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Why you need MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and Prototype while developing your app?

Can’t wait to get your new idea to the market? Honestly, the market is already littered with apps that went all-in and failed to meet customer needs.

In order to minimize the aforementioned risk and to show a successful “Proof Of Concept” (POC) to your investors. You need to launch the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) & Prototype as to obtain consumer feedback first and furthermore to modify your app based on those received comments and responses.

Mobile application development is a great example of MVP concept. Years ago, native apps were designed and coded according to customers’ specifications. However by the time the app got completed, customer and market needs might inevitably changed.

Now you have three choices: 1) You can build a basic app (MVP or Prototype), 2) enhanced, or 3) with ultimate level, all-in! To be a MVP, the mobile app only need those basic functions, by no means to have the fully featured product at the very beginning stage. Thus, when you start with the MVP, you can limit your risks, both time and money, by reducing your initial investment and on the other hand maximize your returns by producing a more desired finished product in future based on the MVP.

Although wireframes could show the blueprint and the texture of the design, nothing brings you closer to your desired app than prototyping. The app may look great on the screen, but you never know if it works on end users until the clickable prototype. Prototypes not only use to help on providing the “Proof Of Concept” (POC), more importantly as to show any usability flows behind the wireframes and the concept.

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You Can’t Afford Any of These 4 Mobile App Design Mistakes

Mistakes made in the past can come back to haunt you in the present. This fact remains true for mobile app design as well. Designing errors can come back to impact the popularity of your app. They could be the difference between success and failure.

Yes, designing errors can destroy your app. In the cut-throat world of mobile apps, you cannot afford to make these errors. As a business, you’re going to spend a lot of money to build an app and you expect it to deliver high ROI. This won’t happen, if you’ve an app whose design is not up to the mark.

Let’s take a look at four such design mistakes that have the power to break your app:

1. Disregarding first impressions.
Think love at first sight, think app design. Saying your app is going to face a lot of competition out there, is an understatement. The competition is going to be humongous. This is why first impressions matter. Your primary aim is to make sure your app captures the attention of users as soon as they open it.

This is important because app abandonment rate is as high as 20 percent across all categories. If you don’t want your app to be a part of this 20 percent, start focusing on making a great first impression on your users. This can be done by ensuring your app loads quickly and still takes users through engaging animations that hold their attention.

2. Ignoring onboarding.
Designers forget that the app’s target audience will be using the app and its functionalities for the first time. While the app’s usability seems like a breeze to the designers and developers who’ve built it, the same might not be true for first time users. These users expect a walkthrough that illustrates the app’s features.

If you haven’t given the necessary importance to “onboarding”, you might lose out on a potential user who is looking for a demonstration of what the app does, to make better sense of its features and functionality.

There is a school of thought that says the “need to onboard a user” essentially means an app’s design isn’t user friendly. While that argument does have some merit, one needs to understand that “app use” must be stress-free for everybody. This is why onboarding is critical to the success of your app.

3. Lack of consistency.
Designers have this tendency to go overboard with their creativity. This leads to a situation wherein the app suffers from designing inconsistencies. The background color differs across all app pages, different typography is used all over the app and navigation patterns differ across the app.

If your application design suffers from inconsistent use of design elements and features, its UI goes for a toss. This means your app will require a steep learning curve that’s not appreciated by users.

4. Thinking through the Web UX Prism
There are occasions when mobile app designers tend to forget they are not creating a desktop app, but a mobile app. A mobile user has different expectations from an app as compared to somebody who’s using a desktop/laptop. The former do not have the luxury of larger screens, which means you need to focus on design minimalism and ensure only the most relevant design elements are visible onscreen.

You also need to keep minute details in mind, for example the width of the human finger to design the “hit” area. Make all clickable buttons as large as possible so that users don’t encounter the “fat finger problem”.

So, there you have it, four design mistakes that you must avoid at all costs. A great way of ensuring you don’t make these errors is putting yourself in the shoes of target users. It is user-oriented design that will help your app attract and retain users.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243252

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Does ‘pay by app’ mean an end to shopping queues?

