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iOS App Development, mobile strategy
By Mike Woods, Atimi Software Inc.

Dynamic Type is not new. It has been around since iOS 7, but its adoption by applications has been somewhat patchy – until now. With iOS 11, Apple is making significant improvements to the feature that should lead to wide scale adoption. This article goes through these changes and considers how they will impact good app design and implementation.


What is Dynamic Type?

iOS has always included great support for text. The OS has dozens of high quality, scalable fonts and a sophisticated text rendering engine. Designers and developers have been able to leverage this rich feature set to produce attractive and functional UIs.

 

However, with a small screen, UI design is always a compromise between fitting content into the view and readability. And as the size of readable text varies from person to person, what works for one may be unusable for another. Text-heavy applications (such as news readers) might offer a text size setting but as such features need to be coded manually, most applications just don’t warrant the effort.

 

To solve this issue, Apple introduced Dynamic Type in iOS 7. It allows designers to utilize a set of seven (later increased to ten) text styles when selecting fonts. These styles are then mapped to different fonts and sizes according to the user’s text size setting. With Dynamic Type, any application can be responsive to the user’s size preference, which improves the experience for a broader range of users.

Dynamic Type supports seven size settings, allowing a significant variation in font size. For example, Body text style is 17pt at the default setting but ranges from 14pt to 23pt. However, this is not the limit as iOS includes an accessibility setting that adds five larger sizes, all the way up to 53pt for body text. (Note that, at present time, only body text size changes in the accessibility sizes – this will change in iOS 11.)

 


 


This flexibility comes with its own challenges. The dynamic range of body text is roughly 4:1, making even short sentences span multiple lines. Static layouts clearly will not function with Dynamic Text. Fortunately, Auto Layout will handle most of the heavy lifting, allowing the UI to adjust layout without the need for code.

Nevertheless, not all layout issues can be solved with Auto Layout alone. Also, retrofitting Dynamic Type into an existing application (particularly if it includes manual layout code) can be difficult. Finally, adopting Dynamic Type means abandoning the other OS-supplied fonts, not to mention custom fonts; not an easy choice for designers seeking a distinctive look.

These challenges have led many apps to be slow to adopt Dynamic Type, or to do so in a naive fashion, resulting in broken UIs, particularly for the larger settings.

However, all this should be about to change…


What is Coming in iOS 11?

At this year’s WWDC, Apple announced several improvements to Dynamic Type for iOS 11 that will have a big impact on the rate and cost of its adoption.

Perhaps the most significant is the ability to use other fonts with Dynamic Type. This allows designers effectively to redefine the text style palette (including typeface and point size) and the system will automatically scale them according to the user’s text size.

To understand the impact of this, just consider an educational application that wants to use Chalkboard SE (one of the standard iOS fonts) as its main typeface. Previously that would rule out Dynamic Type. In iOS 11, not only is this possible, but the designer could decide that the text should be slightly bigger (18pt, say, for body text) to look clearer with the handwriting typeface – and the fonts will still scale appropriately at other text sizes.

It also becomes easier to update existing UIs for Dynamic Text. Auto Layout gets the ability to adjust vertical spacing according to text size so text doesn’t get cramped at larger sizes. And for manual layout code, it is possible to scale pixel distances according to text size for similar effect.





Images can also scale to allow icons to be more visible in large accessibility text sizes. UIKit is even capable of keeping icons in vector form to avoid pixelation issues.

Beyond this, there is improved layout tuning as the text size is being made available as part of UITraitCollection, which is the standard way to track other factors affecting layout.

One final change is that now all text styles change point size with accessibility. This will greatly improve the reading experience for low-vision users as all text, not just body text, will scale. It also impacts design thinking as it means much more variation in content size.


What Does Apple Say?

Perhaps more important than the technical improvements to Dynamic Type is the push by Apple to promote accessibility in iOS 11. This includes applying “design for everyone” principles to the applications and utilities that ship with the OS. Amongst these principles are three goals for the use of text.

1.   Text should be large enough for the user to read. (In other words, text should scale with Dynamic Type.)

2.   Text should be fully readable. It shouldn’t be truncated unnecessarily and it shouldn’t be overlapped or clipping.

3.   An app’s UI should look beautiful at all text sizes.


Achieving these goals requires UIs to be more adaptive than simply allowing text to grow. For example, table cell content is often organized horizontally with an image or icon on the leading side and text label trailing. This looks great for regular text sizes but the larger accessibility fonts lead to the label looking cramped (even to the extent of long words being broken across multiple lines) while the icon sits in a large vertical whitespace. Switching to a vertical layout with the icon above the text maximizes the horizontal space for the text while fitting more content onscreen.

