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4 Major Obstacles With Android Freelance Projects

Major Obstacles Emerge With Android Freelance Projects

When it comes to mobile app development there are a few paths you can take. A modern, and popular option is to go with a freelance developer. However, as with any freelancing industry; it can be difficult to find the right match. Almost like dating. This is specifically true in the Android freelance projects market. Since Android is such a versatile Ios that really allows developers a sand-box-like feel, experts can make Android apps that are top-notch. Unfortunately, though, the average Android developer is likely not an expert.

That’s not to say it isn’t worth pursuing app development for Android, rather, that if you hire a freelance android developer – you should take caution to vet them thoroughly, and require multiple references.

Four Major Obstacles Faced in Android Freelance Projects

Getting to the heart of the matter, if you do choose to develop an Android project with an Android developer; you should be aware of these common obstacles that may emerge, and take mitigating preparatory steps.

Finding The Right Developer

This was already alluded to above, but there is an art tofinding the right freelance developer, no matter the ios. In fact, there’s an art to finding the right freelancer period. Regardless of industry. However, there are ways to vet the freelance developers that you come across, such as requiring references and a proven portfolio.

Even with all of that, however, freelancers have a tendency to disappear. Create a written contract to further ensure yourself against the risk of using afreelance developer over an agency.

Ideas Don’t Belong To Anyone

While this may seem like a pleasant and idealistic statement, in the world of mobile app development, and western business in general, this is a very stark contrast to the way we operate. In some regions recreation or mockery, in the sense of copying someone’s success, is the highest form of flattery. However, in mobile app development – standing out and paving new paths is one of the best ways to be noticed.

No matter where you lay on the principal of the matter; protecting your informational property in the mobile app world is absolutely vital. Don’t let someonetake your brilliance and make it their own.

Android Freelance Projects Take Longer

There is a library of reasons that freelance projects take longer in general, but specifically android freelance projects. Some of that has already been touched on in this article, with flakey developers who vanish, or timelines being extended beyond a reasonable limit. The list truly goes on and on. However, with the help of an agency app developer; your timeline will be strict and your app ready to launch before you know it.

Outdated Looks, Styles, Tones

Finally, the last risk that comes withhiring a freelancer for your android project is an outdated look, feel, and style to your finished application. This is simply because freelancers aren’t always up on the latest trends and preferences in the mobile app development market.

Final Thoughts

For more information on mobile app development through an agency vs a freelancer, visit NS804 today. NS804 is the mobile app development agency for everyday people.

Latest Trends In Mobile App Design: Increasing Your Profits

While contemplating the latest trends in mobile app design, we decided to look further into this matter. Specifically, we wanted to explore how various mobile app monetization strategies play out. Should an appreneur implement ads, and if so, what type of ads work best? Or, would it be better to release a paid app or implement in-app purchases instead? These questions, and many more, are questions that we seek to answer below.

1. What Type Of Ads Work Best?

One of the easiest and most effective ways to monetize an app is via advertising. Whether you’re developing a mobile app or game, you should consider implementing ads as part of your monetization strategy. And there’s a good reason to take such an approach. According to Statista, mobile advertising reached $ 190 billion in 2019 and will reach $ 240 billion by 2022.

Nowadays, every apprenuer has several ways to include ads in their applications. We’ll cover the four types of ads that show the most promise:

Banner Ads – Relatively unobtrusive and small-sized ads, placed either at the top or bottom of the screen. They’re easy to implement and remain a popular method for monetizing apps.

Interstitial Ads – These pop up as full-screen ads at specific time frames and feature a close button on the top left or right corner. Interstitial ads work best when they show up only after the user completes a task inside the app.

Native Ads – Designed to naturally fit inside an app and promote an app, product, or service while being relatively unobtrusive. Usually, developers will implement native ads to promote their own products, but this isn’t always the case. The downside is that these ads don’t bring in as much revenue as alternative methods.

Rewarded Video Ads – These shorts video ads (usually a 30-second duration) are carefully integrated with an in-app reward system. Users will watch a video in exchange for points, prizes, and various kinds of virtual goods. Rewarded videos ads deliver high retention and revenue but work best in games or apps with gamification features.

2. How Cost And Profitability Go Hand In Hand?

If you’re an appreneur with a tight budget, then you may cut corners to bring your dream app to fruition. After all, there are several online marketplaces where you can hire freelancers to develop your app at low rates. But this isn’t a good idea, especially when taking into account cost and profitability factors.

Take a look at the highest-rated, popular, and most profitable apps in the App Store and Google Play. What you’ll find is that the top ten percentile of applications are incredibly slick and professionally made. The teams behind these apps have years of experience and comply with best practices in software development. Thus, cheap, low-effort, and unprofessional apps no longer gain traction in digital storefronts. It’s smarter to work with an experienced developer, such as NS804, to create apps that resonate with today’s users.

3. Are In-App Purchases Still Effective?

Yes, in-app purchases offer a robust revenue stream when appropriately implemented in the right type of app. For example, the Uber app offers in-app payments so that drivers can receive payments from passengers. In-app purchases also work great if you’re selling digital goods or have e-commerce functionality in your app. Furthermore, consider adding in-app purchases if you’re offering renewing and non-renewing subscriptions.

