Posts Tagged ‘mobile application’

The Plan: iOS 14 Update Platform Recommendations

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

We surveyed many of our partners and asked their recommendations for advertisers who will be impacted by the change.  

Note: Recommendations are subject to change. 

Facebook 

Facebook partners provide the following changes related to SKAd network along with recommendation: 

  1. Ads reporting will see a number of changes for iOS 14 app install campaigns. It will depend on Apple’s SKAdNetwork (SKAN) API data:
  • No more demographic breakdowns
  • SKAN API will not support attribution window breakdowns (1D, 7D, 28D)
  • SKAN API will not support real-time reporting
  • Back data will be reported with a randomized delay of up to three days
  • iOS devices A/B testing mobile app installs and post-install events will be only available at campaign-level. 
  • No impact to reporting for Android and iOS 13 campaigns
  • SKAN API will report back data aggregated at the campaign level
  • Ad level reporting will be based on aggregated data received from the SKAN API
  • No cross-account reporting between iOS14 & non-iOS14 accounts. 
  1. iOS 14 devices won’t be able to measure app Installs and app events for Facebook Attribution, self-serve Conversion Lift, and managed Conversion Lift. 
  2. Facebook will share SKAdNetwork data with only those MMPs (mobile measurement partners) that have MMP Business Manager Permissions using Ad Insights API for all iOS14 mobile app install (MAI) campaigns. 
  3.  Advertisers using FB SDK will get support from AEO and MAI. 

Note: Facebook is exploring how they can support advertisers who use only the MMP SDK for other non-app-install iOS14 objectives. These objectives comprise Traffic, Conversion and Product Catalog Sales. Plus, app event optimization, and value optimization. Pre-iOS14 & Android reporting will remain the same. 

In September, the following limitations will be faced by users as imposed by Apple’s SKAdNetwork API: 

  • No limit on ads number
  • One ad set per campaign 
  • One iOS 14 ad account per app
  • Nine created/published campaigns at any given time
  • No support for Marketing API to create and edit campaigns targeting iOS 14

Recommendation: Review all the ad accounts running app install campaigns for your app. Consolidate budget as you will have to operate with only 1 ad account for iOS 14 app install ads. If you want to craft separate ad sets or campaigns per geo—start grouping by product category, geos, ARPU (average revenue per user), & language. This will help you to operate with limited campaign numbers. 

Recommended Steps for Partners to Prepare for iOS 14:

  • Update to the latest version of the Audience Network SDK
  • Leverage non-IDFA match approaches such as adopting Facebook Login

Google

Google partners explained the SKAd Network effect on conversion tracking. Here is the checklist recommendation: 

  • Post iOS14, all SDK or apps that want to access the IDFA will need to take the user’s explicit approval.
  • For apps, partners recommend Google Analytics for Firebase SDK as an Audience solution and 1P Measurement for apps. 
  • For regulations such as GDPR & CCPA, partners recommend customers to disable personalized advertising solutions for apps. 

This will raise Google’s vision to raise privacy for users while ensuring a healthy, ads-supported ecosystem. 

Impact for DV360 = Impact on App Install Campaigns for Google Ads

App Campaigns for Installs depends upon the iOS IDFA for two actions:

  • Measure conversions;
  • Optimize campaign performance. 

As you know, ACi will include two extra ways to optimize for iOS campaigns: SKAdNetwork & Conversion modeling. Here are the recommended changes to campaign best practices:

Consolidate Campaigns

Ensure that your total number of App campaigns are less than 100 campaigns per app. This will help you to make sure each campaign is compatible with SKAdNetwork and has significant conversion signals. 

Conversion Volume, Bids or Bidding Strategy Changes

TBD – there can be new requirements and additional changes for campaign minimums. 

Recommendation: tCPA campaigns for iOS. Alternative bidding strategy will work as it is likely that iOS 14 will support tROAS for modeled conversions during launch. 

Changes to Product Features

iOS14 will disable many ACi campaign features, especially for non-consented users on iOS. Such as:

  • Negative Filtering
  • Audience Exclusions
  • Deferred Deep Linking

iOS14 Preparation Checklist:

  • Implement Consent Dialog: Boost users to grant consent
  • Update the GA4F SDK: Update with the July 28 release. It has support for SKAdNetwork
  • Implement SKAdNetwork: Ensure to have SKAdNetwork
  • Consolidate campaigns: Ensure to have less than 100 campaigns per app 
  • Migrate off tROAS bidding: Say Yes to tCPA as a bidding strategy
  • Ensure your app is in sync for iOS14: Ensure your app is ready for iOS14 on the App Store

The Future: iOS14 Update, What Comes Next

Identity Resolution Challenges

Many platforms are promising about the next generation of identity resolution tools.  Why? Lack of a foundational identifier will lead us down a probabilistic path despite how technically sophisticated we are on display. This is a minimum requirement for an industry aiming to focus on a precise user targeting at the right time.

There will be several minor networks fade. Why? Because they won’t be able to compete with the identity graph strength of fixed players. Looking at Amazon’s growing programmatic arm, it is quite evident that they will keep growing their market share. Possibly there will be some minor exchanges to better leverage their: 

  • Spanning entertainment;
  • Deep identity graph; 
  • Gaming, commerce, and smart speakers. 

Web Browser & Cookies Tracking

The SKAd Network’s attribution solution is just like Apple’s “Private Click Measurement” proposal. Though not produced till yet, it is believed to be the ultimate state for ITP. It is likely to arrive within next 6 to 9 months.  The solution will reach Google’s Chrome browser before 2021 end (just an assumption). 

