MUST HAVES FOR A SUCCESSFUL MOBILE APPLICATION

 

The development of a successful application begins with a solid foundation of planning. In 2016 the App Store made a shattering record and didn’t show any sign of slowing down soon.

The total number of Mobile application downloaded worldwide:

BlogPhoto-WhyAppsFail2Source: Statista

Mobile applications are progressively becoming the go-to resource for communication technology, shopping, productivity, entertainment and lot more.  In turn, the time users spend in applications has exploded over the recent years. There is continuous growth in the number of companies that are adopting the mobile-first attitude and realising that mobile is no longer an optional asset, rather an inevitability. However, with lots of selection in application market, customers aren’t expected to give an application a second chance when they lost interest in it. In fact, around 35% of mobile applications engagements less than a minute, suggesting users do not take long to find a mobile application that delivers them with more worth. (Marketwatch.com, 2017)

Must haves for a mobile application:

  1. Research Market and Target audience:

At present, there are 2.2 million mobile applications available in the App Store, and there’s plenty of choice for smartphone users, so we need to make sure that users want or need our app. The final decision to launch a product in the market should be research driven. Once the target segment is chosen, we need to examine the users in greater detail, i.e., we need to understand why our target audience will want our product or service. Most of the users searching for a solution that would solve a problem they are undergoing in life, whether that is faulty mobile checkout or troublesomeness in personal banking experience. This kind of problem points motivates the users to find a solution which would resolve this issue. Identifying the user’s problem points is the most significant step during product discovery, else we would end up wasting money and time developing an app.

The applications can be validated in many ways such as user acceptance testing, soft launching or focus groups. Putting our applications through one of the tests will demonstrate precisely how our product will perform.

  1. Marketing Strategies and User Acquisition Plan:

Many developers often underestimate the time, resources and efforts needed for an application awareness and achievement both before and after introduction the application. Our user acquisition is going to vary based on the nature of our application, target audience and many other aspects. Certain areas we need to consider while creating a customer acquisition and marketing strategy include early outreach, teasers, early access offers, collaterals, beta list, app store optimisation and discovery., The user acquisition involves ongoing marketing efforts, like appealing users for any other business, does.

  1. All-in-one User Experience:

Even though there are lots of components involved in developing an app with seamless user experience, basest level our need is to be intuitive. If an app user is struggling to do basic functions on our app and could not able to figure out main functionalities easily, the outcome is destitute usability. For instance, app performances issues like lagging or slow, long load times, lengthy registration processes and features that are difficult to access are some examples of poor user experience.

  1. Proper Testing:

Testing is the most critical step in an app development. It’s estimated that the user finds 44% of the defects, 24% from feedback and other 20% from reviews in the app store. (perfectmobile.com, 2017) Everytime application crashes or lags, all other mobile applications metrics will be affected as a result. Because of this, it’s very significant to track front end and back end functionality to get an understanding of how good our app is functioning.

References:

  1. PremiumPremium statistics Industry-specific and extensively researched technical data (partially from exclusive partnerships). A paid subscription is required for full access. Read moreNumber of mobile app downloads worldwide in 2016, r. (2017). Annual number of mobile app downloads worldwide by region 2021 | Statistic. [online] Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/266488/forecast-of-mobile-app-downloads/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].
  2. MarketWatch. (2017). One-Third of Mobile App Engagements Last Less Than One Minute. [online] Available at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-third-of-mobile-app-engagements-last-less-than-one-minute-2014-07-17 [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  3. Mobile, C. (2017). App Store Submission & Optimization Guide. [online] Info.clearbridgemobile.com. Available at: http://info.clearbridgemobile.com/app-store-submission-optimization-guide [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  4. App Annie Content. (2017). App Monetization: Store, Ads to Deliver $189B by 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.appannie.com/en/insights/market-data/app-monetization-report-2016/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].
  5. Clearbridge Mobile. (2016). The Step-By-Step Guide To Product Discovery | Clearbridge Mobile App Development Company. [online] Available at: https://clearbridgemobile.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-product-discovery/ [Accessed 2 May 2017].
  6. Perfecto Mobile Helps You Perfect the Digital Experiences that Define Your Brand. (2015). Failure to Launch. [online] Available at: https://www.perfectomobile.com/why-apps-fail-survey [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  7. Foreman, R. (2017). Mobile Application Development Blog By Apptology |. [online] Apptology.com. Available at: http://apptology.com/blog/ [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  8. Clearbridge Mobile. (2016). 4 Strategies For Product Validation | Clearbridge Mobile. [online] Available at: https://clearbridgemobile.com/4-strategies-for-product-validation/ [Accessed 4 May 2017].

