Category Archives: smartphone

3 key components of building an Instagram Community

Building a large Instagram following can often be quite challenging for brands. To date, the photo sharing super-network is almost completely a mobile one, and to further the challenge, Twitter recently cut off Instagram users from being able to find out which of their Twitter friends are also on Instagram.

Instagram is tough, but it is worth it. Images are such a gigantic part of social content sharing these days and Instagram does a great job at simplifying the process. If you have a visual story to tell, Instagram should be part of your digital marketing playbook.

So how the heck do you build a following on a network that is so tough to find people on? Here are some of the basic components of a successful Instagram community building campaign. Master these and you are on your way to Instagram success.

Hashtags

Hashtags are a critical component of building an Instagram following. They are a great way to find users that share the same types of content as you do as well as a great way for those users to find you.

You always want to include one or more hash tags in every photo you upload. Just as important as including the hashtags is making sure that they are tags that are commonly used. After all, what good is tagging something if nobody is ever going to search for that tag?

A great way to find trending and popular hashtags is to use a third-party tool like Statigr.am. You should never mislead users by loading your post up with unrelated but trending hashtags, but trending hashtags lists are usually diverse enough to include one or more related to your photo. For example, if your picture is of the front of your new office building, your company name may not be the best hashtag, but #architecture or #building maybe better for attracting more eyeballs to your image.

On the flip side, you should be actively seeking new followers by searching on the hashtags most related to your brand. There is a great deal of reciprocity on Instagram so if you find someone who looks like they may be interested in your brands, follow them. Look through their images and like and comment on the ones that have relevance to your brand. You should see this outreach pay off in reciprocal follows, likes and comments.

Activity
To build a solid Instagram community, you really need to post regularly. As with just about any social network regular, smart network activity results in a larger following.

Try to post daily and at different times of the day. Instagram is an international mobile network, so it is generally more difficult to pin down a time that is best to post at. In building a following, you don’t want the same people seeing your photos every day. Mix it up to broaden and grow your audience.

Promotion
Use your existing digital properties to promote your Instagram photos. As with any new social account, you need to let your base know that it exists. One way is to create your own hashtag and promote it offline and on. You should also connect your account to your social networks to amplify the reach of your account. Currently, Instagram allows users to share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and foursquare. Use your success on these other networks to your advantage here.

The Takeaway
Unless your brand is top of mind for the average consumer, Instagram isn’t the easiest network to build a large community on quickly, but the value it offers to your digital marketing campaigns makes it an important tool. The good news is that just about every other marketer out there is up against the same challenges. With knowledge of the tools available and a little creativity, you should be able to build a solid, engaged community for your brand.


Read full article: 3 key components of building an Instagram Community »


9 easy steps towards designing an iPhone App

As an Apple user, you will find plenty of Apps on visiting Apple App Store. Since, many Apps are paid ones, users’ buy and install apps that are visually attractive and appealing. Obviously, it is not a wise thing to do because we have always heard that looks can be deceiving but since there are no demo versions available, as an Apple user a person can only judge an application through the available screenshots.

Well, these screenshots obviously cannot help us in analyzing the usability of the applications. So, the only choice that is left with the users is to judge an app based on the way it looks. If you plan to design an App on your own, you have come to the right place. Today, in this article we will be discussing a few tips to build an iPhone app and a few mistakes that one should not commit while building an iPhone app.

Find your Forte
Before you start working on any sort of wireframe for your iPhone app, it is very important to find your niche. You might like a mobile gaming app but if you think you are not capable enough of designing one, you should not go for it. You can only build a nice app when you are passionate about something. So, find your forte and then go ahead with building your iPhone app. If you are a creative person, you should design something more creative and let the game lover develop iPhone gaming apps.

Having a Flowmap

iPhone app Flow chart example

iPhone app Flow chart example

Now that you are aware of your forte, you should work on having a flow map. There is no point in designing a wireframe or design if you do not have flow map. If you want to build a nice iPhone app, you need to have a proper thought out user flow before you design wireframe. It does not matter how simple your app is, you should still be having a good flow map so that your iPhone application has an easy navigation and the structure makes sense. While you are designing a flow map, make sure that functional keys are designed on the top of the screen and not at the bottom. If you do not have flow map, you will end up confusing your user only.

Importance of Wireframe

iPhone app design: the importance of a wireframe

iPhone app design: the importance of a wireframe

After finding your forte and designing a flow map, you need to focus on designing a wireframe. The two main elements of any application is the overall designing i.e., user interface and friendly navigation of application. When you are working on UX design, all you need to do is analyze which features to include. Apart from this, UI is all about designing an attractive layout of the app. These two elements are the most important, critical and they go shoulder to shoulder.

One is bound to go wrong if the other is not designed well. To being with, you should focus more on wireframes than UI. A wireframe precisely means that your entire focus should be on the experience and not the user interface. You can either use an illustrator or simply pen and a paper. A few things that you should focus more on is navigation, view-ability modes etc. Once you are sure of an easy navigation, you can go ahead and design attractive layout.

Financial Back-Up

We all know that designing a simple app can cost you a lot of money. If you are confident about your idea, you must get a financial support. Generating an idea is the easiest things as far as building an app is concerned. You need to focus on getting good developers; designers and finally you would need a nice marketing strategy as well. Building an app is a whole process of generating an idea and then executing it via developers, designers and QA engineers. You cannot launch your app unless you have polished it and for all this you would need funds. So, develop the budget and find someone to finance it.