Incremental Testing

Not a new concept, but will gain prominence; especially for brands looking to learn media impact. However, if the media gets poorly targeted and becomes hard to control, it won’t be effective. (beyond the existing walled gardens of Facebook & Google)

Five best mobile app development software

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

The year 2020 will witness approximately 3.5 billion smartphone users across the globe. That half the population of the world, and you might wonder how having your business mobile app can benefit you? Well, people spend 90% of their mobile time using apps.

So, it’s an excellent opportunity for your business to attract more customers and skyrocket your profits. There are many stellar mobile app development software available. By using those apps, you can create a seamless business mobile app for your potential customers. Below are our five best recommendations.

1. Appy Pie 

Appy Pie is a software that enables you to develop mobile apps without coding. The software provides numerous tools and options that allow creating the app easily. The process is pretty simple; you need to select an app design and add the desired features to it. Finally, you can publish it on the App Store or Google Play. The software offers you drag and drop editor, AI integration, training, and support too.     

2. Appian

Appian’s app development software focuses on enterprise apps. The software uses AI and automotive processes to present your company data most effectively. In the development process, you will need to use the visual editor to select the functions you want in your app. The software makes it possible to make complex tasks much simpler for the app user. If you run an enterprise, then Appian is your best bet.

3. Verivo 

Verivo is an app development provider, which offers you its AppStudio platform to create the app. You can comfortably develop an app, owing to the drag and drop interface. You can select the data sources of your choice and also use HTML 5 and JavaScript as per your requirement. The most significant advantage of Verivo is it offers faster development, flexible and extensible software, and you can create numerous apps by keeping the same base.    

4. Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator provides you with apps for multiple platforms; you can develop your app or use the ready-made one. The software is suitable for a business who wants to simplify their tasks by accepting more automation. It can provide you practical functions like event management, sales management, order management, logistics, etc. You can fully customize the app using drag and drop editor and various integration options.  

5. AppSheet 

AppSheet allows you to develop apps without coding and using spreadsheet inputs. With the data stored on your cloud in spreadsheet formats, you can choose a template and further pick the options and features you want in the app. You can integrate the data from Google Sheets and office 365 as well. AppSheet is not only easy to use, but you can develop apps using spreadsheet inputs and countless other features. 

Conclusion

Games are indeed the most popular mobile app category. But, you would be happy to know that the business apps with a share of 10.12% are the second most popular category on the Apple store. By having your business mobile app, you can indeed benefit your company. You can also consider hiring a development company.

Top five navigation apps while traveling abroad

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

You are bound to feel strong adrenaline at the mere thought of traveling to an exotic foreign location. But, as you are discovering beautiful places in the new city, the chances are you will get lost in a strange place. Luckily enough, technological advancements have come up with a variety of navigation apps. And you can roam across any corner of the city without the fear of getting lost. 

A mobile phone and an internet connection are all you need to direct yourself using navigation apps. And both the tools are increasingly common these days. There are countless navigation apps available on the play store and iTunes, but each app cannot deliver a superior quality experience. 

To help you have a seamless touring experience abroad, below are the top five navigation apps recommendations.

Google Maps 

Google Maps is undoubtedly the best navigation apps available. It’s also the most ranked app, with 154.4 million users in April 2018. And it’s still ruling the charts till today. The app is beneficial for international travelers because, along with road directions, it also offers multiple transit routes and options for public transport. You can also explore nearby restaurants, shops, hotels, etc. using Google search in the app.

MAPS.ME

MAPS.ME allows you to save the map offline. And it uses a unique compression method that reduces the size of offline downloaded maps. Although the file size is smaller, you still have access to highly detailed maps similar to Google Maps. If you are short of free space on your phone, then MAPS.ME can be your savior. It has tools like a map editor, location sharing, and bookmark sharing. 

WAZE

The WAZE app has amazing real-time features because it combines GPS navigation possibilities with social sharing apps. It helps you to receive the most updated traffic and traveling conditions. The app provides you with real-time updates, for example, cheap fuel prices, road detours, etc. It also allows integration with Facebook and the calendar.  

HERE WeGo

The app got launched by Nokia in 2013 named HERE Maps. You can download neighborhood, city, country, or even continent map for offline use. You can also have ‘collections’ which refer to different itineraries available for online or offline use. The drive mode of the app has helpful features like day or night mode, set route and road preference, speed limit alerts, and traffic data. 

SYGIC

The app features detailed 3D and 2D maps of all continents on the earth. It provides you with parking information, such as prices and availability. Another feature of the app is you can pair it with smart devices and wearable like Apple watch. It’s a high-end app and offers different levels of subscription to suit all your needs. 

Summing Up

Those were the top five navigation apps you can rely on while traveling abroad. You can reach wherever you want by using the apps above. They provide you with the utmost accuracy and most user-friendly interface.

AI-based Hyper-Personalization in Fintech

Friday, March 13th, 2020

Have you experienced AI-based hyper-personalization? No? I bet you have. Remember the notifications from Swiggy, Zomato, or Uber Eats during your lunch hour, reminding you of your favorite dishes? It is a simple example of the use of hyper-specialization through AI. 

What is hyper-specialization?

It is a step ahead of the old school definition of specialization. Brands portraying that they know about you and care for your choices, preferences, etc. through notifications pop up reminders and specially crafted emails are hyper-personalization.

What is the role of AI in hyper-specialization?

AI helps in the functioning of the whole idea behind the hyper-specialization. It works through consumer data. Using consumer data like past experiences, reviews, purchases, and even clicks, the AI draws patterns and reaches conclusions that are further used by the companies in the hyper-specialization. 

Role of AI-based hyper-specialization in today’s world-

In today’s world, 81% of consumers want brands to understand them better and know when and when not to approach them. As they are tech-savvy and well informed, they want the technology to make their life easier. They prefer the websites and brands which show what they want exactly when they want that and, when this connection is poor, they move on to a better one. As per cmo.com, consumers are willing to pay even more for consumer-friendly experiences, which are speedy as well as efficient.

