Blog : Product Development

Virtual Reality: Life within a Screen

Virtual Reality: Life within a Screen

Virtual reality (VR) is a new, exciting technology to be explored. Only a few years ago, it seemed to be something straight out of science fiction; its roots can be traced into film history of the 1950s. The ‘Sensorama’, invented in 1956, presented short films in specially outfitted movie theaters with corresponding sounds and smells. Its creator, Morton Heilig, used this early VR technology to further immerse the viewer into a storyline.

Though no vocabulary existed for the technology until 30 years after this cinematic appeal to the senses, today Heilig is recognized as the “father of virtual reality”.

Modern virtual reality is experienced by its user through a wearable screen. It encodes head, eye, and motion tracking and conveys them onto an LCD display. This makes it possible to transform 2D images into 3D environments. By manipulating the senses, the user accepts the “reality” presented to them.

With no separation between your sight and the ‘world’ in front of you, virtual reality allows for a deeper submersion than does augmented reality.

The VR boom in the late 1980s was too short-lived to make real strides. Silicon Valley’s VPL invested heavily in the new technology only to declare bankruptcy a few years later. After the market failure of several VR systems in the 90s, interest in its development was lost until very recently.

In the last decade, virtual reality has been sought after by innovators as being the latest in computing technology. According to Palmer Luckey, it is the “final platform”.

Luckey founded Oculus VR, which sold to Facebook for $2.3 billion in 2014. As an authority in the industry, he has a definite understanding of the limitless applications of VR.

As its original backers hoped, VR is already advancing the fields of education, science, exploration and career training. It has also been implemented in treatments for lazy eye and PTSD. VPL’s original founder, Jaron Lanier has made the modest comment that virtual reality is merely the “next logical step” in human innovation.

Following Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR, Mark Zuckerberg took to his personal page to write: “Our mission is to make the world more open and connected…we can start focusing on what platforms will come next.” Zuckerberg added that “Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream…The future is coming and we have a chance to build it together.”

Augmented reality

Augmented reality

Augmented Reality is the melding of the real world with the digital world found on your smartphone. Think “Pokemon Go.”

You have more than likely encountered augmented reality, even if the term is unfamiliar. It is not to be confused with virtual reality, another recent development in the tech world. AR is experienced alongside the real world, while VR simulates its own reality.

Charles Arthur, a contributor to The Guardian, describes AR as taking “a real-life scene, or (better) a video of a scene, and add[ing] some sort of explanatory data to it so that you can better understand what’s going on, or who the people in the scene are, or how to get to where you want to go”.

By blurring the line between what is real and what is not, AR enhances the digital experience.

The most well-known examples of augmented reality in today’s market are Snapchat filters and Pokémon Go. While it is more easily recognizable in entertainment, AR has also been utilized in marketing, educational and retail ventures.

Augmented reality is also starting to play a role in the workplace. It has been adapted for certain hands-on training exercises. An employee’s virtual presence erases the need for direct contact with different environments.

Where direct involvement is risky, the immersive qualities of AR allows for otherwise impossible experiences. For example, NASA has started to use it for scientific research. This enables advances in exploration that humans couldn’t achieve. We can’t send a person to Mars, but technology is taking that giant leap for us.

In the near future, you might not even be able to tell who is seeing the world through an AR wearable. Going through a single day without experiencing augmented reality in some way might even be impossible.

As the technology behind AR continues to evolve, its limits will be pushed even further. Think about how Pong and other early video games now seem so primitive, yet they were what introduced many the members of today’s workforce to computing. Their innovations have increased the capabilities of operating systems hundreds of times over.

These same kinds of giant strides in AR are still to come. The next generation might be taught about the game-changing nature of Pokémon Go just as today’s youth learn about Tetris.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has already labeled augmented reality as the ‘next new thing’. Anyone who is familiar with the tech industry will agree: now that AR has captured Apple’s eye, every competitor will be clamoring to take it to new heights.

Virtual Reality meets your world

Virtual Reality meets your world

The future is now. The once faint dream of experiencing life in an altered dimension is now within the grasp of our fingertips with Virtual Reality (VR) technology. 2016 appears to be the year virtual reality devices are set to take off, with an expected surge of devices ready to hit the mainstream. The technology is familiar, having been around for decades, but now the integration of the technology with gaming, social, and mobile platforms has the technology heating up. Companies like Samsung, Sony, Google, and Oculus are vying for market share with their renditions of virtual-reality enabling devices.

 At the forefront of the technology sits the Oculus Rift, the headset that started this new wave of deceives diving into alternate dimensions. The high-tech headset plugs right into your computer’s DVI and USB ports. The Rift tracks your head movements projecting 3-Dimensional imagery onto its screens at a 2160 x 1200 resolution. Then there’s the HTC Vive, which has a chance to usurp the Rift, with its 70 sensors that offer full range head tracking, minus the motion sickness. You might need to install motion sensors around your house, but it’s worth considering.

