Blog : Mobile App Development & Marketing

Live streaming video

Live streaming video

One of the fasting growing video sharing innovations is through the live streaming of real events. Live streaming is the new kid on the block giving viewers the opportunity to see videos over the internet in real-time, and the chance to engage with brands in an authentic and transparent way. It is becoming evident that people want live content in real-time, but is live streaming a sustainable business practice that is here to stay? 

Video marketing is now most beneficial way to promote your services on the web and live streaming is just a better way for brands to develop more interactive marketing campaigns. It is less expensive than traditional video marketing. All you need is a mobile phone and someone interesting enough to captivate an audience. It will be interesting to see if the cost effectiveness allows live streaming to usurp traditional video marketing, similar to the way reality TV began to overtake traditional studio-produced shows. People want to know what’s going on with their favorite people and brands. They don’t want a choreographed routine. They want something that is transparent.

Businesses are learning to expand their reach with live streaming. Companies are shelling out large amounts of dough to launch campaigns through live streaming. The titans of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, & YouTube have all been investing in efforts to enhance their streaming platforms, but other companies are starting to join in and grab a slice of the pie. Target sponsored the first-ever live streaming of a music video, which garnered over 25 million views during the commercial break at the Grammys. This turned out to be a massive success.

While live-streaming indeed provides certain advantages to communications, it still presents several risks. Not all projects will pan out. People are used to watching content when they have the chance, but live streaming places the viewer in the hands of the streamer. Gathering feedback is often an extra step that is often not engaged to measure the effectiveness of a streamed event. Live streaming is proving to be attractive; it should be part of our mobile lexicon for some time.

Lingoji – Culturally Based Emojis

Lingoji – Culturally Based Emojis

Get ready to express yourself with Lingoji – the revolutionary new emoji app dedicated to worldwide, cultural diversity. We’re bringing a shared cultural context to the digital world. Lingoji has opened an entirely new way to communicate to those close to you.

Lingoji’s point of distinction is the engagement of local artists. The development team is integrating artists from cultures all across the globe. Here, they create culturally authentic art, specific to each country and culture. Lingoji is the first of its kind. The app provides a wide array of emoji sets, each custom-tailored to a single country and culture. Users can easily choose the artwork set that best expresses the thoughts and feelings of themselves, their friends, and their families.

Emojis have firmly established themselves in the footprint of digital communication. From quickly expressing brief feelings, to being used to form larger, more complex thoughts, emojis now saturate our media. Historically, emojis have represented a single, broad point of view.

Why settle for a form of communication that can’t adequately express your culture? There are differences between cultures regarding how an emoji may be interpreted.

Lingoji combines lingo and emojis to create culturally-specific, sticker-sized icons. These can be used to convey humor, context, tone, or even complex expressions and emotions. Available for just $1.99, each of these emojis sets can be easily accessed from the keyboard of a mobile device.

Lingoji’s development team has created accurate, culturally-based images that contain both traditional and current idioms. Lingoji currently supports a total of four Caribbean countries: Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. From there, Lingoji will be expanding steadily into other nations. Currently, teams are currently developing artwork from the Philippines!

Lingoji gives users the opportunity to get relevant images on their phones with ease. Rather than getting a large number of emojis to choose from all at once, users can select a tailored, customized emoji set to express specific ideas and emotions.

These culture-based emoji catalogs provide a common language between individuals in distinct cultures and regions, thereby making it easier for them to communicate with their community. Widespread usage of these emojis will eventually highlight a variety of cultures around the world that are not currently represented.

As a Caribbean native, Lingoji’s co-founder Patrice Gervais developed a love of other cultures while working in New York for Colure Media. Patrice and his co-founders David-Georges Renaud, and Gerald Brun have all worked to create a highly unique tool. This visual story-telling palette is designed for our diverse, modern cultures.

First developed and popularized in Japan, emojis have designed to be fairly universal. Traditionally, this limits emojis to fairly general usage, which may not include niche cultures. Foods, animals, and expressions that exist in many cultures are often excluded from the emoji keyboard.

Lingoji is currently available at both the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores. For questions or feedback, the Lingoji team can be reached through their email address at lingojiapps@gmail.com.

What is the difference between a web app vs a mobile app?

What is the difference between a web app vs a mobile app?

In a day when there’s an app for almost every need or function, companies providing these digital problem solvers often ask “do I need to develop a mobile application just to provide a simple function?” The answer is no. An application that operates on your web browser may be the answer. Web apps have filled the void to provide those functions. Web apps provide the feel of a mobile app with the power, accessibility, and stability of web-browser.

From a technical viewpoint the web is a highly programmable environment that allows mass customization through the immediate deployment of a large and diverse range of applications, to millions of global users.” – Acunetix

One user defined the differences as:

a website is defined by its content, while a web application is defined by its interaction with the user. That is, a website can plausibly consist of a static content repository that’s dealt out to all visitors, while a web application depends on interaction and requires programmatic user input and data processing.” – kerrek-sb 

Defining you needs is the first step to deciding how to proceed. Many variables will affect your selection. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you progress:

  • Design with the user in mind. This decision may mean thinking beyond your personal opinions. An aesthetically pleasing won’t satisfy customers if it’s hard to use. Think simple. Sensory overload with images and options will only turn customers away. Try to keep the app’s main functions first, with more advanced settings tucked away. Ask yourself: if my app only did one thing, what would it be? Build off of the main focus, adding additions only where it enriches the customer’s user experience (UX).
  • Balance personal creativity with traditional functions. Colors have meaning and emotional responses. Choose a palette that represents your goals and functions. Experiment with different color schemas before the app is released. The color blue may give your app a calming feel and is the choice of many social media giants. A red color scheme may elicit strong emotions like passion or urgency but also serves as a warning color. Decide how you want your users to feel when they use your app.

It’s important to beta test your app. Try to seek a large group of beta testers to help define the strengths and weaknesses of your app. The benefits of a solid beta-test have been well established. It may be a cost, but an untested app will lose profits in the future. Your goal should be to have the best performing, most efficient app in your field. Otherwise, why would customers choose yours over a competitor?

Develop your app to fulfill the needs of your clients and to answer those questions you seek to conquer. Proceeding with the proper format for your app will facilitate greater function for everyone involved with the process.

Selecting a mobile application’s programming format: native, HTML5, or a hybrid

Selecting a mobile application’s programming format: native, HTML5, or a hybrid

Businesses who are seeking to create the best mobile application must choose which programming environment they will use. Should they peruse a mobile platform’s native language, HTML5, or a hybrid of the two environments? Your selection of a format will be dependent upon several factors including development costs, your project objectives, and the preferences of your customer. Many companies have found that the investment of time to define your objectives will pay off later in the development cycle.

Software developers have debated each type’s efficiency over the years. Each form creates a different product. Here is short look at the differences between these three formats:

  • Native apps take advantage of built-in functions, such as GPS or the camera. These apps can utilize features of the smartphone’s operating system to provide an enhanced user experience. Double tapping, pinching, or other touch gestures can serve purposes in the function of your app.
  • HTML5 apps come with the advantage of universally applicable code; these apps use standard web technologies and can operate seamlessly on many devices. Web language is also widely known and learned considerably easier than that of specific operating systems. These factors lead to HTML5 apps ability to be quickly developed, tested, edited, and retested. The development of HTML5 over HTML4 also allows for apps to look and feel more like native apps more than ever before.
  • Hybrid apps allow a developer to take the format of an HTML5 application and wrap it inside of native environment, crafted for a given platform.

While HTML5 apps may be easier to create and implement into multiple devices, there is a critical cost-benefit ratio in the app performance. When 79% of people won’t try an app again if it fails more than twice, you must decide if the ease in creating HTML5 apps is worth the potential losses. HTML5 and hybrid apps can’t keep up with native apps in this arena.

