Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Apple Watch Review

So after months of waiting the Big Orange office were finally blessed with the presence of their highly anticipated Apple Watches, one of which is the black sport band stainless steel edition. Our first impressions were that it looked slick, smart and sophisticated, and not an obvious looking Apple product (that is until you activate the glances feature) which we imagine is the approach that Apple had in mind. It’s been over a week since we unwrapped it so without further ado we bring you our Apple Watch review.

FullSizeRender (2)

Battery

The battery aspect of the watch was a feature that was heavily scrutinised prior to the launch, but we feel that may have been a little unfair. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to charge our mobile phones or indeed any other of our trusted smart devices but unfortunately we do, so does it prove that much more problematic but having one more addition?

By allowing it to charge fully at night we’ve managed to get the full 18 hours (plus a little more) out of it which comfortably covers the slightly extended day of 5am – 11pm. Although it doesn’t fully cover the 24 hour day we really don’t think it’s much of a problem as it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

After all, you do have your trusty iPhone as a solid backup should you find yourself deprived of the watches’ functionalities!

Take a look below at this handy image of battery usage depending on how you plan to primarily use your watch.

 

gg

Verdict: Not much of an issue if charged fully at night.

Sound Quality

We don’t use the term ‘surprised’ often, especially when it comes to Apple products, but the speaker and microphone were surprisingly brilliant. We found that the caller and the recipient were able to hear each other clearly and with only with a fraction of delay. Something else that was welcomed was the fact that the Apple Watch user didn’t have to prop it up to their mouth or ear in order to speak or listen. We wouldn’t use it in a public sphere as the loudspeaker would obviously prove to be rather intrusive (as you clearly wouldn’t do on your mobile device). But in a meeting room, kitchen or in your car it’s ideal.

Verdict: Very impressed

Apps

With the Apple Watch the apps were always going to serve a utilitarian purpose; to get in, read the headlines and get out again, meaning that we weren’t surprised with the end product. We’re able to read the news, check the stock market and select the music output through our phone, which is actually quite convenient as these are the apps that we wouldn’t typically spend a long time on, even on our mobile devices.

Verdict: You’re limited as to what you can do with the apps, but what you can do is simple and efficient.

Responsiveness & Interface

We found that the responsiveness of the watches’ interface was excellent, and once again reverts back to what we said earlier about it looking smart and slick. The only drawback is that we wish we could have more control over what is displayed on the home screen.

Verdict: Needs work but will probably be reviewed by the time the next edition is released.

Siri

Siri proves to be a little problematic on the watch. Given the watches’ face size it’s obvious that it’s not designed for the prolonged text message or long reminder list. We found that the voice recognition tool wasn’t picking up relatively simple words or phrases which can be quite frustrating. We also found that activating Siri can be a bit of hassle for its worth as you have to hold down the microphone button (which can be difficult at times), record your dialect and then select where it’s going to. On the whole it does its usual job and does 9 times out of 10 take you to where you want to be.

Verdict: Could be tweaked for simpler user navigation.

jfjfjf

Day-To-Day

The watch has had an impact on how we go about our day to day business. We find that it does indeed draw you away from your phone, and in turn makes you a fairly more sociable than normal! Typically if you’re not wearing a watch of any kind you’re going to use your mobile phone to seek the time, which then in reality ends up in you checking your social media feeds and emails for a solid 30 minutes. We find that it’s a great way of doing both, but without making you transfixed on something that you weren’t initially looking for.

Verdict: Has slightly altered our mobile habits for the better.

 

After spending a week with the watch it would now be difficult to contemplate life without it. It’s a fun and efficient piece of kit which is certain to be a success in the near future, both with app consumers and app developers.

Do you agree?

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 and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 83

Want more blogs like these? Sign up to our weekly newsletter above.

The Art of App Monetization

So you’ve come up with a great idea for an app, everything lines up and you’re confident that its content and overall functionality is what the world needs, not wants! You know it’s going to be a hit amongst iOS and Android users and feel you’re the creator of the next big sensation. You’ve paid your $99 or $25 for your Apple and Google Play licenses respectively and you’re ready to start developing. Now you’ve just got to start thinking how you’re going to make it work financially, we take a look at the possible options available to you.

App owners need to ask themselves what their key goals are. Fundamentally the key questions is; is there any point in spending your time and hard earned money on a great idea if you’re not going to make any money from it in the future? After all, those yachts aren’t going to pay for themselves…

Your business intentions may vary; some may not be seeking profit from their work straight away, some shall be and there are those who aren’t seeking profit whatsoever (believe us they’re out there!).