In other situations, accommodating larger fonts may mean reordering vertical content to ensure that action buttons don’t get pushed down by multiline text, reorganizing tool buttons into multiple rows, or hiding ancillary content to make room for important text.

None of these adaptive designs come for free but Apple makes the point that they are worth it to deliver a great experience for everybody. And by delivering such an experience within the system applications, Apple is raising the bar for third-party apps. With iOS 11, users will be more willing to enable accessibility features to improve ease of use, and apps that fail to support Dynamic Type well will ultimately lose out to those that do.


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


With the New Year in full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on last year’s advancements in mobile technology and look at what’s in store for app development in 2017. Here’s our list of the top app dev trends to watch this year.



1. Security

As more organizations instate “bring your own device” or “BYOD” policies, you can bet that enterprise app hacks will occur more frequently. This can be attributed to employees using the same device for both personal and business use, which tends to pose vast security risks to organizations and their data. As one Security Innovation Europe article states, “employees are putting their organisation’s data at risk if they adopt poor security practices in their own time.” For instance, one of the most prevalent security threats occurs when employees access unsecure Wi-Fi connections in places such as airports and shopping malls. By using corporate devices and apps while connected to these unsecure servers, employees may unwittingly share their login credentials with strangers. Additionally, they could be sharing the documents they’re working on along with content their viewing on websites and more – all of which may provide hackers access to highly confidential corporate information.

 

While cybercrime is on the rise, you can protect yourself and your company data by ensuring that the enterprise app development partner you choose offers stringent risk management policies and procedures, as well as built-in app security features.

 

If you aren’t sure where to start when building an app, check out our article on outsourcing mobile app development.

 


2. The Internet of Things

With the continued explosive growth of the Internet of Things or IoT (devices that connect to the internet such as smart watches and smart home items like Nest), apps that can connect to IoT devices are sure to be popular in 2017.

 


If you’re thinking about creating an enterprise mobile app, you may want to consider building one that can connect to IoT devices, for instance, employee activity trackers or smart watches. Connecting your enterprise app to IoT devices that employees and vendors use is a great way to boost app adoption and engagement.

 

Not only will we see more mobile apps connecting to IoT this year, it’s a trend that will continue growing for the foreseeable future. One Gartner study recently estimated that the number of connected things in use in 2016 was 6.4 billion – and that number will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.

 

 

Source

 

 

3. Augmented Reality


With the incredible success of the Pokémon Go app – the most downloaded iOS app in 2016 — businesses everywhere have taken notice and are looking at how they can cash in on the augmented reality (AR) mobile app trend. One of the reasons that Pokémon Go and other AR apps have done so well can be attributed to their highly interactive user experience. As one Forbes tech contributor recently stated in an article, “The mainstream shift toward AR and VR provides new ways to connect with customers and offer unique, memorable interactions.” This couldn’t be truer. As more companies gain momentum with AR apps, others are sure to follow. AR is a hot trend to watch in 2017 and you can be sure that Atimi Software will be there to help you navigate the AR enterprise app space.

 

Source

 


4. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) headsets, like the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR – both of which launched last year – have kick-started a new era of mobile app innovation. From healthcare to national defense, retail and beyond, VR is continuing to grow in popularity and will certainly be a space where more enterprise mobile apps can and will thrive. The booming consumer interest in the immersive experience that VR provides along with the fast-growing number of VR headsets available means that there’s plenty of opportunities for VR apps to flourish.

 

 

Source

 

 


5. Automation
From Google’s self-driving cars to Facebook’s chatbots, automation is a growing trend that experts suggest is here to stay. As Wealth Daily recently explained, “while automated technology has already begun to creep into our daily lives, what we see today is nothing compared to what the future holds…Investors will specifically want to look for the companies taking advantage of this technology, the companies providing it, and the supply chains that support it all.” This is because automation saves companies and individuals time and money.


 

Source

 



This year and in the years after, you can expect to see enterprises creating more intelligent chatbots that help with onboarding employees – reducing the financial and time costs associated with hiring and training. Further, the World Economic Forum predicts that “automation of checkout processes and smart inventory management through sensors and other applications of the Internet of Things” will lead to a reduced demand for traditional sales-related roles. Suffice to say that automation is here to stay – it isn’t just a trend. This disruptive technology is and will continue to change the way we work, live, and interact with companies and brands. It’s a space that we at Atimi see as having endless opportunities for enterprise apps.