TheLadders, a job recruiting company, first selected HTML5 with their web app before switching to a native format. They found that the concept of “write once, run everywhere” wasn’t as simple as it seemed. Testing and retesting the app in different screen sizes and devices proved to be a challenge. These short-term changes led to the app only being released for iOS and receiving little success. The company then decided to rewrite the app natively. The developer team mastered native coding much faster than they thought. The result was a much smoother, faster, and modern-looking app.

Having a native app can give you an edge over the competitor. Domino’s and Delta Airlines have both used native apps to give increased convenience to their customers. The result is beating out competing companies who may have outdated or slower apps.

If you don’t believe that your company’s app performance is very important or necessary, an HMTL5 or hybrid app may be a fine choice. A company looking to create a truly pleasing app may consider a native format. The investment in time and money will pay off with better app performance and increased customer satisfaction.

Contact Colure’s development team to discuss which format may be best for your company’s objectives and your customer’s UX.

Exploring a complementary user experience

Exploring a complementary user experience

An excellent user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is necessary in today’s interconnected world. In our lives, it’s common for users to use multiple smart devices in multiple environments. As users move between devices, it makes sense to transfer a user’s UX across those platforms. An example of this type of event may start by watching a Netflix movie on your living room television. After a while, you get up and continue watching that film on a laptop in the garage while you work on the lawnmower. That singular experience is maintained through different environments and platforms.

The key is providing a seamless UX within a user’s network. Each device becomes an extension of that network; each is a compliment for the other devices in that network. A complementary user experience allows for mobile applications and experiences to intermingle across these platforms. The true essence of the event is found in the experience, not the network.

Mobile gaming apps are another type of application that can benefit from complementary designs. SMHK Funklab’s game Padracer uses an iPhone as a steering wheel and an iPad as a racetrack. Extra iPads can be added to the game as well. The creativity behind Padracer led to its success as one of the first mobile games with a complementary design.

There are two main types of complementary designs: collaboration and control. In a collaborative design, two different devices have different functions. Padracer falls into this category. Control designs allow for one device to remotely control the other which typically serves the main function. An example of this would be using your smartphone to switch the song playing off Spotify from your laptop. Devices in the complementary ecosystem can also fall into two categories: must-have or nice-to-have. A must-have device is required for the app to function. In the case of Padracer, an iPad and iPhone are must-have devices that are necessary to use the app. Additional iPads add to the experience but aren’t required. These extra devices fall under the nice-to-have category.

A complementary design can unlock endless options for a business to provide an enriched experience for app users. More and more companies are discovering how a complementary UI/UX can lead to company growth. A study by AppDynamics discovered that 65% of people have very high expectations for app performance. Additionally, 30% of customers would spend more money on a company with a good app. If your business uses a mobile app, consider how multiscreen compatibility could boost your user experience.

Mobile application security and your safety

Mobile application security and your safety

With millions of mobile applications available for your smartphone, the question of data security has emerged as the key concern among experts. People load their smartphones with a wealth of information including credit cards numbers, banking data, and corporate server access codes. Our phones provide access to both our very private, personal and work lives. The result has made smartphones a valuable target for hackers. On the forefront of mobile app marketing and development lies the question “How secure is our mobile data?”

Functionality Overrides Security in App Development

The drive for app functionality has often outweighed the value of mobile security. Three out of four applications will fail basic security tests, and 96 percent of all organizations use at least one high-risk application. Different applications have different security needs. Discovering the balance between security features and the app’s functionality is part of the development life-cycle. Because of this competition for resources, not all applications have the same level of security.

App stores are filled with applications that mostly prove their advertised usefulness. Nevertheless, enterprises and individuals should not use them without paying attention to their security. They should download and use only those applications that have successfully passed security tests conducted by specialized application security testing vendors.” said Dionisio Zumerle, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Data Leaks at the Centre of Security Flaws

The biggest security flaws identified by developers involve attacks on data in applications where developers were unaware of vulnerabilities. The use of personal algorithms in place of proven modern algorithms has been the main pitfall. A lack of data encryption leads to risky storage of data and exposed back-end services leave data unprotected from unauthorized access. Personalization and the use of analytics in mobile app marketing have provided another major issue with “leaky apps” that allow people to gather personal information that can be tapped if not properly secured.

Encryption is the Future of Mobile Security

Encryption of data is critical to protecting the integrity of data. Recent news of Apple’s iCloud hack and demands from the FBI for Apple to decrypt the San Bernadino terrorist’s iPhone illustrates the critical role security plays in our lives. These discussions illustrate an ongoing debate in the development community over security concerns. All this media attention should be seen as positive because it highlights that mobile app security has become a priority in the consumer market. While the number of unsafe applications on the market remains high, recent applications have made strides to develop a safer environment for consumers.

Recently WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption, securing all conversations to only the participants involved – unable to be accessed even by the developers. As people demand a new standard for mobile app security, the battle for encryption will continue to grow, highlighting the discussion between private and public safety. If you have questions about mobile application security for your firm, contact our development team here at Colure.

Geofencing in mobile applications

Geofencing in mobile applications

Allowing a mobile device to recognize environmental elements can truly make an application dynamic. Because consumers live and breathe by their mobile devices, having environment-awareness available in mobile devices keeps users on their toes and engaged in their environment. This concept is called geofencing, also known as context awareness. 

Awareness of their physical environment for mobile applications brings more depth and attractiveness to an application’s user experience or UX. It engages the user by sending individually tailored data to their phone based on their geographical location. This plays a critical role in executing in-app mobile marketing and mobile app retargeting campaigns. 

Context awareness is a property used in mobile devices to identify where the user is using an application and how that might affect what the user is doing,” – Matt Carver at Bigspaceship.

In a context-aware environment, wireless devices such as environmental sensors, radio frequency identification tags, and smartphones send location, presence and other status information across the network. Specialized software captures, stores and analyzes the data, sending it back over the network to provide context to the end device as needed,” – Computer World. Having a mobile device react to its environment and offer advertising suggestions in terms of retail therapy or even a coffee shop facilitates the needs of each user.

Goals of context awareness

The ultimate goal of a context-aware system is for the system to arrive at a representation of the surrounding world that is close to the perception of the user,” – Interaction Design Foundation.

The layering of data allows the use of time of day and GPS coordinates to create a customized, ever-changing source of space and time relevant content for the consumer. They might provide breakfast suggestions in the morning, clothing suggestions relevant to elevation and weather, and locations for cocktails in the evening.

Geofencing is the ability for a mobile device to pinpoint the context of the user’s geographical location. “Context-aware applications look at the who’s, where’s, when’s and what’s (that is, what the user is doing) of entities and use this information to determine why the situation is occurring,” – GA Tech.

Challenges of context awareness

Mobile devices allow consumers to always be connected to the world around them. These connections can have difficulties. Computer World sheds light on challenges involving context awareness. One challenge of context awareness is privacy issues. Because context awareness uses data from the mobile device as well as environmental data, data breaches can occur. Being able to balance the security risks against the rewards is something that will be answered in time.

Geofencing is an interesting feature for mobile devices and applications. This functionality advances the capabilities of the smartphone for the specific user’s advantage. By having a more dynamic experience with your mobile device, it is no wonder that consumers fill every moment of the day looking at their phone. Advertisers and marketers will continue to take advantage of this desire for customized content and hyper focus audience targeting.

What is a Mobile App “Test Market Campaign” – Are they worth the hassle?

What is a Mobile App “Test Market Campaign” – Are they worth the hassle?

The development of a mobile application is a significant event for any corporation, team, or individual. As the app approaches its final stages of development, there is a tremendous temptation to rush that nifty new mobile application directly into the hands of consumers. Before that action, the product owner should ask one critical question: “Are we ready?”

A critical path to confirm the app’s market viability is to conduct a test market campaign. Establishing reliable numbers allows the development team to understand what is functional and what is lacking. A market analysis provides insight to what you don’t know about the marketplace.