4. Should You Sell Physical Products?

Well, that largely depends on the ability of your app and brand to stand out amongst competitors. Fortunately, the latest trends in mobile app design make it easy to test the waters. You can reduce the risk by using Amazon’s self-service program to sell branded goods instead of having to order large quantities from a traditional manufacturer.

If you’re building a mobile e-commerce portal meant to sell physical goods, then you’ll need a robust order fulfillment system to have products delivered to customers successfully. And, if you’re creating a mobile game that draws a fervent fanbase, then it makes sense to sell merchandise, such as caps, t-shirts, figurines, mugs, and posters within the game. But do keep in mind that revenue from merchandise may be inconsistent.

5. Are You Giving Users A Reason To Return?

When developing apps, you’ll undoubtedly think about cost and profitability. You’re investing resources into a project meant to cover its input costs and make a tidy profit.

However, that’s only possible if your app has high user retention and engagement. And to achieve this, you’ll need to give your users a reasonable amount of control. Users have no qualms about uninstalling apps that take control away from them. As with our own experiences, it’s never a good idea to force users to watch unskippable tutorials or input payment information without giving them the option to do so later.

That’s why it’s vital to employ the latest trends in mobile app design. Reduce the steps required to make things happen and allow users to make their own choices. Ultimately, this leads to more satisfied users that feel confident in using your app on an ongoing basis.

6. How Can App Updates Increase Profits?

Users expect regular updates that introduce new features and increase app stability. They want to see that you’re adding the functionality they want and that you’re offering long-term support. If you’re invested in your app, then users feel more confident in continuously using it. And the more time users spend with your app, the greater your profits. Moreover, users are more likely to recommend your app to others if you’re meeting their expectations.

7. Are Subscriptions Better Than Flat-Fee Apps?

Not necessarily. Subscriptions only work well with cloud services and music and video content providers. And the games industry is currently experimenting with subscriptions, but with limited success. App developers planning on using this revenue model will need to continuously innovate so that users keep paying their subscription fees. However, a carefully orchestrated subscription service can become a reliable and growing income source.

8. Will Improving The UX Help?

Yes, and it should be on the to-do list of every appreneur. Users expect a highly responsive UX that’s simplified. Don’t bog them down with a disorganized layout, endless options, and unnecessary complexity. Moreover, implement AI that enhances your app’s personalization component, which will inevitably increase user retention.

9. What Makes Users Want To Pay To Use An App?

Most users won’t pay for apps, but the few that do have high expectations. If you’re planning on releasing a paid app, then ensure that it’s high quality with a full feature set. Utilize the latest trends in mobile app design to make your application more usable and visually appealing. Then, rigorously profile and test your app so that it works flawlessly on a wide variety of mobile devices.

In Conclusion

When taking cost and profitability factors into account, it’s worth considering the various revenue models available to app developers. They can choose to monetize their free applications with ads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and even physical products. Alternatively, they can eschew all these methods and release a paid app providing its high quality. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop amazing apps that increase your profits.

Pubnub Vs. AWS: Developing Chat Apps

Developing Chat Apps: A Look at Pubnub and AWS

Communication is undoubtedly an integral ingredient for any business. Scratch that. Communication, evidently, is a major part of any relationship. However, in the business-to-customer relationship, this is particularly true. It goes to logic, then, that chat apps would be a popular topic of discussion in today’s mobile app market. But with so many chat apps available, and under development, it can get a little hazy navigating the marketplace, especially for developers. So if you need to build a chat app, either as a portion of a larger system, or as an individual application, where should you begin your development journey?

There are two pretty popular power-houses when it comes to developing chat apps. In fact, their names may be familiar already. Those developers are Pubnub, and AWS. Each company has their own sets of strengths and weaknesses and slightly unique service offerings. As such, it’s important to have an understanding of your companies needs before choosing who you want to develop your chat apps.

Starting With Pubnub Chat Apps

Pubnub is a great solution for those looking to develop chat apps. Especially if you’re just starting out on your chat app development journey. The thing that jumps out right away about Pubnub is that they have a totally free version that’s available. While the free version is severely limited in its scaling and features; it also offers enough for the user to get a feel for the Pubnub platform. Additionally, using the free version enables you to get some traction, trial the service, and make an informed decision.

Looking beyond the free plan, Pubnub has solutions for every and any type of application. This extends well past applications that are specifically designed for chatting; and reaches other pillar communities in the application world. This is important to note, because it goes back to the point that Pubnub is perfectly capable of even adding a chat-service onto existing applications, or assisting with real-time updates in-app.

Pubnub offers their users a variety of plans. These plans range from free, to the standard $50/month plan, and then finally, Pubnub also offers custom plans. It’s integral to note that the support plans from Pubnub also range from free, to $1,500/month.

AWS With Appsync

AWS with Appsync is another popular choice for developing chat apps. Powered by Amazon, AWS with Appsync has a true monolith in the business community supporting them. AWS builds GraphQL API’s that are multifaceted and give developers a lot of flexibility when it comes to how they want to implement GraphQL endpoints. AWS with Appsync offers a whole slew of services that allow companies to develop solutions for real-time chatting, real-time collaboration, offline application syncing, and much more.

