns

 

 

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Monetization

Fortunately there are a number of ways that you can generate revenue from your app, it’s just about finding the right one that caters to your business needs. When it comes to generating ROI you should think about two things; how and when. Begin to look at successful and indeed unsuccessful case studies from down the years and then start to place your business model against others. Industry facts and figures are also a great way to highlight the spending habits of your consumers during that particular time, meaning that your app will have the best possible chance of success.

 

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Competitor Analysis

You may well have a fantastic app but if it’s competing against a firmly established company with a loyal fan base, then yours may struggle to reach its full potential. In the event that yours is too similar to have its own out stand-out identity then begin to look at additional USP’s. Similar to above try to evaluate the successes that your competitors have with particular features, especially if they’re running with something that you wish to implement.

 

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Brand Protection

Ensure that you have secured all of your appropriate licenses before your launch date. Whether that’s having your businesses name registered as a trading company or your app registered to its respective store, pending confirmations have the capacity to defer your plans around your launch date.

 

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Design

Carefully think about how you want your app to look and feel, as this will be an accurate reflection of your brands identity. Most app agencies offer designs as a part of your package, yet only you know what it is you want to achieve with the aesthetics.

 

Here at Big Orange Software we offer the above tool kit as a comprehensive package for those who wish to get there app off the ground or are seeking additional funding. If you wish to speak to someone about your project then give us a call on  +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

 

Essential Apps for Your Summer Holiday

It’s officially July which means one thing, you’ll soon be taking to the skies to swap your exams, 9-5’s and early morning commutes with stretches of golden sands and unlimited sangria to hand. We take a look at the best and essential apps that everybody should download prior to stepping on that plane. We’ve even placed them in chronological order tailored to fit to your busy holiday schedule!

Courtesy of their UK allowance policy in 18 foreign countries, chances are Three mobile network users will enjoy this upcoming blog a lot more than anybody else. For everyone else at least you have Wi-Fi available or an incredibly generous mobile budge set aside for your trip.

1) National Geographic World – Free

If you’re still contemplating where you want to venture off too or you want more information, then prepare to be inspired by the National Geographic World app. You’ll be able to find facts and stats for every country and territory on the globe and get real-time weather updates so you can plan what to wear!

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2) Wunderlist – Free

So you’ve decided on where you want to go, now it’s time to get yourself ready. Wunderlist is a great app where you can centralise all of your holiday essentials into one place and check them off as you go. Unfortunately it can’t check off your passport every 5 minutes, that’s still something that you’ll have to do yourself!

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3) Airline Apps (British Airways, easyJet, AirFrance etc) – Free

Airline apps make booking, boarding and accessing everything about your flights much easier than ever before, make the most of them! If you’re using the Apple Watch you’ll be able to view the flight number and even get a countdown to the departure time so you don’t miss your flight whilst shopping in duty free!

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4) iTranslate – £4.49

With iTranslate you can speak your native language into your phone which can then be translated into one of 42 languages. You can also link up AirTranslate to connect devices together and have a conversation in a particular language. Perfect for those “I’m going to miss my check-in” conversations with your hotel/hostel/apartment.

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5) Car Rentals Market App – Free

The Car Rentals Market app for iPhone has the largest selection of car rentals available today, and partner with car rental companies in the USA, Canada and Europe. Users are able to compare prices from all car rental companies in one place meaning that you’ll always get the cheapest deals.

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6) WifiMapper – Free

WiFiMapper is the world’s largest free Wi-Fi database which contains over 500 million hotspots. Not only does it tell you where the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot is, it will also give you information on the location so you know where to go and where to avoid.

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7) City Guides by National Geographic – Free (with in-app purchases)

It’s the return of our our friends at the National Geographic. This app will allow you to explore the best of four of the world’s most vibrant cities – London, Rome, Paris and New York. Features include established routes, ‘Did You Know’ facts and a photo upload function.

If you’re not visiting one of these places have no fear, there are tons of individual apps for specific locations all over the world.

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8) TripAdvisor – Free

We’ve all had it where we feel the need to spread the word about something atrocious on our holiday, yet never actually get round to doing it. With good ol’ fashioned TripAdvisor you can instantly let people know how please or displeased you were with a particular service, making sure that they go too or avoid entirely thanks to your wise words.

 

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Have a great holiday all!

 

Do you have an idea for a similar type of app? Do you want to speak to someone about how you get your project off the ground? Do you have any questions regarding your digital marketing strategy?

If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

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The Children’s App: The Essentials

Whether you’re a parent, a child carer, an app developer or just somebody that is interested in technology we’re certain you’re well aware of the following, the children’s app is on the rise! The reason for this could be whittled down into a broad range of social/personal factors, yet there’s two that particularly stand out; the rise in smart devices and the deterioration of the stigma attached to letting children integrate with them.

With there being so much choice on various app stores it’s now a crucial time for both app developers and parents to start constructing and selecting their apps wisely. It may seem that a child will interact with anything that is submerged in more colours than the rainbow, and this is probably true, but there needs to be an aim behind the download (especially if you’ve paid for it!). We take a look below at the objectives that should be deliberated by developers and parents alike.

 

apps-for-kids

Location

Most children’s apps are designed to occupy them whilst they’re at home or at school. This means that the content of the app should therefore reflect the purpose of the child being in that location at that particular time. It’s perfectly acceptable for a parent to want to slightly extend ‘learning time’ outside of school hours, yet the content shouldn’t direclty mirror the content type used in lessons. The reason for this being that you could be running the risk of the child losing interest in the app all together, deriving it away from its original purpose.

