Category Archives: Mobile App Development

  • Agile Scrum Development

    What key roles are necessary in agile scrum development?

    What key roles are necessary in agile scrum development

    Agile scrum development methods are an alternative to stage-gate project management, including software application projects. Stage-gate methods of management depend on project managers delivering artifacts that record a completed task. A list of required artifacts for each stage is established, usually by a PMO, that needs to be created, reviewed, and approved before the next stage of the project’s life-cycle can be started. A change to the project must be submitted via a project change request or PCR. Changes are strongly discouraged and take a long time to approve.

    The agile scrum development approach assumes that changes will occur during the product’s life-cycle and are welcomed as long as they improve the customer experience. In other words, what the end customer wants and needs will change over time as they get to interact in phases (or releases) with the solution. Agile scrum development teams start working with a product owner, or user representative, as early as possible, to determine what is called the minimum viable product or MVP. The MVP is an understanding with the product owner of the minimum functionality required to do something useful and from which incremental development, or releases, will proceed until the full set of requirements is delivered. Scrum teams are made up of five to seven members, with role flexibility in mind. Work is done in “sprints” lasting three to five weeks, at the end of which there should be a fully tested product with additional functionality.

    There are only three key roles in a scrum team: product owner, developer/tester, and ScrumMaster.

    Product Owner

    The product owner represents the product users and their vision of what the product functionality is to be. One way they convey this vision to the agile scrum development team is through product backlog “grooming” meetings, or prioritizing features list (a.k.a. user stories) for the product. A product owner delivers a solid understanding of users, the business competition for those customers, and a product roadmap with a vision for the future. Product owners must collaborate and compromise, since it’s the scrum team who selects from the backlog priorities the amount of work they commit to during each sprint, trusting that they know best what they are capable of. In return for that commitment, the product owner makes a reciprocal commitment of not coming up with new requirements during a sprint. Requirements are allowed to change (and change is encouraged) but only outside the sprint.

    An individual in the product owner’s role is expected to be actively engaged with the scrum team, be business savvy, and skilled in communicating different messages to different people, internal and external to his organization, sponsors and stakeholders of the project at any given time.

    Developer/Tester

    In non-agile, traditional software development, a programmer’s role (Developer) is sharply separated from a tester’s role (Quality Assurance). In agile scrum development teams where members are encouraged to be flexible and knowledgeable with many tasks, at any given time, if necessary to meet the sprint commitments, everybody works together to improve and build quality into the product. Developer’s don’t program and hand-out their work to be tested. Tester’s don’t just run test scripts, identify defects, and log them for fixing. They work and complement each other and roles may rotate sprint by sprint, per each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and desire to learn new things. It will be difficult for individuals to meet the acceptance criteria of what they are developing and consider a story “done” without early-on tester collaboration and tester’s won’t be effective without immersing themselves and understanding the developer’s work. There are no set/fast rules, it goes down to team working agreements per sprint.

    ScrumMaster

    ScrumMasters serve as mentors and champions of the scrum way of doing things. They also organize meetings associated with it such as sprint planning, backlog grooming with the product owner, stand-up meetings, reviews, and retrospectives. The ScrumMaster role is similar to the traditional project manager but without complicated process and procedures to follow. ScrumMasters are flexible and ideally can take any scrum role to complete a task required to move the sprint forward.

    Summary

    Agile scrum development team roles must be assigned wisely to individuals. Look for members cultural fit and acceptance of their responsibility in the sprint. Let the team come up with their own working agreement decisions and trust their daily procedures for communication and collaboration.

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  • How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    How will technology change our lives in twenty years?

    Technology is constantly advancing and changing, sometimes at a shocking pace. While we often think we know what the future holds, we are often surprised by what does and doesn’t actually happen. While the 1995 hit movie Back To The Future made some wild predictions about life in 2015, such as the availability of hover boards, it did actually hit quite a few technological advances right on the nose. Flat panel, widescreen TV’s mounted on walls were in fact a daily part of our lives in 2015, as were video chat systems, wearable devices and even tablet computers with fingerprint scanners. You don’t necessarily have to have a crystal ball to predict future technological advancements, you just have to see the seeds being planted today to understand how they will develop in the future. Here are 3 ways technology development will change our lives in the future.

    1. Disease prevention

    Watches and wearable devices are currently on the market that can monitor our heart rate and how many calories we burn when exercising. Tomorrow’s software will allow wearable tech to monitor blood sugar levels, oxygen consumption and even changes in hormone levels. Your watch can tell you when your stress levels are rising, when you need to eat and what would be the best food choice at that time for optimal health, when you are getting dehydrated or even when its the optimal time for pregnancy. Today we are getting much better at curing cancer, in 20 years, our wearable tech may actually be able to help prevent it in the first place.

    2. Minimal drive time

    We are already seeing cars that can park themselves and self-driving cars are definitely on their way, but current technological advancements are already decreasing our need to even use cars in the first place. As it is, features like video conference and cloud computing are allowing more and more businesses to offer their employees the freedom to work remotely, not to mention hire someone from India as easily as someone from Indiana. Not only does this cut down on the amount of time spend commuting every day, but it also cuts down significantly on the number of people that even need cars in the first place.