The Best of Both

Pubnub and AWS with appsync are two of the popular choices when it comes to developing chat apps for a reason. However, users are in luck; as the hard choice is no more. The two forces partnered back in 2018, making a truly comprehensive force in the world of developing chat apps.

How Much Does Firebase Cost And Should You Use It

Are you mulling over developer-focused questions, such as how much does Firebase cost? We’re well aware of how complex Google’s pricing structure for their flagship development platform can be.

Luckily, many of Firebase’s SDKs are free, and Google even offers a free tier to help you test the waters. And if you need to scale your app, there’s a paid tier that will give you access to the components you need.

While all this seems enticing, you may or may not be convinced whether to use it. Below, we delve deeper into Firebase to help you make an informed decision.

1. What Is Firebase?

Firebase started life in 2011 as a company specializing in development tools. Founding members; Andrew Lee and James Tamplin had previously established another startup called Envolve. At Envolve, they developed a chat service that many developers utilized to pass and sync application data. This occurrence spurred them on to create the Firebase Realtime Database API, which synchronizes data across mobile devices and the web.

In 2012, Firebase raised $ 1.1 million in seed funding from several venture capital firms and a further $ 5.6 million during 2013. The company didn’t rest on its laurels and later released Firebase Authentication and Firebase Hosting. And in October 2014, Google acquired Firebase and expanded its range of products and services.

2. How Much Does Firebase Cost?

The good news is that the cost of Firebase is flexible, which suits startups and enterprises operating on a budget. Google wisely offers developers a free tier dubbed as the “Spark Plan” for their various Firebase products. But do keep in mind that they do place limits on specific products. For example, Authentication services have a limit of 10,000 verification per month. The same services on their “Blaze Plan” paid tier costs $ 0.01 for phone verifications in the US, Canada, and India and $ 0.06 for other countries.

Firebase Realtime Database allows for 100 simultaneous connections, 1 GB stored, and 10 GB per month downloaded on the free tier. However, the Google Firebase cost on the paid tier translates to 200,000 per database, $ 5 per GB stored, and $ 1 per GB downloaded, while multiple databases per project are permitted. For both tiers, A/B Testing, Analytics, App Distribution, App Indexing, Cloud Messaging (FCM), Crashlytics, Dynamic Links, In-App Messaging, Performance Monitoring, Predictions, and Remote Config, are all free.

3. Are There Any Hidden Google Firebase Costs?

Yes, the cost of Firebase varies considerably depending on product and usage. It’s easy for costs to run out of control if you don’t keep an eye on Google Cloud pricing from day one. Moreover, cloud costs also vary widely according to location, which may have massive consequences for your project. As of January 2021, it costs $ 0.036 per 100,000 document reads for Los Angeles on Cloud Firestore. But it costs $ 0.06 per 100,000 document reads in South Carolina and $ 0.042 in Zürich.

Now, we know what you may be thinking. You don’t have the time and inclination to calculate tentative figures right now. Instead, you’d prefer a rough estimation of Cloud Firestore pricing.

Fortunately, Google does provide several handy price examples for your perusal. Expect to pay about $ 12.14 per month for an app with 50,000 installs and 5,000 daily active users. And about $ 292.02 per month for 1 million app installs and 100,000 daily active users, and approximately $ 2951.52 per month for 10 million app installs and 1 million daily active users.

4. What Types Of Apps Can You Create With Firebase?

Firebase’s wide range of components makes it easy to create almost any type of mobile and web app. You can mix and match all these APIs to add the functionality that you need.

Add AdMob and analytics in your upcoming mobile game, authentication and cloud messaging for your e-commerce app, and cloud functionality and storage for your peer-to-peer photo-sharing service. And as your app grows, it’s a relatively simple process to integrate additional Firebase components that your project requires.

5. What Are The Different Firebase Products?

Firebase has split up its product range into three segments: Build, Release & Monitor, and Engage. Carefully consider what products you’ll use when conducting your Google Firebase cost analysis.

Build products include Authentication, Cloud Firestore, Cloud Functions, Cloud Messaging, Cloud Storage, Firebase ML (BETA), Hosting, Realtime Database, and Remote Config.

Release & Monitor products include App Distribution (BETA), Crashlytics, Google Analytics, Performance Monitoring, Remote Config, and Test Lab.

Engage products include A/B Testing (BETA), Authentication, Crashlytics, Cloud Messaging, Dynamic Links, Google Analytics, In-App Messaging (BETA), Predictions, and Remote Config.

6. How Popular Is Firebase?

Firebase enjoys relative popularity in several industries, namely, art & entertainment, computer electronics & technology, and travel & tourism. Leading high traffic websites such as Flipkart, Quora, and Worldstar use Firebase, while Accenture, Instacart, and Twitch use it as part of their tech stack.

7. What Is The Cost Of Firebase For Monitoring App Performance?

It’s currently free on both plans.

8. Should You Try Using Firebase On Your Own?

No, the Firebase SDKs require experienced developers to make them work properly. We recommend that you read up on the pitfalls of developing apps for free or going it alone. Developing, testing, and marketing apps is best left to the experts. It’s paramount to have a solid background in several frameworks, programming languages, markup languages, and software development paradigms. First-timers and novice developers lack this deep understanding, which will put their projects at risk.