The options are plentiful. There is the PlayStation VR, the Razor OSVR, & the Microsoft Hololens just to name a few, but the most interesting VR device may turn out to be the Google’s interpretation, known as the Google Cardboard. Yes, the VR headset is called the Google Cardboard because it is made out of cardboard. A bold idea, but it is a true testament to the wonders of the smartphone with the mobile device having the ability to tap into the VR market. Apparently, your smartphone is all you need if you desire that out-of-body experience. All of the necessary gyroscopic sensors and positioning systems to track your head movements are already in your smartphone.

The virtual reality market is diverse, competitive, and pricey. While some devices may appear to have an advantage, there’s no telling how decisive that advantage may be. What you can expect is stiff competition. These high-powered devices will have a bevy of options when it comes to games. Developers will be working overtime to create games that maximize the experience of the VR devices. You can expect to be visually impressed with better camera options, and you can expect unlimited potential to use the device beyond the confines of your living room. With the technology ready to be release you have to sit back and ask yourselves this question. Will this just be a trend or will virtual reality be a mainstay & pioneer of a new breed of technology for generations to come?

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.

Hololens Holoportation: Virtual 3D Teleportation in real-time

Hololens Holoportation: Virtual 3D Teleportation in real-time

The Microsoft Corporation has created a functional, virtual 3D teleportation system that is a mixture of multiple high-powered lens-displays, cameras, and computers. It allows for the creation of multiple virtual people in real-time, creating interaction between the participants. The system brings people from remote locations together in a single space – a virtual environment. The developers call this the “Hololens.”

In 1977, a generation of film-goers was swept up by the film “Star Wars”. Viewers were shuttled off to a distant corner of the universe that was filled with mystery, adventure, and amazing technologies. There, a holographic image of Princess Leia appears to Obi-Wan Kenobi, pleading that he’s her “only hope.”

Now, almost forty years later, that holographic dream has become a reality. Microsoft has designed their Hololens Holoportation system. It is the digital interface between imaginative dreams and amazing tech developments.

Holoportation is a new type of 3D capture technology that allows high-quality 3D models of people to be reconstructed, compressed and transmitted anywhere in the world in real time.” – Microsoft

In the demonstration video, Microsoft Research’s Shahram Izadi illustrates the practical applications of this technology.

This development shatters our perception of the boundaries of space and distance in the physical world. Sit back and enjoy. Listen to the development team describe the reality of real-time interaction with computer generated images of real people. No, we don’t need droids to share these messages. The reality of this message delivery system is undeniably amazing.

Voice activated digital components (AKA – digital assistants)

Voice activated digital components (AKA – digital assistants)

The recent developments in voice activated technologies have opened the door for explosive growth in the realm of digital interaction between humans and machines. Technology platforms across the board have embraced user control activated by voice commands. Individuals can ask their phone any question and a response will be given. The voice recognition by the operating system is as valid a command input as that from a computer keyboard. These developments created the birth of the ‘digital assistant.’

With the sound of your voice, random data can be searched, reminders can be given about certain events on your mobile calendar, requests become completed actions. Convenience for the user plays a huge factor: it is easier to talk to your phone than to type on it.

The range and depth of these computer responses are impressive. Joe Hindy, The Android App Guy on Youtube, posted an interesting side-by-side comparison of three frontline voice activated platforms – Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. It’s not a perfect demonstration, but it clearly demonstrates how the competing products perform.

Siri

When Siri was introduced in 2011 on the iPhone 4S, it was a sensation.  Back then, PCMag described this new technology “Siri is a speech-recognition computer application. It has both speech input and output, meaning you can speak to it, and it can speak back to you.”  Prior to Siri being introduced as part of the operating system, a voice-activated app was available at the Apple App Store. The technologies were focused on a specific market share, those who may have had difficulties working with a smartphone. The function was similar to Siri but had nowhere near the capabilities of the current Siri. That company was acquired by Apple, and the mobile app was pulled from the App Store. Later, that same technology emerged as the Apple tool we now call “Siri.” It was a cool new addition that Apple built into its iPhones. From then on, it has become a staple of the iPhone user experience.

Google Now

In 2013, Google Now was created.  This program is Google’s answer to the virtual assistant. Google Now “can answer questions like Siri and search the web, but more importantly, it cannot only assist, but pre-empt your requirements using your calendar, email, historic behaviours, and location.” quoted from Koozai.com. Google Now is like an upgraded version of Siri.

Cortana

In 2014, Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 was introduced.  Cortana is a Halo-inspired personal assistant.  It is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now.  What started for the Windows Phone is now on every desktop using the Windows 10 operating system.  “Cortana is powered by Bing, and can perform many of the functions one has come to expect from artificial intelligence-style assistants, such as setting reminders and powering vocal updates to one’s calendar” – CNET.