    Public transportation is also making rapid advances as are car sharing services and even hire services like Uber and Lyft. The time may come when individuals won’t even need driver’s licenses anymore because they either don’t drive at all or their car drives itself. With less cars on the road – and possibly even less roads – this will also lead to fresher air and less pollutants in the atmosphere. This may also lead more people to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. Fewer cars will almost also lead the trend away from giant shopping centers and mega marts in favor of smaller, local stores within walking distance – which will also have an increased benefit to overall health.

    3. Less time spent on routine tasks

    Just 20 years ago, when you went to the grocery store, a checker had to remove each article from your basket and manually ring in the price of each item into a cash register. Today, checkers simply run a bar code over a scanner – if there is even a checker at all. Checking out has become so easy, many people opt for a self-checkout rather than waiting in line to have someone do it for them.

    In the future, there will be no checkout lines at all, as scanners will simply scan any items you leave the store with and automatically debit your financial account. Many items will actually be ordered by your appliances and simply delivered to your home, most likely via a drone or even a robot. Even your visit to the doctor will start off with a drone or robot checking your vitals, hormone levels and perform a number of baseline tests, which will include accessing the information from your personal health monitor.

    All in all technological advancements are moving towards automation to take over our most mundane daily tasks, as well as the most mundane tasks in business, science and medicine.

  • IoT application

    Why should CIO invest in IoT application development?

    Why should CIO invest in IoT application development

    In an ever-growing number of industries, the Chief Information Officer is becoming an indispensable part of the leadership team. As your organization’s CIO, it’s your responsibility to keep track of the constant technological changes confronting you and position your team to take full advantage of emergent opportunities. When it comes to the Internet of Things, IoT application development should be a vital part of your approach.

    The Scope Of Possibilities

    The Internet of Things has made a rapid transition from trade journal buzzword to core function for many companies. The IoT application is no longer about “pie in the sky” consumer goods like smart refrigerators; today countless companies are finding real applications for this technology that can drive sales, boost profits, and reduce costs.

    One of the most fertile fields for exploring Internet of Things opportunities is in the field of business-to-business and enterprise commerce. If your company provides smart products that other companies rely on, you need to be prepared to make full use of the data those products collect. There are two key challenges standing between your organization and the full realization of its IoT application potential: Coping with the scale of the data collected and building the tools to put that data to work.

    Problems Of Scale

    Your company doesn’t have to deploy many smart devices before you find yourself facing a tidal wave of incoming data. IBM recently estimated that a single smart car could generate as much as 25 GB of data per hour when in use. Even though your own devices are likely to be less “noisy,” the amount of data you need to sift through scales exponentially as more devices are deployed.

    App development is just part of making that data productive. You also need the IT infrastructure in place to receive, store, and manipulate your device data. The traffic between your organization and its devices may be two-way or one-way, and your infrastructure should be ready to handle the increased traffic that smart devices impose upon it. Successful implementation of smart devices will definitely put you into a “big data” situation, and you need to be ready to take full advantage of that.

    User Vs. Supplier Opportunities

    The sheer variety of different ways you might take advantage of smart devices and their data makes it difficult to talk generally about the sort of applications you’ll need. Just bear in mind that you likely have opportunities to benefit both your own organization and your end users. You may want to invest in separate teams to cover each of these bases.

    Strong applications for the user side of your smart device network will significantly improve your users’ experience and help you meet your customers’ needs. To this end, your user-side apps need to focus on ease of use and reliability. On the supplier side, you need to build robust tools that will allow you to streamline your other services. Look for every possible way to streamline your organization’s workflow through the data your devices collect. Making device data available to your support department can result in significant maintenance savings, for example.

    Why IoT Application Development Can’t Be Left Behind

    You’ve already gotten a glimpse of the advantages that you can capture by paying attention to the software side of smart devices. What about the potential pitfalls you face if you neglect your iot application? Justifying the resources you invest in apps requires you to present a compelling picture of the dangers you’re avoiding.

    While falling prices are a big driver behind the growth of the internet of things, building smart functionality into your products still represents a significant investment. Those costs will be wasted if your organization doesn’t have the software “muscle” to take advantage of the opportunities you’re building into your hardware. That means building and maintaining a potent iot application development team both to meet your current needs and to identify emerging ones.

    Smart devices are going to play a transformative role in a lot of different industries over the next few years. Is your organization ready to take full advantage of the possibilities they unlock? As the CIO, you have a responsibility to take the long view and line up the resources that will be crucial in getting the most out of your devices.

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  • scrum agile methodology

    How to derive effective results using Scrum agile methodology?

    How to derive effective results using Scrum agile methodology

    Agile is an alternative to the traditional waterfall or stage-gate project management in software development. Traditional  scrum agile methodology follow a step-by-step sequence such as initiation, planning, execution, control, and monitoring, and finally closing. Scope, budget, and schedule are determined early in the project and closely managed during the project’s duration with clearly defined change processes. Traditional project management expects that once a scope of work, budget plans, and activity milestones are created and reviewed by sponsors and stakeholders, changes will be few and difficult to implement.

    The scrum agile methodology approach to software development instead emphasizes that the requirements of the solution to be delivered, in other words, what the end customer wants and needs will change over time. Instead of waiting or expecting to know it all at the beginning of the project, agile teams tackle this unpredictability through incremental, iterative work, and lots of feedback from the customer.

    Agile teams are commonly known as scrum teams, emphasizing small (5 to 7 members), with simplicity and flexibility in mind for each member’s role. As a team organizational method, it requires constant empirical feedback, team self-management, and the delivery of fully functioning, properly tested product increments within short time iterations of between three to five weeks called sprints.

