Tag Archive for: Mobile App Development

Mobile App Upgrade: 5 Signs That Your App Needs Improvements

A mobile app upgrade may either excite or scare you. It may excite you if you’re eager to introduce new features and enhancements. And scare you if you’re anticipating many issues and roadblocks when upgrading your app.

Now, unless you’re not planning on sunsetting your app, it’s best to forego the fear and forge ahead with the upgrade process. And that’s because you want to keep your app relevant to retain existing users and attract new users.

1. A New Design Requires A Mobile App Upgrade

If you haven’t updated your mobile app in a while, it probably has an outdated user interface (UI). And that’s no good, as users may equate an outdated UI with a low-quality app. Furthermore, users accustomed to modern design conventions may have difficulty navigating your app in its current state. 

So you must have a proficient designer on your team or work with an established studio such as NS804 to refresh your app’s design. And then create an easy-to-navigate and modern UI that even non-tech savvy users can comprehend at a glance.

2. Performance Issues 

Most users won’t put up with a poor-performing app and will eventually uninstall it from their devices if performance issues persist. But how do you determine if your app’s performing poorly?

Firstly, you should be asking users for feedback and collecting and diagnosing your app’s crash logs. And secondly, you should be looking out for the following issues: app runs slower than intended, audio and screen glitches, device overheats when the app runs, memory leaks, ongoing crashes, and storage errors, to name a few.

3. The Codebase Is Outdated And Difficult To Maintain

You should move ahead with a mobile app upgrade if you have an outdated codebase. And the reason for this is that it’s a maintenance nightmare to keep code that’s old. Moreover, you may have difficulty scaling your app and introducing new features with an older codebase.

And then, you should also consider migrating to more modern programming languages. For example, an Android app programmed in Java can become more readable and quicker to type if rewritten in Kotlin, a modern counterpart of Java. The same applies to an iOS app if you plan to migrate from Objective-C to Swift.

4. Support For Additional Platforms And Devices

Perhaps your mobile app only supports Android smartphones and tablets. But recently, some users have requested that you target Android TVs and even the latest generation of flip phones. Furthermore, iOS users have heard of your app and have requested a port for their platform. Under such circumstances, it’s a good idea to move ahead with a mobile app upgrade that properly utilizes this wide range of form factors and screen sizes. 

5. Introduce New Features And Tighten Up Security

Every OS update of Android and iOS presents yet another opportunity to move ahead with a mobile app upgrade. And that’s because newer versions of Android and iOS boast new features and enhanced security. So, users will often upgrade to these versions, especially when they purchase newer devices.

Furthermore, users will expect your app to take advantage of the latest OS features and enhancements. And you’d definitely want to do that, especially if you have a premium or paid app and a user base that quickly migrates to the latest OS.

In Conclusion

It may be time to forge ahead with that all-important mobile app upgrade if you’ve noticed any of the five signs mentioned earlier. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you handle this challenging but incredibly rewarding part of a mobile app’s lifecycle.

New to Apps? Tips For Beginners

Mobile applications are the new frontiers in technology. With the ability to support multiple functions such as messaging, social connections, interactions, payments, and banking, apps are proving to be an instrumental force in propelling the mobile revolution.

But, if you’re struggling with learning mobile app development, you’re at the right place. You don’t have to be an expert programmer or a coder to develop an app. With the right knowledge and a solid grasp of one of these programming languages (Java, C++, CSS, and HTML), you can ace any mobile app development journey.

So, if you’re new to apps, here are a few tips for beginners:

1. Start with A Killer Idea

A killer idea is the cornerstone of any successful application. An app must be able to solve a real-life problem and provide an instant solution to a deep-seated problem. So, to get started with apps, draw out a sheet of paper and bring your idea to fruition. Write a list of features you’d like to incorporate into your app, and don’t get lost in the design details. It’s just the beginning!

2. Do Research

Unless you’re creating an app for your purposes, it’s important to ensure you’re providing an entertaining service or fixing problems for people. Find out what features people are looking for in apps and incorporate them to stand out from the competition. Usually, your research should be directed at finding out what’s missing in other apps. Try to fix an existing problem and provide new solutions.

3. Create Mock-ups

At this juncture of your development journey, you should know what you’re building, who it’s for, and what audience you’re targeting. This is the time to think critically about the build itself. Develop rough sketches of your layout known as mock-ups before you start hiring programmers.

4. Get Graphic

As an amateur developer, it’s crucial to be realistic with your programming strengths and weaknesses before you commit to building the first app. This is because you’ll need to hire expert programmers and developers to make your dream a reality. If you’re not a design expert, you can hire an expert developer or programmer. Many companies and agencies offer app development services. So, it’s advisable to select a service provider who offers excellent, quality, timely, and affordable app development services.

5. Lone Ranger

Use an app design template if you’re taking this programming journey alone. You’re free to use the standard design templates to create app features that you can customize later. Some great building block app templates include TETHR, NOW, Stark UI Kit, Apply Pixels, Phoenix, and Stitch.

App Development Journey

It’s important to remember that app development is not a one-off task but a journey. What you do today will impact your app outcomes tomorrow. So, remember that app development is a learning curve that requires patience, discipline, and consistency. Other crucial tips for beginners include:

  • Sort out your Google account. Your Google account will be linked with the app you want to create. So it’s advisable to create a new google account for a new app.
  • Master transfer tools. Most developers and manufacturers provide free (and paid) transfer tools to help developers move old content into a new interface. However, if you’ve been using a Google account before, the content will be transferred automatically without a hitch.

NS804 provides professional app development services.

You can contact NS804 to kick start your app development journey.

What Makes an Effective Company App? 12 Features

Mobile apps are transforming businesses by giving innovative solutions to legacy problems. With a well-customized mobile app, you can communicate directly to customers, improve customer engagement, and design a personalized marketing channel.

When investing in a mobile app, companies look forward to building robust apps that will attain success in the shortest time. But this is not always the case. Most mobile apps get drowned in the sea of apps out there. This is why it’s important to learn the ups and downs of building a great mobile app.