And, this advancement has not left the Finance industry untouched. Fintech companies have also started using AI-based hyper-specialization for providing better customer services and winning their trust. 

What is Fintech

It is a term used to describe the use of technology in rendering financial services to consumers. When a company uses software or other technology for payment and other commercial purposes, it is described as fintech.

Fintech and AI-based Hyper-Personalized

Everyone has a different source of finance, needs, and ways of using it. One structure cannot be suitable for all. Here is where data of financial institutions can be used to develop personalized structures as per the preferences and needs of the consumers. 

Today, what consumers want are not limited services but various options that show their needs, choices, and requirements covering more and more areas of their financial sphere. 

For example, financial companies use emails and notifications for advertising about insurance based on your age, nature of the job, and types of expenses. 

By drawing patterns and deriving conclusions, banks send notifications of car loans and home loans, etc. Even though there are numerous benefits of personalization through AI, according to The Digital Banking Report, only 6% of financial institutions say they are deploying advanced personalization technology. Nowadays, the consumers want their fintech providers as any other retailer which takes care of their needs and suggests relevant product and services. 

Nearly 90% of retail banking customers who are provided with personalization services are highly satisfied with the advice provided by their financial institution say they “definitely will” reuse their bank or credit union for another product. Time has come that the institutions develop themselves from personal connections to personalized connections to get the most advantage of the technologies and succeed in the game. It has become important that they rise above just basic transactions.

How to develop a food delivery app?

Friday, March 6th, 2020

The online food ordering business has witnessed some of the most rapid growths in the e-commerce segment. The food delivery apps, in particular, are the handiest choice for order food for hunger pangs. As an estimation, the food delivery business via apps in the USA reached up to 40 million users last year. Some forecasts say that by 2021 more than 1/5th smartphone users ought to have food delivery apps. Designing a food delivery app needs thorough planning and due diligence.

Factors like UI/UX of the app, its visual appeal, quick checkout process, and the biggest number of hotels and restaurants partnered up to provide a wide selection pool. An app that meets the customers’ requirements is the one going to stand apart from the rest in the market.

Here are some essential features that can help you get the best result from the app:

1. Business Models for Food Delivery

The current online food ordering market is based on two prominent start-up business models. These models have been developed by taking the customers’ convenience and benefits to the food joints and restaurants into consideration. Choosing the right model of business can help you in the right manner. The models are as follows.

a) The Aggregator Model 

The model of business in the food ordering app helps small firms to work as just vendors. The vendors are the mediators who manage the food joints and customers. They help customers to come to know about the different restaurants, their specialties, and prices. This is like having menus of all the restaurants on the phone itself in one place. Besides, one can view the restaurants’ reviews and ratings and can give theirs too. 

Once a customer using this app orders food, the data is sent by the mediator to the right food company or restaurant. The restaurant itself handles the process from there. 

b) Food ordering and delivery model

This model is more involved in the transaction and communication between the customer and the restaurant. Once the customer places an order on the app, the app company itself takes the payment and forwards it to the restaurant (subtracting its share of profit, of course) and handles the delivery to the customer. 

Aside from the ability for a customer to view the different restaurants’ food lists their prices, reviews, and ratings; the customers can also rest assured about the delivery time, one company handling the delivery can offer uniformity across times. Most small food joints and outlets can easily benefit from this model as they lack logistical support. Also, by not employing more workers, a company can have more profits. 

While choosing the right business model, give the necessary inputs like a centralized contact number for ordering or feedback.

2. The Essential Feature of the App

Although the food quality, quantity, price, review, and rating of the restaurants matter the most. The other aspects, like the menu loading time and the attractiveness of the website, can make the app the most preferred one. 

The following points can help an app be the preferred choice. 

a) Availability of data

The amount of data available on a food delivery app can help the customer to get more information. The information on the number of restaurants, their food items, calories, ingredients, vegan, vegetarian, halal or kosher certifications and the estimated delivery time can make a customer decide whether to go for it or not. 

The market for food delivery is all about convenience and speed. With rich informative data about the menu or different types of foods, you empower the users to make better choices in ordering the preferred type of food. Providing a list of filters to fine-tune the selection will elevate the overall user experience by several notches.

b) Payment options and integration

Ordering things on an app is like buying it online. Most customers like making a payment with inbuilt services like Apple pay or third party payment processing apps. The integrated payment methods give convenience to the customers of not carrying credit and debit cards. Besides, with touch or password-protected payment features, the customer can also rest assured of safe transactions. 

Some customers don’t prefer online transactions. They usually do not integrate their plastic with a payment gateway. They may prefer entering card details every time they buy something. Some customers, on the other hand, do still like only the traditional payment methods like cash on delivery despite their limitations. A rounded payment option can make you lead in the market. 

3. Include food delivery and tracking options

Customers ordering food on apps are at times time-bound, they don’t like waiting around and want precise estimates in their delivery time. Right from choosing the order if the customer gets the right evaluation of time, then they can make sure to select the correct order or manage time until the delivery arrives. If they can track their order in real-time and get the estimated remaining time, then they can plan out other sequences of their party. 

Delivering later than the quoted time can be considered misleading. With the display of accurate estimate time and traceability, you can build better credibility in the market; thus, patronize existing customers and attract new customers due to a positive word of mouth. 

Summing Up

These were some essential features of a food ordering app that can help you get the best result from the app. With these features, you can make sure that your app reaches every corner of the market and get the best response. 

Thumb rule of building mobile navigation

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

Building an app is about building it with design attracting the users. It is also about user-friendliness. The easy navigation of an app is going to make appealing to the users. Navigation is like a conversation. Besides, being catchy, the users don’t feel bored while using the app. An app should, therefore, be easy to use as well as attractive. 