Contactless payments may be all the rage these days, but you still have tap your smartphone, smartwatch or card on a terminal of some kind.And at busy times, this can mean standing in queues or hanging around for ages waiting for the restaurant bill to arrive.All that could be about to change.”Payments are vanishing inside apps,” explains Dave Birch, a payments expert at Consult Hyperion. “That’s where all the interesting stuff is going on.”Apple, Google and Samsung have all anticipated the significance of this and offer in-app payments via their own apps.
The services like Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay all rely on the contactless payment infrastructure – embedded near-field communication (NFC) chips communicating transaction data with a payment terminal.
Yet NFC isn’t exactly new technology, and adoption rates for some of these services have not been stellar so far. Plus, US contactless infrastructure lags behind that of Europe.
Which is why alternative approaches – such as in-app payments – that do away with the need for point-of-sale hardware completely are causing such excitement.
Cash direct
This approach is also being adopted for easy person-to-person payments. “Everything [the user] can do within the banking app, he can do within the keyboard, our keyboard,” he says. The payee doesn’t need to have Paykey installed to receive the money – but he or she would need to be a member of the Paym database, which links UK bank accounts to mobile phone numbers. The Paym service currently has 3.2m users. Other person-to-person apps, like Venmo, are also hoping to corner the market for such transactions.

And when EU regulation comes into force in 2018 requiring banks to provide access to data for third party app developers, companies like Facebook or Twitter may well start incorporating payment functionality within their own apps.
“Once you can connect Facebook directly to your bank account, why would you go to your bank app?” asks Mr Birch. What price convenience? But there’s another issue at stake with mobile payment apps, besides convenience and functionality: security.”Mobile apps are miniature web apps, so there are many vulnerabilities associated with those,” says Tom Kellermann, chief executive of security investment fund Strategic Cyber Ventures. Around half of mobile payment apps have not had their code effectively audited for security flaws prior to release, he believes. Image captionDespite the rise of smartphones, about 85% of global transactions are still cash-based Users are also at risk of having banking credentials stolen after downloading malicious payment apps masquerading as official ones, he warns.
Mr Kellermann says his advice to users would include:

avoid using public wi-fi wherever possible install security software on your smartphone use strong passphrases on banking apps avoid leaving Bluetooth on when you’re not using it.Security issues aside, there can be no doubt that the smartphone is transforming the way we pay for things and send money to each other. But don’t write off cash and cards just yet, says Ann Cairns, president of international markets at MasterCard. She points out that around 85% of the world’s transactions are still in cash. “And that figure isn’t going down,” she says. There is also a great deal of costly infrastructure in place to handle card payments, so retailers will be reluctant to jettison all that immediately. But as ever cheaper smartphones come onto the market, mobile payments are only set to grow.

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35933801

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Here’s which smartphone apps have the most usage on iOS & Android

Today has shared the monthly report on both smartphone and app marketshare. The data released today reflects the three-month average ending in December of 2015. The report breaks down the top smartphone platforms, manufacturers, and perhaps most interestingly, the most popular apps

Facebook remains the most used app on smartphones, reaching 76.8% of all smartphone users that are 18 or older. Facebook Messenger comes in second place with 62.5%, while apps from Google round out the top 7.

Apple Music, which accounts for anyone that uses the Music app on iOS, even if they don’t use the streaming aspect, achieved 32.2% reach during this time. Apple Maps came in slightly lower at 29.1%, compared to the 50.9% of Google Maps. The extra reach of Google Maps, however, is likely due to the fact that the app is available on both iOS and Android.

One interesting thing to note, however, is that these reach percentages only account for smartphone users 18 years or older. This restriction likely skews data somewhat. For instance, Snapchat does not make the list of the top 15 most used apps, despite it being one of the most popular and fastest growing apps among teenagers. Likewise, Twitter comes in 15th place in this ranking, but would likely place higher if the data accounted for users under the age 18.

Apple still holds the title as the top smartphone manufacturer this time around, although it did slip slightly. The report shows that Apple holds 42.9% of the market, a 0.7% change compared to the previous month’s report.

On the Android side, Samsung, LG and Motorola all saw minor increases of 0.8%, 0.5%, and 0.5%, respectively. It’s worth noting that the data released from  last month also saw Apple decline by 1%, making it back-to-back months of decline for the company. Nevertheless, it still leads overall.

In terms of the top smartphone platforms, Android still holds the lead with 53.3% of the market, an increase of 1%. Apple’s iOS accounts for 42.9%. Again, that’s a 0.7% decrease compared to last month.