    There are usually only three roles: product owner, developer/tester, and ScrumMaster. The product owner represents the customers of the solution, for example, a software application, and his role is to provide constant feedback and influence team decisions taking into account what is best for the customer. Developers are expected not only to program but also to test their own work and that of other team members if necessary. ScrumMaster’s are closely related to project managers, and
    in a sense, that’s what they are, but without the baggage of processes and procedures imposed by a traditional scrum agile methodology. Instead, ScrumMasters are expected to participate and facilitate teamwork by taking any task or role required to move the project forward.

    ScrumMasters are also expected to own the effective planning and execution of meetings that support agile development: backlog grooming, sprint planning, daily 15-minute stand-up, sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives. A backlog is a collection of project/business requirements called user stories. Each user story is a self-contained, easy to understand narrative, that when worked upon in a sprint delivers a new software application capability. User stories that are not being
    delivered in a current sprint are “stored” in a backlog, and the list is “groomed” at the end of each sprint to remove, update, or become part of the next sprint deliverable. After the backlog grooming exercise, at the sprint planning meeting, the team decides which user stories will be delivered on the next sprint.

    In sprint review meetings, teams show what they have accomplished and are ready to ship. The sprint retrospective meeting is done before the next sprint is started. This is an open, honest, all-team discussion of what went well and what went wrong. At the end of the meeting, the team agrees on what could be changed to make the next sprint more productive.

    In order to derive effective results from teams following an scrum agile methodology, there are important considerations to take into account.

    Build teams wisely with hiring decisions and team design that ensure acceptance and cultural fit of its members. Training, mentorship, and coaching should be made available and if necessary part of new hiring decisions to create a support structure for implementation of agile development. Trust the team to make decisions and stay away from their daily process. The only way to build an effective scrum team is to let them organize themselves at their own pace and with their own collaboration processes and working agreements.

    Protect the team from disruptions during the sprint, especially from over-eager product owners who may want to introduce changes in mid-sprint.

    Make it a continuous process to identify and eliminate waste, encouraging lean processes and practices. Automate as many manual processes as you can. Create incentives wisely to boost morale and reward positive behavior recognizing in a balanced approach both teams and individuals for on-time results, high quality, creativity, collaboration, leadership, and process improvements. Create opportunities for growth with rotating team roles.

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  • Mobile Apps

    A good mobile app enhances the utilization of the device: True or false!

    With the advent of smartphones in the early 2000s, the world quickly changed with information in the palm of the hand. These devices began as basic tools with calculators and Internet connectivity, but they became more useful with each software update. Currently, you can access almost any company, product or game by simply downloading an application or app. These innovations beg the question of whether or not a good mobile app enhances the utilization of a device. In fact, this question must be answered with a resounding “yes” for several reasons. The technology within the device can be used with apps as clever ways to see or interpret the world.

    Incorporate Location Services

    It’s true that a good, mobile design will enhance a device’s use because of location services. Activate this function on the device so that its coordinates can be found. The app will find your location, and it can pinpoint services in your area that pertain to your needs. Locate a dry cleaners or restaurant that’s only one block away. These location services are so accurate that you can triangulate your position in regards to the destination’s coordinates. Many apps can use this device feature, which makes its applications in everyday life very useful.

    Colors Brighten the Day

    Every time a manufacturer introduces a new device, the screen progressively improves. Clarity and color quantities are common features that see marked changes. As app development improves, each subsequent game or resource can use these features accordingly. A fantasy app might take advantage of the bright screen colors that make a story come alive. As a result, app users access the game more often with a device that seems to keep on giving in the feature department. In this case, it’s true that a good app harnesses the power of a device while showing off its best features.

    The Camera Factor

    Nearly every smartphone comes with front- and rear-facing cameras. You may use the cameras for basic photography, but a good app will embed this visual function into its operations. The camera might scan an area or take a random photo for use in the app. Filters, edits, cropping and other features can enhance the use of the camera with one tap of the screen. If the app doesn’t offer the best use of the camera, this feature will be overlooked until it’s needed for a basic application.

    Accelerometer Fever

    Many smartphones have accelerometers within their assemblies, which orients the device in real time. In essence, the phone knows when it’s tilted, upright or upside down. A mobile app that takes this feature into consideration makes the physical device part of the game. An app might feature a pinball machine where you need to tilt the phone in the right direction to orient the ball. The device might be used to “point” the user in the right direction, such as toward a business along a road. Countless applications can be generated for business or personal purposes when it comes to mobile design.

    Connect to Bluetooth

    Apps with music capabilities are almost always enhanced with Bluetooth connectivity. An app might use Bluetooth to sound off its effects through speakers or headphones. Your game app may be better played when it has an old-fashioned joystick attached to it. Connect a Bluetooth game controller to the tablet or smartphone, and you have instant access to a video-game experience. App developers simply need to think like consumers in order to create the best possible interface with the device.

    Updates are Critical

    Devices are constantly receiving software updates so your app must go through the same process. Take advantage of these update opportunities to fix any bugs or add any suggestions offered by your customers. Whether you sell gaming experiences or food at the local deli market, altering the app for a successful update will only excite your clients.

    As smartphones continue to evolve with each annual introduction, you’ll see apps that harness those new additions. Keep up with the latest apps by browsing through the weekly selections offered by your service provider. The next, best app for daily life could arrive tomorrow. You simply need to keep an eye out for the opportunity to try it on your personal device.