Amazon Echo

Also, in 2014 was the unveiling of Amazon Echo.  Amazon Echo is an at the home tower and  “lives as a piece of hardware, not just a layer of software available through a mobile device. It has built-in speakers and lets users sample and purchase music as well as stream that music on demand,” according to CNET.  Amazon is trying to make a statement with Echo by offering this virtual personal assistant.

“A June 2014 study by Thrive Analytics found that over half of US adult smartphone users (56%)” use their voice-activated assistants. – Emarketer.

The Future is Now

Millennials will continue to drive the use of virtual personal assistants and will be the deciding factor on whether this trend will stick or be a bust. The digital stage has been set to respond to the sound of our voice. Interaction with a digital assistant is now part of our daily routine. How that interaction is crafted will depend upon the minds of the users and dreams of mobile app developers.

Progressive Web Apps – a growing development trend

Progressive Web Apps – a growing development trend

As program development, marketing, and advertising move forward, developers continue to craft new experiences for users. The latest trend to grasping for our attention is a hybrid environment – the “Progressive Web App” combines elements of both a search engine and a mobile application. It is a new technological experience for web users that takes into account an individual’s habits within a web browser but gives the capabilities of a mobile application.

What was that?!

 “The short explanation: a web application that has a responsive layout, works offline and can be can be installed on the home screen of a device. And by “installed” I mean: a shortcut to the web app is added to the home screen. When the user taps on the shortcut, the web app will be loaded in a browser in full screenmode.” – gonhybrid.com

The importance of this hybrid type of mobile usage lies within the user. By taking into account the users mobile habits, progressive web apps will become a rising trend in years to come.

“A Progressive Web App uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience. They evolve from pages in browser tabs to immersive, top-level apps, leveraging the web’s low friction,” – Google’s Progressive Web app definition.

The progressive web will call for offline use with the help of an application shell and a service worker. The application shell will allow for:

  • fast information loading
  • the storing of past data searches and downloads
  • displaying content in its original form.

The constant use of these progressive web apps will change the users experience over time. With multiple uses and visits to the site, the progressive web app will become stronger and will satisfy the user in a different way current websites and mobile applications cannot. It will also allow the user to use the app even when Wi-Fi or 4G isn’t available.

Its importance?

For users, the technology has allowed for the transmission of rapid information to be at our fingertips. Individuals crave speed. They want their question answered in a matter of seconds. With the progressive web app:

  • it takes away the downloading time, especially if it uses cached information
  • the experience will be different for every individual
  • it can have home screen access without having to download a mobile app

The significant advantage for developers is that this environment bypasses the need for an app-store. No longer are development teams bound by the constraints of third-party vendors. This may be a double-edged sword. Developers can freely release their product. However, the restrictions provided by the app stores will be eliminated. App stores often establish standards of quality or development, often to protect consumers.

Different than previous environments?
Individuals now have choices in their mobile usage with progressive web apps. Sometimes, mobile sites can be difficult; the same goes for downloaded applications. By combining the use of mobile sites with the idea of mobile application, progressive web apps will make for a powerful way to view a website. It gives the user complete control of their mobile internet usage.

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.

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.

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

In a mobile environment, it is critical to provide users the finest quality user experience (UX). Web browsing must be experienced as a seamless transfer of form and function across all platforms. Consumers demand a fluid environment regardless of which device they hold in their hands.

To meet this consumer demand, Responsive Web Design (RWD) was crafted to provide fluid mobility to web content. Designer Ethan Marcotte was concerned with the collective elegance of both the internal code and the external page. He largely crafted the concept and practice.

RWD is the practice of building a web page able to display cleanly on any screen and any device, of any size. To the user, this means the media may be displayed a bit differently, graphics look slightly different, and there may be an alteration of function. But for the most part, the web page you saw on your desktop will display on your mobile phone.

A design problem:

Sadly, for many websites this is not the case. A non-RWD site may look perfectly fine on a desktop. That same site may become ‘user-hostile’ when viewed on a smartphone. Certain content may extend beyond the width of the screen (a common occurrence if it’s held in the vertical position). Some content and media may simply not display on different devices. Navigation throughout the site on a mobile device might be troublesome for a user because the design elements aren’t found where users expect them to be.

The reason for a responsive website design is to present users with a flexible interface. Without a responsive design, you risk losing potential customers who can’t figure out how to use your website or simply offending those who won’t accept its less-than-professional rendering on a mobile device. Either way, you lose face and revenue.

To create a responsive website, you’ll need the assistance of a design team who appreciates the desires of your company and the needs of your audience. Contact Colure to discuss your mobile design 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.

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.