With arguments of “peak iPhone” floating around, these numbers are somewhat interesting, but in the long run, minor marketshare fluctuations are nothing to worry too much about.

http://9to5mac.com/2016/02/04/most-popular-smartphone-apps/

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Discovering Opportunities To Drive Your Mobile Web & App Optimization Strategy

With the steady rise of mobile search, SEO practitioners these days need to consider how to optimize both their websites and apps for mobile search visibility.

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update, released in April 2015, gave a boost in mobile search results to pages with good mobile user experiences. Along those lines, Google has sought to increase the visibility of app content within mobile search results through app indexing. Thus, it’s key to have a strategic approach to our mobile optimization efforts — both on our websites and apps.

The now more mature mobile web and app optimization tools make this analysis possible, and straightforward, too.

1. Which Are Your Industry’s Top Mobile Web & App Competitors?
Let’s start with the fundamentals by identifying your competitors in mobile web and app search visibility. Are your competitors the same for both mobile web and apps? Are they the same as your desktop search competitors?

2. How Does Your Overall Mobile Traffic Performance Compare With That Of Your Competitors?
A question that arises frequently at the beginning of a mobile optimization process is, “What type of traffic can be expected from the optimized mobile presence?”

Although there’s no completely accurate way to answer (as it depends a number of factors such as your own efforts, your competitors’ activities, audience trends, industry seasonality, search platforms, algorithm updates and so on). That should give you an idea of what is achievable if you maximize the visibility of all your channels:

Mobile Web Traffic Potential
You can do something similar with your mobile app competitors and look at installs, active users and sessions. This data can also provide a reference to take into consideration:

Downloads Estimation App

For apps specifically, it’s good to look at traffic from within app stores, as well. SimilarWeb lets you see this information not only for in-store search, but also for all in-store related traffic.

3. What Are Your Current Mobile Web & App Search Rankings Versus Your Competitors’?
Once you have identified your competitors and their overall performance, you can dig deeper and analyze rankings. Look not only at your own mobile search rankings and trends, but at those of your competitors, too.

Mobile App Keywords

Besides in-store rankings and keywords, it’s also possible to obtain external search queries from search engines referring traffic to your mobile app (and your competitors).This will give you a much better understanding of the keywords generating visibility to your app presence and how your competitors are leveraging it already:

Mobile App In-Store & External Search Keywords

Now is also a good time to identify queries for which your competitors are ranking higher than you in mobile web search results and for which they have lost their rankings. You should strengthen your presence for these queries, and in cases where they have lost rankings, take the opportunity to fill the rankings gap.

4. How Does Your Mobile Search Visibility Differ From Your Desktop Search Visibility?
Take the keywords that you have identified in the mobile search analysis above and compare them with the top ones that you have been prioritizing in your SEO efforts until now. Are they different or the same? Use your current organic search traffic engagement and conversion metrics to prioritize keywords that will likely bring you greater benefits.

5. Which Of Your Best-Performing And High-Priority Pages Are Still Not Mobile-Ready Or Mobile-Optimized?
Once you have the keywords that you should target for your mobile optimization efforts, identify which pages you should be optimizing for them, and determine whether or not they are already mobile-friendly.

You can automate this by aggregating the relevant or already ranking URLs for the keywords you want to target and importing them into URL Profiler. From here, you can easily verify if they pass Google’s “Mobile Friendly” validation and their “Mobile PageSpeed” score by integrating with Google’s API.

6. Which Of Your Competitors Are App Indexing, And How Significant Is The Impact? For Which Of These Queries Are You App Indexing, Too?
Besides prioritizing those queries for which you have identified there’s a high interest in both mobile app and web search, you should also take into consideration the ones that your competitors are already targeting and benefiting from.

http://searchengineland.com/discovering-opportunities-drive-mobile-web-app-optimization-strategy-237625

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People Spent an Insane Amount of Money on Apps This Year

Apple device owners spent more than $20 billion in the App Store in 2015. Apple users broke App Store records by spending more than $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases this holiday season.

That figure includes money spent during the two week period ending on Jan. 3. New Year’s Day was the biggest day in App Store history, with more than $144 million spent in the 24-hour period.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president who now leads the App Store, said that Apple device users spent more than $20 billion in the App Store throughout all of 2015. That’s double the 2013 figure.