  • mobile app idea

    How to choose perfect developers for your mobile app idea?

    Select perfect developers for your mobile app idea

    If you want your mobile app to work well, you need to have a defined process of filtering and choosing a good team of mobile app developers. It involves knowing what you want ahead of time. Once you know what you want from your app, you will have an mobile app idea what questions to ask your app developers.

    What do you want from the mobile app?

    When you know what you want from the app, you will communicate better with the app developers. The examples to keep in mind are having social media integration and login features. Other things to remember include giving out mobile apps for free or having a lite and premium version. You should also consider if you want the app compatible with Windows or Android or iOS or all.

    Do you want the app to make money? You need to tell this to the app developers, so they know what app to build for you. It could be a pay-per-download with a range of prices based on the features of the app. If the app is free, the app developers need to know too.

    Ask the app developers to show apps they created and list clients

    You need to be sure the developers know what they are doing. The app developer should have a list of people for whom they have created apps. The list includes the apps created. You cannot tell who has created an app by looking at it. That is why you need to speak to the developer’s clients. When you check references, you will know how responsible the app developers are. The reason you are checking the developers out is to ensure you get the services for which you will be paying.

    Speak to the team ahead of time

    Part of having clear communication is to talk to someone before hiring the person. Speak to the app developers face-to-face or on call and ask questions. It can be in person or via video messaging. You will get a feel for the team and how knowledgeable they are. The conversation will decide how the team works. You want to understand your developers, and you want them to get your message too.

    Find out what smartphone the developers use. You will get a clue of their knowledge on the topic. Whatever app the app developers claim to build, they should have it on their phone(s). They should also be familiar with how the app works and be comfortable discussing it. Asking these questions will set up a clear communication between the development team and you.

    Set up a timeline for each phase of the app development

    Ask the app developers when a part of the app finishes. It will give you a better idea of how far along the project is. You want to meet your deadline, so it is important to set these goals. Another way to handle milestones is to mark a date on the calendar you will speak to the app developers. You expect to get an update once you talk to them.

    When you know the project is progressing well; you will feel more comfortable paying their fee. The developers will know what you want once you have set these goals. Matured team of app developers would recommend using Agile Scrum & other advanced iterative models for developing apps and get quicker feedback while it is done. These practices allow you to change the app’s direction (if need be) faster and have more control on progress of app development.

    Find out the special features the app developers can create.

    The features attract users to the app. Know what features to include and see if the app developers can handle it. It is best not to assume the developers know it all. Examples of unique features include 3-D gaming, social media sharing, product coupons, location sharing, offline synching etc.

    Ownership of the app

    The app is important to you, so you need to show who will own it. One way to show who will own it is to draw up a contract between you and the app developers. Add a confidentiality clause to the agreement. Make sure you will own the rights to the source code and all the contents of the app.

    Testing the mobile app

    Ask the developers how they will test your app. Most people check apps on the phones they will be using. You should also get an easy to understand explanation of how the developers will test your app. You want to get rid of any glitches before the app’s completion. If they find any errors, see how they will fix the problem and how long it will take to complete.

    Conclusion

    Your app will generate an income stream. You want to make sure you have someone experienced doing the job. It means knowing what you want so you can communicate well with the app developers. Find out how many other apps the developers has completed. It is best to speak to the developer’s clients and ask questions. One question includes how responsible the developers are. You also want to know how long it took the project to finish. Another question you should ask is how competent the developers are.

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  • internetdelascosas-1024x768

    5 Things that will change your lives with internet of things (IOT)

    Even with self-driving cars making headlines, most consumers still seem unaware that the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to change their lives. Even the technically challenged will experience it every time they visit a friend or a public institution like the DMV. Your company may have little choice but to get onboard now. Just as social media, cloud computing, and the internet itself transformed business, smart devices that save time and money are driving innovation and opportunities. Here’s how this technology will impact your organization.

    1. Everything gets logged

    Smart devices feeding their information to computer applications can be used to track everything that goes on for every second they’re up and running. Busy hospitals or huge distribution warehouses will be automatically tracking equipment and even logging maintenance requests via smart chips and bar code scanner data shared over Wi-Fi. You’ll know where every piece of equipment is, what items are being used or produced, and what’s been shipped. You’ll know in almost real-time every product that’s been sold in every one of your hundreds of store locations, who sold it, and unless cash is used, who bought it. This can help your business improve operations and sales, quickly locate equipment and products even in transit, reduce shoplifting, generate up-to-date reports, and much more.

    2. More data

    With billions of smart devices already exchanging information over Wi-Fi, companies will be swamped with data from the Internet of Things. Sensors, keypads, and memory chips will be constantly collecting information on how smart refrigerators or programmable security cameras are being used. This can help your company improve products to meet real-use conditions, but it also means a flood of real-time information. Almost all data stores will become “big data” – very big. That requires new methods of consolidating and analyzing it so that it can be made available to marketers, strategists, sales, designers, engineers, customer support, and more. Companies making smart products will thrive only according to how well they use this mountain of data.