Why Conduct Website Usability Testing?

To improve the performance of your site, you need to recognise how people are consuming it. Usability testing helps in assessing how a user can accomplish a given task on a device. During a usability test, a user is asked to complete certain tasks, usually while being observed by a researcher, to reveal possible user problems. Usability is defined as how smooth an object is to use. The object can be almost anything, like a machine, tool, process, book, software application or website. (Nielsen 1990) During usability testing, a subject is asked to talk through the thought process while completing the task. Thus, the researcher can understand the action of the subject. The researcher sensibly watches the subject’s activities and attends to the speech.

Once, Margaret Mead, a famous scientist said, “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”

In my opinion usability testing is especially significant for websites. A full websites performance would be entirely determined in part by its usability. The users should be able to navigate to websites’ conversion pages easily. So, people will enjoy using sites that are intuitive and easy to browse, however, they stop scrolling if the sites are confusing.

From my research, I have paraphrased few guidelines to evaluate my own website. Firstly, Keep information which is relevant and needed. Display only important visual elements and text – no more or no less. All unnecessary additions compete with visitors’ attention. When a change is made on, provide feedback to the user, the changes can be like icon animation or image showing the visitor that their task was successful. Try to use words, phrases, and ideas that are familiar to the user, and avoid buzz words that few really understand.

The website should be consistent, follow well-known conventions when possible. Don’t confuse users whether different words or ideas means the same thing. Action and options should be visible to the users, so they don’t have to remember from one point to other. Don’t make the visitors think because most of them are busy, distracted and much less invested in our sites. If a user unknowingly gets redirected to a wrong page, be sure there are easy ways to go back and start over and continue through a different way. The website should be accessible for novice users, but also measure to speed up the involvement for expert users; ideally in a way that are invisible to the new visitors. Give guests the freedom to customise as they browse through, in a way it flows with experience naturally. We should run at least one user study per week because it’s worth building a dedicated usability laboratory.

Remember, testing occurs at every stage of the process to keep the goal and the user in focus. If it comes down to a choice, please don’t sacrifice usability but reduce the scope of the website instead. The site will be fully implemented and navigable as long as we can close the door to keep out distractions.

References:

1. Usabilitygeek.com. (2017). [online] Available at: http://usabilitygeek.com/an-introduction-to-website-usability-testing/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2017].

2. Molich, R., and Nielsen, J. (1990). Improving a human-computer dialogue, Communications of the ACM 33, 3 (March), 330-350.

3. Nngroup.com. (2017). 10 Heuristics for User Interface Design: Article by Jakob Nielsen. [online] Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].

4. Nielsen, J., and Molich, R. (1990). Heuristic evaluation of user interfaces, Proc. ACM CHI’90 Conf. (Seattle, WA, 1-5 April), 249-260.

5. Nielsen, J. (1994b). Heuristic evaluation. In Nielsen, J., and Mack, R.L. (Eds.), Usability Inspection Methods, John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY.

6. Usabilityfirst.com. (2017). Usability First – About Usability – Website Design | Usability First. [online] Available at: http://www.usabilityfirst.com/about-usability/website-design/ [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017].

7. Nngroup.com. (2017). Usability 101: Introduction to Usability. [online] Available at: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].

My Start To Minimalism – Digital Story Proposal

Music is the greatest language in the world, people can understand the feeling or mood of the music while listening even though they don’t know the meaning. (Patel 2008) “Is music a universal language or not?”, This is the question to be proved through our reaction video. We should be able to communicate our idea to everyone in the audience equally with our Musicorum project, which is one of our goals to create a real fusion of multicultural idioms, without sacrificing anything.