9. What Does Firebase Integrate With?

Firebase offers key integrations with AdMob, BigQuery, Data Studio, Google App Campaigns, Google Marketing Platform, Jira, PagerDuty, Play Store, and Slack. Furthermore, it integrates with popular frameworks such as AngularJS, Flutter, and React. Consider if you’ll be using any of the above integrations during your cost of Firebase analysis.

10. Is Firebase Right For Your Project?

Though Firebase started as a messaging API for mobile and web apps, it’s primarily aimed at developers seeking easy and reliable integration with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). So, if you rely exclusively on Google’s back-end infrastructure for your upcoming app, then Firebase is an apt choice. You’ll need to register for a GCP account, which will give you access to Firebase and Google Maps API. Google does offer a 90-day trial with $ 300 credit to help you get started.

Many developers choose Firebase mainly for its analytics and authentication components. But its other SDKs do integrate easily and make it possible to scale an app when necessary. Furthermore, recent enhancements to Firebase make it feasible as a cost-effective and robust serverless solution.

However, we need to offer a word of warning before using Firebase. In 2019, Google shut down Google Analytics for mobile apps and encouraged developers to use Firebase Analytics instead. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an easy switch since Firebase isn’t as straightforward as many developers had hoped. That’s why we recommend that you consider alternatives, such as Kumalos Mobile App Analytics, which powers a plethora of apps developed by NS804.

The Bottom Line

So, how much does Firebase cost? Free if you’re starting a small or hobby project. But expect costs to rise significantly, especially for medium to large applications that garner thousands and millions of downloads.

But should you use it? Well, that depends on how well you get on with Firebase’s various SDKs. If you need a more straightforward solution with powerful tools, then consider alternatives, such as Kumalos. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can develop your upcoming app, with all the necessary integrations to make it shine!

9 Things You’ll Only Get With Custom App Development

Custom app development seems challenging, but it’s the best way to create amazing applications. While templates promise an easy and quick turnaround for mobile app developers, these seldom deliver optimal results. Businesses and professional developers don’t want to release apps that look and feel second-rate. Instead, they prefer to release apps that improve their reputation and enhance user engagement. We provide several reasons why you should custom develop your next app below.

1. Completely Custom Look Unlike Any Free Templates

When developing an app, it’s often a good idea to consider the options available to you. Do you build it entirely from scratch by taking the custom app development road? Or do you use free templates that will radically reduce initial cost and time factors? The latter may seem more enticing, but it’s not the wisest choice if you want your app to stand out.

Ideally, you want your app to be a showcase for your unique brand. You want your User Interface (UI) & User Experience (UX) to comply with the Visual Brand Language (VBL) that defines your company. Free cookie-cutter templates won’t do your brand justice, as the colors, shapes, and typography won’t match with your VBL. Thus, you’ll ultimately cheapen your brand and cause users to either question your design choices or disengage altogether.

But if you choose the custom development option, then you can make your app shine. Your application will fit your company’s existing product range, which reassures existing customers and makes it appealing to new users. Moreover, the development team won’t need to modify and shoehorn the boilerplate code and free templates. That gets messy, quickly! Instead, they’ll build the app from scratch and enjoy the benefits of a cleaner and more maintainable project.

2. Extend Specific Business Functions

Another benefit of developing a custom mobile app is that it’s easy to add or extend functionality. In particular, you’ll want to extend specific business functions that facilitate more efficient customer interactions.

At first, you may decide to release a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to test the waters. Then, once your app gains traction, you’ll want to add functionality that will bring users closer. These could include in-app purchases that allow users to buy products and services, a point system to build customer loyalty, and social media integration to allow users to share your company’s content in a fun way.

3. Give Users Something New

We can’t stress enough how important it’s to keep users engaged. Even after a successful launch, your app can quickly lose traction if users become bored. After all, they have tons of other cool and innovative apps to choose from in the App Store and Google Play.

Make sure to keep your app fresh with regular updates and by adding new features that excite users. Always listen to feedback since users often request features that will enhance their experience. However, only add new functionality that fits your custom mobile app and business goals. For example, some users may request the addition of Augmented Reality (AR) functionality. But this won’t work well with your e-commerce app and unnecessarily drive up development costs.

4. Increased Compatibility

Mobile devices and systems continuously evolve, which means that appreneurs should keep up with the latest developments. If we take a quick look at the global mobile operating system market, Android’s leading with a 72.48% market share while iOS comes second at 26.91%. This bit of information may entice you to support the Android platform for your upcoming custom mobile app.

But which Android OS should you support since there are so many versions?

According to AppBrain, Android 10 leads with a 34.2% market share, Android 9.0 (Pie) at 23.1%, and Android 8.0-8.1 (Oreo) at 17.1%. By supporting these versions, you’ll inevitably increase compatibility with the most current devices and systems. It’s also worthwhile updating your older apps to run well on recent generations of operating systems.

5. Improved Security Features

In recent years, a plethora of high profile hacking cases has made the news. And with the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, more people are working from home than ever before, which has only increased the rate of hacking attacks. Thus, businesses and individuals have become increasingly sensitive to these types of incursions.