Let’s look at some of the options that are available to app owners. We’ll be looking at paid apps (ideal for business tools); Freemium/Lite apps (great for addictive games); Paymium apps (fantastic for established brands); Native and banner advertising and other factors which can lead to effective ROI.


App Revenue

PAID

Paid apps are deemed as one the most straightforward yet relatively risky forms of generating ROI. Yet if successful, distributing a ‘paid’ app will guarantee that you generate revenue upfront as you achieve downloads.

When pricing an app in your particular industry you have to take the mind-set of your potential consumer into consideration. Overall the paid download market is on the decline. The reason for this? Because there are so many apps out there who are operating on other models that sway the user with promises of free initial download and trials. You have to think realistically, what makes yours so worthy of making members of the public part from their hard earned cash when they can try a competitors app for free?

Business tool apps, such as task managers, are generally viewed to bring value to the workplace which means that people/businesses will be happy to purchase them as they will in theory bring return with them.

If you’re developing for iOS you generate 70% of your sales revenue per download, 30% goes straight to Apple. If you decide to sell your app at 99p you’ll receive just under 70p. However if you were to sell it at £1.29 you’ll receive just over 90p. This may seem not seem that much drastically higher at a first glance, but in the context of a hundred thousand downloads you’re sure to notice the increase in your revenue streams.

You may also be able to charge just that little bit more if you’ve done your marketing well beforehand. You need to put yourself in your consumers’ shoes here; once they have committed to buying your app are they going to put off by the extra 20p? If only a few users are put off from this slight increase this may still be a step forward in terms of maximising your revenue.

FREEMIUM/’LITE’ VERSIONS

According to CNBC in January 2014, 79% of the Apple Store’s revenue in the US was generated via ‘Freemium’ apps. To sum up the ‘freemium’ app is free to download, however often large sections of its content is only accessible by in-app purchases.

Freemium apps are often very popular with downloaders as they prove to be a risk free option where they can try out the app for free and get to know it before committing to a purchase. From an app owners’ point of view the risk is that users may find that they only need the basic features that come for free, but still expect the same level of support. According to The Guardian the infamous Candy Crush Saga had only 2.3% paying users in 2014, however through these dedicated users (and a huge user base) they still generated some $1.33 billion!

PAYMIUM

‘Paymium’ apps are all about charging their consumer both an up-front cost along with in-app purchases. Despite this method of monetization not being so popular on the App Store (reportedly accountable for 2%), it is indeed a growing trend and are responsible for generating as much revenue as paid apps.

A good example of this model is world destruction mobile game, Plague Inc. It was first introduced as a simple premium app, but as it grew in popularity its creator James Vaughan began to add purchasable items throughout the game play. Despite its ‘Paymium’ approach it is now a huge success and generating further downloads as we speak.

A ‘paymium’ app needs to offer two things; a great product with even better add-ons. In terms of a business tool kit app it needs to offer an instant benefit, for instance a fire drill register function. Its original functionality allows fire marshals to quickly make a note on who is present, whereas its additional feature could be an online fire-drill for beginners’ course, which could save money and time for the company.

AD SPONSORED – NATIVE & BANNER

If your app is well known and achieving high quantity of downloads, native and banner sponsored adverts will benefit your business model. Native ads are those that appear to be the same content style as normal blog piece, therefore less intrusive, and tend to have a “sponsored story” mark on the bottom right. These are typically less intrusive to the end client because of this non-invasive reason.

Banner ads on the other hand are perceived as the more traditional method of app advertising, however not as effective. Smart Insights noted that only 0.1% of banner ads are clicked on, meaning that they are more likely going to be overlooked in favour of native.

When you start accumulating more users you’ll be able to start launching co-branded email campaigns with your apps sponsors, which will also generate you revenue via an alternative advertising platform.

REAL WORLD GOODS

Another way to make a ROI is by using your app as a gateway to your main product(s) (if applicable). This can be applied to a variety of industries where apps are used as digital extensions to drive brand awareness and traffic to other consumer spaces. A photography app could send users off to its frames department on its official website, a cookery app to its cutlery, and a fitness tracker app to its trainers for example.

YOUR AUDIENCE/CONSUMER

Keeping all of these monetization factors in mind, you have to ensure that you’re happy with the messaging of your app and that you know who you’re targeting and how. When thinking of him or her you need to put yourself in their shoes and consider what will sway them into tapping that download button.

A well-rounded, thoroughly thought-out app will act as an effective lead generator for consumers and sponsors alike, and will therefore give your app the best possible chance of success.

Good luck!

 

Are you a business start-up? Does any of the above apply to your current situation? If so, get in touch with us to discuss your project and getting it off the ground.

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

Want more blogs like these? Sign up to our weekly newsletter above.

How Do You Develop Your Own Mobile Game?