My duty is to take care of the website, posters, editing and visual effects. The first challenge I faced in the assignment was to create the layout. I have tried almost all the default theme in Wix.com, but I wasn’t satisfied. And then I decided to make my own design with the minimalistic approach. I have experience creating minimalistic posters for few commercial films in India. With a minimal design, we thought we don’t have room to play loose. All the elements in the website will be deliberate, and elements serve the purpose. So we are forced to choose what’s absolutely required and reinforces idea consciously. The second thought was about the space, white space and breathing space. A good site that uses whitespace efficiently bears that sense of calm and authority.  In my opinion with the minimalistic idea navigation became much easier. The minimalist agenda to reduce the disorder also holds for the navigation menu.

For our background image, I thought of bringing a dark minimalistic touch to it. The whole website is created in a black contrast, and the texts and pictures are placed based on the background. Then we thought of the need of a logo. So I came up with a name which suits our assignment, i.e., “Muiscorum” which is the Latin word for music. In our logo, I tried to input our theme of cultural diversity and also the music is a universal language. The great challenge then comes with posters, I was completely blank. Putting our theme and idea into a minimal poster was very challenging, like what colour should be used, where the logo and text to be placed, etc.

Logo:

MUSICORUM

My classmate Wizing Han expressed the same problem. His approach was also through the minimalistic idea and in my opinion, he succeeds in his design.  Brujo Owoh is a Web designer who faced a similar issue with setting up the website layout. He describes it on his blog and how to get rid of it and other problems which can be arisen while designing a website. His suggestions are to create enough white space between the text and images using margins. Then to compare colour scheme of most major sites and notice how colours improve readability. He also suggests using a Sans serif typeface as it allows for easy reading on the web. Details from his blog helped me to make website’s layout better without the clutters, and with additional white space, it became much better in appearance.

Posters:

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Background:

POSTER VOCALS.jpg

Link to our proposal website:

https://cmwpass2.wixsite.com/musicorum

References:

  1. Patel, A. D. (2008). Music, language, and the brain. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  2. Slevc, L. R., Okada, B. M. (2015). Processing structure in language and music: a case for shared reliance on cognitivePsychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 637-652.
  3. Tan, S.-L., Pfordresher, P., & Harré, R. (2010). Psychology of music: from sound to significance. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  4. The Art Story. (2017). Minimalism Movement, Artists and Major Works. [online] Available at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-minimalism.htm [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].
  5. (2015). When Less is More – Why Minimalism STILL Rules the Web — SitePoint. [online] Available at: https://www.sitepoint.com/less-minimalist-websites-still-rule/ [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].
  6. Owoh, B. (2017). 11 Common Web Design Mistakes (Blunders). [online] HKDC. Available at: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/11-common-mistakes-blunders-in-web-design/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2017].

How do FACEBOOK ads work

Nowadays advertising on Facebook seems to be one of the most immediate ways to power the reach of our content.  As an ordinary social networker, we might think no one clicks on Facebook ads, but it’s a mistake because at present Facebook is on track to make 4  billion dollars in this year from advertising alone. Now there are many varieties of Facebook ads. The user can promote his page, post on his page or his website itself. (Stelzner 2010) Facebook advertisements are always targeted to users based on location, demographics and users profile details. All these options are available on Facebook ad manager. As soon as the ads are created user can set a budget and bid for each and every click or impressions that the ad will get. Other users see the ad on Facebook.com, i.e., on the sidebar. In my opinion, Facebook ads are more like display ads than search ads. In Facebook ads should be used to produce demand, not to achieve it. Facebook users are on the site to connect with their friends, not to shop or find products.

If a user visits the advertised website, he won’t be looking for a product, he might have clicked the ad on a whim.  The main mistake most advertisers would make with Facebook ads is not targeting the audience correctly. There are many target options namely location, age, gender, etc. There are also other broad categories including ‘Away from hometown’, ‘Has a birthday in one week.’etc. This kind of broad interests would be very efficient to reach a larger audience. (Chan 2011)  Facebook, the ad manager, has an interesting list of interests to target from Marvel comics to scuba diving. The most difficult part comes selecting the best target.