Within the test market campaign, individual goals should be established on a timeline, and if those goals aren’t met, the company needs to be prepared to go back to the drawing board. An active test marketing campaign will answer many new questions, some of the benefits include the following:

  1. Seeing if the product/service is viable in the real world
  2. Analyzing if the marketing strategy needs a revamp
  3. Measure how consumers will respond to the product/service
  4. Gain feedback from customers before product launch

Overall, conducting a test market campaign before launching a major media buy and mobile advertising campaign is beneficial to the company. It can help to work out the minor (and sometimes major) details of the product/service. A major advantage is that it provides the product owner with insight into the relationship between the market and the product. It lets the consumer be a part of the overall process of creating something new, and that is good for business.

A test market campaign would be wise to use in this situation if time and money permit the organization to do so. The test marketing can be used to tweak the final product or modify how to market it better to the public.

Jumping into major campaign without a marketplace analysis is like jumping into a puddle of muddy water. You have no idea how deep the water may be or if there is broken glass just under the waterline. In short, it can be a terrible decision. Before you risk the fruit of your labors, take the time to investigate the viability of the marketplace.

Top 5 Mobile Apps of 2015

Top 5 Mobile Apps of 2015

2015 has been a year of record-breaking, innovative, and truly impeccable mobile apps for both iOS and Android users alike. Where would we be without our beloved apps? While there are countless mobile applications that have emerged in 2015, here are a few that have been exemplary in their design, performance, and popularity over the past year.

From entertainment to everyday tools, the following list of apps represents a diverse selection of must-have apps for your everyday mobile use.

Clash of Clans (iOS/Android) – 2015 was the year Clash of Clans rose to stardom. The highly addictive game has gained a cult following and broke revenue records – making it the top-grossing gaming app of all time.

Snapchat (iOS/Android) – 2015 has been claimed as the ‘Year of Snapchat’, the past year has witnessed the rapid growth and success of the mobile-only social app.

Mint (iOS/Android) – Mint is a finance and budget manager for the modern man. It’s clean and sleek design makes managing your spendings surprisingly easy – and fun. 2015 witnessed a large usage of this app in various demographics.

Hopper  (iOS/Android) – A must-have mobile app for the frequent traveler, Hopper helps you predict the best times to fly and maximize your savings on flights. Named among the Best of 2015 in the Apple Store.

Paper (iOS) – An extension of your typical Notes application, Paper takes note taking on your mobile phone to the next level with tasks such as lists, charts, and sketches.

The collection of these mobile apps will surely keep you in the loop, highly organized and prepared for the upcoming New Year. However, the past year could not be defined without discussing one of the advertising industry’s greatest threats – ad-blocking. With businesses scrambling to find new ways to promote their products online, this influential app has given them a run for their money:

AdBlock Plus (iOS/Android) – Browse your Internet free from pop-ups and on-site advertisements.

As 2016 begins, we are excited to see the release of even more innovative and excellent mobile apps that will surely influence our mobile usage. Happy New Year!

Ad blocking: Who will pay for the Web?

Ad blocking: Who will pay for the Web?

Display advertising has long been the driving financial force behind the Internet. Ads pay for the consumer’s seemingly endless appetite for the content they consume each day. The market forces created by profit margins and the ever increasing power of market leverage are staggering. Together, they have driven advertisers to peruse an ever-evolving set of techniques and technologies to grasp either the user’s attention or information.

A growing opinion amongst users is that internet advertising is out of control. It occupies too much space, data, time, and invades too far into our privacy. Users have now been given the opportunity to block most of the advertisements that fill their screens. A critical problem created by blocking all of those advertisements is that ‘no ads equal no cash flow.’ With this new shift in power, who will pay for the web? How will the current economic model of the internet survive?

At the heart of the issue lies the following dichotomy: while practically everyone wants free access to almost all internet content, they want to yield profits from their own internet endeavors. They don’t want to have to pay, however, they do want a pay-day. No matter how you cut it – there is no free lunch. If you are on the internet, you are paying a price to someone.

With this cost in mind, several questions come to mind. What is a just and equitable compensation for ‘free access’ to content?  At that point of full and just compensation, do the data harvesting and advertising behaviors of the advertisers change accordingly?

There is no question the internet is a capitalistic environment. Publishers should be compensated for their efforts and content. The question then becomes ‘what is a reasonable price for their product?’ Should users be given a price or simply subjected to endless mining of their resources and data simply in exchange for access to content? These questions have established a blurry synergy established between the users and providers. How many advertisements are enough? At which point has the consumer fairly compensated the publisher for the content they have consumed? When has enough data been mined?

In the past few years, a growing debate has given rise to the concerns of excess. It is virtually impossible to access any online platform without being, for the lack of a better description, attacked by advertising or silently data-mined. The scary part of the equation is that while consumers are aware of the advertisements that are flashed endlessly in front of their face, they have no clue as to the nature, amount, or depth of the data about that is silently harvested behind the screen.

Bluntly, this is the price of doing business. If you access the internet, you will pay the piper.

There is a growing backlash over the increasingly invasive nature of net advertising. At the forefront of this battle are two corporate giants – Apple and Google. One corporation has built their business model upon the mining of data, the funds generated through online advertising, and content management. The other has provided the consumer with the ability to limit the access of that reach.

The recent release of Apples’ iOS 9 and OS X operating systems include “content-blocking extensions” (AKA  “ad-blocking software”). If users can now effectively remove advertisements from the ‘free web’ who will pay the bills?

This clash of titans was eloquently described in a recent posting. I’ve posted an excerpt from it here:

The central philosophical dispute over ad-blocking goes something like this: Publishers have no right to force readers to be exposed to certain kinds of ads or allow numerous third parties to collect their information without a prior agreement; readers have no right to read or view content that they don’t pay for in one form or another, be it with money or data. What is not in dispute is that if ad-blocking becomes ubiquitous (and there’s nearly every reason to think that it will be!) it will be devastating for publications who derive much or all of their revenue from advertising—which comprises most of the professional publications on the internet. When Murphy first posted about “an hour with Safari Content Blocker in iOS 9,” he asked, rhetorically, “Do I care more about my privacy, time, device battery life & data usage or do I care more about the content creators of sites I visit to be able to monetise effectively and ultimately keep creating content? Tough question. At the moment, I don’t know.” (With the impending release of Crystal, it seems he’s resolved that tension.) When I spoke with Chris Aljoudi, lead developer on uBlock, an extension that tells users how many third-party scripts are active on a webpage, and asked how sites should sustain themselves if all of their ads are blocked, he replied, “I’m not an expert on whether it’s a business model, I don’t think we need to know as developers of a tool like this.” Even if they don’t have solutions, “users need to be able to control what they are forced to come across,” Aljoudi said, using the example of nytimes.com, a website for which no known mandate of visitation exists.                                                                                                                                                                                                      – Casey Johnson writing for theawl.com

In order to provide “free access” to content, publishers rely upon heavily inserting code scripts that too often invade users space, take control of the window, or harvest an unknown amount about data about the user. Providers do this to pay the bills. A broader question for everyone is ‘how and when can equity be found for all parties at the table?’

At Colure, we are well aware of this consternation and provide a balanced approach to advertising:
The way we differ from our competitors is that we help our clients with a balanced advertising portfolio. Within this picture, display or PPC advertisements would only be a single component of the greater picture. We also recommend SEO, app store optimization, blogging, syndicated or sponsored blogging with influencers. Digital PR is critical; let us not forget our recommendations for social media with content management. At the end of the day, we move forward to find a proper, working balance between the needs of our clients and those of the public.

Communications with your client and their customer base is an ever evolving game of chess. If you would like to discuss your project needs, contact our project managers.

How does your mobile app stand out from the millions in the app stores?

How does your mobile app stand out from the millions in the app stores?

Question: How well does your mobile app stand out from the competition? According to a Statista study, today there are more than 1.5 million apps in the Apple App Store and 1.6 million in the Google Play App Store. After the first mobile application appeared in 2008, the information marketplace faced a dramatic shift. The demand for instant access to data forever changed the expectations of the public.