    3. Get there faster and safer

    They may not be the norm on the streets of the US yet, but in China a driverless bus successfully ran its route through crowded city streets. The technology works, and there’s no reason why it can’t work for you. Soon you’ll have driverless forklifts, maintenance vehicles, and delivery carts, all controlled by sensors, beacons, Wi-Fi, and computers to keep from running into each other, product, or human beings. They can run on schedule or on demand. And when the government does finally approve self-driving vehicles as street legal, your trucks will be running routes determined by computers for maximum economy of time and fuel. You can also consider drones as commercial vehicles. Long before Amazon started deliveries, they were used to upload footage for inspections and surveying, faster and more safely than any human could.

    4. Smart grids

    Almost anything can become a smart device. They can do more than gather data. A company in Idaho is now testing panels that it’s hoped will one day fill the streets. These are essentially big acrylic wafers that can support a truck, yet harboring LEDs and interconnected circuits so that they can monitor traffic, and work in sync to display warning messages or other alerts to drivers. They even have heating elements to melt ice and snow. It would cost billions to put them into place over the country’s highways, but how about a few strategically located in your office or manufacturing facility? They can alert and inform employees, guide visitors, or be outfitted with other technologies for taking pictures, recording sounds, temperatures, and weights, detecting intruders, and more.

    5. Remote management

    Today’s smart homes can be managed via smartphones. You can send a signal from across town to start the washer, turn on the lights, feed the dog, turn up the AC, and see who’s at the door. The same methods can be used for business. Just as it does for homeowners, mobile apps can let business leaders check on CCTV cameras, join meetings, view performance dashboards, create and share documents, initiate automated processes, track vehicles, time sheets, and payroll from almost anywhere in the world and at any time of day. This also helps to network with sales people or vendors when you’re away from the office. Remote management maximizes your involvement with a waste of time and travel.

    All it takes is some innovative programming with existing technology, and essentially any of your equipment, from coffee makers to tractor trailer trucks, can become a smart device. Gathering heaps of data can suggest improvements on everything your organization does. But the phrase “Internet of Things” is a bit of a misnomer; these devices are in place, ultimately, to communicate with you.

  • Modern UI flat design vector kit in trendy color with simple mobile phone and digital tablet with icons, buttons, windows and other interface items. Isolated on white background.

    Apps: Is it intelligent to choose function over design?

    It’s the age-old question for app designers everywhere – function or design? In an ideal world, you’d like to have both, but often it becomes necessary to prioritize one or the other.

    Both function and design are crucial aspects of your app and its success. However, your app’s functions serve as its foundation. If that’s not in place, your app isn’t going to succeed, no matter how beautiful the design is. Here are the primary reasons why it’s an intelligent choice to prioritize function in your mobile app development.

    Users Want Simplicity

    The average smartphone user spends the vast majority of their phone usage on mobile apps, and the majority of that time is spent on their favorite five apps. Users can install and uninstall apps in just seconds, and most aren’t willing to spend more than 5 to 10 minutes learning how an app works.

    It’s a competitive marketplace, and to give your app a chance of catching on, users have to be able to figure it out quickly. Some of the most successful apps provide one primary function, they just provide it exceptionally well.

    It doesn’t take long for a user to form an opinion on your app. You want users to catch on to your app right away, so they like it and keep it on their phones. You can accomplish that when you build a functional app that’s easy to use.

    Function Keeps Users Coming Back

    The most popular mobile apps all serve a specific purpose. Social media and instant messaging apps keep you connected with your network through your phone. Gaming and video apps provide entertainment whenever you want it. Map applications help you navigate to your destination.

    Users don’t open an app over and over, day after day because it looks pretty. They do so because it helps them in their day-to-day lives. For your app to be part of somebody’s favorite five apps, it has to help them in some way, even if it’s simply by providing a few minutes of entertainment.

    Google is one of the best examples of getting a huge user base by putting function first. Its home page has a basic layout and one main purpose, but people loved its simplicity and usefulness so much that it became the most popular search engine of all time.

    The Benefits of Great Design

    Function may be the most important aspect of your mobile app development, but your app’s design still deserves plenty of attention, as well. People are naturally drawn to things that are aesthetically pleasing. Function entices people to use your app, but design improves their overall experience when they do use it.

    Considering the importance of function, it deserves the majority of your resources, especially if you have a limited budget or are on a strict schedule. However, the goal for your app should be a blend of function and design, where the app works well and has a design that enhances its functions.

    Keep in mind that design doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple design can still be nice to look at and work perfectly for your app. In fact, what’s most important is that your app’s design feels natural, and what feels natural depends on the type of app you’re developing. For a high-octane mobile game, great design may be cool, flashy graphics. For a messaging app, a natural and effective design may be a simple layout that doesn’t overpower the experience.

    The popularity of the iPod is a testament to the power of not just good design, but good design that complements the function of the product. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player, it didn’t have the most storage, and there were actually several high-quality devices manufactured by Apple’s competitors. Despite that, the iPod became by far the most popular MP3 player available. It did so through an innovate design that wasn’t overly complicated, but looked good and made the device easy to use. Rolling your thumb along the wheel was intuitive and a quick way to scroll through all your music.

    The Intelligent Decision

    Overall, it is an intelligent decision to choose function over design – in the first stages of your mobile app development. At that point, it’s all about what purpose your app will serve for its users, and that means function is king. That doesn’t mean you need to discount design, though. As you move further along in your development process, building a design that fits your app and its functions is well worth your time.