There’s nothing worse for your reputation if hackers use your app as an attack vector to illegally access users’ mobile phones. That’s why the custom app development process should always encompass the most effective security features. Include two-factor authentication that users can enable, giving them extra protection and peace of mind.

6. The Latest Custom Mobile App Features

Take the time to simplify your UI & UX to make your app more accessible to a wider demographic. Furthermore, include customization features whereby users can easily change background images, colors, and fonts. Don’t forget to add a night mode to protect users that suffer from light sensitivity. And include an offline mode so they will continue using your app during Internet outages.

7. Make Changes When You Want

Your app won’t remain static. It’s a dynamic product that will undergo change during the development process and after its launch. However, templates and platforms often hinder these changes since they come with existing assets and code. Therefore, development teams have to waste valuable time modifying code and templates to suit their needs.

But this isn’t a problem with a custom solution that’s more cohesive. Developers know how every piece of their application operates and to implement changes without introducing new bugs or breaking it altogether.

8. Match Your App And Business Goals

Always consider your business goals when embarking on the development process. And ask yourself what you want to achieve with your upcoming app. Very likely, there’ll be an overlap between the direction of your app and your business goals. But you’ll only be able to achieve great results with a custom solution since it’s hard to find templates that will match your business goals down to a tee. Keep your vision focussed, and build your app in a way that makes it entirely your own.

9. Professional App Developers

It’s easy finding freelancers on various job boards and freelancing platforms to develop your app. But is that a good idea? Well, if you’re working on a hobby project and just want to test the waters, hiring a competent freelancer could be feasible. But if you’re developing an app for your business and expect professional results, then you’ll need to work with an agency.

Freelancers will often play up their list of credentials to attain work. And while some freelancers do good work, they seldom stick around to offer support after the project ends. This leads to problems, especially when you need to fix bugs after you’ve launched your app. You’ll find that the freelancer has moved on to the next project and isn’t available for fixing bugs.

Agencies, on the other hand, are far more accountable to their clients. They have a reputation to uphold and must comply with various laws and regulatory bodies to stay in business. Any reputable agency won’t leave clients high and dry if they experience issues with a finished app upon or after release. They’ll offer their advice, expertise, and support during and after development. And if you’re seeking mobile app development in Virginia, then don’t hesitate to contact NS804 to assist you with your custom app development endeavors.

I Want To Build An App

I Want To Build An App – Where To Start and the Process

Now is the time to take chances. With the world where it is, so many unemployed, and so much rapid change, there is also a lot of opportunity. Opportunity for new products, new services, and of course, new mobile applications. The mobile app market is one of the few markets that have faired well during the ongoing pandemic. With so many people staying at home, and so much limited contact with one another, mobile app downloads boomed. Across all genres and markets. From mobile app games, to business and communication applications. The market as a whole saw a significant growth. This is great news for budding developers, and first-time app designers, as the market is flush and full of opportunity. However, much like the gold rush, the competition is intense. To build an app today doesn’t take much time – but being unique and valuable enough is tricky.

As mentioned above, the mobile app market is flourishing. However, this means it’s also more saturated than ever before. This translates to a slightly harder path to being a successful application, only because the competition is so fierce. Therefore, making the details of your idea the most important aspect.

In mobile app development, there are a lot of steps to take, even for the simplest of applications. Making the process as easy as possible on the developer means coming to your pitch meeting prepared and armed with tools.

What To Prepare For Your Presentation

The road to mobile app development is a long one, but it all starts with the precious idea. That’s one of the beautiful things that mobile applications and art share; while almost anyone can learn the technique or the style, it’s truly the muse of inspiration that provides a path to unique remembrance or success.

To get the right eyes on your budding mobile app monalisa, you want to approach the developer with a series of information already laid out so you’re able to answer questions they might have.

One of the first things you need to know is what problem your application is solving, or what value it’s providing to the user. This is essentially your value proposition, and can encompass your differentiation statement as well – which is the aspect that makes your mobile app different from others.

Understanding your value proposition will inform what the MVP (minimum viable product) of your application will look like. Having a process plan for the development of the MVP is a great place to begin. To build that plan, it’s wise to divide the development process of your application into various stages. This will also be a good document to present to the developer as it will help them see the various pieces to the puzzle.

Finally, flowcharts on app-functions, visual mock-ups, and user stories are all great additional materials to include in your developer presentation.

A Final Thought

To build a mobile app takes a lot of work, and as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. It’s integral to differentiate your application from others on the market.

For more information on how to build an app or how to select a mobile app developer, visit NS804 today.

Must Have Apps For Managing Remote Teams

Managing Remote Teams With Must Have Apps

The shift toward a digital age has been long in the works, however, 202 has accelerated that transition. This is, in part, due to COVID-19 and the way that our society has shifted to limit person-to-person contact. As such, companies have had to embrace the digital age as well. This has brought many to adopt a variety of applications for managing remote teams.

As with any new process or system, there are challenges that come with managing remote teams. For example, one challenge that companies must address in managing remote teams is keeping communication channels open. Many companies have addressed communication challenges with multiple apps.

