5 Trends in Mobile App use and Development that will re-define the Industry in 2018

DeveloperAs numbers from the 2017 Christmas season continue to pour in, we are seeing some impressive statistics as the mobile app industry continues to grow. According to recent report, 2017 holiday spending on apps, in-app purchases, and subscriptions rose by 12.3 percent from last year. 

As we get deeper into 2018, mobile app developers are building new ways to connect with consumers. By this time next year, the mobile app world may see itself re-defined by these trends.

#1 – More Mobile Wallet use

Current estimates suggest there to be as many as 1.5 billion mobile wallets in the world. As this number grows in 2018, mobile app developers are looking to turn smartphones into the ultimate personal payment solution. Any brand that has not yet offered mobile payments to its customers may want to consider jumping on board before they get left behind the curb.

#2 – Is Better Mobile App Security Possible – the hope is Yes

Concerns regarding app security continue to permeate the industry. Apple and Google are among the brands who have committed to making their devices a safer, more secure place. Mobile app security should be among the highest priorities throughout code encryption all the way through to release. Test the security up and down and every which way to ensure everything is prepped accordingly.

5 Techniques to Increase Active Users on any Mobile App

Woman using appDownload rates don’t mean anything to an app if it does not have the active user count to back it up. To maximize mobile app engagement, one must focus on a series of strategies to retain the attention of the user. 

A highly engaged user is ideally what any mobile app developer wants, which is someone who checks into the app for a minimum of ten sessions per month. Though not every user will be “highly engaged”, anyone who checks in on average once every three months can be considered a user successfully retained. The unfortunate fact about mobile applications is that user abandonment is high. It’s estimated that 23 percent of users use an app only once and never return to their accounts. With high competition in the marketplace, increasing active user count needs to be a focal point of app development. Here’ are five techniques to get you started.

Strong, seamless on-boarding

The more difficult an app is to use, the less anyone will want to use it. Thereby, onboarding needs to be a simplified process with not too many steps. Studies have shown that onboarding has the potential to increase a user’s lifetime value by as much as 500 percent. To onboard successfully, you must make logins easy, never overload the user with too much information just on opening the app, and help guide the user through using any unfamiliar features.

There’s More to Design than Just Appearances

Web DesignWeb design is not just about aesthetics. While looks count for a lot in design, functionality is just as key. A strong design will also convert visitors into customers and it impresses those who have clicked on it. If a design can’t accomplish these things, it’s not good for much.

How we value and define ‘good design’ varies per person. There are some who will value aesthetics and appearance above all else. Then, there are those who will invest more weight in how easy it is to use. A designer needs to appeal to every person’s definition of ‘good design’, satisfying expectations of appearance while delivering easy navigation.

To win a customer’s business, a design company needs to excel at all of the critical elements of what makes good design. Boiling it down to its basic element, design is about solving problems and in doing so, presenting the solution in most aesthetically pleasing presentation possible. Deciding on what colors to use, how the navigation will function, what typography is best, and ensuring that the message is clear are at the centre of a successful design approach.

7 Web Design Trends that are Heating Up in 2018

Web Design Trends

The onset of a new year has meant looking ahead towards the web design trends we expect to define the next twelve months in the industry. 

No more Pop-Ups!

After years fighting against these little buggers, pop-ups may be on their last legs. Google recently announced that it would punish any site using pop-ups and/or interstitials via its search results.

With Google goes the industry and thus we can expect to see sites slowly do away with annoying content-blocking pop-up ads that do nothing for nobody. That said, not all will fade away. Any age verification or sign-in interstitials still have a role to play for some sites and can be expected to hang around.

Meet Google’s Advanced Design, a New Standard of Account Security

Cyber SecurityOne of the most secure accounts and the latest example in internet security companies attempting to fend off the determination of hackers comes in the form of Google’s Advanced Protection

Any user concerned with hackers breaking into their Google accounts need be recommended the Advanced Protection feature. Widely praised by many in the internet security industry, Advanced Protection demonstrates some of the smartest, most secure authentication anywhere in the world. That said, due to the high security standards maintained by Google, it’s not the easiest feature to operate. To many everyday consumers, it may present more of an inconvenience than a benefit.