It’s all about getting the balance right, and one of the key responsibilities for a parent (one of many!) is to determine and specify when a child’s playtime and ‘learning time’ are, with the app being there to reinforce your decision.

Look & Feel

The aesthetics of the app should be fun and easy on the eye, yet not messy. With children’s apps it’s easy to think that a lot of colours and clickable icons will do, but do they serve a helpful purpose? The app must have a clear start and finish which can be navigated via basic manoeuvrability and children must be able to determine objects along the way for learning purposes.

Needless to say the look and feel also has to cater to the age group that you’re serving too.

Purpose

The app needs to serve a variety of purposes; to engage, challenge and reward. Children shouldn’t really be encouraged to engage with smart devices and apps throughout the entire day, so the time spent on them should be done so efficiently.

1) Engaging /Enticing

The chances are if a child isn’t automatically transfixed on a toy/game/device it just isn’t going to work out. As mentioned above the aesthetics need to captivate him or her and then guide them through a story where an end product is permanently in sight. Storytelling is an important skill for parents to teach and for kids to place themselves in to, and this is something that can be facilitated by a gripping app.

2) Challenging

We’re not saying that an app should make a child’s head hurt, but a slight challenge will benefit them mentally. Whether it’s a game of pairs or asking them to solve basic mathematic equations an app of this nature will keep them engaged, entertained and informed.

Plus it will also keep you amused…

3) Rewarding

Make sure there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that the child is rewarded for their efforts both visually and in person. Token gestures in the app such as a gold star or a thumbs up will encourage the child to want to learn more, which can only be a good thing…

It’s also crucial that you participate in rewarding them for their hard work and not leave it entirely down to the app.

 

Have you got any questions on the above? Have you got a children’s app in mind that you would like to explore further? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0)1737 45 77 88

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Your User’s Navigation: Why It Matters

The amount of time your app is in its development stage can depend on a number of factors. Typically we find that it’s the review phase which tends to extend your projects build time as this is where the majority of changes are flagged. Have no fear though, this can be prevented from an early stage by envisaging your user’s journey on your platform before you begin its construction.

Fortunately digital agencies are working with programmes such as Pidoco and POP (Prototype on Paper), which transfer hand sketches into digital format, allowing you to click on buttons and tabs like you would on your phone. To sum up their main purpose in one nimble sentence; you’ll be able to get a thorough insight into the overall look and feel of your app well before it’s even built.

 

screenflow_pidoco_prototype

 

 

This type of software can ensure that your app developer works as efficiently as possible. It can be time intensive for a developer to make changes to an apps structure once it’s been built, and this is where delays can start to occur. Another good thing about having your designs roughly sketched out is that you’ll be able to see what areas of your app are feasible and those that aren’t, plus you can also add and remove areas where you see fit as you refine your idea…

Whether you’re planning on creating a new app or updating an existing website, it’s advised that you think about your user flow before you approach your digital agency. No-one knows your customers quite like you and therefore you are uniquely positioned to guide your agency in how you want it to look, feel and flow, with the agency being there to acknowledge, implement and recommend. In turn this will ensure that you have every possible area covered which will also save you time and money further down the line. A well-constructed brief will fuel the agency with all of the necessary tools to work efficiently and adhere to your deadline specified.

Before you get your creative juices flowing you need to have your user in mind at all times. Put yourself in their shoes and wonder why they’re there in the first place and how they can get to and from your key hot spots as a result. A users intentions may vary depending on the apps sector (consumer and enterprise for example will differ), yet this shouldn’t dictate the quality of their experience in any way shape or form.

We’re not saying that you have to spend hours on the sketches as you’ll receive detailed artwork as part of your package from your agency. But we are however saying that you should try and think of every little detail in the time that you have to gain an even better understanding of your project’s aims, and this in fact has proven to inform design in the past. Even if you’re adding to your user flow periodically page by page on scrap pieces of paper it will still help you gain a better understanding of what it is you want to achieve, and what particular pages can help you maximise your chances of doing so.

One of the main faux pau’s in app design is asking your user to do more than what is required. Whether it be a frustratingly long sign-up or checkout process or when you just can’t find that particular product in a sea full of others, these have the power to deter a user all together. We found that the following link provides some great examples on frustrating user scenarios – https://theresaneil.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/ux-fail-part-1/

Like any projects there’s always the realistic possibility of complications. In the world of app development the complications are most likely to arise whilst it’s being built. Adding and removing content whilst your app is being coded can be time consuming which may lead to you incurring additional agency time and costs. Time which could be spent testing and fine-tuning your already well thought-out project…

The key point here however is to have fun with your app wireframes. Feel free to get as creative as possible and be open to suggestions as may give you additional ideas going forward. If the agency can’t provide a match for the functions you’re after, chances are they’ll be able to provide realistic alternatives which still aim to facilitate the same purpose(s) that you had in mind in the first place.

Important points:

  • Make sure you know exactly what it is that you want to achieve in your app
  • Try and think of every page of your app and make a note of them
  • Don’t assume that something can be done instantly halfway down the line as this can lead to additional costs
  • Have fun whilst creating your app – this is your chance to shine!

 

Have you got an idea for an app or website? Do you want to speak to someone about your digital marketing strategy? If so, feel free to get in touch via our website or through Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44 (0) 1737 45 77 88

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