Solving Communication Challenges

Communication has always been an integral aspect of business. However, as the transition to the digital age continues communication’s role is becoming even more emphasized. One of the most popular apps in 2020 was Zoom. The digital-conferencing and video-calling features have helped communication lines stay alive across the country and even the world. Likewise, they’ve helped professionals in managing remote teams and staying connected both internally and externally. This is significantly important as Zoom has set a variety of user-records in 2020 with an astronomical growth spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerated shift into the digital age.

Beyond using Zoom, Slack is another extremely popular application for communication. Slack works as both an email-replacement and an instant-messaging platform for internal business purposes. It’s a great application as it offers users the ability to create and manage multiple channels. Then those channels are populated by team-specific personnel. Administration can limit and control access as well, making sure that only the right people are involved in the right conversations.

Additionally, companies still need to successfully manage projects. Zoom is great for holding and hosting meetings. Slack is a strong collaboration and internal communication solution for teams. Trello, however, remains a strong project-management software. Trello allows for easy scheduling and tracking of project progress. This keeps everyone on the same page. Simultaneously, these three applications in concert makes managing remote teams easier.

The final aspect of communication that businesses and companies need to rely on is document sharing. While there are plenty of options for mass-document sharing, and file-sharing solutions one of the most prominent is the Google-Docs Suite. Using Google Docs, professionals can share access to important files like proposals, and presentations, spreadsheets, and any type of document you might need to create.

Wrapping Up

The application industry has taken off during 2020. Specifically, this is because of the reliance that the business community has had on communication solutions. Zoom is an extremely popular video-conferencing software that businesses use to conduct video-calls, Slack is a great collaboration tool for internal teams. Meanwhile, Trello and Google Suites tackle the project-management and file-sharing aspects of managing remote teams.

In addition to keeping communication channels wide open and operating smoothly, there are even more applications that managers and team-leaders can use to promote team-bonding and team building. One great example of this is using Dungeons and Dragons as a team-building exercise. And with the development of Roll20, even this can be taken remote.

Of course, even beyond all of these solutions, custom apps are still widely in use as well. For more information on managing remote teams and communication solutions, visit NS804 today.

The Ultimate Guide To Creating an MVP for Your Startup

The Ultimate MVP Guide

Put up or shut up. Put your money where your mouth is. Actions speak louder than words. These phrases have earned their place in history by speaking to a commonality in all of us: the desire for cold hard evidence. Because seeing is believing, right? Therefore, these little quips and phrases point towards the importance of business tools like prototypes, product proof-of-concept, or an MVP.

Prototypes, a proof-of-concept, and an MVP are all tools companies use in a variety of ways. Two of the main functions of these tools include investor recruitment and target market feedback. Plus, developing these tools and making use of them will lead to further insights that will help inform the rest of the product development lifecycle.

Understanding MVPs

No, we aren’t talking about Patrick Mahomes possibly leading the Chiefs to a second straight superbowl, for the first time in the history of the NFL. No, in mobile app development, an MVP stands for the minimum viable product. In other words, this is the bare-bones product that your developers build as a sort of shell-demonstration. This demonstrates the core functionality of the application. However, the MVP is still very much a predecessor to the application’s full-blown vision.

Although, that doesn’t always stop the MVP from being utilized. See there’s a whole niche market of app-development where the bells and whistles are just that: bells and whistles. The end-user isn’t so much interested in the seamless UX or the brilliant design; but rather the solution that the application provides. This is often the case when it comes to business-oriented-applications, or industry-specific applications.

In these environments, the end-user may be an early-adopter or a professional simply looking for a solution to their problem, if your MVP contains that solution – the extra functions and features that get added might just be icing on the cake.

While an MVP may sound very similar to a prototype, and they are in many ways, there are a few key differences between the two. The biggest and most obvious difference between an MVP and a prototype is the form it takes. An MVP is always going to be a lightweight version of the application.

A prototype, on the other hand, can come in a whole variety of shapes, sizes, and forms. The most basic prototypes, in fact, are simple sketches. The form your prototype takes will largely depend on a variety of factors. Aspects like your industry-expertise, technical ability, and access to resources.

The Development

While it may seem like one of the first steps in mobile app development, there’s actually quite a bit of work to be done before your firm can tackle the MVP. The very first step in mobile app development is identifying a problem and a potential solution. This is by far the most critical question that needs to be answered at the onset of a mobile app development project.

Without a firm-wide understanding of the problem that’s being addressed and the solution that’s being developed, a whole onslaught of issues will arise. These issues range from miscommunication, to inefficient processes, and misaligned development activities. In other words, one developer might be working on a user-interface that is completely incompatible with the overall solution that’s being developed. Therefore, time, energy, and resources were all wasted, which could have been avoided entirely with stronger communication channels.

Once your firm has identified the problem they’d like to solve, and how they’d like to solve it; then they can advance to the next step of the development process. The next phase in mobile app development, or MVP development is determining the core-features that need to be built into the application. The core features that are selected largely influence both the MVP and the design of the finished application.

This is important to note. The MVP, as mentioned above, is a tool your mobile app firm develops for a wide variety of reasons. Two of the main reasons for MVP development is end-user and target-market feedback, as well as investor recruitment. These are two of the most crucial phases in the entire mobile app development lifecycle.