  • Startups prototype creation

    Build Better User Experiences Through Prototyping

    Prototype development is a useful stage in the UI/UX development process, but many companies get it wrong. If done correctly, prototyping helps developers, designers and marketers iterate quickly on features and messaging. If botched, it can bog teams down in unnecessary choices and technical debt. Here are some tips to prototype effectively.

    Resolve to Throw Away the Prototype

    Prototyping is often thought of as the beginning of the software development process. In that light, the prototype is viewed as the software’s initial stage. The prototype will simply gain functionality and features until it is a more fully-built app or service.

    This is the wrong approach. A prototype should be treated as a standalone project. Handling prototypes as separate entities frees developers and designers from making tough technical choices that cannot meaningfully be decided so early in a product’s development. It also allows for testing ideas inexpensively, determining if they are viable before building out the necessary technical infrastructure.

    Don’t Get Bogged Down

    Software development is full of choices. A product’s database selection determines how its data will be modeled, stored and queried. UI frameworks dictate how it will look. Message brokers, container technologies, and many other factors all combine to determine how a product will look, act and be maintained.

    The prototype stage is not only the incorrect time to make these decisions, but it is also the wrong time to even discuss them. Prototypes should be as simple as possible, even going as far as faking features and interactions instead of relying on complex solutions and interactions.Prototyping is also a good opportunity to experiment with new technologies. Since it will ideally be short-lived, and since prototypes should be discarded, using new technologies gives teams the chance to evaluate their use in the larger project. It also lets developers and designers learn without worrying about mistakes being incorporated into a long-term development cycle.

    Identify and Test a Hypothesis

    The prototype is not the place to include every possible aspect of an app’s ideal design, every feature, every screen, and every corner case. Instead, it is intended to test a simple hypothesis.

    For instance, say a company is designing an on-demand app for delivering services. There are many features an app like this would require to be successful, from complex push notifications to screens for editing account details. The prototype should instead focus on testing the value proposition. Put in place just enough UI/UX development to determine if consumers find the platform helpful and useful. If they do, throw away the prototype and start building the final app.

    Conclusion

    Prototype development may seem like an expensive proposition. After all, why spend time developing an idea only to throw the work away? A common piece of advice is to measure twice, cut once. Building a prototype measures an idea, determining if it will fit expectations before making the potentially expensive mistake of building a thing that no one wants.

  • OTS Solutions news - K8 selects OTS Solutions

    OTS Solutions Selected as Virtual CTO & Technology Partner by Chicago-Based K8 Ventures

    OTS Solutions is proud to announce its partnership as virtual CTO for Chicago based K8 Ventures, LLC, a tech-venture firm with a focus on early stage companies. OTS is currently working on the production version of BAMM – Before and After Meeting Manager, a smart mobile and web based personal assistant that enables users to plan, book and manage their schedules with people and third parties. BAMM will be available in the App Store and Google play.

    Kurt Johnson, CEO, says, “Our partnership with OTS creates capital efficiency. OTS’ knowledge and scale ensure portfolio companies build quality products at market speed. We are excited to make BAMM available in both iOS and Android, and look forward to a successful October 2016 launch.”

    Hemant Madaan, CEO of OTS Solutions, has called the partnership “A strategic combination of two innovative companies that can ideate, innovate, and deliver to the market high-impact software solutions.”

    From its New York headquarters, OTS Solutions has been helping over 200 high growth startups & businesses around the globe in developing award winning web & mobile software apps for the past 14 years. Learn more

    K8 Ventures, LLC, is located in Chicago, IL and works with early stage companies as an accelerator and investor. With the company creation supply chain, go-to-market know-how, K8 has achieved significant capital efficiency and is redefining how early-stage capital is invested.

    Read full press release in media here – https://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/10/prweb13752805.htm

  • Mobile app development

    Top 10 things to keep in mind when developing a mobile app

    Maybe you have an idea for an app that could draw millions to your New York brand. How do you plan to build it? Which factors do you think are important? Here are the top ideas you should keep in mind before you start developing your own app.

    1. Uniqueness
    We all tend to get bored with the same old thing, including mobile apps. There are already millions of them out there. What people are looking for is something fresh and interesting that will hold their attention.

    2. Pricing
    Pricing a mobile app can be a bit difficult, as there are a number of factors to weigh. Think about how yours’ compares to charges for similar apps on the same platform or that are marketed in the same channels.

    3. Testing
    Be sure to test you app under as many scenarios as possible, even unlikely ones, as a reputation for bugs could sink it. Your app should be creative, reliable, quick, and easy to use. If coding and testing are a bit out of your league, turn to one of the premier mobile developers in New York for help.

    4. Budget
    Every phase in mobile app development costs money. Establishing a budget and using it properly is crucial. Make a plan and keep track of expenses so you can stay on track.

    5. Scalability
    There’s no way to predict which app will be successful and which will be ignored. In the event that it really sells, make preparations for the next step – mobile app development for multiple platforms. Start with a library of functional code blocks that can be easily changed as needed.

    6. Feedback
    Your app should have built in analytics and channels for user feedback to let you know what needs changing or what really works. In fact, you should be concerned if there’s no feedback…

    7. Research
    You should do market research to gain insight into what the competition is doing and what the target audience wants. Note the strengths and weaknesses of other app marketing campaigns, scan customer reviews, and visit blogs. What people want, and where the competition lets them down, is your window of opportunity.

    8. Efficiency
    Try to achieve maximum efficiency in all areas of development, but especially in the app itself. If it’s too slow, that’s inefficiency. Find ways to conserve data use and speed up loads.