Here at Colure Media, we understand the market movements and growth.  We take pride in being one of the best mobile app development agencies in New York City. Our team excels in helping our clients stand out in the marketplace. We help them drive mobile application downloads with in-app marketing, app store optimization, mobile marketing and search engine marketing. We use these tools, crystal clear ideas and a systematic approach in defining our tradecraft.

What’s unique about Colure’s approach is our ability to develop native applications which are very strong, from a technology point of view. At the same time, we never lose focus while engaging your target audience with your brand identity. UI/UX are crucial components of any app development.  Our focus upon the total user experience, project goals and overall functionality is our signature upon our client’s projects.

Mobile application developments are divided into two different categories: Android apps and iOS apps (which include iPhone apps and iPad applications). We design apps tailored to meet the needs of the enterprise and consumer markets.

The Android services we render include:

  • Designing and developing Android apps (SDK)
  • Java for Android development
  • GPS and Location Services
  • Push notifications
  • SOAP, RESTful, XML Parsing
  • Webkit, HTML5
  • MPEG4 AND H.264 over HTTP/RTSP streaming video
  • Market research
  • Product launches in app stores

Our iOS app developments are secure and scalable. They work comfortably on the ever-upgrading series of Apple mobile devices. These apps are crafted to achieve smooth functionality.

Our iOS development services include:

  • Application UI/UX designing and development
  • Redesigning apps for iOS compatibility
  • Porting for Android and Blackberry apps
  • Wireless networking
  • iPhone SDK XCode IDE
  • Superior quality Graphic Standards and Protocols
  • Objective-C Programming
  • Customized iPhone apps
  • iPhone enterprise software development

The success of our agency is built upon the success and growth of our clients. Contact Colure’s Mobile App Development Team to discuss your next project.

The future of data cookies could be on a restricted diet.

The future of data cookies could be on a restricted diet.

Cookies have long been at the center of software developer’s diets (that’s data cookies). In order to gauge the appetite of the public, developers track user’s digital behaviors. Cookies have been the default bit of tracking code inserted programs of all sorts, in order to read the digital footprint of a consumer.

While this has been wonderful for the marketer and business person, many consumers have found the “tracking from the shadows” to be an intrusion into their private lives. As technology continues to evolve, we’ve seen how cookies have been used.

Two new shifts present another set of changes for the evolving diet of consumer information:

  1. Mobile devices offer a limited use of data tracking. The major problem with mobile cookies that they are not universal. They cannot be applied everywhere.
  2. Upgrades in the next iOS operating system will allow consumers to block cookies. Adblocking is coming to the iPhone with iOS 9. Consumers will be able to block advertisements from hitting some of the major web pages. What this means to advertisers and the finances of the digital ecosystem still remains to be determined.

Although the function and face of cookies continue to shift, the end purpose of tracking consumer behavior will never end. As we see these two trends take hold, new courses of consumer tracking are sure to evolve.

If you are interested in defining your mobile dreams, contact Colure’s Project Managers to describe your project.

Parallax responsive websites increase user experience

Parallax responsive websites increase user experience

Parallax scrolling is an incredible tool used to ramp-up your mobile application’s user experience (UX). Keeping the user engaged and focused is part of developing a quality experience that will bring the user back to your app time and again.

Parallax scrolling is a computer graphics technique which creates a 3-D environment using 2-D elements. By establishing a differential between the display of foreground elements and background elements, a sense of depth (parallax) is created. In the end, it’s visually entertaining. The visual applications are endless.

Here are 2 websites that entertain us using this technique. They demonstrate the incredible power of parallax scrolling. Look at this example that takes you under the sea, and here we see an infographic of your brain!

The amount of displayed parallax often differs between platforms. A website viewed on a desktop may show a tremendous amount of the scrolling differential between visual elements. That same site, viewed on smaller platforms, will probably reduce the amount of displayed parallax. What you see on a desktop probably will be a much richer and fuller UX than what is presented on a smartphone. This is the nature of responsive website elements. The use of this tool is currently a strong growth trend for both responsive websites and mobile apps.

Regardless of the size of your company, creating a responsive mobile website and mobile app is a smart way to market your service or brand. Today over 50 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and 80 percent of Internet users use a smartphone. These statistics show how mobile applications have become a necessity rather than a luxury. In order to stay relevant with today’s online marketplace, quality engagement is key.

Due to an abundance of mobile applications, deciding how to differentiate yourself can be a challenge. Tools like parallax scrolling can help overcome those challenges. Parallax scrolling creates depth and movement of images that add to the application design and sophistication.

Developing an application that grabs user’s attention is the key. The developer’s goal is to engage the individual. The experience itself is meant to impress the onlooker, tell a story, but also to clearly state the benefits of that service or company. This tool is designed to make your web and mobile applications stand out as a ‘one-of-a-kind’, one to be remembered.

Parallax scrolling provides a new fun way to experience a mobile app. It is a tool that developers use to provide depth and texture to their content. By carefully structuring content, users may not mind spending time exploring your app or your business. When you are ready to explore the graphical world created by your next mobile application, contact Colure’s project management team.

Wearable Technology Trends for Mobile Applications

Wearable Technology Trends for Mobile Applications

Wearable technologies have become part of both our personal and corporate landscapes. As each day passes, we see new wearable applications being introduced to the marketplace. Multiple industries are integrating the technologies into their operations. Runners and athletes of all capabilities use wearable computers to document tremendous amounts of data about their physical status. We may take the wearables for granted as part of our everyday lives, but it has been a path that developers have been embracing for years:

  • Medical applications – Years ago we heard a TV commercial describe a patient who had fallen but could not get up to call for help. Those same patients today can communicate with emergency responders by transmitting critical medical data through a wearable computer. Although a patient may not be conscious, their wearable computer is still able to intercede with life-saving communications. Techcrunch.com took a look at the advantages of pairing wearable technologies with the medical community.
  • Google Glass – In April, 2012 Google started the public discussion of their eyeglass-mounted computer, “Project Glass”. This was the beginning of “Google Glass”. The evolution of Google Glass has encountered not only a technology growth curve, but also a social growth curve. Community members react differently to social norms being challenged when someone arrives in crowded a room wearing a camera on their face. The history of the Glass project has been well documented by glassalmanac.com.
  • The Apple Corporation – Apple has invested heavily, banking on the success of their smart watch, called the “iWatch”. Many see the iWatch as the next step of the wearables revolution. While many ‘smart watches’ temporarily record data, they are anchored to a larger smart phone to download and process data. The recently announced upgrades for the iWatch demonstrate it to be a more of a self-sustaining platform. “This new version will have great new capabilities and bring native apps right to your wrist,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent announcement. The first generation needs to dock with an iPhone 5 (or later) but is setting the basis for an independent system with future developments. 

Being able to stay current involves not only understanding your clients’ current needs, but also appreciating the trends in the marketplace that affect our daily lives. Writing mobile apps for wearables is the next step in our evolution for programmers, runners and patients. Being able to communicate intelligently is critical to our growth.

Advantages of mobile applications for small businesses

Advantages of mobile applications for small businesses

A smartly developed mobile application can help level the playing field between companies of any size. The key to success lies within the quality of the user experience (UX). If a customer has a meaningful interaction, there is a better than average chance they will return to your company’s application. Much of a consumer’s attitude toward a company is molded by the quality of the interaction created by the company’s mobile application.