Feedback and Investor Recruitment

As the age-old-adage goes, “money makes the world go round.” And as sad as that is to acknowledge at times, the practical utility of liquid assets is undeniable. Developing an MVP takes time, money, labor, and resources. Once your firm develops the MVP, however, there’s plenty of opportunity for your team to leverage the MVP into additional investments.

On top of leveraging an MVP into additional funding for your firm, or the specific project; an MVP also gives your company a way to conduct market focus-groups. This allows you to garner real end-user feedback on the solution provided and the overall direction of the application. These insights can be used to further inform your team on the features and trends most impactful to the target market, and how to finish the development process.

When garnering user-feedback or running focus-groups, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Keeping these elements in mind can help your team maximize the value that these activities in the development process yield. For example, when running a focus group with an MVP, your team should consider including a basic version of the UX. This will help the focus-group. It helps them understand the flow of the application, how the app presents information to the user, and more.

Running focus groups and testing the MVP in a variety of demographics is a best-practice by all considerations. This practice is important because it will help you and your team avoid common pitfalls in app development. One of the most common traps that mobile app developers often fall into is known as the ‘assumption trap’. This is the ‘trap’ that mobile app developers fall into when they believe they already know what the end-consumer wants.

Avoiding The Trap

Conducting a series of focus groups across a variety of demographics, therefore, is extremely valuable and provides incredible insight into consumer behavior, and consumer wants.

The end-consumer, especially today, has more power than ever before. Between the era of information and technology providing more widespread access to information, and the emergence of a very competitive marketplace, the consumer truly is king. Therefore, taking the time to understand the issues that are most significant to your target-market will benefit you greatly. Let the consumers and customers tell you what they want, then deliver. Otherwise, you may very well be putting the cart before the horse.

Final Thoughts on MVP Development

The mobile app market is booming. Ever since earlier this year when the pandemic was first beginning to rage and the first set of lockdown orders were issued, mobile app usership has boomed. Between March and April of this year, millions of first-time app users were downloading applications, log-times were skyrocketing, and the shift toward the digital age was officially underway.

In such a crowded market, it’s important to stand out, deliver on consumer wants, and offer new and unique solutions. Developing an MVP will help you and your firm do all of this and more. From investor-recruitment, to real-time consumer feedback, developing an MVP is a necessity.

For more information on MVPs, or anything related to mobile app development, visit NS804 today, and get in touch with an expert mobile app developer ready to turn your idea into a reality.

What You Can Learn From a Competitive Analysis

The Advantages of Conducting a Competitive Analysis

Imagine for a moment that everyone lives in a vacuum. Then, if we’re all living in vacuums, any problems or obstacles that arose would be entirely our own to address. Subsequently, in each vacuum then, we would see a variety of solutions that evolved to address the same issues from vacuum to vacuum. However, we don’t live in vacuums that are entirely separate from one another. Because of this, the very popular phrase, “don’t reinvent the wheel” still exists today. Simply put, it doesn’t do any good to spend time, energy, and resources developing an entirely redundant value. In the context of mobile app development this means conducting a comprehensive competitive analysis.

There are many benefits that developers reap from conducting a thorough competitive analysis. The competitive analysis is a process in the mobile app development workflow that helps the development team gain an understanding of the current marketplace. There are many factors to consider when conducting this analysis.

What To Look For During a CA

A competitive analysis begins internally. The mobile app developers must come to a value-proposition for their application-in-development before a proper analysis can begin. Defining the value proposition of the application prior to the market analysis is vital. Without the value-proposition clearly defined, the developers won’t have a lot of the information needed to properly move forward with the analysis.

Once the value proposition is defined, the developers will have a sense of where in the mobile market their competition lies. Once you’ve identified the competition, your team can begin drawing lines of differentiation between your application and that of your competitors. This is important. It’s important because it heavily influences your marketing strategies. If your team don’t understand what makes your application different, the end-user won’t either.

Other Competitive Analysis Tactics

Understanding the value-proposition and the differentiators between your application and the competition is just the beginning. There are an endless amount of insights that can be drawn from conducting a thorough and comprehensive competitive analysis. In addition to the insights found regarding factors of differentiation, the market analysis also provides deep insight into consumer behaviors.

Through the process of the market analysis trends will begin to emerge. These trends will apply to a variety of application elements. Ranging from user-experience, to the most trendy color-schemes, paying attention during the competitive analysis will result in mountains of useful data.

One aspect to which developers should pay specific attention is the user experience. The user experience is one of the most significant and impactful factors of any mobile app. With as much competition as exists within the market, and how many variations on a single solution is available to the end-user, consumers are becoming much more likely to delete an app and switch to a competitor after a single negative experience.

A Final Thought

There are endless insights to be drawn from a thorough competitive analysis, and this article only scratches the surface. For more information on competitive analysis, or anything related to mobile app development, visit NS804 today.

Implementing Push Notifications That Users Won’t Hate

Creating Useful Push Notifications

Purpose is one of the most important elements in any decision making process. This is true no matter the industry. Whether designing buildings, or designing mobile apps, a clear justification behind every decision is integral to a cohesive design. Furthermore, the same theory applies to communication. In fact, purpose in communication is even more crucial. Therefore, it’s vital that your mobile app development team carefully considers their application of push notifications.