To ensure your app meets the minimum requirements and provides maximum value, you must be aware of features that make your app stand out. Below, our mobile app development team looks at features that make an effective company app.

1. End-User Simplicity

A great UX design is determined by superior navigation and a clear interface. Interface and navigation enable an app to rank higher among other alternative apps. So, if your app is well-customized and easy-to-use, potential users will not have to look for alternatives. The end-user simplicity is a fundamental characteristic of award-winning apps that collect and maintain a large audience or user base.

2. Integrates IOS and Android

These are two most common operating interfaces. However, a service provider can offer a cross-platform development as a marketing gimmick for targeted clients. The leading cross-platform frameworks are ReactNative, PhoneGap, and NativeScript. These platforms and frameworks enable businesses to save costs while entering the market with a minimum viable product MVP. The ability to integrate and cover both Android and IOS is a key element of a successful company app.

3. Performance

Performance is a critical attribute of any successful company app. Performance refers to the way the app functions according to set requirements. Optimum performance means that the app meets the highest levels of outputs and meets set requirements and expectations. On the other hand, a poor app performance means that the app negates its key responsibilities and expectations. The app must load faster and particular attention should be given when pages or objects take long to load. The latency time must be kept to a minimum with constant app optimization.

4. Security

Cyber-attacks are posing significant threats to protected networks and systems, including critical enterprise resources. The compromise of a critical resource like the enterprise mobile application may pose a significant threat to customers. For instance, compromise of mobile apps may reveal personally identifying information (credit card numbers and social security numbers), or even compromise the integrity of protected health information PHI. So, a successful company app must have the necessary security infrastructure and posture to detect threats and patch unprotected networks. Luckily, mobile app developers can design apps with robust security infrastructures, protecting information, networks, and crucial resources.

5. Personalization

A personalized application reinforces close relationships with targeted prospects. Personalized app experiences create loyalty, raising awareness and leading to higher user retention levels. Users love products (and apps) that offer lots of customization possibilities. For effective company apps, it’s advisable to offer users limitless possibilities for customization. Winner apps incorporate details such as flexible backgrounds, fonts, color, and settings.

6. Great Image Resolution

A great app balances speed, functionality, and resolution. Most importantly, you have to ensure that what’s displayed on the screen is clear enough to make the user experience delightful. The world is way past the blocky graphics and today users expect hi-definition, 3-D images and multiple colors. A great image resolution must also sync seamlessly with the overall app’s functionality to ensure a smooth and rewarding user experience.

7. Search Icon

Provide users with an easy way to search and locate items and objects. The search functionality particularly matters for software products with high complex content. Therefore, it’s advisable to make every page and content as clear and easy-to-locate as possible.

8. Feedback Systems

Providing feedback is a great way to build and garner a reputation. So, it’s advisable to let users report bugs, give comments, and feedback about the app’s functionality, products, or brands through an open app forum. Giving users an opportunity to air their views and give grievances about products and app’s functionality leads to enhancing credibility and trust.

9. Social Integration

Social integration is a critical component for users connecting in the app’s ecosystem. Integrating with social networking channels simplifies using the app by enabling users to easily sign-up in the app. In addition, social integration allows users to share posts about events thus remaining fully connected in their social channels.

10. Customization

The app design process must consider customization as a key feature of aligning app features with customer preferences. By customizing the system functionality, layout, and content, the app viewing experience can be tailored to meet and respond to users’ needs.

11. App Analytics

The app must provide clear and accurate statistics and metrics. Clear visibility of user browsing trends enable businesses to monitor customer behavior, thus adjusting business practices to respond to consumer needs. Analytics is a critical component for mobile apps of all sizes and sophistication. Analytics track your app’s performance and optimize the app’s functionality.

12. Offline Access

Mobile apps work best where there’s a stable internet. Although connectivity is great for apps, there are apps where offline access would be appropriate. As a company, you must predict a situation where internet access would not be possible and provide features that work without internet connectivity. It’s difficult to categorize apps based on features because a majority of them depend on industry and app type.

Classifying The Features of a Successful Mobile App:

A successful mobile app integrates these features smartly: user, market and product. These elements need to integrate seamlessly and sync seamlessly to provide users with great usability, unique value, and superior performance. In examining what makes a successful mobile app, the features discussed above have been classified into two: customer-centric and business-centric features.

Customer-Centric Features

Customer-centric features denote attributes that evoke a positive emotional response to customers and targeted app users. Customer-centric features include:

  • Nice and appealing design and layout
  • Well thought out user interface and user experience
  • Reliable and stable workflow
  • Sufficient data protection
  • Quick access to service desk
  • Cover needs and specifications based on user needs

Business-Centric Features

Business-centric features refer to attributes that satisfy key business requirements. Business-centric app features include:

  • Offer quick, hassle-free payments
  • Encourage user retention
  • Protecting data breach
  • Easy update procedure
  • Low maintenance and development costs

NS804 – Transforming Enterprise Mobile App Adoption

Mobile apps are at the forefront of the digital mobile revolution. Mobile apps provide diverse capabilities and superior functions – communication, interaction, emailing, purchasing, billing, and payments – all integrated into a simplistic app solution. That’s the reason most companies are accelerating their app adoption efforts to keep track of new industry developments.

Companies must ensure their mobile apps function effectively to meet evolving consumer needs even with the rising adoption of apps. A streamlined app experience will provide growth opportunities. There’s no doubt that mobile apps are proving as innovative solutions to bolster growth and build a competitive positioning.

You can contact NS804 for innovative mobile app solutions.

What Investors Want To See In An App Startup

If you’ve been wondering whether your latest idea could turn into a profitable app startup, then you’re not alone. Every day, developers reach out to tech investors to fund their projects. And a few succeed in attracting these investors and turning their minimum viable products (MVP) into the next big thing!

Of course, not everyone has such luck, with many developers left out in the cold. Their underfunded apps languish in the app stores, and user interest dwindles to a trickle. But with the right strategy, it’s possible to win over app startup investors, giving you the impetus to succeed rapidly. Here are a few handy tips on what you need to do.