Here are 5 key advantages of a mobile application for any small business:
  • Access to the customer at all times – Possibly the greatest advantage is being able to interact with your customers in a truly meaningful way. The mobile app allows the consumer to decide when they are primed for your specific service or product. The user decides when and to which extent they are willing interact with you.
  • Marketing – Develop a meaningful relationship with the customer. A quality user experience (UX) will allow you to provide an interactive relationship that cannot be developed through other media. Take this opportunity to market not only your product but more your industry to your customer. By providing additional information and resources, the customer will probably engage your application for a longer period of time. More attention directed toward your application can often equal more revenue generated by that customer base. Think of this as a digital version of the free classes provided by home improvement stores. They’ll hire an expert to teach a free class on tiling or plumbing. When class is over, all of the students start grabbing tools and supplies off the shelves. It provides a great ROI.
  • Direct customer feedback – the amount of real-time data gathered by your app has a value that extends far beyond simple transactions. It reaches the very mindset of the consumer. You are able to decipher the specific wants and needs of the user.
  • Specifically craft your product to interact with a specific audience – Most media sources provide a one-sided relationship. Mobile applications allow you can craft an interactive product that targets a finite audience, with a specific interface. No other format allows for such an engaging experience. Creating a truly rewarding user experience must be “Goal #1”.
  • Brand Identity – Crafting your brand requires a labor of love. It takes time and commitment to craft a brand with whom the consumer truly identifies. Your brand includes a living, breathing relationship with your customer. Be sure to respect your customer as you would any relationship. By providing a truly remarkable user experiences, your audience will return time and again to your app.

Separating yourself from the competition takes a quality product, planning, and skill. The interactive relationship you develop with your customers will help determine your future growth. Don’t leave that development to chance. Never take your relationship with your customers for granted. The greatest downfall for many companies is to negate their customers’ true wants and needs, in favor of their own vision of the same. Being blinded by your own biases can be a very costly mistake.

Success is built upon many well measured steps. When you are ready to take your first steps in the development process, contact Colure’s Project Managers to explore your vision of success.

In-App Advertising for Mobile Applications

In-App Advertising for Mobile Applications

Mobile devices have been described as ‘this generation’s fuel for their soul’. It seems as though every function, need or desire can be addressed, answered or satisfied by some type of mobile application. Being able to monetize these behaviors has been a point of significant focus by corporations both large and small. Competition in the marketplace is incredibly fierce. Successful market shares are measured in both time and dollars; the two are inextricably connected. The longer you keep a user engaged in your application, the better your odds are of generating revenue from that user. 

The big question that faced developers for years concerned both of these factors. How do you keep a user interested while engaging their wallets? In order to retain your clients, you need to hold their attention. A quality interface engages the user and won’t let them drift away from your application. Unfortunately, traditional advertising would do exactly that! When a user clicked on an advertisement inserted into a mobile application, they were whisked away to a distant website, often unable to find their way back to the place they started…the app. So how do you enjoy a mobile app without being taken to a web browser solely for advertiser content?

In 2009, Apple and Google got into a bidding war over a tech start-up which introduced a unique solution to that question. That solution integrated high-quality advertising directly into a mobile application’s operating platform. Google won the bidding war and acquired what would later be released as AdMob. The competitor of this was iAd, introduced as a new component of Apple’s iOS 4 operating system. Both provided customized, high-quality content, able to engage the user on many levels. This advertising platform, within a mobile platform, allowed the developer to engage the user with content, without taking them away from the app of their choice.

Both advertising platforms address a considerable business opportunity. Unfortunately, iAd was never able to conquer a majority of the market. After a few years on the market, iAd has had more than its share of challenges.

The market trends show that the demand for in-app advertising is strong. Users liked to be wooed right where they are, cradled comfortably inside of an app. As time passes, developers will have to continue the task of redeveloping advertising platforms.

Beginning with the earliest of spoken story tellers, advertisers have wanted the consumer right in the palm their hand. The mobile device has re-defined that for the foreseeable future – it is now the advertiser who is begging to be held by the consumer.

Project management for mobile app software development

Project management for mobile app software development

How do you develop a simple idea into a fully functional mobile app? The answer is quite simple – solid project management. Many individuals have ideas for an app, but not many invest the needed time and effort to bring the idea to maturity. Along with your vision, you’ll need an experienced project manager and development team who can help you avoid the pitfalls often associated with a new project.

Project management ideas:
  • Be sure that you are fulfilling a real need. This need could be a totally new idea you create or you could be advancing an existing idea. No matter the origin, be sure that your app actually has a valid purpose. Make sure that it actually does something.
  • Allow your idea to mature. Anyone can place a half-baked app into the market. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘rushing for sake of rushing.’ Time is critical for the maturity of ideas and growth.
  • Take off your blinders. One of the most difficult moments in project development is when you concede that someone outside of your ‘camp’ may have a better idea than yourself. Yes, you too may have a solid idea, but always be ready to listen to the perspective of others. They just might possess a wealth of knowledge from years of experience or education. Take the time to listen with a level head. The viewpoint offered by those outside of your project can often see past your own biasses. Just because you came up with an idea does not mean that your idea will always the best. Each project manager needs to appreciate their own limits. A responsible project manager knows when to check their ego at the door. It’s a  tough lesson, but one that will surface in almost every project, in one form or another.
  • Learn from your mistakes. A poorly developed idea is usually worse than a simply weak idea. The weak idea often has a couple of good ideas at it’s core, but may lack refinement. Poorly developed projects are often riddled with a lack of planning, vision, and purpose. These projects are often doomed from the beginning.
  • Break the process into manageable steps. Be sure you’ve taken the time to explore the needs of the development process. Don’t try to do everything in one step. You’ll need to be able to review and modify your project as it progresses. Make sure that you identify both the short and long-term needs of the project. Growth and development are mission critical.
  • Work with a development team. Engage a team of professionals who understand the subtleties of breathing life into your ideas. As the originator of your idea, you need to stay focused, but stay open minded.

TechRepublic put together a great list of pitfalls that can plague a software development project. Often, project mechanics get gummed up for different reasons. Sometimes those reasons are valid. Sometimes they’re not.

When you’re ready to explore the needs of your next development, contact Colure’s project managers to discuss your dreams.

Mobile gaming is big business

Mobile gaming is big business

There’s no question that the greatest money makers in the app stores today are games. Entertainment is serious business for both the Apple and Google’s app stores. Gamasutra.com looked at the trend and found without question, that one person’s entertainment is another’s business.

The top two revenue-generating apps from late last year both generated over a million dollars per day. During October 2014, Supercell’s “Clash of Clans” brought in almost $1.4 million each day and King’s “Candy Crush Saga” brought in just under $1.2 million per day in the major app stores (Apple and Google).

The vast majority of the market is filled with players who elect to play free-for-play games. However, the numbers of players who actually generate funds are amazing limited, as a percentage of the audience. Gamasutra added that “Only 2.2% of users ever pay in free-to-play games, and 46% of the total revenue comes from just 0.22% of the total amount of mobile users, Swrve reports.”

It’s been reported that the average user checks their smartphone over 1000 times per week! That number may seem a bit high, but it demonstrates how engrained the mobile phone has become in our lives. With repeated use and shorter attention spans, game developers must capitalize on bringing the customer back to their app.

Although the numbers show a tremendous usage of the device, we see the average user launching apps about 10 times per day. These numbers reflect repeated usage of a limited number of apps. Thus, the market share for competing apps is tremendous. If you can hook the user into coming back to your app, you’ll retain their time and funds. More importantly, you’ll keep those resources from being spent on other developer’s applications.

The gamer is hooked by an enticingly addictive environment, then offered pay-for-play levels deeper inside of the game. The funds are generated by offering ever increasing levels of adventure, tools, rewards, and exploration.

Contact Colure to engage our game development team. The market is hot for those who want to host their own games.

The importance of UX and UI in mobile app design

The importance of UX and UI in mobile app design

Creating a fluid user experience is central to the function and flow of any mobile application. User Interface (UI) design explores how an app looks and interacts with a user. User experience (UX) defines how the app feels, from the users’ perspective. These concepts are at the development core of any mobile project.

