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Android App Development, iOS App Development, Mobile Testing, mobile UX
By Blair Nowitsky, Atimi Software Inc.

With over 5 billion mobile users across the globe, there can’t be a better time than now for you to start considering mobile application development. However, before you start developing mobile applications for your business or brand, it is important for you to understand that mobile application development is a comprehensive process that requires a lot of people to work harmoniously and be on the same page to deliver a quality mobile application.

Below, we’re letting you in on the roles and responsibilities of the different people that will be involved in the development process to help you understand the team that you’re supposed to be looking for when you think of developing mobile applications for your business or brand.


The Perfect Mobile Application Development Team

As mentioned earlier, a lot of people need to work together and be on the same page at all times if you’re interested in crafting a product or application the likes of which has never been seen before. Here are some of the positions that are important for a promising mobile application development team.

 

Project Manager

While all members of the team are extremely important to create a successful and impeccable mobile application, it would not be incorrect to say that the responsibility of streamlining the entire process from start to finish is on the shoulders of the project manager. The project manager of any mobile application development team is not only responsible for delivering on the requirements of the client, but it is also essential for the product manager to ensure that the entire team has the same vision regarding the application or software that is being developed.

Managing and preventing roadblocks in communication, too, is one of the responsibilities of the project manager who is often also referred to as the team leader.

 

UX Designer

The user interface is one of the most important parts of any mobile application and a user friendly interface is almost synonymous to a great application. A designer will not only be able to help you with an impeccable interface, but also with aspects related to branding and marketing, and other important tasks like the creation of the logo for the application.

 

Technical Writer/Business Analyst

Technical documentation, in the case of mobile app development, is the road map, the steps your team will follow to create the app. It includes a business logic, the apps purpose, product manual, steps involved in the development, marketing research, information about the technology being used, the kind of testing you are doing, the time-line, and the budget. It acts as a resource for the development team as well as the manager. Without the road-map, you have to rely on the skills of the developer who skills typically do not include technical writing or business analysis.

 

Developer

As you might have guessed, the technicalities of the application are the responsibility of the developer. With that said, there is rarely anyone who does as much work as the developer in the creation of a great mobile application. A developer is not only responsible for writing great code, but also for ensuring that the application continues to work seamlessly even after it has been launched.

 

QA Tester

Quality Assurance testing is extremely important in the app development process. QA’s primary role is to search for bugs and make sure that they are eliminated. Quality Assurance testers aim at preventing errors and bugs and are constantly improving the process. QA is responsible for training, setting standards, reviewing quality and selecting tools.

Interested in creating high quality mobile applications? We can help! At Atimi, we have professional teams of developers, QA testers, designers, technical writers and project managers that can help you create your application – all without going through the hassle of finding the right people to hire!

With our affordable high quality outsourcing and staff augmentation services, you’ll never have to shy away from or be intimidated by the process of launching an application for your brand or business. All you need to do is give us a call at


778-372-2800


info@atimi.com

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Android App Development, iOS App Development, mobile UX
By Bill Mak, Atimi Software Inc.



















 



 


Find out more about 5G
 

Find out more about IEEE and High Speed Wireless
 

Find out more about the sublime Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
 

Find out more about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book on FLOW
 

Find out more about the magnificent Bill Moggridge
 

Find out more about AIDA (Attention, Interest, Decision, Action)
 


Get in touch with us to find out how Atimi Software can help you build a custom, innovative, enterprise app that offers a superior user experience and stands the test of time.


778-372-2800


info@atimi.com

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Android App Development, iOS App Development, Mobile Testing
By Min Ying, Atimi Software Inc.

Automation is not a new topic, with most software development QA teams employing its use in one way or another. There is also no lack of tools to choose from. On desktop, there are the ever popular Selenium and the HP backed HP – UFT (formerly QTP). For mobile, Appium and MonkeyTalk are among the more frequently used solutions. All of these tools are fine choices for functional and data driven tests due to their object-oriented nature. However, in my experience, there is one type of automation that is seldom mentioned, visual based testing using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology.


What is Visual Automation?

Visual automation relies on the appearance of on-screen elements to perform an action. This is different from traditional automation, which relies on the occurrence of elements in the background resources. To accomplish this, a set of pre-defined or determined visual images and/or transitions are stored. Scripts are written to compare the stored images to the current screen appearance in a set sequence to ensure the application is running through the expected on-screen transitions. Actions can also be scripted in response to on-screen changes. For example, the tools would check for the appearance of a login screen and compare its appearance to the expected result. If the screen matches the expected result, the tool would fill in the user name and password fields by mimicking mouse clicks and keyboard strokes.

 

Visual automation tools not only watch the screen for the appearance of specific elements but they can also act on element transitions, the disappearance of elements, or elapsed time. Actions against these on-screen elements mimic human actions. The tools can attempt to perform functions such as clicking, double-clicking, dragging and dropping, filling forms, etc. The range of action is at the full extent of what humans can do. There are several tools currently available to perform visual automation, including Squish and my favorite, Sikuli.