Nowadays, there are apps for almost everything; naturally, an app that is easy in navigation and intuitive at the same time is the one going to persist in the market or crush its competition. Some business statistics also say that optimum navigation has given an almost 15.68% increase in sales. We shall discuss more in detail as to what the basics of building mobile app navigation are.

The thumb rules

A mobile phone is designed such that we can handle the device with our palm and other four fingers and the thumb is the tool we use for navigation. Even with smartphones with larger screens, almost 50% of people using only the thumb and therefore, nearly all smartphones have adjustable screens at a swipe. 

Navigation with thumb also makes the app ambidextrous; the users of right as well as left hands can use the app without any difficulty. For all these reasons, using the apps should be designed as easy to navigate only with the thumb. One of the ways to make the app thumb-friendly is by placing the essential tabs of the app closer to the thumb. This way, a user need not use the other hand and navigate only with one hand’s thumb.

Make the bottom bar noticeable

The bottom bar is the most central place for navigation. Most prominent companies are opting for adding tools there. A single bar can contain tools like search tool, home, ‘add to favorite,’ and compare. The bottom bar is also essential because it gives quick links to the app. We recommend you have a bottom bar with quick links for the centralization of the navigation. The bottom bar also makes the app more user-friendly with the thumb. 

Add the search tool

Looking up the information is far more convenient than looking around for it through different tabs. New app users or those who do not understand technology can find it difficult or daunting to search different tabs for the thing they need. Remember that for the ease of convenience, most people like looking up information on the search engine instead of directly logging on to a website. 

The search tool in an app has proven to be very useful, especially if the app has several tabs and a vaster repository of information. Also, the search results show results of a related search; once a user finds the information that he or she initially desired, then they can view the related search results to deepen their knowledge or extend it. 

The process of developing a mobile app from an idea

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

Mobile applications are software indented for use on smart-phones and tablets. As of now, there are more than 2 million apps are available on the Google store, while 1.83 million apps are available on the Apple store. The number shows an enormous availability of mobile applications across app stores. And if you have a fantastic idea that can simplify the lives of users, then your app may rank top in the list of million apps.

The number of mobile apps is increasing rapidly with each passing day; however, the user retention rate of mobile applications seems to be decreasing. Until last year only 32% of the users returned to the app at least 11 times or more.

The earlier retention percentage was 38%, and this drop is quite evidence that mobile apps are not helping people as much.  

If you want your app to work well in the market and get significant exposure, then you have to be meticulous at every step of the way to create the app. To begin with, you have to put your idea on paper by writing the application’s requirements. If your requirements have clarity and the right details, then the mobile app developer will be able to deliver the perfect app. 

How to process the idea from scratch?  

1. Pick a problem to resolve

If you already have an idea for the mobile app, then you can skip this point. But if you don’t have an idea, but you want to develop an app, then look around for problems. And the good news is problems are all around you. If you have noticed, then you will realize that every product and service that you know got created to solve a specific problem. 

You can start by listing down the problems you face in your life. Once you have a list of problems, you can start to think of a solution. Finally, filter out the most helpful solutions from others. Now, you have a problem and its optimal solutions, which can form the foundational idea for your mobile app. 

2. Validate your idea 

Validation from the potential user and other people will prove that the app will have an audience upon its release. In simple words, demand exists for your mobile application. You may use the Google keyword planner tool to know the number of people who are already searching for what you are planning to provide them.

You can also consider creating a landing page that mentions your idea for the app. And you can know how many users have the interest to use the app by incorporating email signup. When you validate the need, you will be more confident while making the app as you will be creating something meaningful.

3. Choose the operating system

It’s crucial to know that your app will run on which operating system. Android and iOS are two the most prevalently used operating systems out there. Are you developing an app for iPhone users or Android users? The answer to that will help your mobile app developer to design the app. 

Both the operating system works differently, and the process of developing an app will be different as well. Also, note that you can also have your app on both platforms.   

4. Describe the features and flow 

You need to put down your idea on paper with the maximum possible details. You should not only include the flow of the app, that is, how users will navigate through your app. But also include detailed features and functionality of the app. It will help the app developer to know your expectations. 

The standard features you can include are login page, menu, screen, fonts, link to social media platforms, push notifications, data caching for offline mode, payment gateway, app reviews and Geo-locations, and so on. You should include all the necessary features and additional features according to the need of your audience.

Conclusion

The revenues from in-app advertising and paid downloads of mobile apps are going to cross 581 billion US dollars in 2020. Indeed, the mobile apps industry is going to be massive.

When you use the tips above for writing mobile app requirements, then the developer will be able to create a flawless application that will earn you valuable profits. And then, you could also be among the leading mobile app revenue generators. 

How To Uplift Your Brand Using Chatbots

Friday, January 24th, 2020

A chatbot is a program, powered by rules and AI, which simulates a real interaction with users via a chat interface. In other words, a chatbot is a service that can have a conversation with you just like a real person. Chatbots are based on Machine Learning to gather conversational cadences that allow them to copy human conversations and react to written or spoken requests to deliver a service. They comprehend language, not just commands, since they use AI. Therefore, the more conversation chatbots have with users, the more intelligent they become. The purpose of chat bots is to support and scale business teams in their relations with customers. It could live in any major chat applications like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Text Messages, etc. They are changing the way companies and customers interact, helping to create powerful, engaging human-to-AI agent experiences.

The number of businesses using Chatbots has grown exponentially. Chatbots docked to Facebook’s Messenger have increased from 30,000 in 2016 to over 100,000 today. Every major company has announced its own Chatbot and 60% of the youth population uses them daily. These statistics prove that Chatbots are the new-gen tech. No more waiting for the right time to incorporate them into your business. By the year 2020, nearly 80% of businesses will have their own Chatbot. And shipments of virtual digital assistant systems are beginning to touch every industry, from the banking and financial services space to travel, retail, education, and more. It’s estimated to grow into a $7.7 billion market by 2025.