During the development cycle, focus on the end product. Be sure that all of your efforts are centered upon the end user; concentrate on how they will interact and react to your app. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you design your new app:

UX/UI Must Haves:
  • Offer specific mobile-only functionality. Be sure that the product you put in the users’ hands will fulfill their mobile needs and wants. Make certain that the end experience is as solid as the function.
  • Design core features specifically for the target audience. Are you focusing on gamers or shoppers? Regardless of your audience, all features must deliver as promised. Take the time to ensure that the user’s experience dovetails with the features in hand.
  • The use of multimedia should be considered for the project. Be sure that the user has full control over the media. Don’t allow the media to become a memory hog.
UX/UI Mistakes:
  • Don’t confuse web UX for mobile UX. Simply scaling down the UX features of a web page is not the same as designing an app that is built specifically for a mobile platform. These are two different platforms with very different audiences.
  • Build an app that highlights your mobile users’ needs. Don’t build an app just so you can justify all of your ideas. Feedback, change and growth are all critical factors in the development cycle.
  • Be sure that you app has a specific function. Make sure that it actually does something. If your app ends up as a glorified sign-up page for a service, you’re going to upset the very people you are trying to reach.

DigitalGov.gov has established a set of guidelines to help the US Government develop quality mobile applications for the consumer. They looked at a wide variety of UX and UI design issues. This list provides an interesting set of ideas to examine while you consider your next mobile app. Not all of these ideas may be relevant to your project, but they provide a solid core of ideas to consider while you dream and design.

No matter the purpose or function of your application, the end product must provide a superior quality customer UX. If you aren’t ready or able to place a flawless mobile experience into your customers’ hands, the release of a lower quality app could be doing more harm than good to your reputation. Keep both the UX and UI design at the forefront of your design.

Contact Colure’s development team to discuss your dreams for a mobile application.

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Mobility and responsiveness – these are two critical skills needed for anyone who enters the arena of mobile application development. Your product must be nimble and quick, but these too, are critical skills your marketing team must employ in the release of that shiny new app. The art of App Store Optimization (ASO) is important during the entire release process.

In a marketplace that features over a million apps in each of the major app stores, developers must manipulate each variable in their media arsenal. One very powerful tool is the use of consumer reviews.

The power of reviews

Being able to harness the energy of raw consumer feedback is like riding a wave. Managing both good and bad press is at the core of your public image. For better or worse – the true measure of you and your product is formed by the users’ impressions. Once you release, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

Your team must be able to respond instantly and individually, in order to reap the value of feedback. Take the time to interact with consumers and let them know that their opinions matter to your team.

You already have a plan in place. You have from the beginning. But if the consumers go in another direction or simply don’t like your idea, you need to be able to really listen and appreciate the value of what you are being told.

The fickle winds of consumer opinion can easily blow in either direction. A stunning app with an established track-record can suddenly be dashed upon the rocks by a sour update, or by the development team not listening to consumers.

The transparency of reviews clearly matters. KISS Metrics conducted a study evaluating average reviews in connection to app store rankings and it found that the most positively rated apps ranked highest on a given keyword. Those reviews are being offered by users as their reaction to your new app. How you respond to those words will determine how the market views your product. In other words, reviews are vital. 

Increasing the volume of reviews

There are several ways in which you can increase your app’s reviews. One way to do it is through app reviews plugins. This is a pop-up screen that appears after a bit of usage, asking the consumer for their opinion. You should be sure to delay the activation of the plugin. Give the user the opportunity to get comfortable and really discover all of the features you’ve built into the app. If you ask users to review when they first open an app before they’ve actually had a chance to try it, they may be displeased and leave a negative review instead.

The best way to get a positive review is to build a high-quality application that makes a significant difference to your users by either helping or entertaining them. The more satisfied users you get, the more likely they are to leave a positive review, with little to no reminder or encouragement from the app.

Managing negative reviews is a metered skill. It takes time and patience to respond thoughtfully to whatever may be written. How and with which words you respond, will determine if you are able to yield a net favorable response.

Keep in mind that this is a difficult task. It often takes time, energy and patience. Be ready to have your greatest weaknesses publicly highlighted. At your moments of weakness, how you respond to your critics will determine if you earn their respect and future business.

Contact Colure today to establish a plan to help define you next mobile app.

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

Cross-Platform Mobile App Development

Thanks to the cell phone, our world has become compact and information is always ready at hand. An individual’s entire life can fit in their palm or pocket.

It has become progressively important for companies and businesses to have a heavy mobile presence since smartphones and tablets have captured a dominant share of the market. Mobile application development, a pathway to marketing and branding, includes the need to create applications that run on various mobile platforms. A mobile platform is simply an operating system. For example, Apple’s mobile operating system is ‘iOS’.

Developers create applications that are targeted at specific audiences. Often, cross-sections of these audiences disperse between various mobile operating systems. The need to ‘skip’ across various platforms provides the companies the ability to reach different audiences with one application, regardless of the platform. Cross-platform services save time, money and allow code to be easily shared between different platforms. It provides a greater reach to users.

With many solutions, often come with both pros and cons. Mobile development is no different.

Advantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Deploy your app to various platforms reaching a greater audience.
  • Saves time. Allows developers to write code in one language.
  • Reduces development costs. This allows companies to save money by not investing in one team specific to that platform.
  • Simple for developers. The frameworks to create cross-platform applications are designed for scripting languages which allow for a smooth transition to the mobile device.
Disadvantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Technology does not include all features of all mobile devices and operating systems. App developers are continuously updating the apps whenever companies add new features. The framework will need to be updated to support the new additions.
  • Tools are restrictive. Designing an app compatible with cross-platform frameworks can challenge developers, prohibiting them from using their own development tools and suites.
  • Code inefficiency. The inability to work on every platform’s native language. When translation engine become ineffective, the code efficiency decreases.
  • Slower code and process. Due to the cross-compilation process, the code writing run time may slow down.

As with any development process, there are benefits and liabilities associated with using a cross-platform application development system. Cross-platform tools are not a universal solution. Having a development team with a working knowledge of development environment is critical.

Contact Colure’s development team to help integrate your mobile applications with your existing systems, fitting your specific needs.

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Creative social media campaigns are mandatory during the successful release of a new mobile application. During the software development process, the software team will design and create the new mobile app. A parallel process is the development of your social media campaign. This is how you will announce your new app to the world. Both of these efforts are mission critical to your application’s survival in the marketplace.

You must create a demand for your product. The development of momentum and interest in your project is an absolute must-do. Keep your audience focused upon only one thing – why they must have your app. While you create your social media campaign, your focus of purpose must permeate each and every action.

Key social media ideas for a mobile app campaign:
  • Each brand has a unique identity. The individual features that separate you from the completion are yours to use or lose. Be sure that you highlight those differences.
  • Stay consistent. As your media efforts crossover between various platforms and campaigns, be sure that you remain centered upon the original identity of your product. Move your campaigns around your product, not your product around your campaigns. If you lose the focus of your product’s identity, there is no possibility that your audience will ever be able to follow you.
  • Emphasize the benefits. Apps must be the solution to a problem. That problem may simply be avoiding boredom (solved with a game), finding information or saving money. By emphasizing benefits rather than features, you compel your audience to click through and download the app. Emphasizing the features of your app – such as its functionality or the speed at which it operates is important, but it will not create demand. Provide a solution to your user’s problem.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Native Ads. In-newsfeed ads, especially on Facebook and Twitter, can be effective tools to promote your new mobile app. Detailed targeting methods allow you to push your message directly to a specific audience. Both Twitter and Facebook offer marketing solutions that are especially enticing for app developers. Twitter’s App Card allows you to add rich media beyond the 140-character limit. This extra media changes the presence of your ad, helping to persuade consumers that your app is right for them. Marketers can specify “App Download” as the goal of their native ad on Facebook, which allows them to track how many users downloaded their app as a direct result of the ad.

Your goal is to market the unique identity of your new application. Stay on task with specific goals for your project. Be certain that your media team is in perfect unison with your software development team.