Social media knew a whole lot more things about us like whether we spent more time in Criminal Case or Super Mario.  Facebook probably knows everything about us like getting married soon, reading a detective novel, taking medication, etc. All these details give advertisers the power to reach us beyond the expectation. While deciding on an ad Facebook shows us the number of profiles we can target to each and every subcategory based on our interests and desires.

The most famous speciality of Facebook ads is the power to layer targeting options on one another, and gradually making users more and more accurate. One exciting example of the power of hyper-targeting which got from research is of was featured in AdWeek last year. In it, a marketing person targeted his roommate with ads so specific the poor guy thought he was cyber stalked.

Example to target a specific audience: If a car manufacturing company wants to put up a special discount offer for the aged people or senior citizens, he can layer particular detail, like finding people who is between the age of 60 and 65, and brought a house in the last few months. So, he might be needing a car soon. Realising whom to be targeted will help one to the most efficient ad targeting tool and easy routes to get to the target.

References:

  1. Stelzner, Michael. “Facebook Ads Strategy: How Marketers Need To Alter Their Techniques: Social Media Examiner”. com. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/facebook-ads-strategy-how-marketers-need-to-alter-their-techniques/
  2. Chan, C., 2011. Using online advertising to increase the impact of a library Facebook page.Library Management, 32(4/5), pp.361-370.
  3. Dehghani, M. and Tumer, M., 2015. A research on effectiveness of Facebook advertising on enhancing purchase intention of consumers.Computers in Human Behavior, 49, pp.597-600.
  4. “Defining Your Facebook Advertising Strategy | Mailchimp”. MailChimp. N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Apr. 2017. : https://mailchimp.com/resources/guides/defining-your-facebook-advertising-strategy/html/

Digital Marketing

Marketing of products or services through online digital media and which differs from old traditional marketing in that involves the methods and networks which help an organisation to analyse marketing operations and understand the working and what is not in real time is known as Digital marketing.  (Ryan 2016) Digital Marketers can monitor things like what is being viewed, for how long and how frequent, sales conversions, which content works and which did not work. Technology has supported most major milestones in the history of online marketing since its inception.

Nowadays digital platforms are increasingly united in marketing plans and everyday life, and as people use digital devices instead of visiting physical shops, digital marketing campaigns are becoming more widespread and resourceful.  There are many digital marketing techniques namely Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Campaign marketing, etc. Digital marketing provides the consumer with a previously unbelievable quality and quantity of information in an easily accessible form. (Wind 2002) At present customers can sort products or goods based on their desires like price, brand, value, rating, and also a combination of this attributes.

The tremendous advance in technology is shattering walls between industries as well, shifting the balance of power to empowered consumers and creating what information technology expert Colin Crook has called the emergence of a global grid. This global grid is a network of users, portals and servers offering free communication, scalability for even smallest corporations, total connectivity and universal digitalization. Let’s discuss latest developments and strategies in marketing:

Behavioural advertising is a marketing idea where information about the user is collected based on the online activity with the help of a particular device and across different, unrelated sites, to deliver marketing advertisements personalised to that user’s interests and preferences. Users generate a lot of data in every step they choose in their journey of a customer, and the brands can use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. This Data-driven advertising is empowering advertising companies to find their customers in their audience and help in delivering in real time a much more personal communication. (Chaffey 2012) Online promotion activity is still growing across the world according to the headline global marketing index. Digital media continues to increase rapidly; while the marketing finances are expanding, old media is declining (World Economics, 2015).

Sending a great user experience and gaining the associated benefits is complex and there is a lot to consider, and I have only really touched the surface in this blog.

Reference:

  1. Ryan, D., 2016.Understanding digital marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page
  2. Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012.Digital marketing. Pearson Higher Ed.
  3. Chaffey, D., Smith, P.R. and Smith, P.R., 2012.eMarketing eXcellence: Planning and optimizing your digital marketing. Routledge.
  4. Wind, Y.J. and Mahajan, V., 2002.Digital marketing: global strategies from the world’s leading experts. John Wiley & Sons.

Melbourne Noir: Shelter in the shadows

YouTube Link:

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Earlier I have done five short films in black and white tone, however here the challenge was bit different because the challenge was to narrate a story with four images and two videos. Film noir go beyond genre to have an objective reality as a body of movie described by their predicted change of mood and scepticism. Noir is my favourite theme because it should have a stark, high contrast, sharp visuals, and angular shadows. My aim was to introduce a rustic feel to the modern city Melbourne. The main characteristic of my story was the interaction between the photographer and light. When I was thinking about the narrative theme ambiguity and violent death came to my mind.