Learn From Startup Success Stories

You could have the freshest and most unique app idea, but that doesn’t mean it will catch on. Whether we like it or not, market trends play a pivotal role in determining success. So take the time to investigate what apps do well in today’s market and attract investment.

Fortunately, there are many excellent resources to help you do just this. Start by reading tech-oriented news sites such as 9to5Mac, AppleInsider, Android Authority, Ars Technica, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Wired to learn about the latest and upcoming developments. Then, use analytics and data intelligence platforms such as App Annie and Apptopia to gain insights into competing and top-trending apps.

But you’ll also want to find tech investors and learn more about the startups they’re funding. And one of the best sites for this purpose is Crunchbase that features detailed information about acquisitions, angel investors, companies, funding rounds, private equity firms, and venture capitalists. If you do your homework, you’ll find potential app startup investors and key people to contact here.

Create A Marketable App With Monetization In Mind

If you want to attract investors, be careful about how you position your app. Ensure that you’re creating a quality product that fulfills the wants and needs of the target audience. Moreover, ensure that you’re offering functionality superior to that of competitors. Or that you’re introducing an innovative feature that makes your app indispensable to users.

You’ll also need to market the app properly to reach as many users as possible. Tech investors want to see ongoing user acquisition, even if your app is earning minimal revenues in its early stages.

Also, implement a monetization strategy that incentivizes users to upgrade to the paid version. This move will help convince app startup investors of the earning potential of your mobile app. Its financial feasibility will determine whether investors can achieve a good return on investment (ROI). 

Why An MVP Is The Right Choice For A Startup? 

Developing a full-fledged app to draw investors may be a risky choice for a startup. Not only is this option costly, but development will take longer, and your app will reach the market later. But an MVP is far cheaper and quicker to complete since it has the bare minimum functionality.

More importantly, after releasing the MVP, your potential investors can ascertain its viability. They’ll gauge market fit, target audience reaction, and overall feasibility. You’ll also have access to valuable analytics, which you can share with potential investors. And you’ll also have proven that you’re committed to the project and have a capable team able to release an app on time.

In Conclusion

Every startup company dreams of creating the next Instagram, Telegram, or TikTok and taking the app world by storm. While it’s not easy to develop an app that gains such massive traction overnight, it’s not impossible either.

One of the best ways to give your app a fighting chance is to attract the right investor to fund your project. And you can do this by creating an MVP that shows significant growth potential. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you develop apps and MVPs that turn heads!

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality: What Are The Differences?

With recent tech developments, it’s common to get involved in heated augmented reality vs. virtual reality debates with peers. After all, both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have made significant strides in recent years. And you’ll often come across those that have picked their favorite between the two.

But is one truly better than the other, or is media hype affecting our opinions? The hard truth is that neither technology is better than the other. And while they may seem similar on the surface, they have entirely different use cases.

A user that puts on a pair of AR glasses has completely different needs and expectations than someone that dons VR goggles. Even the technologies themselves have specific features and limitations that set them apart. The keen observer will discover many benefits of augmented reality, which are missing in virtual reality. On the flip side, an avid gamer may become one of the VR faithful due to the abundance of virtual reality games

Therefore, we decided to point out the most significant differences between augmented reality vs. virtual reality in this handy guide. Here, you’ll learn what each technology brings to the table and where and when you should choose one over the other.

Augmented Reality Vs. Virtual Reality: A Brief History Lesson

The first known example of augmented reality dates back to 1957. Morton Heilig — a cinematographer — created the Sensorama, capable of delivering visuals, sounds, smells, and even vibrations. Computers were very bulky and expensive during that period, so the Senosrama didn’t use them at all. Instead, it offered viewers a rudimentary analog experience. 

But over the next few decades, this type of technology evolved considerably. In 1975, the American computer scientist; Myron Krueger created the first interface that allowed users to interact with virtual objects in real-time. And in 1980, the Canadian engineer and transhumanist; Steve Mann invented wearable computing devices, such as the EyeTap Digital Eye Glass, Smartwatch, and the Sequential Wave Imprinting Machine (SWIM). 

In contrast, the first example of virtual reality dates back to the early part of the 1800s. And that’s not surprising, as this was a period when photography was gaining traction. Inventions such as the stereoscope, which used twin mirrors to create a single image, captured peoples’ imaginations back in 1838. 

Then, the stereoscope was developed further and became the View-Master. It was patented in 1939 and became a popular kid’s toy due to how well it displayed 3D images.

And in the mid-1980s, former Atari employee and VPL Research founder; Jaron Lanier coined the term “virtual reality”. His company was also the first to sell VR goggles and the accompanying wired gloves. 

However, Virtuality Group was the first company to bring VR to the masses in 1991. They produced various products like the Virtuality 1000 series, powered by an Amiga 3000 computer and capable of delivering virtual reality games. These Virtuality machines made their way to arcades, expos, techno raves, and shopping malls during the ‘90s.

Which Companies Are Involved In AR & VR?

Several big players, startups, and studios understand the benefits of augmented reality and are actively involved in bringing forth AR experiences and technologies. These include Apple, Facebook, Gravity Jack, Groove Jones, Google, Microsoft, Next/Now, Niantic, and VironIT, to name a few. And many of the same entities are also involved in VR.

But it’s not out of the ordinary for studios to offer AR, VR, and even mobile app development services, similarly to NS804. And that makes sense since development methodologies, technologies, and skill sets overlap comfortably on both AR & VR projects. 

And then, there’s Valve Corporation, the famous game developer and owner of the PC digital megastore — Steam. For a while, Valve seemed to focus more on the VR side of things with their Valve Index headset, even though it’s more than capable of doubling up as an AR system. But in 2021, a Valve patent revealed that the company plans to bring a unique AR technology to PC gamers.

What Are The Differences Between AR And VR Headsets? 