Now that you know the top five enterprise mobile app trends to watch this year, you’re in a better position to build an enterprise app that’s both relevant and engaging.


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.


From harnessing the power of big data to adding a new stream of revenue to your business, there are hundreds of reasons why you may have decided to build an enterprise mobile app for your brand. Now that you’ve determined that a custom mobile app makes sense for your business, it’s time to select an avenue for building it.

There are two ways in which you can go about developing your mobile enterprise app: you can outsource your development (have someone or an agency build it) or insource it (have an in-house app developer or a team of them build it).

With each of these options comes a list of pros and cons but to keep it simple we’ve put together a list of the top reasons why you should outsource your mobile app development to a third party agency.


1. Speed up development time

Mobile app development agencies such as Atimi specialize in mobile app development. They are highly motivated, experienced in developing custom apps for various types of clients across platforms such as Android and iOS, and they have the know-how to work efficiently and effectively.

 

On the contrary, an in-house developer may not be as experienced as developers at an agency and, as a result, may take longer to create your app and later find and fix bugs. In addition to a lack of experience, in-house developers often have competing priorities and daily tasks outside of building your mobile app. This can further reduce the time it takes to launch your app.

 

Hiring an outsourced app development partner can be extremely cost effective in terms of time and money since they’re well-versed in the app development space and their sole focus will be your project, so in the long run you’ll be better off outsourcing all or at least part of your app development.

 


2. Save on hidden costs

While insourcing your app development team may appear to cost less on paper than outsourcing to an agency, when you add in hiring expenses plus training (not to mention employee benefits), the cost of time (typically, in-house teams can’t complete projects as quickly as a dedicated, specialized agency), the cost of developing in-house can quickly escalate. This is why outsourcing often proves to make more sense financially – the hidden costs associated with hiring in-house developers simply do not exist when working with a third party.


3. Maintain control over your app

It’s a common myth that outsourcing your app development limits the control you’ll have over your app. In reality, this is not the case. As Rahul Varshneya states, “The trick is to set up systems that work efficiently and create a process of delivery and communication. Create a weekly sprint to review direction of the project. Have a daily stand up on what is expected as tasks of the day and review the previous day. Document everything in emails.” In short, if you communicate well with your chosen app development partner, you won’t lose any control.


4. Higher productivity

If you insource your mobile app development, you can expect your developers to have a thousand other projects on the go. Further, your developers may not be interested in mundane post-launch maintenance tasks such as updating for new iOS and Android versions, bug fixes and so on. This could result in a lack of motivation to maintain the app, causing slower app version releases, code error oversights and more.

Alternatively, when you outsource an app development company such as Atimi, you can rest assured that they’ll be highly engaged and motivated as their job is to cater to you. Your app’s success is their success. When your mobile app developer (or in this case, app development partner) is motivated, they will be far more productive. Again, let the specialists handle the large and mundane tasks – we at Atimi love everything about what we do, which is why we’ve developed hundreds of premium apps for some of the largest brands in North America.


5. Keep peace of mind – you’ve hired experts

Hiring a third party app development partner means you get to have peace of mind in knowing that your app is being built by experts you can trust. Speaking from an app development agency standpoint, we at Atimi understand the ins and outs of app development across multiple platforms and devices. We are experts at what we do and can help create your dream app complete with a solid user experience and seamless user interface – all on time and on budget. The bottom line: let the app specialists handle the app development so that you can focus on other areas of your business.

Now you’ve discovered the benefits of outsourcing your app development to a third-party agency, but whether your development choice is to insource or outsource, look no further than Atimi Software. Based in Vancouver, BC, we are a full-service mobile app development firm. We offer custom engagement that includes 100% outsourcing, or insourcing support where we can work alongside your team to make them stronger and more efficient. Atimi can consult on your complete mobile strategy that includes project management, user retention as well as mobile app monetization.



Interested to learn more about how we can help you create your enterprise mobile app? Feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to chat.


778-372-2800


info@atimi.com

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


So, you’ve recognized that there’s a need to build a mobile app for your business, but you’re not quite sure where to start in terms of seeking a mobile app development partner. There are a large number of app development partners out there from small boutique app development agencies to large-scale corporate firms (of course we want you to choose Atimi, but even if you don’t, you should at least know what to look for so you can find the right fit for you).