Contact Colure to discover the union form and function. Our development team will bring your dreams to life.

The Software Development Process

The Software Development Process

The Software Development Process is an organized, systematic approach to developing software. It’s an organized pathway traveled together by both the client and a software development team. The development cycle is an upward spiral that allows for discovery, new growth, consideration of new ideas, inspiration and change.

The process begins when a client approaches a development team with an idea for a new ‘digital mousetrap’. It’s critical that the software team listen to all the concerns of the client. These may include a timetable, budget concerns, support, logistics and so on. In turn, the clients must understand that the development team will do everything in their power to assist them.

During your application’s development, you will encounter numerous pressures that will divert you from your end goal. It is critical that you have a focused plan and a development team who can appreciate these concerns. A solid team will keep your project focused toward a specific goal.

The Software Development Process includes the:

  • development phase – it starts as an idea, quickly followed by an analysis; quality standards are established; specific goals are set.
  • design phase – you’ll discuss form, function and the delegation of duties.
  • implementation phase – The actual program code is written during the implementation phase.
  • testing and verification phase – after the development team has a working copy of the project, they will usually issue it out to a limited group for beta testing. Here, they gather data on what works and what can be refined. Quality standards are met.
  • documentation phase – here the data is brought together and assessments are made.
  • maintenance phase – this is the longest phase. It consists of the constant updating of the program and customer management. This phase continues long after the final release of the project.
The key to success is open communication.

The process is often met with long hours, varied opinions, and strong emotions for a project. This mixture of blood, sweat and tears is critical to the creative process. For as much as a client is passionate about the function of an application, the creative team has similar motivations. They view the project from the inside-out. Ones and zeros take on form, function and texture.

It is this marriage of visions that brings life to the original idea. Each project is more than just the sum total of the various parts. The project evolves with each new idea, inspiration, and dream. Contact Colure’s Development Team to discuss bringing your software dreams to life.

SEO For Small Businesses

SEO For Small Businesses

Efficient search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to every business. Regardless of size or industry, the critical need to analyze your internet data is key to every business owner. Small business owners are often challenged by not having a staffer dedicated to looking after these affairs. This frequently leaves business owners facilitating both the mechanical end of their business and needing to extend themselves to cover their digital concerns.

Keeping a few tips in mind can help you as wade through these waters:

  1. Never consider you website complete. Because of the dynamic nature of the market, your clients, and your business, you need to constantly tweak your site. It cannot be seen as static, nor can your business.
  2. Learn the mechanics of Google. They’re a dominant force in the internet industry today. In order to understand how your site will interact with the internet, you need to learn how Google operates. Here are three SEO tools to investigate:
      1. Google Webmaster Tools – Explore these tools. They will help you understand how Google views your site and provides you the tools to interact with Google.
      2. Google Analytics – Here you will learn the statistical background of your customers.
      3. Google My Business – Set up a ‘Google My Business’ account. This is a social networking platform to share digital content with businesses and customers. By establishing an account, you increase your visibility across the entire Google network. One of the most critical things to do here is to categorize your business properly. Google allows you to place your business into two of five categories. The purpose for this is so Goggle can better understand your business and is able to provide cleaner search placement results.
  1. Be sure that your content is relevant and up to date. When a customer looks at your page you’ll have less than eight seconds to hold their attention. Make the effort to keep your data current and competitive. It’s important to have clean, easy-to-access information for your customer’s needs.

No matter your size or need, clean and efficient SEO operations are critical to everyone. Contact Colure about helping your organization rise to the surface in the search engine rankings.

Project management tools for advertising agencies

Project management tools for advertising agencies

Project management tools are designed to help agencies to bring their projects from conception to completion. The ways in which you manage every idea, resource, and staffer will affect your ultimate destination. Given the span of variables in the creation process, it’s impossible to find one simple answer to meet everyone’s needs. Whether you are a team of one or 50 members, success is built upon a systematic approach.

A simple starting point to determine your PM (project management) needs, is to look back at your last three projects. What went wrong? What worked well? Was your problem time management? Was it information management? Was it the way you utilized your teams? Were you able to reconcile your billable hours against your accounts? Did you have an organized plan of attack or did you feel as though you were trying to round-up a bunch of wild cats?

The completion of your project is based on the premise that you have a solid footing in project management. This requires being able to wear multiple managerial hats. When it comes to project management skills, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s critical to identify what skills you have mastered and which may need a bit of help. It’s safe to say that almost everyone needs a bit of assistance with at least one skill.

An organized approach to your project is critical. Here are a few tools that can help you and your team better understand your project needs. Each of these applications has their own feel; all of these are strong tools to move you closer to a successful completion.

Suggested Project Management Tools:
  • Tomsplanner.com This is a simple, Gantt chart subscription service. This offers a strong starting point to organize your thoughts. This is a great place to organize a project’s multiple needs and resources.
  • Basecamp.com Organize your teams’ efforts around multiple projects. This system works well by internalizing conversations.
  • Wrike.com This platform likes to expand its communications across email platforms.
  • Getharvest.com This system does a great job of integrating your various finances.
  • Pivotstack.com offers a multitude of services from PM, accounting, and communications.

Every journey begins with a first step. Be sure that you move your project forward, towards a successful destination. Contact Colure’s Project Managers to discuss your visions for successful software development, marketing and concept development.

What is a Minimum Viable Product (or MVP)?

What is a Minimum Viable Product (or MVP)?

Every entrepreneur wants to release their product with a complete set of features and functions. They want to be able to solve the needs of their customers within the first product release. The reality is that in order to gain insight to your customer, you need to get your product into their hands so they can provide feedback. In this way, you have direct insight to their tastes, needs and wants. What is the absolute basic commodity that can be built in order to answer those needs?

Every development opportunity presents the creative team the same question: “What problem do we need to solve and what is the most cost efficient way to solve that problem? The answer is the development of a minimum viable product (MVP). The “MVP is a development technique in which a new product or website is developed with sufficient features to satisfy early adopters.[1]

How barebones is ‘minimum’?

In short, the MVP is the absolute base model of an application or website, one which offers the fewest number of features to make it a viable entity in the marketplace. This model presents the very basics of your concept to which the customer can both interact and react. It is from this interaction you gain valuable insights to your customer’s wants and needs.

The key to this process is gaining information. You will be able to craft the development of your idea to specifically reach the needs of your customer. Without this insight, you can very easily waste time, money, and effort building features that will take you down a rabbit-hole, which might offer a limited ROI.

The MVP is an ongoing process that constantly redefines the concept, the customer, and the market. It starts with an idea to meet a need in the market. In order to understand the market needs you will need insight to your customers. To understand your customers, you must understand how the market is or is not facilitating their needs. As you learn more about each leg of the puzzle, you gain a greater insight to the whole process. It creates an upwards spiral that leads to a more sophisticated development of your original concept.

Almost every product or service has passed through some form of the MVP process. Everyone in the marketplace, from entrepreneur to Google and Apple, have all explored this process.

The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” [2] Your goal as a entrepreneur is to develop your idea with the least cost and effort; reaching out to an audience to gain the most information about them; offering a product in the marketplace that customers will use and purchase with the absolute minimal number of features.

Contact Colure’s Development Team to discuss a strategic approach to your concepts and dreams. Our team has developed numerous apps, some with 10 million+ downloads.

Top 10 Mobile Applications of 2014

Top 10 Mobile Applications of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, we look back at a few of the many mobile applications that were released this year. Developers worked to create a new set of tools to aid us in our mobile travels. This collection represents examples of outstanding form, function, and flavor. This is not a listing of the most popular apps of the year. These are presented in no particular order, only as a group of outstanding finalists. Each app is a shining example, demonstrating its ease of use and functionality.