One of the benefits of augmented reality is that users don’t need to wear headsets for specific applications. Many popular mobile apps and games utilize the phone camera to display the outside world to viewers — but with a twist! Instead of the same mundane world that users see in real life, they see a more colorful and imaginative world on their phones. 

AR development studios utilize striking user interfaces (UIs) and graphics, which they overlay on the imagery feeding through the camera. Now, users can interact with the onscreen UI and graphical assets, enjoying unique experiences that were not possible before the advent of AR. 

Of course, some users may prefer to wear AR glasses, as these enhance immersion. But their view is not obstructed like would happen if they were wearing VR goggles. 

And on the subject of VR goggles, they’re essential for enjoying any virtual reality experience. The user is closed off from the surrounding environment and has no view of the outside world. For some, this may seem like a scary, claustrophobic, or even downright anti-social technology.

But it’s worth overcoming these concerns and fears, as nothing matches the immersion that VR offers. Furthermore, the design choices of modern VR goggles account for the comfort, health, and safety of users. 

In a nutshell, AR glasses or headsets closely resemble ordinary reading glasses. And VR goggles still retain some bulkiness and wiring, mainstays from yesteryear’s Virtuality headsets. But as VR technology evolves and matures, we can expect headsets to get lighter and smaller in size.

What Do Users Expect From AR And VR Experiences? 

AR users feel more comfortable interacting with the outside world. Moreover, they’re avid smartphone users and utilize a variety of helpful apps for their daily tasks. So, an AR user that travels regularly will use an app such as World Around Me to pinpoint landmarks and tourist attractions. 

Another way such a user would utilize an AR app is when deciding on future purchases. For example, they may use the IKEA Place app to see what a true-to-scale wall unit from IKEA looks like in their apartment. And with more clothing brands releasing AR apps, it’s a convenient way to try out those nice pair of jeans without having to go near a changing room.

Alternatively, VR users feel more comfortable with bleeding-edge technology. These users crave the VR experiences promised by cyberpunk movies, novels, and video games over the past four decades. They want to feel like one of the protagonists in a William Gibson novel or Neo from the Matrix films. 

Many VR users also own powerful custom-built PCs to run the latest and most graphically demanding virtual reality games. They’re the epitome of the power user that always stays ahead of the curve. 

However, VR does not only benefit gaming. It also plays a role in architecture and design, medical training, military training, and real estate tours, as just a few noteworthy examples. So, VR brings forth several tangible real-world solutions to any market or discipline that requires a powerful simulation tool.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, we’ve addressed the most crucial augmented reality vs. virtual reality differences and arguments. Both AR and VR are continuously evolving, and we’ve yet to see their true potential.

In the case of AR, it’s the more approachable technology since there’s no need to purchase an expensive headset, and it doesn’t shut off the user from the outside world. But VR is the more bleeding-edge and immersive technology and ideal for gaming and simulations. 

But one thing’s for sure, the tech industry’s big players and forward-thinking studios are heavily involved in both AR & VR.

Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal AR & VR apps that will amaze your users. We have offices in Charlotte, NC, Richmond, VA, and Denver, CO to assist you in building the app you need.

Mobile App Development Best Practices

The rising adoption of mobile apps has been driven partly by changing consumer lifestyles. The accelerated uptake of mobile applications is due to the increased need by consumers to shop, bank, communicate, and socialize on social platforms. Thus, mobile apps will continue to have diverse applications in many users’ lives.

There’s no doubt that as the world continues to move faster, business people, from frontline staff to executives, will want to draw insight into their business processes. That’s why NS804 launched mobile app development for individuals and businesses, putting the power of AI-driven and search analytics in the hands of executives and employees.

The global mobile app market was estimated to be $154.05 billion in 2019, and it’s projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 11% from 2020 to 2027. The demand for mobile apps will grow mainly due to internet infiltration, smartphone proliferation, and emerging technologies such as; artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the cloud.

Although the global app market is expected to grow, generating millions of revenues to companies and reaching out to millions of new users, experts predict that not all apps will meet the evolving demand for new apps. That is why 80% of apps developed nowadays fail.

Below, we look at mobile app development best practices:

Mobile App Development Best Practices

1. Unique Value Proposition

Many individuals and start-ups fail to establish an original idea for a mobile application and copy their competitors. Without a unique value proposition, your app is likely to fail and get lost in a myriad of apps out there.

2. User Experience

According to research by Intechnic, users abandon downloaded apps after three or fewer attempts if they find the app problematic. The reason users have a poor app experience is due to unintuitive navigation, long loading times, low latency, and a long registration process. It’s advisable to blend intuitive and useful experiences in the following ways:

  • Reduce the effort required by users to get what they want
  • Break large chunks into smaller manageable portions
  • Offload tasks by setting smart defaults
  • Allow users to save actions and re-engage later. Users expected to continue the browsing journey after leaving the app for a while
  • Focus on user goals but avoid overwhelming users with too many actions
  • Home the pinboard setup – ensure simple walkthroughs, faster email setups followed by onboarding.

A superior user experience leads to higher conversions and retention.

3. User Interface

Make app content the interface and remove unnecessary elements that do not support user tasks. Cards are considered great elements to display actionable content. And it’s advisable to keep the app interfaces light. Remember that the most successful apps are focused on a limited set of features. So, limit your feature set and prioritize what’s important, and cut off the clutter.

Another way of improving the user interface is by using a typeface that works perfectly well in different sizes to maintain usability, functionality, and readability in every endpoint. In addition, use adequate contrast for text because insufficient contrast makes the text blend with the app’s background. Strive for a minimum contrast of 4:5:1 for image text and body text to achieve sufficient contrast.

Other tips for making interfaces invisible include:

  • Use content prioritization to improve the UX and simplify the UI
  • Use direct and simple language for clarity
  • Use legible font size

The user interface is the browsing surface of any mobile application and the lifeblood of any user engagement and user retention.

4. Problem Solving

Most businesses fail to define a specific user problem and thus do not solve a specific demand. If you design an app that’s fully functional and provides a superior user experience but fails to solve a problem, your app cannot be successful. A well-defined problem may sound something like this, “I am a young professional who’s focused on my career and professional development. I work long hours and do not have time to prepare healthy meals. I want to eat better and to pursue a healthier lifestyle.”