 

Why Visual Automation?

Visual automation acts much closer to human behavior than object-oriented automation tools. The actions and reactions are only based on visual stimuli to which humans can react. This allows testing to be conducted in a way that is much closer to the human experience than any other type of automation. Consider the following examples:

 

 


 



In the case above, a real human end user would have issues with the page but automated tools would have no trouble finding the login button as long as only the front-end graphic is missing.

 


 



The above test would pass when using object-oriented automation where the tool is used to find if an element exists without considering its proper placement whereas if visual automation is utilized, the defect would be properly identified.

The above scenarios are only a couple examples from a long list of scenarios where an automation tool that behaves similarly to a human user would be more useful.

Another advantage of an OCR-based automation tool is that it is not bound to an application while some other tools have limited access or even no access to the system outside of the application being tested. Visual automation tools can watch the entire screen for any change regardless of source. This way, it is possible to launch multiple unrelated applications and watch for their interactions. It is also possible, if one were to be inclined to do so, to launch a virtual machine and then launch multiple applications within it, with all of them under the control of a single automation tool. It can be quite powerful under the right circumstances.

 

The Case Against Visual Automation Tools

Visual automation also has some glaring disadvantages. If it didn’t, it would be much more widespread.

 

Firstly, it is not well suited for repetitive fast-paced testing. This is typical in a stress test scenario. Due to the nature of human user mimicry, this automation waits for the application to fully load and respond before proceeding. Therefore, testing time is usually much longer than with object-oriented automation. As a secondary effect of this, visual automation is also ill-suite for fast data verification. It is possible to run through a set of data (possibly stored in a spreadsheet or csv) but it would be much more time consuming than with object-oriented automation tools.

Secondly, it can’t handle multiple instances of the same application being tested. This type of automation watches the monitor for predetermined screens to show up. If multiple instances of the same or even similar screens appear at the same time, it can quickly become confusing. This is an unfortunate side effect of the ability to watch the entire system screen rather than just the single application.

Lastly and maybe most importantly, there is potentially a higher maintenance cost. Due to the fact that expected results need to be stored and updated, there would be a much higher human involvement in the maintenance of the comparison banks. Every change to the visual look would require capturing and restoring the new expected result. Even a change in transition would require script updates. Now, of course, the usual tricks of modulation and function extractions would work but this only reduces labor without eliminating it.

 

Opening New Doors

In the world of automation, visual automation (OCR-based) tools are often overlooked even though there are plenty of scenarios where they could offer a superior solution. By their nature of behaving closer to human end users, they can catch errors that would be overlooked by object-oriented tools. Having system wide influence can also open new doors in automation.

 

Yes, there are indeed several glaring shortcomings in visual automation, as I mentioned above, but I’m not saying other tools are not needed or that any tool should be used in exclusivity. For any serious automation of testing, a QA manager should evaluate all available tools and utilize any and all tools to their strengths. I just don’t want you to miss out on OCR tools and the advantages they offer.

 



Get in touch with us to find out how Atimi Software can help you build a custom, innovative, enterprise app that offers a superior user experience and stands the test of time.


778-372-2800


info@atimi.com

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Android App Development, iOS App Development, mobile strategy
By Colleen Nitta, Atimi Software Inc.

Here’s a hard truth that most app developers don’t want to hear: the majority of the millions of apps available for download in app stores today are never going to find success. The fact is, the app market is overloaded with apps that don’t provide enough value to the end user and they are outperformed by their competitors. To avoid ending up in the pile of apps that never did and never will succeed, it’s paramount that you have a concrete mobile strategy in place before launching your app. Whether your app is consumer or employee facing, we’ve come up with some helpful tips for building a winning mobile strategy that’s sure to help your app succeed.


1. Determine Your Goals

As with all strategies in business, the first step in building an app mobile strategy is to define your goals and objectives. Before you start planning for app development, come up with a wish list for what you want your app to have and why – if you don’t have the “why” piece, you won’t be creating an app that makes sense for your enterprise.

Here are some questions to get you started:


a. Why are you building an app?
b. Who is your app for (customers or employees)?
c. Is your app going to improve the lives of others and how will it do that (for instance, will it enhance your employees’ productivity or entertain consumers and if so, how)?


Be sure to look for an app development company that will help you define your goals and build a sustainable mobile strategy. For instance, the first step in Atimi’s process is to work closely with you to create an app blueprint that’s tailored to your needs. We know the right questions to ask to get our clients thinking through the fine details that separate the outstanding apps from the merely good apps.



2. Do Your Homework

Another key element in any successful mobile strategy is research. In order to understand what your users are looking for in an app and demonstrate why they should choose your app over others, you must have done some research on your competitors (if consumer facing) and users. Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll be in a better position to build an app that your users will enjoy.