    9. Waiting
    Mobile service waits can slow down apps. Don’t leave users staring at a generic string indicator that might suggest nothing is happening. Try using animations or text to let them know what’s happening.

    10. Description
    When a prospective customer is checking out your app for the time, Google Play and Apple store only show the first couple lines of it’s description, so make those as compelling as possible.

    There’s a huge market for useful and innovative apps. But there’s plenty of competition, too. These tips should help, but if you’re overwhelmed, you might want to consider professional mobile developers in New York. Getting your mobile app development can be a daunting task. Read here to learn how to do it well.

  • MVP, tech startup, OTS Solutions

    The Foundation of a Successful Tech Startup

    The first phase of a tech startup is chaotic, fast-paced and exciting. There’s an idea, and the first step is to launch the company and bring that innovative idea to fruition. A tech startup will do this by building its Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

    MVP Vision
    The MVP is a scaled down version of your product that has enough features to convince the target audience to engage. These early adopters are crucial to gathering the feedback needed that will ultimately prove there is both an interest and demand for the product.

    When building a Minimum Viable Product, it’s essential to remember the word ‘minimum’ — too often, entrepreneurs get caught up in creating a robust MVP that the window of opportunity passes and the need is met by another company. Additionally, entrepreneurs in the MVP phase don’t have large budgets secured yet, so the MVP is limited by financial constraints. Picture the core value of the product and the fastest way to demonstrate this value to the target audience. That’s the basis of the MVP.

    MVP Development
    While the MVP may be the most simplified version of the product, there’s nothing simple about building it. Moving from concept, to design, to development is the longest part of launching a tech startup. While there are plenty of do-it-yourself tools available to put the MVP together, it’s important to think beyond the initial cost to the long-term successes and flexibility of the product. An outside development firm will take into account the founder’s vision and brand, as well as UX and necessary troubleshooting.

    There are many ways to go about constructing an MVP, some of which have been used in the beginning stages of companies like Zappos and Google: Wizard of Oz MVP, Concierge MVP, Piecemeal MVP, etc. Each has its own advantages, challenges and benefits, depending on the overall goals of the tech startup.

    MVP Launch
    Deployment of an MVP should be quick and efficient, pushing the product to the target audiences with a team in place to respond to any mishaps (i.e. bugs, poor user experience, etc.). Agility is key to a successful launch and gaining as many early adopters as possible.

    The launch phase of an MVP can also be called the learn phase, because this is when a tech startup will gather information that will dictate the future, and potential success, of the overall product. A team dedicated to implementing customer feedback will inspire users to not only provide invaluable insight, but develop a personal connection with the overall brand.

    Click here to read more about how a tech startup can go from initial funding to business growth.

  • UI UX Services OTS

    Wireframing Vs. Prototyping: What’s the Difference?

    Prototyping and wireframing are discussed fairly regularly in the early stages of UI/UX design for software. It may seem that these concepts are interchangeable when in actuality they are drastically different. While both produce useful deliverables and help advance the development lifecycle, each requires different skills and produces different end results.

    Wireframing

    Often, when someone has an idea for an app, they begin development by deciding how the app might look. By sketching the user interface on cards or a whiteboard, it becomes possible to extract functional and other requirements for what must be built.

    Wireframes can be drawn in many ways. The simplest designs may start out as simple ink sketches on paper. Notecards are a great way to add size constraints to the interface, and to rapidly swap out components in order to simulate how using the app might feel. Later on in the process, the designs might be transferred to tablets or other digital media, and may even be exported as an interface draft for initial app prototypes.

    Wireframes are useful tools in UI/UX design for software. They allow designers and developers to quickly get a sense for how an app might look without technical constraints. Wireframes also facilitate extracting interface components, UI requirements and technical goals from an idea. Yet, while a wireframe achieves much, what it accomplishes is only skin deep.

    Prototyping

    Wireframes only address how software looks. Prototype development is essential to truly get a sense for how an idea will actually work. Prototyping is a stage in software development where code is written to begin putting an idea into practice.

    Instead of merely drawing interface components, prototypes actually lay out a basic user interface with whatever widgets are appropriate for the platform. Prototypes also create just enough interaction to make the app feel usable. In this stage, it is more important to experience the app than it is to start building a sound technical foundation.

    Prototyping should not be thought of as beginning to build an app. In other words, prototype development tests the idea. It may do this by faking some features, eliminating others, and deferring any significant technical decisions until software development on the idea itself begins. Be prepared to throw away the prototype once it has tested the specific assumptions about the design.

    Wireframing and Prototyping

    Exactly how these stages interact varies widely. Some development companies wireframe before prototyping so the prototype’s user interface feels more polished. Others start with a prototype, taking more time to build an interface that connects directly to working code. There is no right answer, and the choice is ultimately determined by what works best for a given team’s skills.

    But each has its advantages. Wireframing is great for covering lots of ground without building out technology. Prototyping gives a deeper sense for how a narrower piece of the app might work. Both are useful stages in the software development process.

  • mshopping_1960x980

    Retail – How a well thought mobile app strategy helps modern retailers

    Retailers: Use A Careful Mobile App Strategy 
    Today a well thought out mobile app strategy enables retailers to compete more successfully for both in-store and online revenues. These useful tools promise to help some brick-and-mortar companies reverse years of gradual losses to ECommercecompetitors. How do Mobile Apps enter into modern retail marketing? What features should these software applications include? What strategies should businesses employ in implementing them more effectively?