5. Monetization Strategy

Businesses conduct thorough market and consumer research, define their goals, prioritize their strategies and build an app that solves users’ problems. However, they still fail to make money off their app development efforts. That is due to the lack of a good monetization strategy. By launching it, you might attract and retain users but still fail to monetize the app.

6. Prioritize Security

It may not seem like a pressing concern right now, especially at the nascent development stages. However, when you critically think about your app for a minute, you realize it will have tons of sensitive information and data. The app will hold information about the company and its stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, and partners.

Depending on what your app is used for, you could be collecting sensitive payment information such as credit cards. You’ll have access to information such as phone numbers, email addresses, and everything else provided. It’s your responsibility as the app owner to protect your data. That’s why you need to prioritize security from the onset.

Users may hesitate to provide you with their information if your app is insecure. If security gets breached, it will have far-reaching implications by damaging your brand and making it impossible to recover. One best practice for mobile app development is to use encryption like the two-factor authentication TFA to protect sensitive data.

7. Test and Test Again!

Tests need to be run throughout the app development process. Don’t wait until the end to test the app’s performance, that’s too late to notice any anomalies. It’s much harder to identify and solve problems if tests are not run periodically. One best way to test your app development is with beta testers.

You can try using online resources and tools from the Beta Family to put you in contact with superior testers. You can identify crashes, bugs, and even error reports with beta testers. If you cannot run diagnostic tests yourself, outsourced mobile app developers can assist you with your app development process to ensure a smooth and successful delivery.

8. Simple, Discoverable Navigation

Navigation should inspire users to interact and engage with the content. The navigation should be implemented in a way that supports the structure of the app without bringing attention to itself. The navigation should be accessible and discoverable without occupying too much screen space. Indeed, navigation should accommodate the needs of the app users.

To make navigation simple and discoverable, assign priority levels to common user tasks. Give prominence in the user interface to destinations and paths with frequent use and high priority levels. Ensure that navigation is available at all times, not just when users anticipate using the app. Minimize the user’s memory load by making features available and ready to use.

Other ways to make navigation simple include:

  • Communicate location using location indicators
  • Icon and graphics elements must help users understand menu options
  • Make interaction easy
  • Hidden navigation affects engagement, slows down exploration, and confuses users.
  • Reduce search efforts. For instance, if “search” is a primary function, it should be in front of people. You can display the “search” icon at the top or have a reference that activates search mode anytime and anywhere.

Simple navigation with labels and icons helps with user experience, interaction, and retention.

NS804 – Accelerating Your Mobile App Adoption

NS804 provides superior mobile app development solutions. As a partner from concept to completion, NS804 works with individuals, businesses, and market leaders to identify and optimize market opportunities with innovative app solutions. With specialties in IOS, android app development, minimum viable product MVP, and app optimization, NS804 can help you bridge any development gaps.

Contact NS804 for superior, best-in-class app development solutions.

Android App Development: How To Store Data Locally

There comes a time when every Android app developer will have to figure out how to store data locally. Fortunately, the Android development environment does provide all the tools for achieving this goal. 

But why would a developer want to store data locally? Aren’t more apps taking advantage of cloud storage lately? Yes, cloud storage has become commonplace and works incredibly well. However, it’s always a good idea to store your app’s settings, media files, and sensitive data locally in most cases. 

Since the Android developer documentation already provides guides and code samples for data storage, we won’t include any code snippets. On top of that, we’d need to show both Kotlin and Java examples, which would make this article unbearably long and complex for most readers. 

But what we’ll do is reveal how a developer can store data locally and cover this topic from several angles. It’s also preferable to have some background knowledge of the Android app development environment to follow along.

Various Ways To Store Data On Android

The beauty of Android’s file system is that it borrows much from existing disk-based file systems. Thus, it’s both easy-to-understand and versatile for several use cases. 

But don’t go rushing in without understanding the various data storage methods and when to use them. Here’s a brief rundown of how Android can save your app’s data: 

  • App-specific storage: Store data only meant for your app. It’s possible to store this data in an internal storage volume using dedicated directories or within external storage using different dedicated directories. 
  • Databases: With the Room persistence library, it’s possible to store data in a private database. 
  • Preferences: For storing private and primitive data within key-value pairs. 
  • Shared storage: Storing files that your app will share, such as documents and media files.

Data Storage Considerations

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to shift focus. After all, not every data storage solution mentioned earlier is right for your project. And as an Android developer, you should be asking yourself several crucial questions, such as the following:

Can my app reliably access the data? 

That depends entirely on how your app functions. For example, you could be developing a visual novel that autosaves the user’s progression. Every time the user launches the app, they’ll want to continue playing from their latest save.

Therefore, the best place to place the autosave file is in internal storage, where the app can access it immediately and reliably. Storing this file in external storage, such as an SD card, isn’t reliable because the user may remove it at any time. So, when the user launches the app, it will either crash or notify that it can’t find the autosave file, ultimately ruining the play experience. 

How much space does my app need to store data

Always keep in mind the limits of internal storage. Even though newer Android smartphones come with a respectable amount of storage, many users still carry older devices with a severely limited amount of internal storage

Therefore, if your app’s data storage requirements exceed the limits of most commonly-used phones, then consider using external storage.

What type of data will I need to store for my app?  

If you need to store data that only your app will access, you should use app-specific storage. However, if you’re storing documents and media files, you’ll want to use shared storage so that other apps can access these also.

And if you need to store key-value data, you should use preferences, and for data containing more than two columns, use a database instead.

Understanding Storage Locations And Permissions

As mentioned earlier, Android devices come with internal storage and external storage. Although, the size of the latter varies depending on the capacity of the SD card or other storage device that the user decides to insert or plug into their Android device.

And the majority of apps get installed in internal storage, provided they are small enough in size. While Google Play has a 150MB size limit for apps, developers can exceed that limit when utilizing Android App Bundles, an advanced app distribution system. 