Mobile gaming has never been hotter. Once brief distractions for long commutes, mobile games have long since evolved into powerful experiences, with some even challenging the popularity and performance of their console counterparts.

Mobile-Gaming-Advantages-of-Mobile-Gaming-blog-March-14-2014

 

We’ve reached a point where 80% of our time onmobile devices is spent inside apps or games (source: BigFishGames.com), and mobiles are now considered a serious contender against other handheld gaming consoles.

So how can you get a slice of this action?

Sadly, you can’t just snap your fingers and come up with the next Angry Birds. Developing a mobile game takes time and research, but with the right amount of coding knowhow and elbow grease, you’ll be able to produce an addictive new app which is ready to reach the masses.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can develop your own mobile game.

Pick your platform

So you’ve got a killer idea for a game; now it’s time to decide which platform you’re going to host it on.

Depending on where you’d like your app placed, the development process can vary wildly.

The two biggest mobile platforms are Apple iOS and Android, but each of these has its own, very different, methods of development.

Exact details on how to program for each mobile platform can be found on the respective website, but below we’ve included a brief outline of the general process for iOS.

Register to release

First things first: you’ll need to register for free by heading to Apple’s developer site. Fill out the necessary information and agree to the terms.

If you’re planning on releasing the app you’ll need to enter your card details and pay an annual fee of $99.

Whilst you’re in there, that area of the website has a wealth of useful information and development tools to help guide you through the process of developing an app, so be sure to have a good look around.

Start your engines

Once you’ve registered and downloaded thenecessary files, it’s time to decide which game engine you’ll use.

Possible engines include:

  • GameMaker Studio – A popular and easy 2D game engine
  • Sparrow – An open-source engine designed specifically for iOS
  • Unity – An industry-leading platform for developing 2D and 3D games

Each engine will have its own unique features and perks, so it’s best to pick the one that best suits your needs and study it completely.

Even the most basic of engines will require some simple coding skills, so ensure you know what you need to learn before paying for a new program.

Build your world

Now you’ve got your engine downloaded and running, you can start creating and designing game models and environments. Use 3D and2D design programs such as Blender and Adobe Photoshop to bring your world alive.

You’ll also need to record and create the audio to help complete the users’ gaming experience. If you’re not confident creating your own music, there are a wealth of royalty-free audio files available online.

Your engine will contain all the information you need on how to transfer and upload these files into the game.

App development agencies

Alternatively, there are app development companies you can use to help transform your mobile gaming dreams into reality. If you havean idea you think would work particularly well but don’t have the necessary time or skills to bring your vision to fruition, this will be your best bet.

Testing, testing…

With the game design and mechanics complete, it’s time to test everything, and we mean everything!

No one wants to play a glitch-filled, buggy game, so ensure you play it as much as possible before release. Try tactics and moves that users might not naturally think of, and treat it like you have no idea how to play it in order to ensure that you iron everything out.

Once you’re 110% sure that you’ve got everything covered, it’s time to log into your developer account and upload your game to the app store. Congratulations on developing your first game.

 

Have you got an idea for a game? 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 and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 83

Want more blogs like these? Sign up to our weekly newsletter above.

 

Primary Education & Coding: Too much or a step in the right direction for future British prosperity?

We provide a high level of education to contribute to the future growth and development of the economy. We teach a wide range of subjects from an early age to ensure that all industry sectors are supplied with industry experts. We teach I.T to make children technically savvy from a young to run parallel with the expansion of the digital economy.

The UK’s digital economy is thriving at an incredible rate, now estimated to contribute roughly £100bn to it (http://www.techcityuk.com/investors/).

But why are we now starting to teach children to code…?

…and the answer is this. App development plays a significant role in the UK’s economy, reported to have generated around £4bn in revenue in 2014, and has more than likely grown since (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/26/uk-apps-economy-worth-four-billion-pounds). This now takes us on to the main topic in discussion, below.

A couple of weeks ago we were directed to an article on the CBeebies section on the BBC website. Although smothered in easy-on-the-eye imagery it actually addressed a somewhat adult topic; Computer ‘Coding’ is NOW an official component of the national curriculum within primary schools.

Despite being in the government’s pipeline for quite some time it’s officially been rolled out, and primary schools are as we speak teaching kids how to ‘code’. Personally we feel it’s an absolute delight for all of us that we have the technology to mandate such curriculum, interestingly the first in the world to do so, but not all will welcome this.

Inevitably being an app and website development company means that there’s going to be an element of biasness on offer, but let’s take a look at the comments we think this news will generate.

 

fgbgbn

 

Firstly it’s important to understand that what being taught isn’t coding as typically generalised; tuning in with no food, drink and human interaction as portrayed in David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’.