Apple is now busy expanding the App Store to new platforms, like the Apple TV. The early crop of Apple TV apps already provide some insight as to how apps behave differently on the TV versus the phone.

http://time.com/4169153/apple-app-store-stats-2015/

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Start-ups refocus on mobile web as app-only strategy loses fizz

With apps losing their novelty and e-commerce firms revisiting their mobile web strategies, Google has emerged as the winner retaining its dominance of online ad. Apps as e-commerce companies told anyone who cared to listen, were the future. Many put their money where their mouths were, altogether withdrawing from the mobile web.

Now, as apps lose their novelty, and as smartphone users uninstall apps to clear up memory, these companies are revisiting their mobile web strategies. Start-ups across the board, especially those that had moved unevenly towards the app, are scrambling to improve their mobile web offerings.

Earlier this year, companies had reduced resources and efforts towards mobile web, and the app-only strategy was taking centre-stage. But increasingly, we are seeing re-prioritization of mobile web and companies are giving equal attention to mobile web again.

Nobody is saying apps aren’t important. But it has become crucial for start-ups to have functional and well-designed mobile websites or web apps.

Few predicted this shift, which wasn’t even on the radar of many start-ups a few months ago. The mobile web never died, and for those who moved to app-only…it was a faulty decision in the first place. For service providers like us, it is never an either/or choice. Slowly you are seeing a lot of innovation happen on the web; for instance, there are app-like features now available on the web.

India is expected to have close to 400 million mobile Internet users by June 2016, according to a report released in November by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and market research firm IMRB International.

A majority of these users will access the Internet only through their smartphones. With the growing popularity of mobile apps, which many say offer a superior customer experience than conventional websi-tes, start-ups shifted their pro-duct and business strategies towards the app at the expense of desktop and mobile websites.

During the funding boom of 2014-15, many investors regarded the number of app downloads as one of the indicators of a start-up’s performance. Entrepreneurs and marketing heads rushed to maximize app downloads. Soon, however, it was evident that they didn’t necessarily result in high growth.

Consequently, the focus moved to usage and customer engagement. In this scenario, many start-ups and their investors have accepted that their expectations of an app-only world haven’t materialized. There are several reasons for this. Many first-time Internet users, especially in smaller cities and towns, prefer using their mobile web browsers to shop and surf the Internet rather than download a multitude of apps on their low-cost smartphones that have limited storage.

Customers also tend to get rid of most of the apps they download because of the inconvenience of frequent app updates and the limited storage space on phones, studies have shown. Now, many start-ups are moving to building mobile web apps, which can potentially offer the convenience and superior experience of so-called native apps, but without their limitations.

A few business-to-business (B2B) start-ups are also increasing their focus on the web.

As long as you can offer an app-like experience, mobile web is better for customers and companies. Customers don’t have to keep downloading updates and they save on space. For companies, it’s cheaper to build a mobile app compared to a native app. The shift back to mobile web will also affect advertising and marketing spending.

Mobile web continues to be a way for consumers to engage with content. When it comes to monetization, it will continue on both. Still, there are people who believe that apps will eventually call the shots.In the mobile Internet world, it is an app war. And in an app war, you can’t win by betting on a mobile website.

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/LQEj72VEodIgrCscvSB07O/Startups-refocus-on-mobile-web-as-apponly-strategy-loses-f.html

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BUSINESSES SQUEEZED BETWEEN APPS AND MOBILE WEB

Tech giants Apple and Google are the most valuable brands in the world. Apple’s iPhones and other gadgets are gaining attention of smartphone lovers, while Google’s mobile web is making several things easy for users. Today, the main objective of tech giants should be to offer simple and inexpensive Internet to users, but Apple’s focus on apps and Google’s focus on mobile web are making businesses grappling with online world.

Evan Ratliff, who runs an online publication The Atavist Magazine, said it becomes very difficult for him to make a balance between app and web. According to Ratliff, he had to continuously work on web and magazine’s app, which means double pressure. Ratliff, co-founder of the magazine, said it takes too much time to maintain the magazine’s website and update users via app. The pressure to do everything was the reason why The Atavist Magazine decided to shut its app and focus only on the web, Ratliff added.

“The decision was difficult because The Atavist’s app had a following, and it is hard to give up any audience once you have it. But in the end, the app’s limitations were too great”, according to Ratliff.