Below are some of the benefits of Chatbots.

1. Chatbots will excite your customers, keep them satisfied

“When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” — Robert Half

People are very excited about technology and love exploring it. According to an online survey, about 44% of U.S. consumers prefer Chatbots over humans for customer communication. Therefore, businesses excite their customers when adopting a new Chatbot.

Still, it’s the businesses’ responsibility to ensure a smooth experience. To be successful, they must ensure their Chatbots are: Professional and bug-free.

Aligned with the brand rather than just random affairs.

Providing good linguistics.

Providing well-defined tasks.

Answering queries with proper answers.

Working seamlessly on a variety of devices.

2. Always-Available Customer Support

According to research by Gartner, customer service is the most important factor in success. So, whether you are an international or a local business, having a good customer service 24/7 has a positive impact on your customer satisfaction.

Customer support process can be improved with the help of chatbots. Bots can be programmed to give automated answers to repetitive questions immediately and forward the request to a real person when a more complicated action is needed. This enables human customer service representatives to save time and assist more important cases rather than time-consuming simple tasks.

Additionally, with the help of chatbots, organizations can handle more tasks at the same time so that no customer has to wait. This will allow companies to scale up their operations to new markets globally without multiplying incoming requests to be handled.

3. Extensive Customer Assistance

A survey shows that 83% of online shoppers need support during shopping. So, your customers may require help trying to understand which products fit their needs/budgets any time of the day. Moreover, shoppers may not find what they are looking for due to navigation issues when they are on your site, they may have a registration, payment, checkout, and delivery questions or there may be a lack of information about a product.

In all these situations, chatbots can provide assistance real-time like a salesperson in a real store. Moreover, chatbots can offer interactive communication where they also ask questions to understand the real problem. Furthermore, along with text and voice, they can present customers rich content with product pages, images, blog entries, tutorial videos based on their responses that can help them through their journey.

4. Chatbots won’t replace the humans

The biggest Chatbot misconception is that they’ll take over services and automate everything so businesses wouldn’t need humans to function.

This won’t happen; at least not completely. While Chatbots may appear to replace apps and will minimize human efforts for more productive outcomes, they cannot completely replace people and services.

Chatbots merely interact with people to clarify their queries within the preset scope as much as possible. For issues outside the scope, Chatbots are still able to determine a customer’s initial query. A chatbot is more helpful when customer ask repetitive questions because all information required for further resolution has already been gathered, saving time and energy, resulting in more expediency and accuracy.

5. Chatbots help reduce costs

Every year, around 265 billion customer support requests are made and it costs businesses whopping $1.3 trillion to service them. These costs can significantly be reduced with the help of AI Chatbots. Implementing virtual agents or Chatbots can help businesses to save up to 30%.

Chatbots ensure lucrative productivity from the investment in agent or employees. Hiring agents for 24*7*365 and adding resources to give support to the customers round the clock can be too costly for the company. Virtual agents or Chatbots will be the first point of contact and for more complex queries it can be escalated to human agents, hence Chatbot helps in improving customer service and reduces cost.

6. Lead generation and pattern recognition

Users interact with chatbots in very personal ways, much like they do with friends and family, chatbots are able to ask much more personal questions as well — questions that would normally be intrusive and annoying coming from a company or brand. These can range from ‘What music do you like? to ‘Where do you like to go on holiday?’. The answers to these questions provide valuable data that can be referred back to in follow up conversations and offer ways to further personalize the experience the customer has with the brand. Chatbots can, for instance, offer special discounts on a customer’s birthday, or suggest songs as per the previous requests and genres.

A bot can ask the necessary and related questions, persuade the user and generate a lead for you. Chatbots ensure the flow is in the right direction to get higher conversion rates. Of course, this also raises privacy concerns, and companies will need to find a balance between privacy and their quest for increasingly extreme personalization.

7. Increased Customer Engagement

Needless to say, it’s important to keep your customers engaged with your brand. According to research, companies that engage with their customers on social media were able to increase the customer spend by 20% to 40%. While social media is doing its job, chatbots can contribute by making the engagement more interactive — usually with a great sense of humor!

A conventional customer service interface usually provides more information than it receives from the users. However, Chatbots, in contrast, give only a slice of information at a time and can lead the interaction based on the input the user provides at each specific time. Therefore Chatbots don’t bore customers with irrelevant and unnecessary information and keep your customers on your platform longer and keep the content flowing by maintaining the conversation.

8. Easier Approach to Global Markets

Whether you are already an international brand with customers all over the world or a local brand who is ready for global business, chatbots can solve your customer care problems in multiple languages and 24/7, 365 days a year. This allows your business to scale up its operations to new markets without having to worry about multiplying incoming requests to be handled.

Don’t vex. Focus on UX!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Even if you aren’t a technology junkie or a design major, there is one term that has been used so many times that it has carved a niche for itself in the back of your mind, much like a constantly buzzing bee — ‘user experience (UX).’ It may seem like a voguish trend but has in fact, been around for quite some time. With an increasing dependence on mobile phones and other devices, it has gained immense popularity in the last few years.

Aimed at increasing customers’ satisfaction towards a product by making it easier to use and access, UX Design has become an inseparable part of technology. All design and engineering must be carried out keeping in mind that at the end of the day, the product has to be used by the customer. As Steve Jobs says — start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.

UX engineering encompasses better navigation, findability, usefulness, and credibility. Not just this, it focuses on content strategy, information architecture, interactive design, typography and much more. From small-scale benefits to vast influences, it also has a wide range of applications in business. Stay with us to know more about these!

1. Be the puppeteer

With more and more entrepreneurs and startups popping on the landscape, the business world is becoming fiercer by the day. Hence, one of the main motives of each enterprise is to rise above its competitors. For achieving this, it is essential to have user experience engineering skills in the arsenal as they can have a huge impact in mobilisation of prospective customers.