To set up the Advanced Protection feature, a user will need to carry with them two tiny devices. To log into your Google account from a new device, these two tiny pieces are required. These are called security tokens which are designed to prove your identity – one going into your computer and the other into your smartphone. No one can log into your account anywhere without these two devices in their possession so short of robbing you, you’re secure!

How to Build a Mobile-Responsive WordPress Website into a High-Traffic App

Mobile AppBeing mobile-responsive is a huge component that any WordPress website should be equipped with. Let’s say you want to take things a step even further than that and build a mobile app from your WordPress site, you’ve probably run into the fact that it’s not easy. Learning how to build an app from scratch is not only difficult for even experienced coders, it’s also expensive. 

For a fraction of what you would pay for a native app build, tap into high-end WordPress plugins that will do all the heavy lifting for you. Let’s be clear in stating that having an app for every WordPress site is not necessarily a must. If you believe an app would improve the customer experience though or if you wish to tap into some traffic you might be missing, it’s something worth considering.

So You Want to build an App from your WordPress site – Here’s what you Need to Do

To get going, a WordPress site needs to be mobile app ready. That means ensuring it has a responsive design. Looking into your site’s analytics to see what devices it is being viewed on is also a pretty good idea.

11 Ways Digital will Continue to Re-Design and Develop in 2018

Digital DesignAs 2017 has continued to change the way that digital does things, the year ahead will continue to capitalize on some of the world’s biggest trends in digital development.

Effortless Navigation

Expect navigation to become increasingly linear and sometimes driven by voice user interfaces as opposed to graphical user interfaces. As speech recognition technology continues to advance, the ways in which this interacts with existing systems will progress as well.

Reducing Visual Clutter

Minimalism reigns supreme in UX design this year. Remove irrelevant noise and prioritize the most relevant information. Content will increasingly be brought to the forefront and advertising messages will become clearer than it ever has been before in this arena.

FDA Approves Digital Pill with its Own Tracking System to Transmit Data to your Smartphone

FDA Approves Digital Pill with its Own Tracking System to Transmit Data to your SmartphoneThe first digital pill that has the capability to track whether you’ve taken it or not has just been approved by the FDA. Designed with an ingestible digital tracking system, the antipsychotic medication Abilify My Cite was created with a sensor that’s ingestible and that sends info to a patch. That patch is then able to transmit the info to a mobile app, notifying whether or not someone has taken the drug.

 Abilify is a branded model of aripiprazole which is a drug typically used to treat bipolar disorders,   schizophrenia, and adult depression. Abilify is manufactured by the Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical. The extremely small sensor embedded into the medication is manufactured by the company Proteus. The sensor used is no bigger than a speck of sand. The sensor only activates after it has been ingested, when it reaches stomach fluid. By activating the sensor, the time as well as the date is then recorded. The patient wears the patch mentioned earlier. As the data is received in the smartphone app, it becomes shareable with the patient’s family  or caregiver as appropriate.

 Though complicated, it marks an impressive step in the world of digital medicine. That said, it does not address non-adherence to medication schedules which is highly common in people suffering from many health conditions, including notably hypertension and high cholesterol. Abilify MyCite addresses a medication designated for mental health however and not physical.

 The FDA in its approval communicated in a statement its support of the development of technology in prescription drugs. The Food and Drug Administration has reiterated its commitment to working with tech companies in finding new ways in which patients may benefit.

Using an App to Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy and AMD

Using an App to Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy and AMDA mobile-based app could be a new, effective way to monitor age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic retinopathy, according to a new study. Presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), patients who used DigiSight’s Paxos Checkup app recorded similar benefits to those who had received traditional clinical checkups.

 This finding further supports the hypothesis that mobile applications hold a lot of potential in the medical field, including for those suffering from vision problems or vision-related illnesses. Despite the assumed benefits of these apps, few of them have been clinically tested. The testing that this app underwent focused on comparing a standard visual test conducted in a traditional check-up setting to a Checkup vision assessment administered by the app.

 The study consisted of monitoring 27 participants who were either suffering from AMD or diabetic retinopathy. They were monitored with Checkup at home, evaluated at baseline and with two monthly visits. In between office visits, participants were instructed to use Checkup for VA and Amsler testing a minimum of twice a week at home. Analyzing the results side by side, the test results of Checkup and the reference tests for AV and Amsler turned out all in agreement. Therefore it can be said with certainty that there was benefit to using the app which demonstrated excellent results similar to the clinical testing. The patient usability survey also showed a 100 percent successful home use rate.