Here’s our list of the top considerations you should take when shopping for a mobile app development partner:


1. Agility

Much like in business, the competitive landscape in the app world is ever-changing and if you’re going to stay ahead of the curve, it’s paramount that the app development partner you choose is one who can stay nimble and adapt to your business’ changing needs. If your app development partner isn’t willing to negotiate on scope of work when necessary, they may not be the right partner for you. You need them to be mindful and understanding of the fact that things change and they should be more than willing to shift scope or focus as needed. Be sure to ask your potential vendors for an example of when something changed during development and how it was dealt with. This behavioural-type question will help you assess whether or not the company handles change well.

In addition to being flexible, you should look for an app development partner who has expertise and experience in working with different budget sizes and project processes – the last thing you want is a vendor who encourages sweeping changes to a project and runs wild with your budget.

 




2. Likability

Hiring a mobile app development partner is not a task to be taken lightly. Since apps require updates and maintenance from time to time to suit end user feedback, operating system updates, and more, the relationship you have with your app development partner doesn’t end once your app is released. Because this is not a short term relationship, you need to be sure that you and your team actually like the people you’re going to be working with. Just like you would consider culture fit when hiring a new employee, you should consider culture fit when hiring a mobile app development partner. For instance, if you’re company prides itself on professionalism and accountability, you certainly wouldn’t want to work with a vendor who is opposite to that.

At Atimi, we believe in open communication and collaboration. It’s important for us to keep our clients informed with scheduled status updates so that we ensure we’re all on the same page in terms of progress and priorities. We also believe strongly in holding one another accountable. These are just a few of the ways we keep our clients happy and in the know – every step of the way.




3. Engagement Capabilities

Think about how you and your team would like to be engaged in the app building process; do you want a developer and/or engineer to be on-site with your in-house team working alongside them (insourced), or would you prefer for everything to be outsourced (completely handled outside of your office)? Ask the app development partners you’re speaking with to run you through their process. If you want to be completely collaborative and hands on during app development, you may be better off hiring an app development partner who can provide that. You wouldn’t want a vendor coming in – not knowing what your business needs are – and being too overbearing or too underwhelming in their approach to app development, so be sure to find a partner who offers custom engagement, the way that we do at Atimi. We understand that each and every client and project has unique needs. That’s why we’ll work on or off-site and inject our expertise into your in-house development team, stand them up, and get the project completed on time and on budget.


4. Proven Success

Key point: Just because they say they’re awesome doesn’t mean they are. Do your due diligence before hiring an app development partner; when you’re in a meeting with a potential vendor, ask them to provide you with examples of apps they’ve developed – you may even go so far as to download those apps to get a feel for the overall user experience they provide. If they’re good, great! If not, move on and continue your search. Additionally, ask about the developer’s professional experience. It’s important to know that whichever app development partner you choose has experience building apps across mobile platforms and devices. In addition to finding an app development partner who has experience and a strong portfolio, you should consider finding a vendor who partners with popular operating systems, such as Apple. At Atimi, we’re proud to be an Apple Mobility Partner. We’ve been a part of the AMP program since the first iPhone launched and the opening day of Apple’s App Store. Not to toot our own horn, but we’re one of a select few of Apple Mobility Partners in North America.





5. Business Savvy & Client Focused

Sometimes, IT people don’t speak the same language as the business execs, which can be challenging when deciding on app features and functionality. Because of this, it’s of utmost importance that you find a mobile app development partner who communicates effectively and understands that, at the end of the day, you’re running a business and your app needs to accomplish specific business objectives. This type of business-savvy partner will help ensure a smooth app development process for everyone involved – sans miscommunications and headaches.

At Atimi, we understand that you have important business goals and KPIs, so we keep you, your end users’ experience and your bottom line at the forefront of everything we do.





6. Quality Assurance

This is a piece that often gets left out of these types of articles, but it should be one of the key things to consider when hiring a mobile app development partner. Without proper quality assurance (QA), your app is destined to fail. As mentioned in a previous Atimi Blog post, user experience is everything. You must provide your users with a seamless, extraordinary experience if you want your app to be successful. If your app isn’t regularly and thoroughly tested, you could find your users frustrated and annoyed, giving you poor reviews in the app stores and uninstalling your app altogether – not a road you want to go down.

At Atimi, our robust QA process ensures that your app features remarkable functionality. Our proprietary scripting tools deliver complete cross-platform automated testing, substantially increasing the amount of bugs we’re able to find and remedy. We take pride in our work and do everything in our power to ensure the mobile app we develop for your business provides your users with a stunning user interface and experience.


Hopefully you will find this useful. If you have any questions or want to learn more about Atimi and how our experts can work for you, feel free to give us a call. We’re always happy to chat.


778-372-2800


info@atimi.com

 

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