This is evaluated with the help of conversion rates (defined by Wikipedia as the proportion of visitors to a website who take action to go beyond a casual content view or website visit, as a result of subtle or direct requests from marketers, advertisers, and content creators). A case study by Masha Kokovina from Vintage Web Production highlights how they were able to improve conversion rates by 75% by just fixing minor UX problems. These can include placing the call to action button at the right position, having a video on the landing page, increasing the font size of the text, etc. Analysing why customers are leaving or being retained is pivotal to enhance the user experience and consequently, improve the conversion rate.

2. Smaller hole in your pocket

It is rightly said that a stitch in time saves nine. Instead of resolving an issue much after it has already caused damage, it is better to enhance usability and fix the problem during the design phase itself. UX engineering helps achieve this by incorporating the right set of features at the grassroots level through different usability testing tactics. Feedback obtained from customers at an early stage can be used to rectify errors using user-centered design processes. This leads to formation of an apt product and circumvents large expenditures.

3. Do you exist?

The first thing that entrepreneurs do when they have a light-bulb moment for a startup is go to GoDaddy.com and register the domain name for the respective website. From the biggest multinational companies to the smallest restaurants, official websites have pretty much become the existential proof of any organisation. They help businesses interact with customers by making information easily accessible to them at any hour of the day. However, since this has become a requisite now, just having a website does not suffice. It must be accompanied with an amazing user experience which hence, boosts businesses as explained above.

4. Oh, won’t you stay with me?

At the end of the day, what really matters is how content your customers are with your product or service. The success of your mobile or web app is interlinked with its ability to satisfy its users. Just because an application is built doesn’t guarantee that it will experience a surge of utilisation. With immense competition in the digital world these days, users are more than willing to switch to a different product or app if they are dissatisfied with the former.

Statistics have also revealed that organisations that focus on user experience tend to retain customers much more than those that don’t. The question ‘do i like using this product/service/app?’ bears much more weight than ‘what is its worth?’ or ‘is it even useful?’ Enhancing user experience is key. Happy customers also tend to spread a good word about your product and this helps in popularising businesses.

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“User experience is everything. It always has been but it’s still undervalued and under-invested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it. Obsess over it. Live and breathe it. Get your whole company on board.” — Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter

My team and I are avid seekers of technology. We would be delighted to know what you’ve been doing to contribute to this evolving madness. Feel free to strike conversation with us!

Psychology and UX

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

You probably come across various billboards, hoardings, posters, notices, messages, letters or even just images and text on paper every day. Some of these may be important and would require your attention, and others would be just be something you saw while traveling to work, scrolling through your feed or going through a magazine/ newspaper casually. All these are just images for our brain to analyze, sort through and dispose of eventually. But some of these are a bit more interesting to our brain even though they don’t need to be. There is a reason to why particular designs or layouts catch your eye or get your heart pumping.

Enter Neuroscience.

Wait, did you just mention Neuroscience in a UX blog?

Let me explain. Cognition is complex, and many factors play into gut reactions or any instant and random impression. When you ask someone, “Why’d you do that?” there’s a high chance they won’t be able to answer or that you’ll misinterpret their response for a bias. The thing is, our human brain is lazy, repetitive and prone to shortcuts

While research methods like observation and interviewing often require the UX researcher and participant to make guesses, modern technology like eye tracking allows researchers to study nearly imperceptible reactions and preferences.

In the case of products with substantial traffic, seemingly tiny details like the width of a button or the color contrast of text can make millions of dollars of difference. That’s why tech giants like Facebook and Google are beginning to employ neuroscience-based techniques to study how people use their products.

Let’s start with a few design principles which harness the knowledge of neuroscience and psychology and can help designers by understanding the mind of the user.

1. Spoilt For Choice

psychological study was done at a gourmet market, in which people could choose from 24 different jam flavors at one stand, and only six jams at another. While 60% of customers were drawn to the stand with a bigger number of choices, only 3% of them actually made a purchase.

On the flipside, 30% of those who had only six jam options bought themselves a jar.

This is related to Hick’s Law, which states that people take more time to choose if there is a greater number of choices in front of them. UX design is about helping users get what they need — quickly. The best approach for your design is to present a limited number of options, rolled out at optimal points while they are browsing through your interface.

Avoid overwhelming your audience. Even though many people think they are great at managing multiple things at the same time, most aren’t truly adept multitaskers. And those are the people for whom you need to design.

2. Hack Into The User’s Mind

It is no secret that much of what drives human behavior is subconscious. In the milliseconds after a person encounters a new app or website, millions of neurons fire and the brain makes hundreds of subconscious decisions.

Am I in the “right” place? Should I trust this site?

A 2012 study found that people form aesthetic reactions to a web page in the first 17 to 50 milliseconds after exposure.

To put that into perspective, it takes the eye 300–400 milliseconds to blink. Your product may receive its trial, judgment, and sentence all in less than the blink of an eye.

For example, if a site loads slowly and the brain reads the first items that load as “off-topic” the user may navigate away immediately rather than wait for the site to load.

Companies like Facebook invest significant resources into studying load order of elements. If someone logs into Facebook and doesn’t see any notification badges, they may navigate away instantly. If the badges load first, they may wait while the content-heavy News Feed loads.

Human brain’s decision making can be classified into 2 simple categories

System 1: fast, automatic, frequent, emotional, stereotypic, subconscious.

System 1 thinking is reactive — responsible for complex but instinctive cognition like determining the distance between objects or determining emotional responses.

System 2: slow, effortful, logical, calculating, conscious, infrequent.

System 2: thinking is analytical and is applied to more complex scenarios, like determining appropriate social behavior or comparing two products with different prices and characteristics.