It’s actually a stepping stone to learning useful life skills. Project planning, management and execution are the key skills being taught here, which are appropriately filtered down into simple consumable commodities suitable for a five year olds attentional span. And it’s a pretty impressive skill to have at such a young age!

It’s also worth a mention that Barclays Bank have also shown their support for the scheme by offering complimentary 2-hour coding sessions for children aged 7-17.

What Else?

It’s been mentioned by some that pupils at this age should be learning the core subjects i.e., mathematics and science. But let’s wait one second, surely coding integrates both of them…right?

Something else very interesting about ‘coding’ is that it teaches you how to create rather than just consume. Like thoroughly enjoying a particular song but actually being able to put the components together to create it yourself.

One of our Senior Software Developers, Kyle, started learning the basics of how to operate a computer when he was 2. He says it has proven to be a huge contributor to him establishing his career path, conveniently during a point in time when digital marketing is booming!

Now the criticisms…

It could be argued that ‘coding’ will lead to kids wanting more ‘screen time’ during times when they should be playing and/or learning other subjects. Our response to this is…find a healthy balance between screen-time focused lessons, i.e., IT and the other core subjects.

It could also be perceived to be too advanced for the average 5 year old. However measures are in place to ensure that every level of ‘coding’ taught throughout the school years matches the development levels of the recipients.

All in all, we feel that in a digitally advanced era there’s no harm in giving schoolkids a slight head start. Especially in a society which is inevitably going to become digitally dependent.

Do you agree?

Have you got any questions on coding? 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 and Facebook.

Or give us a call on +44  (0)1737 45 77 83

Want more blogs like these? Sign up to our weekly newsletter above.

 

Introducing Our New Digital Marketer & Content Writer – James Tee

We have yet another new starter at Big Orange Software in what has been a very busy 2015 so far!

Our impressive track record of technical knowledge, customer care & operations continues to be the main drive behind our expansion in our office in Reigate.

We are now pleased to welcome James Tee as our newest member of staff, who will be working on the marketing & content writing team. As a newly established position James will ensure that your product will reach those who matter most, your customers!

Professional Experience

James has recently come from a PR background and has extensive experience in content marketing and social media campaigns for clients such a Mercedes-Benz, Ralph Lauren and Rolex.

James has always had a passion for writing and has had a few articles published for his local newspaper when he was 16 years old.  Nowadays James likes to use his way with words to help brands reach out and connect with their clients to increase publicity and engagement.

About James

James is a keen explorer and has travelled around Europe on two occasions with nothing but a train ticket, a backpack and a much-too-folded map in hand. He is also a keen sportsman and will give anything a go, however his favourite sports are football, tennis and badminton.

He also enjoys the casual game of croquet in the summertime too…

Contact James

WIN_20150323_144648

If you’d like to contact James with any queries in mind, you can get him on his email which is james.tee@bigorangesoftware.com or contact him via LinkedIn.

Welcome to Big Orange Software, James!

The 2015 UK Solar Eclipse – Stay Smart, Stay Away From Smart!

As the UK prepares for the first solar eclipse since 1999, we at Big Orange Software urge you, rather controversially, to stay away from all things tech… Billed as the most spectacular partial eclipse for decades, it’s inevitable that social media engagement is going to boom during the two-hour event, but let’s face it nothing is going to be as spectacular as the main event itself.

solar-eclipse

‘That’ concert regret comes to mind here; when you’re at your first ever gig and get overwhelmed by the sheer excitement of it and feel the need to record EVERY SINGLE song on your device. You then leave the venue with your ears buzzing to then be addressed with sheer disappointment when you find that the recording resembles a somewhat crunching noise, with thousands of screams in the backdrop.

What we’re trying to say here is, don’t miss the moment by trying to capture it.

We forecast that Facebook, Twitter & Instagram are more than likely going to be the big hitters this Friday, flooded with images of ‘Eclipse Selfies’, Jaffa Cake ‘Total Eclipse’ jokes and hazy images of the sky, but these may come at a price…

Photographing the sun can cause damage to cameras if the right steps aren’t taken. The lens in your camera can get damaged by the sun, it’s advised that photographers use a solar filter should you want to record.

So whether you’re at work, at home or even at your local GP practise waiting room. Sit back, put away the device and simply enjoy… …and then Tweet like mad!

Facts For Our Followers

  • The alignment will see the moon pass directly between the sun and earth between 8.30AM and 10.42AM, reaching its peak at 9.34AM
  • Northern Scotland will have the best view, with the likes of Shetland seeing almost 98 per cent of sun covered, Glasgow 94 per cent and London 84 per cent
  • One of the earliest recorded eclipses was the Ugarit eclipse in 1374BC which took place in Northern Syria