The biggest problem I faced during the shoot was the lack of sufficient light and unwanted noise in the image. Adequate lighting can bring vibrant and high contrast black shadows to the frame. It is the constant opposition of areas of light and dark that characterises film noir cinematography, stated by Janey Place and Lowell Peterson. As I shot the video with the Mobile phone, the depth of field doesn’t play a significant role in the photos and videos. One of my classmate, Christina Stenseth’s issue, was with the lighting. Most of the scenes shot at night with subtle lighting and with shadows. Street lights are the only source of light and the main action set in the dark street. The characters and the location often give sufficient lighting emphasis. The antagonist hid in the realistic tableau of the city at night, and most of the time his face is blacked out by shadow as he follows. Due to insufficient lighting, the arrangement of space inside the frame was irregular, because of that establishing long shot and the personalised shots were tough.

The Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski, for the film Schindler’s List, he faced a similar lighting issue, and the film was his first feature film directed by Steven Spielberg. Kaminski shot most of the movies in the black and white emulsion; he uses light as symbolism, and it represents quickly. He is a lover of soft lighting and seen throughout the movie. With the help of natural light, he tries to get a soft diffused look, and he ended up in getting a highlight blooming. Detailed study of Kaminski’s lighting style, helped me to realise the mistakes I have made during the framing process. Using natural light and street lights is a better way to get a soft and contrasting look for the objects in the frame.

References:

1. Naremore, James. More than any Night: Film Noir in its Contexts. Berkley and Los Angeles. University of California Press,  1998.

2. J. Walker, Sheldon. “Schindler’s List (1993) – DP: Janusz Kaminski”. Sheldon J. Walker | Cinematographer. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

3. Tsutsumi, Cindy. “Film Noir | Film Noir: Characteristics.” Cindytsutsumi.com, 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

4. Christopher, Nicholas. Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City. New York: The Free Press, Division of Simon & Schuster, 1997

WE ARE ALWAYS TRACKED

I recently became aware of the extent online media can get into our personal interest and identities. When a person creates a page or an account on social media, he or she has to put their personal information into the platform. These details are then set as our online identity. This profile details will be tracked by the web services and used to target us with various contents, which will interest us.

For example, when we post or browse about our favourite football club and later when we browse, the ads or news regarding the football club will be displayed in the advertisement column, this is because the web services maintain our browsing history and the user profile. Thus, comes the partial identity which is said as the secondary characteristics of the main character. For example, when we plan to buy a gadget online we may browse and add it to shopping site’s wish list or cart, and this data will be your partial identity.

The Identifier is a code that identifies a person or an object uniquely. The identifiers may include the MAC address of our computer’s network adapter, E-mail, Mobile number and even the location through GPS. The rate of information gets increased based on our online browsing pattern. For instance, a search you conducted for “discount shoes” or a list of websites visited. Your profile may also be based on inference data. For example, a service provider has a certain number of data points; they will use those as the basis to infer other things about you

An advertiser can track a user’s movements between Web sites because the first banner advertisement presented can set a cookie containing a unique identifier. Whenever we are browsing online the online web services drop a specific code into our system which we used to navigate, this system includes the data about the browsing and its pattern. This system is utilised by the sites to target us in later browsing. When we enter into a site, and suddenly we find an advertisement based on our previous day’s browse data. For instance, we checked the price of an apple laptop online, and on the next day, we would be able to find advertisements about the suggested laptops with low price, this is done by the web services by dropping the cookies inside our system. For example, Ebay.com sets a cookie to identify users when they log in; this allows users to download content from Ebay.com without having to re-enter a password.

I can conclude that we are always tracked one way or the other, even our present location is monitored by an unknown person on the other side.

References

  1. Wood, Andrew F, and Matthew J Smith. “Online Communication”. Google Books. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  2. Shull, Mark, William Bohlman, and Elisa Cooper. “Patent US20060230039 – Online Identity Tracking”. Google Books. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.