A push notification is an automated message that applications send users when those apps aren’t open. Push technology powers an applications ability to deliver push notifications. Push technology is simply a communication initiated by the system or central-server, contrary to pull/get communications.

Understanding how to craft impactful push notifications that users welcome is critical to a variety of other success-driving factors relating to your application. There are many reasons that users prefer to turn push notifications off. Likewise, however, there are many reasons you can provide users to keep your specific mobile applications notifications on. In doing so, the user base remains more well informed, among other things. Additionally, having a user base that enables your push notifications drives a variety of other significant factors that benefit your mobile application.

Common Push Pitfalls

As mentioned above, there are a flurry of reasons that users might choose to disable notifications immediately after downloading an application. In order to help your team design and craft push notifications that users leave enabled, it’s valuable to learn from the mistakes of others that have walked the road before you. In that vein, the following are some of the common pitfalls regarding push notifications.

Too Many Too Frequently

The first mistake that novice mobile app designers are quick to fall into might seem pretty obvious to anyone who has actually owned a smartphone. However, it’s understandable – new designers often are excited to share their hard work with their new and loyal users. Yet, it can quickly become too many.

Flooding your user base with push notification after notification becomes overwhelming, and actually lowers the impact of each individual push notification delivered. This is important to note because it goes back to the point at the top of the article about purpose. In communication, and specifically your notifications, there needs to be a clear purpose behind the message. Going beyond that, there needs to be a purpose behind sending the message to your entire user base.

Having a clear purpose behind both the message and the delivery will speak volumes to your user base. It shows you respect their time, and that you only want to give them the updates that are most significant. This, however, can also be a bit tricky because “the significant updates” might vary from user to user.

The other issue with over-notifying your user base, beside dampening the impact of the more important push notifications, is that you can overflood their notification center. In other words, users might lose notifications from other applications that are more important to them in the midst of all the push notifications being sent from one source. This is a critical error and enrages users, quickly leading them to disable all notifications from your app. Or worse, delete it all together.

User Control

In the same vein as above; it’s critical to empower your users to have detailed control over the push notifications they do and don’t receive. This results in a series of positive results for the mobile app user, and the developer.

For instance, the more control a user has over the push notifications, the more customized the experience feels. Therefore, the user experience is already enhanced, just by allowing users to control the types of notifications that are sent to their device. A better user experience, in turn, leads to a higher chance the user will leave a review, continue their app-usership, and even spend on in-app purchases.

In addition to boosting the individual user-experience, this is also a great tool for mobile app developers. Allowing user-control over the notification settings limits the amount of users that disable your push notifications completely. Retaining some percentage of push-notifications enabled is a win, when the alternate is disabling notifications completely.

The lesson here is to give users as much control as possible over the push notifications they receive or don’t receive from your application.

Under Utilizing Push Notifications

The last pitfall we’re going to discuss is the under utilization of push notifications. While the above points have been cautionary tales about limiting the notifications you send your users, this is about optimizing the utility of the notifications sent. In other words, after creating a notification strategy that includes impactful, purposed messaging, developers can take their strategy even further.

Developers can start tying notifications into other user-based-actions on the application. For instance, a well-crafted and well-timed notification can result in the user logging an entire unplanned session. This is often the case when it comes to gamer-heavy user demographics. This demographic is specifically prone to log an unplanned session based on their investment into the games they play. The more invested the player, the more likely a significant push notification motivates them to play unexpectedly.

This isn’t exclusive to the gamer demographic, however. Every category of application can benefit from developing a strong notification strategy. Another good example are news and information-based applications. These applications might be set to deliver breaking industry headlines, headlines from user-chosen categories, or even headlines from geo-targeting. Regardless of the specific notification-settings, an intriguing headline that’s specifically relevant to the users interest could spark an unexpected reading-session, sharing of the article, and other various user-application-interactions, all of which passively boost your applications ratings.

Using Push Notifications To Garner Mobile App User Reviews

Another important element to a strong notification strategy is leveraging your push notifications into user reviews. This is a crucial element to tie into your notification strategy as it can completely revitalize your app-store ratings and user review scores. An application with a large user base but only a handful of reviews might have a high percentage of inactive users or users with disabled notifications entirely.

Directly tying back to the section above on under utilizing push notifications, there is a time and a place to use those notifications to your applications advantage. In other words, it’s on the developers shoulders to find opportunities within the notification strategy to prompt user feedback. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods. The most common, and most helpful, however, is through a store-app review.

Optimizing your notification strategy means creating impactful and purposed messaging that speaks to the user. It means delivering timely and significant notifications without needlessly flooding the users device. It means putting the user experience first.

Wrapping Up

Successful applications need push notifications for a variety of reasons. However, it’s crucial that these notifications are crafted to be purposeful and significant, otherwise users will opt out of push notifications entirely.

For more information on costs or anything else related to your notification strategy, or mobile app development help, visit NS804. NS804 is the premier mobile app developer of the everyday person. NS804 delivers mobile app development services and expertise to anyone with an excellent idea.