Controversial Mobile App Feature, Snap Map, Presents a New Way to Keep Tabs on your Target Market

Controversial Mobile App Feature, Snap Map, Presents a New Way to Keep Tabs on your Target Market Users of Snapchat may or may not be excited about the new feature, Snap Map that was recently released. This feature essentially allows users to keep tabs on each other along with their current location. Understandably, this is being considered by the public as both good and bad. On the positive side, it allows you to know exactly where your close friends are. On the negative side, it presents a privacy issue, not to mention a safety concern as well.

However, this new Snap Map feature is also proving to be very useful to the marketing industry since this new feature presents a new way to keep tabs on followers and target audiences. I guess you can say these marketers are now like the new big brother, as in they are always watching you!

People that are wanting to use Snapchat as a marketing tool can now boost their social media presence if used correctly. There are five simple pointers one can keep in mind to achieve this goal:

1) First and foremost, you must enable this mobile app feature in order to start using it. Depending on whether you’re using an android or an Apple device, there may be different ways to turn the location feature on. Usually each app will allow you to turn on the location feature individually.

Using Instagram Stories To Build High-Traffic Ads

he missing component from your marketing strategy is Instagram storiesInstagram has introduced ads to their story feature that fit perfectly between the other stories your followers view, and their short-lasting nature can either help or hurt the companies that use them. The first version of the feature only allowed users to expose their ad to the maximum number of people - a feature called Reach. Now, Instagram story ads offer conversions, traffic, video views, and mobile app installs as well.

Say goodbye to the days when you couldn’t attach your business website’s link to your story ads and say hello to the many things these ads now let you do. The users who view your ad can now be redirected to your company website through the call-to-action function, which they’re sure to click if they like what you’re offering. Because so many people take the time to watch Instagram stories, even below-average ads have a chance at creating site traffic. Having said that, better ads almost always get better results.

Apple Now has the Upper Hand on Augmented Reality & App Development

Why Apple is at the forefront of augmented reality and app developmentApple has been copying the ideas of other tech companies for decades, but these ideas are often executed far better when redone by the tech giant. The enterprise has managed to make their versions of old gadgets commonalities through a great deal of innovation. For instance, the presence of wireless payments and fingerprint scanning for both identification and ecommerce have been prevalent in Japan for many years, but it was only when Apple integrated these tools into its iPhones that they became worldwide phenomena.

Despite the widespread experimentation with augmented reality by companies like Google and Microsoft, many businesses are creating their own versions of the live-footage-digital-image system, and Apple is no exception. In fact, the company may place first once again in the ongoing tech war with its iOS 11 ARKit, an augmented reality program that will be compatible with its new iPhone system. With the undeniable popularity of iPhones, augmented reality could be another old concept made new by Apple.

Next iPhone Will Feature Wireless Charging and Waterproof Casing

People who are accident-prone and  have dropped their cell phone in the toilet or pool will be happy to hear the latest in mobile news! It’s official: one or more of the upcoming iPhone models will be constructed to resist water damage and charge wirelessly, and this could put Apple even further ahead in the mobile device game.

No one likes it when their phone is dead and having to find an outlet on the go is pretty inconvenient! Plus, our phones always seem to run out of battery at the worse possible times. With their upcoming model however, this could soon all change for iPhone users. While Android has long embraced the wireless trend, it’s about time Apple warms up to this feature as well. People apparently heard of the wireless feature because of an accidental leak of a sketch of an iPhone that featured a large pad, in the same shape of a typical wireless antenna. 
These features will most likely be built into the iPhone 7s Plus and iPhone 8, as the previously released iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are already water and dust repellant to an extent. If owners of the models expose their phones to water on a regular basis, however, the devices could deteriorate faster, and the warranty doesn’t protect against water damage.

Tech-Savvy San Franciscan Creates Personal Life Adventures App

Former Google employee Max Hawkins had an admirable life from an outsider’s perspective. But he began to fall victim to the plague of mindless routine, and decided he needed a big change. That change came in the form of a randomizer app. We use apps countless times a day, everyday, so why not let one introduce a little adventure into your real-life experiences?