Since the brain doesn’t want to re-process information or make novel decisions every time it is faced with a new scenario, much of human decision-making falls into System 1, or “fast thinking.”

When making decisions quickly the brain can over-rely upon schemas or mental models — familiar patterns of information and interaction. When System 1 thinking is engaged, System 2 never kicks into effect. People may not be aware of their brain’s decision-making, but it strongly impacts their behaviors and perception of the product

3. Make It Standout

Everyone arrives at a website or an app with some expectation of what it should look like. Staying close to that expectation helps designers benefit from instant subconscious decision making.

The person who opens your app or website wants to know a) does this have what I am looking for; and b) is this high quality? Keeping designs simple and keeping brand, services, and products front and center help people orient themselves.

Putting some information front and center means keeping other information from crowding it out. Decluttering a design is just as important as re-arranging components.

These minimalist designs outperform more complex designs in task completion and visual clarity is shown to impact purchasing decisions on and offline.

It’s been scientifically proven that visually simple and clean designs perform better. The lazy brain can grasp the site’s purpose instantly and understand what action to take.

4. Organize and Profit

Eye tracking studies are able to follow a person’s gaze as they interact with a product. They can produce heat maps that show the length of time spent focused on one part of the screen, or maps of how the eye jumps around the page.

We know that, across industries and app types, the brain commonly scans for information in an F-pattern (or E-pattern). The person looks at the information at the top, reading to the right, and then scanning down the page for relevant information or icons.

Breaking the F-pattern — for example, putting important information in the bottom-right corner — will make it harder to find.

5. Go Easy On The Text

According to a study, people read only about 20% of the text on a page. Worse, on sites with more content, people dedicated only about 4 extra seconds for each additional 100 words of text.

In a world where people don’t read word-for-word, Nielsen Norman employs the following guidelines for scannable text.Highlighted keywords

Meaningful subheadings

Bulleted lists

One idea per paragraph

The inverted pyramid style — start with the conclusion

Half the word count (or less) of conventional writing

Color theory, weights, and contrast can be used to direct user attention. NASA’s cockpit design team uses luminance to help manage the pilot’s attention in an area crowded with competing for information. The cockpit design team uses color and contrast to give visual prominence to the most important elements.

Contrast and luminance are just a first step. Color theory suggests balancing your product’s colors by using the dominant color 60% of the time, secondary 30%, and accent 10%. This breakdown is consistent with the neuroscience behind what draws the eye. Because the accent color is used the least, it draws the eye the most.

Just as the use of bright color can draw the eye, use of more muted colors can help a user determine which information is secondary or less important. For example, most websites use footer areas with a more neutral color to show separation from the rest of the information on the page.

Your User’s Memory Is Complex, But Their Recall Is Limited

In order to remember something, the human mind reconstructs memories. This explains why you could get four different versions of the same event from four different people.

Translating this knowledge into UX design, you mustn’t force users to remember too many steps when they use your product. If there are too many steps to recall, they are bound to forget a few.

It’s essential that your designs respect the restrictions of the brain’s cognitive load. If a user is forced to think too much in order to complete a task, they’re likely to avoid it in the future or to forget steps and become frustrated if they do try it again. Frustration does not create an optimal user experience.

A common web design best practice is to provide no more than three or four steps in any given user task. If you over-complicate your tasks, you run the risk of unpleasant user experience. This leads to lower quality website signals, lower search rankings, and of course, abandoned carts and lead generation forms.

A good solution is serial positioning, or the human brain’s tendency to best recall the first and last steps in a process. This is why many popular apps position “home” and “profile” either to the far left or the far right.

Wrapping Up

Your task as a designer is to come up with an efficient design that will help your users solve problems. Psychology is an essential factor in delivering on that objective in user experience. You need to understand the human psyche: how people come up with different thoughts and ideas to solve an issue. This way, you can create designs with true meaning and exceptional usability.

API Testing and How to do it?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Introduction

Before getting into what API testing is, it is essential to understand what an API is. An API (Application Programming Interface) indicates how two software programs should integrate with one another.

API (Application programming interfaces) testing is a kind of software testing that involves testing APIs directly and as part of integration testing and to determine if they meet the requirements of functionality, performance, security, and reliability. API testing is a form of Black Box testing and is conducted after the build is ready. The source code is not included here.

The Challenge

To test the APIs and the integrations, they enable a software system.

The solution

To perform API testing, a tool is required to structure and manage the test cases. Another requirement is full traceability of requirements and effective API documentation.

During API testing, certain bugs can be found. These bugs include:

  • Duplicate or missing functionality
  • Incompatibility of the error handling mechanism
  • Reliability issues
  • Security and performance issues
  • Improper messaging
  • Multi-threaded issues

The quality assurance team performs API testing. The testing is conducted after the build is ready. The source code will not be included here.

A request is sent to the API to analyze responses that include:

  • Accuracy of data
  • HTTP status code
  • Error codes of any errors that are returned by API
  • Results of non-functional tests like security and performance
  • Response time
  • Authorization checks

Use a test management tool that will help in API testing by letting you structure and categorize your test cases. The tool should also give you full requirements traceability along with high-level API documentation. During API testing, the following must be kept in mind:

  • The API must be tested to check what happens and what does not happen on a consistent basis.
  • Stress testing on the system must be performed through several API load tests.
  • The API must be tested for failures. Test the API consistently so that it fails consistently.
  • Group all the test cases by category.
  • Mention all the parameters that are selected in the test case.
  • Prioritize API function calls so that testing can be simplified and can be finished on time.
  • Make plans to perform call sequencing.
  • Create test cases for different and all API input combinations that are possible. This way, you can ensure that you get complete test coverage.
  • Reuse the test cases and also monitor the API when in production.
  • It depends on the manual and automated tests if you want better API testing outcomes.