For apps that stick within the 150MB size limit, it’s best to store these in internal storage. And if you use the Files app on your Android device, you’ll see that ‘Installed apps’ and ‘System apps’ use the internal storage. But users can move apps from internal storage to external storage with a few simple clicks. And why users often do this is to clear up space on their devices for other tasks.

To store and manage data on Android devices, developers must use the following permissions: MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, READ_EXTERNAL_STORAGE, and WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE. 

And as of Android 11 (API level 30), the MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission allows write access to files outside MediaStore and the app-specific directory. In most use cases, apps no longer need to declare permissions. But developers should regularly read through the Android guides on how to manage the various file types, as methodologies often change with newer versions of the Android platform.

Know The Differences Between SQLite And Room

If your app needs to handle a large amount of structured data, you’ll want to use a database that utilizes internal storage. And you’ll also want to cache the data that’s most relevant to your app so that users can access it when they’re offline. However, it’s advisable to keep any cache files within the recommended size limit, preferably not exceeding 1MB. 

The good news is that the Android platform provides developers with two powerful tools for these purposes. Firstly, there’s SQLite, a database engine consisting of libraries that developers can embed in just about any app. And secondly, there’s Room, an abstraction layer that sits over SQLite and is a part of Android Jetpack’s libraries.

So, what does SQLite bring to the table that will benefit Android developers? It facilitates the creation of custom databases for developers knowledgeable in the Structured Query Language (SQL). And since Android provides complete support for SQLite from the get-go, most developers take advantage of this.

Renowned for its power and speed, SQLite is also a great choice if you require a comprehensive relational database. Also worth implementing if you anticipate that users will store data and run queries at regular intervals.

But what about Room, and why should developers use it when SQLite seems so effective? Google has made great strides in offering developers many handy tools as part of Android Jetpack. And for modern Android app development, every developer should consider using Kotlin and the Android Jetpack suite of libraries — and Room is one of those libraries.

Room offers the following advantages; annotations that reduce boilerplate code, simplified database migrations paths, and verification of SQL queries on compile-time. And due to these advantages, it’s recommended to use Room instead of directly utilizing the SQLite APIs.

The Bottom Line

Today, the Android app development environment is mature and offers developers many powerful tools. And these tools make it a relatively simple process to store data locally if it’s a requirement for your app to function as intended. 

Whether you need to store media files, sensitive information, or structured data, you have access to the tools and methodologies to do this properly. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal Android apps with the best-in-class tools!

How Much Does It Cost To Build An App Like Waze

Nowadays, many drivers plan their daily routes using apps such as Waze. And it’s easy to see why that is, considering how much it enhances the driving experience. A few of Waze’s features include enhanced Google Assistant integration, lane suggestions, and traffic notifications. All these give drivers an accurate visual representation of their trip, how long it will take, and when they’ll encounter traffic.

If you’re considering a real-time navigation app as your next project, Waze can serve as inspiration. But developing such an app is also complex and costly, which we’ll cover in more detail below.

A Brief History Of Waze

Waze has roots dating back to 2006 as a community project known as FreeMap Israel. The project introduced a free-to-use digital database and map of Israel. And its enthusiastic and growing community of users contributed significantly to its early success. In 2008, Waze was established as a company to commercialize the project.

The company then raised $25 million in 2010 and $35 million in 2011. And after updating the app, it presented users with curated points of interest in real-time. And in 2012, Waze offered advertisers and resellers the opportunity to advertise via a web interface. It also extended this opportunity to news networks in the US and Brazil.

All that hard work and growth did not go unnoticed. In 2013, the GSM Association awarded Waze the Best Overall Mobile App. But the good fortunes of the company didn’t end there. In June 2013, Google acquired Waze for the princely sum of $966 million. 

The acquisition drew attention from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to the similarities between Waze and Google Maps. However, the FTC did not challenge the acquisition, and it went through successfully. 

Key Features Of Waze

What makes Waze stand out is its effective collection and dissemination of crowdsourced information. However, it doesn’t rely solely on the information provided by users but also from the relevant state agencies. 

So what type of information is reported to Waze? Usually, information about construction work and traffic events, likely to hinder travel. In some cases, users may report the locations of traffic monitoring cameras to warn other drivers. Furthermore, registered users may alter map data using the app’s built-in editor. 

But the range of features has grown significantly over the years. It’s possible to choose a navigation app voice from celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, DJ Khaled, and Kevin Darnell Hart, to name a few. Users can also record their voices to serve as navigation prompts. 

Moreover, Waze introduced trip suggestions, lane guidance, and specialized routes. The app isn’t limited to car drivers but also accommodates motorcyclists and those using carpools. 

More importantly, Waze has partnered with popular apps, media networks, and services. Users enjoy additional functionality due to Waze’s integration with the following: 

  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Deezer
  • Google Assistant
  • iHeartRadio
  • NPR One
  • Pandora
  • Scribd
  • Spotify
  • Stitcher
  • TuneIn
  • YouTube Music

Similarities And Differences To Google Maps

Google Maps and Waze are both owned by Google and may seem very similar. But given the strong branding and market positioning of Google Maps, most users will opt for this particular navigation app. However, we need to look at both apps in more detail to appreciate what makes each unique.

  • Advertising: Waze displays banner ads every time drivers come to a stop. These ads tend to distract and not to everyone’s tastes. Alternatively, Google Maps takes a more subtle approach by displaying small square icons on the map of businesses that have paid to advertise. 
  • Data collection: Both apps collect a plethora of data about road conditions and traffic events. But Waze relies on user-submitted information, whereas Google Maps taps into a wider pool of information, including historical data.
  • Navigation: Waze always tries to find the most efficient and quickest route to the destination. Alternatively, Google Maps will suggest the most eco-friendly and safest route instead.
  • Public transportation: Waze caters to drivers and not those using public transport. On the other hand, Google Maps greatly helps public transport users, cyclists, hikers, and pedestrians.
  • Road hazard and traffic notifications: An area where Waze truly shines is notifying drivers about upcoming road hazards and traffic. As long as enough users have reported these incidents, Waze will find the best route around them. However, Google Maps seldom provides a similarly time-saving route.
  • User interface (UI) design: Since both apps are Google products, they have good UI design. Waze has a cartoony appearance with a simple UI since it’s aimed primarily at drivers. Google Map’s UI is a bit more complex as it doesn’t only cater to drivers but also businesses. 