3. Define Your Monetization Plans

There are several ways in which you can monetize your consumer app. Let’s run through three of the most popular options:


A. In-App Ads (Free With Advertising)

As App Developer Magazine stated in a recent article, “Ads can prove to be a successful option if you collect data about your customers because you have the opportunity to show them highly-targeted ads”. Targeting is what makes in-app ads so appealing to advertisers, so if you opt to go this route, be sure to have a plan for how you’ll track your users’ data. For instance, your app could utilize a device’s GPS so that relevant ads can be shown to users based on their location. Alternatively, your app signup form might include demographic and psychographic information such as gender, age, geographic region, and interests. If you can collect meaningful user data, you’ll attract marketers with advertising dollars to spend. As a testament to this type of advertising, a recent study found that in-app advertising grew by 66% in the US last year to $21 billion and is expected to increase to $35 billion in the coming years. This explosive growth in ad spend is promising for app developers everywhere.

One thing to be mindful of when venturing into in-app ad monetization is that you must always respect your users’ privacy and put them first. As premium ad platform, Jun Group, was quoted saying in a recent Appticle blog post, “The best practice continues to be to ask audiences before gathering, storing and using their mobile data. Let consumers opt-in to a better ad experience, but if they do not want to be tracked or have their data used, publishers and advertiser should respect that.” We couldn’t agree more.


B. Paid App (Free With Advertising)

Paid apps are exactly what you might have thought they were: apps that users must buy in order to download and use. Keep in mind that if you’re going to charge for your app, you must ensure that your app is better than any other free app that’s similar to yours. This is why we research our target users and competitors – to find our competitive edge! There are millions of apps available for download, so you must convey that your app is worth the purchase and prove it once users have downloaded it (this will increase app downloads, engagement, and drive positive app store reviews).


C. Freemium

This popular monetization model offers users a free app download along with some limited free features. To get access to additional features and content, users are required to make an in-app purchase/upgrade. This model is often used for gaming and media apps that hook users with great free features and content and then persuades them to make an upgrade to access deeper or exclusive content and features through a purchase. Apple notes, “While freemium apps are very popular, this model isn’t appropriate for every app. Successful freemium apps operate as services that are continuously supported, often requiring sustained content development to retain users.” So, if you’re planning on going this route, understand that your team will need to have the capacity to frequently produce and publish new content in order to persuade users to buy an upgrade and keep them coming back for more.


D. In-App Purchases

This is a great way to add a new revenue stream to your business. Specifically, if you already sell products and services on your website or in a physical location, creating an app that makes it even more convenient for your customers to shop with you might be a viable option to consider.

Other popular app monetization methods include app sponsorships, subscriptions, along with strategic partnerships and affiliations (we’ll cover these in a future article).



4. Define What Success Looks Like

Once you’ve outlined your objectives and monetization plan, you should define how you’ll track and measure your app’s success. One of the many wonderful aspects of owning an app is that you have the opportunity to gather meaningful user insights and analytics. To attain such data, ensure that your app developer has a plan to track user behaviour. Some key performance indicators you may find useful (depending on your goals) include app engagement (such as time spent in-app), average daily active users (DAU) and average monthly active users (MAU), purchases, installs, subscriptions, conversion rate, and more. You should also monitor user reviews in App Stores – doing so can help you stay in-tune with your user base and discover how to improve your app over time.




5. Consider Future Releases

So, you’ve done your research and defined your goals and monetization plan, now it’s time to consider what the future of your app looks like. Releasing version 1.0 of your app is nothing short of exciting, but even more compelling is the future plans you have. Like most things in business, apps need to change over time to evolve and improve with shifting consumer (or employee) trends, technology and competitors. To build an app that keeps users engaged, you should create an app roadmap that encompasses your future releases. Business Insider notes that more frequent updates are typically associated with higher app user ratings. This can be attributed to several factors, including app improvements such as added features and bug fixes. Further, since users receive push notifications about each app update, apps that are updated more often will benefit from increased top-of-mind awareness.




6. Put User Experience First

As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, 6 Reasons Your Enterprise Mobile App Needs Quality Assurance Testing, if you want consumers or employees to actually use your app, it’s key to make user experience a top priority. Your brand image – both in the eyes of your employees and consumers—is at stake every time you build a new app or release an update, so be sure that you’ve hired the right mobile app development partner. This partner or agency should be experienced at building best-in-breed apps across platforms and devices that provide a seamless user experience (UX) and interface (UI). You can learn more about choosing the right mobile app development partner in this Atimi blog post.


Now that you have a feel for what your app mobile strategy might look like, get in touch with us – we’d be happy to help you solidify your mobile strategy and build an app that your users will love.

Feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to chat.


778-372-2800


info@atimi.com

 

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