It all began with an app that used Uber to order a vehicle to a location determined by the algorithm. Max never knew where he was going with the app until he got there. This computer-selected “adventuring” soon began to choose random public Facebook events for Max to attend, and despite his concerns, no one found him to be out of place at those events, which ranged from acrobatic yoga to networking meet-ups, to pancake breakfasts.

How to Prevent your Laptop from Overheating

Laptops are notorious for overheating, ever more so than desktops. But if your laptop is reaching ridiculous temperatures frequently or within a short period of time, there may be a problem.

Your laptop may be overheating due to dust buildup in and around its internal fan. Remove the casing and clean the computer’s cooling components as thoroughly as possible. If there was a lot of dust buildup, that dust was likely hindering the functions of your laptop’s parts.

Dust may not be an issue for your laptop, so instead, observe the environment in which your laptop is most often up and running. When any electronic device is kept in a hot or bright environment, it’s bound to catch that energy and heat up quickly. If you can, move it to a cooler area with more shade and start using it there if you see improvement.

Many Canadians are Prepared for a Cash-Free Future

Half of Canadians are okay with leaving behind the colourful banknotes and the loonies and toonies they’ve come to know, according to a recent survey. Two-thirds of those who answered wish to get rid of personal cheques, too.

Unlike other countries, Canada started using digital banking and electronic payments in the eighties, and after three decades of use, citizens have adjusted quite well. The country ranked third worldwide for frequency of cashless payments in 2013, though Sweden is now ahead of most others with its many restrictions on cash.

Because all payments that don’t involve cash are recorded, some people are worried about their privacy, but many understand that revealing a small portion of personal information to make a purchase easily is a fair exchange.

Will a Netflix Price Hike have people searching for other Options?

How devoted are you to your Netflix nights? Netflix is television central for many people, but even the most devoted TV and film fanatics may veer away from the service when it undergoes a price increase.

Australia has increased its Netflix monthly subscriptions for customers who create accounts on weekends, the time of the week that the service is used most often. Basic plans are now $9.99, Standard plans are now $13.99, and Premium plans are now $17.99. The plans have increased by one, two, and three AU dollars respectively.

The company plans to take note of how many people use Netflix after the fees are raised, hoping for little backlash and more understanding from their faithful followers. If all goes well, North America could be next.

Microsoft’s new Phones won’t Look too Familiar

During its one-year hiatus, Microsoft has been hard at work upping the ante with the design of its new phone. With a less than 1% market share and $7.6 billion loss from the Nokia, the company is working hard to gain back its previously lost jobs with its Windows 10 Mobile, which will be complete by July of this year.

Microsoft is optimistic that it will continue to make phones, but the new models won’t have the appearance consumers are expecting. The tech business is putting its time and effort into creating a phone equipped to manage and safe-keep files, a phone that could function like a desktop computer. This is certainly different, but perhaps customers will like the idea.

What You Didn’t Know About Samsung

Standing proudly among the ranks of Microsoft, Google, and Apple is Samsung, an electronics company with nearly eighty years of history. Samsung originally exported goods solely to China and South Korea, but as time passed, it grew into the well-known tech behemoth it is today.

To achieve its $305 billion earnings, Samsung employs approximately 489,000 people simultaneously, beating out Microsoft, Google, and Apple collectively. The company also spent a whopping $14.1 billion on research in 2015, while Apple spent less than half that amount. This may be related to the fact that Samsung produces hundreds of millions of iPhone CPU chips for Apple, all for the 4, 4s, 5, and 5s models.

For every three smartphones sold, one is a Samsung model. In addition to selling phones and phone parts, the company sells televisions at a global rate of almost two per second. Its impressive 95.8% share in the AMOLED display sector of the market and supervision of eighty total enterprises certainly help it stand out.

Should we really be Marketing Virtual Reality?

With so many big names beginning to adopt virtual reality systems, including Google, Samsung, Mercedes, and even The New York Times, you have to wonder if it’s worth all the fuss. Should we be implementing it into every tech-related feature? To find out, we’ll have to look at the data.

Companies that are using virtual reality in some way or another are bringing in more cash, according to statistics. But the majority of that money is passed on to the creators of the virtual reality gadgets. While brands can hire experts to make an app of their own, it’s expensive to do so - up to $500,000, in fact, and it’s hard to tell if it’ll pay off.