Cost Of Development

It’s possible to start creating a compelling navigation app with several core features and the right development partner, such as NS804. Here’s what features you’ll need to have basic functionality:

  • Authorization and user profile: It’s crucial to allow users to log in via their emails and social media accounts. Thus, it’s necessary to implement an integration pipeline with the Facebook SDK and Twitter Kit, at the very least.
  • Camera functionality: The app must work flawlessly with the cameras and file systems on both Android and iOS. Users will want to take photos of traffic incidents and store them on their devices or share them with other users.
  • Chat and user reviews features: Users will want to chat with other users, leave reviews and ratings about rides, and share road trip information with others on social media. All these features will require backend development to store and retrieve data on a server. Additionally, further social media integrations will be necessary.  
  • Geolocation mapping and navigation: Geolocation determines a user’s location, while navigation allows the user to pick the destination. It’s essential to integrate with Apple Maps (iOS only), Google Maps, and Mapbox Maps SDK to make this work.
  • Voice assistant: It’s potentially dangerous for drivers to look at the navigation map while driving. Therefore, it’s better to offer navigation coordinates by voice with API.AI, Google Cloud API, and Google Maps Directions API.

The cost of a basic navigation app with the above features will range between $40,000 and $60,000 and take four to six weeks to develop. But you’ll likely need additional features such as machine learning (ML), ridesharing, planned driver, Spotify, and ad integrations in the long run. As you add these features, expect development costs to reach $150,000 and beyond.

Development And Maintenance Considerations

Developing and maintaining a navigation app is a massive undertaking. After all, it relies heavily on data collection and sharing relevant data in real-time. And it must allow users to post photos of traffic jams and other road incidents. But it must also integrate with social media and a wide range of apps to increase its functionality. 

Then, to drive further engagement, the app may need gamification features. Waze offers a ranking system, incentivizing users to score points and gain a high position on the scoreboard. Thus, users can compare their level and score with their friends and other Waze users.

Since app development is an ongoing process, it won’t be necessary to roll out all features from day one. But it’s crucial to maintain and update the app at a regular cadence for the best results. As we’ve seen with Waze, it was a project that started life over 15 years ago and then gradually introduced new features and partnerships. 

The Bottom Line

Waze is a prime example of how indispensable and life-changing the navigation app is in people’s lives. It’s not cheap to develop and maintain such an app, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor for developers and appreneurs that see the big picture and how lucrative it can be in the long term. Contact NS804 to find out how we can help you develop phenomenal navigation apps that will empower your users.

Mobile App Design Do’s and Don’ts

Mobile app design may seem easy, but it’s not. An inexperienced or overconfident developer may think they can cobble together the mobile UI at the last minute. But that results in a clunky and unintuitive mobile app that only offers a frustrating and poor user experience. That’s why many of the best app developers have at least one UI/UX designer on the team that focuses exclusively on design.

But what if you’re an appreneur or startup that’s new to mobile app development? Perhaps, you haven’t had the time or funding to hire an experienced UI/UX designer. Or you possess some design skills of your own but don’t quite know how to apply these to your mobile apps. Please don’t fret, as we’re about to reveal several handy tips to help you out!

Mobile App Design Must Do’s

Your app’s success largely depends on how well you go about creating a fantastic user experience. Therefore, it’s crucial to be detail-oriented and have a checklist of the following must-do tasks. 

1. Study The App Market And Latest Mobile UI Trends

The app market is very dynamic and changes constantly. And what was popular two years ago may no longer appeal to today’s audience. That’s why you should study the top trending apps in the marketplace carefully and consistently.

Start by using the storefronts themselves, and see what apps appear in the top spots. Google Play makes things even easier for you, as it shows an estimation of downloads of every app.

Then, download and try out several of the most successful apps to see what makes them tick. More importantly, pay close attention to their mobile UI to determine whether they offer a satisfactory user experience. And study all their UI elements, such as the app bar, checkboxes, buttons, menus, and other interactive touch targets. 

Spend time spotting notable design trends in all of these. See if they’re using rounded or square corners on checkboxes and menus. Moreover, see if they use flat shading, glass effects, gradients, shadows, or 3D UI elements. And take inspiration from any impressive mobile UI animations, motion design, and other visual effects.

2. Keep Your Mobile UI Clean And Functional

Given that the mobile app market is incredibly competitive, you may want to outdo your rivals. Perhaps, you’re developing a music-making app and plan to offer more features than BandLab or FL Studio Mobile. But the reason these apps are so successful is due to their ease-of-use and clean, uncluttered mobile UI.

And if we take a deeper look at FL Studio Mobile, we’ll find that it’s a significantly stripped-down iteration of the desktop version. The desktop version is a professional suite used by producers behind many hit songs. It’s also a fairly complex tool with a bit of a learning curve, especially for newcomers to digital music production. Furthermore, its UI may seem overwhelming to many and have them searching through the manual.

The developers behind FL Studio knew that this comprehensive production suite would never work on mobile. So they created a simple, inviting, and colorful UI without the bells and whistles found in the desktop version. 

Therefore, instead of offering users everything but the kitchen sink, give them only the bare essentials. A clean, minimalist mobile UI that allows users to quickly and intuitively create professional-sounding songs will win the day. You can always add more features later, specifically when users ask for these.

3. Reward User Input With The Appropriate Feedback

Your mobile app design should focus squarely on what users want. And nowadays, users prefer snappy and responsive apps that look visually stunning. They also need apps to immediately register their actions and provide visual cues that this has happened successfully. That’s why it’s crucial to have a well-implemented input and feedback mechanism with every app you ship.