API testing is a very important part of software quality assurance. With the right approach and the right tools, you can ensure it is carried out successfully. The more API testing is structured, the better will be the outcomes of the testing.

What’s New in Xamarin Image Editor?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

The 2019 Volume 3 release of Xamarin.Forms Image Editor introduced several improvements, thereby allowing users such as top UX design firms an enhanced experience. Below, we take a close look at the new features which were added this year:

Image filter effects support

This effect enables users to choose from a wide range of color filters that can be added to their image. In other words, the original colors of the image are manipulated to achieve a different texture and color. There are six types of options that users have access to, including Hue, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Blur, and Sharpen. Users can apply these effects either by using the Image Editor toolbar or through code using the ApplyImageEffect method.

While the hue refers to the dominant wavelength of an image’s color, and its value ranges from -180 to 180, saturation refers to the intensity of the color. Its value ranges from -100 to 100. The brightness of an image represents how bright the image’s color is, with its value ranging between -100 and 100. The contrast of an image means the difference between the colors of an image. Its value ranges between -100 and 100.

Blur, on the other hand, means the clarity of an image, and its effect ranges from 0 to 6. Finally, the Sharpen feature is used for highlighting and enhancing the edges of objects found in an image. Its value ranges from 0 to 6 as well.

You even have the option of creating your own image color style in the new Xamarin Image Editor. All you have to do is apply a combination of various filter effects to your image.

Option for adding read-only text

The 2019 Volume 3 release of Xamarin Image Editor allows users to add read-only text to images. To do so, it restricts the text pop-up while you tap on an added text. If you want to add read-only text, you have to set the IsEditable property in TextSettings to false (which is set in true by default) before you add the text to the image.

Option to enable or disable resize functionality for added objects

Users now have the option of enabling or disabling the resize functionality for added objects, including images, shapes, as well as custom views. To do so, you have to use the IsResizable property of PenSettings, TextSettings, as well as CustomViewSettings in the Image Editor.

Apart from these main new features, there have also been several minor improvements made to Xamarin Image Editor, along with bug fixes.

A Beginner’s Guide to Progressive Web Apps

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

A Progressive Web App, also known as PWA, is a web app that “uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like experience.” It combines the best of both web apps and mobile apps. While it may be developed using web technologies, a PWA developed by a good app design agency feels and acts like a mobile app.

For instance, if you browse certain websites on your mobile browser, you might have come across a pop-up banner asking you if you want to add the website to your home screen. If you choose “Add to Home Screen”, then the “app” installs by itself in the background without you ever having to go to the app store in order to download it to your phone. After the installation is done, you can access the same content on the same platform in a similar experience, but this time through your phone without requiring a browser.

This is what a Progressive Web App is. It allows you to download a mobile app from a web application by combining the best of both worlds, and even works offline, similar to a native mobile app. This means that you can browse the content even if you do not have internet access.

What is the function of Progressive Web Apps?

Native mobile apps found in app stores are able to carry out certain functions like working offline, loading on the home screen, and sending push notifications. Apart from this, another key difference from web applications is that native mobile apps have that distinct experience of looking and feeling like an app.

However, browser mobile web apps, which can be accessed using a browser in mobile phones, do not have the qualities mentioned above. This is where Progressive Web Apps come in. When these apps are developed by a UI UX design company, a set of best practices is used to make web applications work and feel like native mobile apps from app stores.

User experiences are delivered through progressive enhancement by top UX design firms, which means that regardless of which system you use, you will still be able to access content easily and smoothly. Even if there are some features that may not be available, user experience is not compromised with a PWA. It allows the app to perform and function exactly the way it should.

So, in other words, the goal of a Progressive Web App is to be able to deliver an experience that is so smooth, seamless, and uniform that users cannot differentiate between a PWA and a native mobile app.

Advantages of Developing Modern Apps with ReactJS

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Reasons to build Mobile Applications in ReactJS.

React.js is a Facebook- and developer-community-managed, 2013-launched, JavaScript repository for building modern user interfaces. It can be used as a base to develop mobile applications or single-page applications. It’s viewed as a superb tool because it can do a great job fetching rapidly changing data that requires to be recorded. It’s so popular that companies like Netflix, PayPal, Apple rely on it, as do over 32,000 other websites that are built using this framework. So, what makes it so popular? Why do app design agencies prefer React.js?

React.js boosts productivity

Ask developers, what is the one remarkable feature about React.js, and they will swear that it’s the ability to increase productivity and facilitate maintenance. When applications have complex logic, changes in a single component can adversely affect the others. This makes updates a pain. Facebook has resolved this issue by extending the tool’s ability to reuse system components. This a great way to save development time.

React.js ensures faster rendering with virtual DOM

When creating a high-load application, it is necessary to ensure the structure will not negatively impact the overall performance of the app. Even minor changes at the upper layer can cause problems in lower levels. Now, developers can first make changes to the virtual representation of the DOM and then calculate the minimal scope of required DOM operations. Once done, the real DOM tree can be updated. By doing this, the developer can ensure better user experience and higher app performance.

React.js guarantees stable code

We know that HTML and JavaScript are two technologies that work side-by-side. React.js ensures that codes are reusable when these two technologies are combined. React.js also makes use of only downward data flow. So, even small changes made to the child structures will not affect their parents. When changing an object, developers have to modify their state and make the necessary change. Only the relevant components will be updated when this is done. This type of data binding ensures code stability and the continuous performance of the app.

React.js is SEO-friendly

Content is king. One of the relevant challenges that developers face is to ensure that an app is SEO-friendly. This is especially necessary for businesses in this day and age when there are several hundreds of apps out there, all vying to be the best. React.js ensures an app is SEO-friendly by effectively dealing with typical search engine failures to read heavily loaded, JavaScript apps.

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