The Mobile App Finalists

  • WunderStation by Weather Underground (iOS)   This wonderful weather app is incredibly flexible for your travel needs.
  • Wickr-Top Secret Messenger (Android / iOS)   Secure and entertaining messaging.
  • Monument Valley(Android / iOS / Kindle)   A visually stimulating game.
  • Google Analytics (Android / iOS)   Not a new program, but a new app. Analyze the web in your hand.
  • Lingua.ly (Android / iOS)   A new school of thought to learn a new language.
  • Scout (Android, iOS)   A strong navigation tool.
  • avast! Mobile Security (Android)   Security in the palm of your hand.
  • Seamless (Android, BlackBerry, iOS)   Your city’s food at your fingertips!
  • Evernote (Android, BlackBerry 10, iOS, Windows Phone)   Organize your thoughts and your notes.
  • Microsoft Office (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)   The power of editing Microsoft documents in you mobile device.

This is a wonderful selection of apps available for your mobile device. However, no discussion of 2014 would be complete without addressing the issue of cloud security. Repeated invasions of cloud facilities emphasize the need for everyone to be careful of where and how they store their prized data. One mobile app that challenges the norm is not a new release for 2014, but it is incredibly relevant to this year’s events. For this reason, we include as a bonus app:

  • Spider Oak (Android / iOS)   Encoded Cloud Storage. Your data is encoded before it is stored in the cloud.

Thank you for following our blog this year. We wish you the very best in 2015!

Marketing mobile applications

Marketing mobile applications

How should you approach the marketing of your newly designed mobile application? Competition within the mobile apps market has never been more fierce. Both Google Play and The Apple Store each offer over 1.3 million apps available for download. Each day, the competition grows tighter. The fight for market share grows tougher. At every turn, someone smarter, faster, and possessing a potentially better mouse trap releases a new application.

So how do you compete? How do you possibly fight for elbow room on the worldwide stage? How do you struggle against a competition with seemingly endless resources? The answer is to be smart in the way you prepare for the fight. To paraphrase an ancient (4th or 5th Century) text ‘the best victory is achieved when the war is won before the battle begins.’

Create a Marketing Strategy

  • Establish a solid Pre-Launch Strategy

Before you spend your limited resources on development, you need to know if you have a place in the market. Do your homework with a competitive market analysis. Find out if there is a viable market for your product. If so, use this exercise to define that market. You must know exactly who are your customers, the market, and your competition. Learn these things before you begin your development. If not, you are wasting your resources.

  • Maximize social media

Create an impressive demo video of your product or service. Utilize social media to maximize your message. Craft your message to reach a very specific audience. Be sure that you are marketing your ideas is a way that communicates to your customer base. You can’t just toss out an app and expect people to find it. Create media kits you’ll provide to industry icons who review and promote new applications.

  • Maximize the resources of the app stores

If you plan to release in one of the major application stores, be sure to research how to best make use of their resources. Find out how other competitors have marketed their products and learn from their experiences.

Regardless of your strengths, you must first understand your own weaknesses. No matter how smart, how fast, or how rich you are, there is always someone faster, smarter, better and less expensive than yourself. That’s a reality of life. Position yourself to compete in the marketplace wisely. Learn from the mistakes of others. Grow from the guidance of those who have successfully completed the process. Be sure you understand that while you may feel your plan may be battle-ready, your competition will do everything they can, to destroy your market share.

The failure to plan is planning to fail.

Contact Colure to speak to our team about establishing a focused plan of attack for your mobile application.

Application (app) Store Optimization – ASO

Application (app) Store Optimization – ASO

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the act of improving the visibility of an app amongst the competition.

Proper marketing for your application is critical to your business’ success. Customers must be able to

easily find your app, and have all of their questions answered within a very limited space.

 

According to a 2013 Forrester Research report, 63% of apps are located in app store searches.

Today’s app marketplace is ruled by two major app stores – Google Play and the Apple Store.

Millions of apps are being marketed to an ever growing audience. How you position yourself against

the competition can determine your success in the marketplace.

 

Before you start, you must have a crystal clear vision of your company, your application’s functions,

your specific audience, and the mechanisms you’ll use to bring those parties together. The way in

which you craft the release of your new application is as critical as the design of the application itself.

 

ASO Ideas

These are a few key themes for your app store listing:

  • Optimize your Title – be sure that the title is clean and simple. This is the biggest opportunity to describe your application and its function to the audience. Try to keep it under 25 characters. It’s tempting to be ‘cute’ with an app name. Be sure you keep your focus when you select the name.
  • Optimize your Keywords – Separate all keywords with commas, no spaces. Be sure to leave no empty spaces in keywords area. Empty spaces are wasted characters – don’t waste opportunities to squeeze in possibly one more word into the keyword area. Maximize your searchability with crafted words.
  • Description – This is your key opportunity to explain your app to the world. Be sure that you are focused in your words. Check the limits for text allowed in each posting. If you need, hire someone who writes professionally, to maximize this opportunity. Here, you must be crystal clear with your customer. Be sure to address the ASO needs of both your human and search engine audiences.
  • Unique Icon – Each app should have a unique visual icon that identifies the application. Try to avoid words in the icon.
  • Screenshots – Most customers examine the screenshots to see if they like the ‘feel’ of the app’s layout.
  • Fill out the “What’s New” area – Update this area frequently, as changes are made to your app. This demonstrates that you are actively listening to the needs of the customers and the industry.
  • Preview everything – Be sure the layouts are displayed the way you intended, before publication.

 

These are the foundations for any ASO effort. Be sure that you enter the marketplace with a strong

footing. Contact the Colure staff about both building and marketing your next mobile application.

Why is the mobile app industry worth $25 billion?

Why is the mobile app industry worth $25 billion?

 

Mobile apps usage continues to grow. They’re a tool used by more and more companies. As the volume of applications grow in the business world, so do the dollars spent on app development. In a MarketsandMarkets report, the mobile app industry will be worth an estimated $25 billion (US) in 2015. Does your company need a mobile app developed? If so, how will you proceed?

You need to keep a few thoughts in mind while you consider developing an app:

  • The first questions you should ask yourself are, “Is this a task-oriented mobile app?” “Does it have a function, a purpose?” “Is it filling some void in the market?” “If so, specifically – what is that need?” Don’t put out an app ‘just to put out an app’.
  • This app should be the justification for all of the effort, pain, time, money and stress that you and your staff will allocate for its creation. In other words, ‘will it be worth all of the effort?’
  • Who is my target audience? Am I putting this together to help my customers understand my services or products? Am I creating this to aid my sales staff to better market their products? Will this app help streamline our employee’s workflow by eliminating paperwork?
  • Is it affordable? Should we try to do this ourselves or hire an outside firm to do the work? Is it possible to go mobile on a budget?

Your answers will help shape your course of action.

Here are several other considerations that may modify your choices. Remember that:

  • customers establish a strong connection between the value of your website and the value of your company. They will make the same connection between the quality of your app and quality of your company. If your app comes off as cheesy, or as having little value, that same correlation may very well be made to your company.
  • affordable apps can be made quickly and cheaply, but the real value is measured in terms how that app connects to your customer. If your customers see ‘older looking’ graphics, or find less functionality in the application (than should be reasonably expected), those deficiencies will translate into a loss of customer trust in your company.
  • To you, what is the true value of your customers’ experience? To which level do you honestly appreciate their quality of interaction with your company? To which extent are you willing to invest to provide a positive, proactive experience to your customer?
  • What happens if there are problems with you mobile app? Will you have support, if any (in terms of expertise and time) to help you? What happens if things go sideways?

In the end, the questions of quality, support, cost (expenses vs. effort), and the cost-benefits gained will determine how you establish your budgets for the application. You know your business better than anyone else. If you are not impressed with the application, there’s a good chance you customers too, will not be impressed.

With that said, apps have a critical role in today’s business world. They facilitate function and access. As with everything in life, you only have one chance to make a good 1st impression. Be sure that your app is the finest that it can be, for both you and your customer. Embrace the challenge. Speak with Colure to define your application’s development and marketing.