So how do you about creating such a mechanism? Firstly, you should make your app as tap-friendly as possible. Ensure that all buttons and other touch targets on the screen are easily identifiable. The last thing you want is users repeatedly tapping on a checkbox or menu that doesn’t register their taps because it’s too small, not positioned correctly, or incorrectly conveys its intended use. 

And secondly, implement mobile UI animations and transition effects to show that the app has registered the tap. A button may display a blink effect soon after a finger tap, or a menu item may quickly slide sideways and fade after a swipe. And if you work with a UI/UX designer or an experienced app developer such as NS804, they’ll come up with many more imaginative ways to enhance your input and feedback mechanism.

Mobile App Design Don’ts

Creating amazing apps that will keep users engaged is very difficult but rewarding work. Yet even the most experienced developers can ship substandard apps if they make the following mistakes.

1. Implementing Poor User Flow 

There’s nothing worse than users trying out an app and then quickly giving up in frustration and subsequently uninstalling it from their phones.

So why is this such a common occurrence, and why are so many appreneurs and developers getting it wrong? A primary reason why this happens is due to poor user flow. Either most developers didn’t correctly map out the sequence of events that users will take after running the app for the first time, or they didn’t consider user flow at all.

Whether you’re developing an m-commerce store, mobile game, or social media app, you’ll need to create a frictionless user experience. Start by mapping out the user flow from the welcome screen through to every page users will access. You may use flow charts to create an intuitive user flow that won’t drive users to a dead page or take actions that will frustrate them.

2. Interrupting And Annoying Users

Don’t ever take your users for granted just because they seem to be enjoying your app. It’s all too easy to lose users the minute you interrupt them when there’s no reason to do so. The last thing that users want is to respond to a feedback survey when they’ve only been using your app for a short period or while trying to complete a task.

Keep in mind that most users are still evaluating your app during those initial hours of usage. Thus, you want to make a good impression by ditching annoying popups and surveys during this critical stage. Instead, give your users enough time to make a proper assessment of your app before asking for feedback, ratings, and reviews.

3. Using Complex Words And Terms Unnecessarily 

Most mobile app users are not computer scientists or programmers, so avoid using complex words and terms they don’t understand. For example, your latest app may have impressive artificial learning (AI) algorithms that track down hard-to-find ebooks. You may want users to know about these algorithms by adding their names somewhere within the app or mobile UI, but that’s unnecessary.

It’s better to allow these algorithms to do their work behind the scenes. Users will realize that you’ve created a great app by how well it tracks those ebooks. After all, they don’t care about the inner workings of your app or want to memorize technical terminology. If anything, you’ll likely lower user engagement or even lose users if your wording is too technical or if you rely on marketing catchphrases.

The Bottom Line

Most of the best apps closely follow solid mobile app design fundamentals. Much work goes into creating a mobile UI that not only looks great but is clean and intuitive. But it’s also crucial to follow the latest design trends that will make even the most renowned UI/UX designer look on in envy. Contact NS804 to learn how we’ll help you develop phenomenal apps that look and feel great!

iOS Development Tools To Build Better Apps

Apple’s ecosystem is great for developers, especially with the many powerful iOS development tools at their disposal. The first tool that comes to mind is Apple’s Xcode integrated development environment (IDE). But Xcode alone isn’t enough to create the quality apps that users expect today.

There are several third-party tools that every developer should have in their toolbox. These include analysis, debugging, libraries, plugins, and UI design tools. So, what benefits do these tools bring forth? Firstly, they enhance the developer experience by filling the gaps where Apple’s tooling falls short. And secondly, they help developers build apps quicker and more efficiently than before.

1. Xcode IDE

One of the most crucial iOS development tools you should have installed is the Xcode IDE. And that’s because it’s the most up-to-date IDE for developing cross-device apps on Apple’s platforms. It will allow your team to develop apps using either Objective-C or its more modern counterpart — Swift.

Also, it’s a fantastic tool for code analysis, debugging, and UI design. And since it’s an official Apple product, you’ll have easy integration of the latest SDKs that your iOS apps need. If your team is more comfortable programming in other languages, consider CodeRunner. It has a comprehensive list of features and allows developers to code in C#, Go, Java, JavaScript, and Python, to name a few.

2. Swimat

One way to make Xcode even more versatile than it already is — is by installing plugins. There are many great plugins to choose from, and one that immediately comes to mind is Swimat. And what makes Swimat so handy is how rapidly it formats blocks of code.

As we all know, code often becomes messy the longer it gets, resulting in readability and maintainability issues. And even the most organized programmers can sometimes write sloppy blocks of code. But Swimat will reformat and reindent sections when necessary.

3. SwiftUI Inspector For Figma

How good your app’s UI design turns out will depend on the talent of your designers and the tools they use. Figma is a powerful UI design tool that can create impressive UIs in the right hands. It’s capable of producing basic shapes, color styles, components, drop shadows, frames, layout stacks, and text labels. But to integrate your creations into your SwiftUI workflow, you’ll need the SwiftUI inspector for Figma.

4. Hero

Perhaps your team is pressed for time but still needs to build the app’s interface and controller transitions. They’ll use Apple’s UIKit, which isn’t the most intuitive framework and may further slow things down. That’s where Hero comes in, a library that sits on top of UIKit’s more complex transition APIs. Thus, allowing your team to create eye-catching animated transitions quickly and efficiently.

5. Raygun

The built-in debugger and application performance analyzer in Xcode help developers monitor and improve their apps. And these are good enough for smaller and rudimentary applications in most cases. But professional developers will need more robust iOS development tools, such as Raygun. It’s a cloud-based solution that monitors application health and user sessions in real-time and delivers in-depth insights.

The Bottom Line

If you’re developing apps for Apple devices, then you’ll need the most effective iOS development tools. Fortunately, many good third-party tools and plugins can extend the functionality of Xcode. But there are also tools not dependent on Xcode, which also enhance the development process. Contact NS804 today to learn how we can help you create better iOS apps.