Some brands have completely committed to their portion of virtual reality and hope it gets more attention. After an average start, they’re glorifying the information and staying positive to regain the public’s interest. There’s no surefire way to use virtual reality to intrigue customers and increase sales yet, but Amobee, MediaSpike, and Vertebrae have all stuck with it and have been somewhat successful.

Plastic Braces: Another item that can now be 3D Printed

New Jersey Institute of Technology student Amos Dudley managed to 3D print his own functioning braces to straighten out his teeth for only $60.

In an attempt to avoid paying thousands of dollars for new braces, Dudley used his knowledge and materials to create a series of cheap pairs customized to fit his teeth. It wasn’t simple of course, as few things with a 3D printer are.

Dudley first read up on orthodontics to ensure he was creating several sets that would slowly shift his teeth into place. He then made a mold of his teeth for maximum accuracy, storing it in a recycled container and polishing it when it was dry.

New Image Recognition App Identifies Plants

Aspiring botanists, you’re in luck - there are now several plant identification apps available for all smartphones. These apps function similarly to the music identification app Shazam, with which users can determine the title of a recorded song they’ve just heard.

The first of its kind is PlantNet, an app that analyzes plant pictures and matches them to the correct global region. Each photo can be categorized based on the part of the plant that’s visible in the photo, including flower, stem, leaf, and whole plant and then searched within the app’s data collection. The information is quite widespread, though Australian greens haven’t yet made the list.

Another cool app is ForestXplorer. Instead of identifying plants immediately, it offers a match based on the user’s answer to questions about the plant’s characteristics. While the app is interesting, it was created by the UK Forestry Commission, meaning only plants that are native to that region can be identified.

Scan and Identify Artwork with Smartify

A picture recognition app for paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other works of art is in its final stages of production. It allows users to scan a piece, keep an electronic replica of it, and download information about it. The app’s name is Smartify.

This new app will premiere in many famous museums, the Louvre and Wallace Collection among them, sometime in May of this year. Although each participating institution has image recognition systems of their own, Smartify will cover more ground, allowing users to download only one app for thousands of different art pieces. It even draws information from exact photocopies of original works.

All of this was possible for the creators of Smartify due to the predesigned individual apps of each museum; this new app simply collects the data and stores it in one place. After that, it’s as simple as correctly pairing the storage photo with the phone photo.

While the Google-owned app Art Project offers digital visits of famous museums, Smartify searches its data collection in real time when users visit galleries in person. The real difference exists in the overall experience of each app, and Smartify currently has the upper hand.

To help with marketing strategy, every participating museum will gain access to each user’s original location and which pieces they observe the most, all in an anonymous fashion, to get a better understanding of their target audience. Smartify’s developers are keeping their fingers crossed for more artists to make their pieces public so they can be used and promoted through the app.

The biggest issue with releasing this new app is the expected increase in smartphone use during museum visits. For the majority of visitors, galleries are a tranquil, electronic-free experience, and if Smartify is successful, it could very well disrupt that principle.

Problems aside, the new image recognition app is definitely interesting, and while it may hinder gallery visits for some, it will enhance the experience for others.

Putting an end to Marketing Calls

Everyone with a cell phone has received a call from an unknown number at some point or another. Most of the time, it’s a telemarketer or an automated voice message. Not only are these calls irritating, but they’re also money wasters for all parties involved.

With fast-paced technological advances, one would think the popularity of spam calls would drop, as they were originally after landline owners. Unfortunately, these small organizations have adapted to target smartphones. If you’re assaulted with far too many telemarketing calls, here’s how to stop them for good.

First, put your number on your country’s Do Not Call list. While this doesn’t guarantee an end to all spam calls, it ensures that any telemarketer who cold calls you faces financial repercussions. Let the FTC know about any unwarranted calls you receive so fines can be given to the appropriate companies.

McDonald’s Now Accepting Snapchats as Applications

Do you want fries with that ‘Snaplication’? or maybe just a smile. McDonald’s is making applying to work at the fast food chain a snap by appealing to job applicants who use the popular social media communications app: Snapchat.

In Australia prospective hires can send a 10-second video ‘wearing’ a McDonald’s uniform via a Snapchat filter to employers. The global restaurant franchise trendily refers to this initial stage of interviewing as “Snaplications”. The mobile app enables users to make and send videos and pictures which self-destruct mere seconds after viewing. 

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