    A New Retail Landscape

    Every year, an increasing number of shoppers head to malls and grocery stores carrying sophisticated mobile devices. A growing segment of these consumers use their iOs Apps, Android Apps, Windows Apps and more to seek out bargains. They may visit stores specifically to find certain products stocked there that they have identified via an Internet search. Additionally, a rising percentage of outlets today use wireless beacon technology to draw visitors into the store and promote products known to interest them. Visitors may gravitate to items offering coupon discounts or special promotions, for instance. Retailers who fail to take advantage of these technological innovations risk losing market shares to more aggressive, technically-savvy competitors.

    Custom Design Mobile Apps

    By seeking custom-designed retail apps, often developed with the assistance of IT Consultants, retailers obtain the ability to tap into this attractive Mobile ECommercemarketplace. Many larger stores already maintain 24/7 Online Retail operations. A well-designed tailored retail app helps your store complement and enhance these sales efforts. You can use Software Solutions that provide you with convenient tailored management platforms to track marketing and promotional campaigns campaigns very cost-effectively.

    Some Strategies

    Before making a significant investment in Retail Software, managers should consider consulting with knowledgeable IT professionals to fully explore all the available IT Solutions that might contribute to promotional efforts. Strategies for implementing retail apps vary widely sometimes, depending on your company’s marketplace, resources and staffing expertise. For example, some retailers hire IT consultants to manage retail applications for them, other companies perform this function completely in-house. You may wish to consult with an IT firm in order to gain a better appreciation of all of your potential options and marketing strategies. IT consulting holds value.

    A New Era in Retailing

    The popularity of Bluetooth-equipped devices, “smart” phones and wearable technology suggest that high tech Mobile Commerce will remain significant for retail stores far into the future. With so many exciting new ways to inform shoppers about sales and pertinent product information, retailers find information technology an increasingly productive way to convert store visitors into customers.

  • New Mobile application and its integration to your existing system and network

    With increased penetration of eCommerce, more and more organizations are investing in its mobile applications. In addition to this as a tool to enable its customers to do transactions by using mobile, it has become a platform for communication, advertisadd6ement and a medium to generate more traffic. Huge potential of commerce through mobile applications are forcing companies to lure customer with freebies and discounts to use their mobile application platform.

    There are eCommerce companies who have their own development team, but outsourcing of mobile application development to the specialist is the common industry trend. There are a number of options for outsourcing of mobile application development like offshore development, development through local companies, availing service of freelancers, joint development involving company and outsourcing team.

    Integration with existing System

    The important thing company need to consider while designing the mobile application is its integration with the existing system. Changing the backbone system of the company to adjust to the mobile application platform is not commercially viable. Hence, the new mobile application has to be fully integrated with the existing system. While configuring additional and new features should be easily managed by the existing system.

    It is also important that the mobile application development team needs to prioritise applications for different operating systems like android, apple iOS and blackberry. Considering its popularity and penetration android apps development should be the first delivery task followed by iPhone application development. It is also important that the mobile application be finally released for all platforms to cover entire mobile handset population.

    The security level and threats differ from operating system to system. Company need to invest more on mobile application security to avoid possible frauds and security breaks. Rigorous testing is another key activity company need to perform to assess the processing power, security and reliability of the mobile applications delivered by the developer. Android mobile applications and iPhone mobile applications have to be separately tested by the vendor, client and experts if required.

    The first challenge of a company and a mobile application developer is how quickly and effectively integrate the existing infrastructure to the new mobile application development minimising the changes in the core backend system.

  • Meeting Security Concerns in Mobile Application Development

    Mobile banking applications are changing the way we do transaction with the bank beyond what we imagined 2 years back. In this dmobileigital transformation, all banks, including multinational corporate banks as well as traditional government controlled banks are in the race for mobile banking application development.  The ability to deliver innovative banking application that is anywhere-any time, is the latest mantra to ensure customer loyalty, increased business and customer satisfaction.

    To address the different mobile operating system platform like apple iOS, android, blackberry, etc., banks have had to build their applications which conform to each operating system’s strength and weakness.

    Security Concerns

    It is important that any financial transaction requires a concrete security mechanism to avoid frauds. Banks are also spending huge amounts to ensure multiple layers of security for its mobile banking application development which is important to establish customer confidence in this new way of banking.

    Banks need to be more and more vigilant on its mobile banking apps development since this new age banking platform is yet to completely reveal the security threat it pose to the banking sector. It carries many risks, including malware on apps, fake banking applications created by fraudsters, hacking and the risk arises out when you lost your phone.

    Solving Security concerns

    For a robust mobile application development, the important points which enjoy prime focus is the user-friendliness, security and its integration with the existing banking network.  Some of the core features bank needs to ensure while searching for a vendor for mobile banking app development is; in addition to core banking functionality, it should carry, CRM support, messaging and alert and subscriber registration support.

    A lightweight application will enhance the customer experience. The mobile banking application development team need to foresee rapid changes in the banking sector and the platform must be ready to adapt these changes quickly. It is also important that the core banking system and its customer support mechanism also be competent and ready to suit the innovative functionalities and features of the mobile banking applications.

    Smart phones and mobile technologies are going to make an exploding impact the way and purpose we use mobile application.