The tech giants are not only strengthening their business, but also considering overlap. Mountain View, California, headquartered Google is also selling apps, while Apple is also making money by advertising. Both the companies know that there is an overlap, but they are tied to the vision of their core products.

http://nycity.today/content/286397-businesses-squeezed-between-apps-and-mobile-web

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Internet Giants Race to Faster Mobile News Apps

US tech Giants are Turning to the news in Their Competition for Mobile Users, Developing new, Faster Ways to Deliver content, the Benefits for Struggling BUT REMAIN Unclear Media Outlets. Mobile “Drives so much traffic” Because many People Start Their Day reading news on a Phone or Tablet. Several new Apps Hope to Capitalize on That by attracting news Readers and the Advertising Dollars They Bring.

Facebook Launched ITS “Instant Articles” Earlier this year in partnership with a Number of Media Organizations to Provide Access to the news 10 Times More Quickly, through social Media Infrastructure ITS, than MOST news Websites do. And Google is Said to be Preparing a similar system in partnership with Twitter to allow Mobile Users to fully load an article on Their Phone in a fraction of a Second, compared with 10 seconds Nearly Today.

The Rapid Development of the news has Managing Director Mobile Products Demonstrates How the new battleground for tech companies seeking to Keep Users Within Their Ecosystems, where They CAN reach Them with More Products, Services and Advertising. “There’s a big Competition for Mind Share,” Americans Spend an average of Three Hours per Day on Mobile Devices, compared to just over Two Hours on PCs. Mobile Advertising is surging. North American Mobile ad Spending is set to Jump to $ 61 Billion by 2018 from $ 19.7 Billion Last year. A new Model? The Moves are Giving Media companies Incentives to make Their Products More Mobile Friendly.

The New York Times Will allow Access to 30 free Articles per Day on Apple News, for instance, compared with 10 per Day for Readers who go to the Daily’s Website or news Application. BUT it Remains Unclear WHETHER THESE new Apps Will Help Organizations Find a lasting news Economic Model to Survive the Digital age. ACCORDING to the Pew Research Center, Daily US Print circulation is down 19 percent over the Past Decade and Print Advertising has fallen More than 60 percent. In combatting That Decline , WHETHER news Organizations have to go after to Decide on Their Own Digital Readers or to Team up with tech Firms. In THESE new Apps, the Publishers Appear to have Chosen the Latter. For Both Apple and Facebook, news Publishers Will be Able to Keep 100 percent of ad Generate Revenues They Themselves and 70 percent of the Revenue from ads sold by the tech Platforms.

For now, the Agreements look Pretty Favorable to the Publishers. BUT the Long-Term Impacts REMAIN Unclear, ESPECIALLY as to How the Partnerships Will Affect the Digital Subscriptions or purchases of Individual Articles Previously sold Directly by the Media Outlets. A New York Times Spokesman Said it is “Important to Ensure That The Times is available in a Wide Variety of places where People Find Their news and information,” Noting That the Daily CAN be Accessed through Services SUCH as Flipboard, Microsoft’s MSN News or Google Play Newsstand. Krum agrees, Saying news Organizations need to Adapt to the Ways Consumers Access the news Today. “It’s much More Casual” than in the Past, SHE Said. “It’s not like going to buy a newspaper anymore. The newspaper has to Find you.”

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/internet-giants-race-to-faster-mobile-news-apps-1225838

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Apps make life easier, and more fun

It’s the marketing slogan that has become a maxim for daily life in the tech age: There’s an app for that.
Apps – short for application – are downloaded programs that have become a staple of smartphones and tablets, turning what were little more than novel gadgets into photo studios, portable offices, vast libraries and video game consoles.
And, despite a stereotype of technophobia, older adults are also starting to embrace them. A study released in April 2014 by survey group Nielson, said 51 percent of cellphone owners over age 55 have a smartphone. Another study released by the same firm in July 2014 said, on average, that age group was spending 21 hours a month across 22 apps.
Locally, more than a few residents have incorporated apps, from the whimsical to the practical, into their everyday lives.
Some people said one app that has been helpful from a productivity standpoint is Office Lens, a free app that is part of Microsoft’s suite of programs. The app allows someone to take a snapshot of posters, whiteboards or documents – even at an angle – and it will automatically straighten and crop them into usable images.
People used it several times at conferences and to snap a picture of programs from events he/she’s attended with his/her friends.

http://www.gvnews.com/news/apps-make-life-easier-and-more-fun/article_aeb88d12-5efe-11e5-9882-4b7ebbc08774.html

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