Importance of tappable Area

iPhone app design: the importance of a tappable area

iPhone app design: the importance of a tappable area


While we are discussing a few easy steps towards building an app, this is small but a very important point. Finger sized tap will make your application easy to use. Always keep in mind that people will be tapping and not clicking so tappable area needs to be increased. As per apple’s recommendation, 44×44 px is suitable for tapping area.

If you are a developer yourself, you would know that increasing size for tapping does not mean that your button’s size needs to be increased as well. Tappable area can be expanded anyway however, if you have multiple buttons in the same row, you should make sure that tappable area for all buttons is not overlapping in order to avoid any sort of confusion and frustration on user’s end.

Primary Actions

iPhone app design: primary actions

iPhone app design: primary actions

While designing an app’s screen, you need to make sure that your screen focused on the main goal of your user. As a designer/thinker/developer, you would know the most important areas of your apps so focus on the most important and highlight it. Your app should highlight your primary actions.

Avoid Default Button Styles

iPhone app design: avoid default buttons

iPhone app design: avoid default buttons


Let me be very honest about it, the default style buttons are not very attractive and if you want to use them, you should have a very boring UI of your app. If you want your app to look visually attractive, try designing customized buttons for your app so they can compliment entire layout. Designing a button is not that difficult because you will find plenty of tutorials.

Extra Views can be beneficial

iPhone app design: Extra Views can be beneficial

iPhone app design: Extra Views can be beneficial


If your app has a lot of information to share, you must add extra views. Apple utilizes the feature of adding extra views a lot. This thing can definitely avoid lots of confusion.

Mistakes to Avoid
Apart from all the tips avoid making following mistakes:

  • Design should never dictate functionality.
  • Avoid using low resolutions
  • Too much usage of animations should be a big No
  • Do not use blank screens when app is loading and user is waiting.
  • Be original. Avoid copying styles from other platforms

Read full article: 9 easy steps towards designing an iPhone App »


10 Most Important Guidelines for Mobile Web Development

An immense development in the world of mobile devices has made things a lot easier for mobile users. With Android, iPhone and other Smartphone people are accessing internet simply from their mobile websites. As per a recent research, more than sixty three million people in States visited different mobile websites via their mobile devices and the count is expected to reach almost 2 billion by the end of next year. Since the numbers are growing like anything, it is very important for designers and developers to come up with websites specially designed for mobile usage.

Good thing about mobile web development is that as a developer or a designer, you won’t have to make an extra effort to learn something out of the blue as far as technology is concerned, in order to develop a mobile website design. All you need to have is a whole new perspective regarding designing of the mobile website. Today, in this article I am aiming to sum up the most important guidelines for mobile web development in a simpler way. So here goes:

Initiate with Analytics – It is extremely important to analyze a certain points regarding your mobile users’. To start off with, review the stats of your OS. This will help you in analyzing the important and most visited web pages of your website. You will also get to know the country/city you are driving the most traffic from. Apart from analyzing the top pages visited by users’, make sure you check the keywords being used in order to get an access to your site. These analytics will help you a lot in your mobile development and will definitely bring positive results.

Visitors Profiling – Mobile users are bound to have different needs altogether in comparison with desktop users. While developing and designing your mobile website, make sure you put yourself in the mobile user’s shoes. If your target audience is teenager, they will always be on the go so your website should be easy enough to use while driving, shopping or any other activity. Analyzing audience profile is indeed helpful in mobile web development.

Minimize the usage of images – Excessive usage of images is not considered to be a very practical act for mobile websites. In fact, images are considered to be a bad news for mobile websites and that too for the following reasons:

  • In general, images take a lot of time to load because of their large sizes. As a developer and designer, you must keep in mind that mobile users are often using slow internet connections and their connections cannot handle download of heavy images. So, this is one good reason to avoid usage of images.
  • Each image will require a new HTTP connection and because of the latency it has, it will further slow down the loading of the page.
  • Sizing of the images for all kinds of devices can be very difficult due to the different resolutions. You are inviting a whole new lot of effort by including a lot of imagery in your mobile website.

Still, if you really desire to use images in your website, make sure you use CSS Sprite because it helps in time reduction of loading.

Do not rely on JavaScript – Different mobiles will support different browsers and if you are developing a website to accommodate all of the browsers, you should not rely on JavaScript because mobile browsers are not very good with supporting JavaScript. Apart from this, mini browsers such as opera mini, also provide poor support to JavaScript resulting into a poor outcome. This issue is expected to get resolved in coming years thanks to Apple, Android and Blackberry devices.

Avoid drop-downs – While you are developing/designing a mobile website, make sure you avoid fly-outs and drop-downs in your website. This is a good thing but only for desktop websites since a user is able to move the cursor over any tab to view the drop down. Yes, a notch for dragging down can be used but then again, it is not a great idea for mobile websites. It would be a good idea if you do not use this thing at all.

Optimizing Download Speed with minimizing JavaScript and CSS – As mentioned earlier, JavaScript is not a reliable thing and if you want to increase the downloading speed of your website minify the JavaScript and CSS and it will automatically improve the downloading speed of your website. Also, minifying JavaScript and CSS should not be a difficult task so there should be no excuses for doing this.

Horizontal and Vertical Layouts – These days we see a lot of mobile websites supporting both horizontal and vertical layouts for the websites. Yes, they work well for iPhone and Android devices but this is not practical for all Smartphone’s. While developing your website, you should go for a single column form. This will allow your users to scroll and that too in a single direction. By default, the single direction should be vertical because this is what is natural and a user expects this as well. If any images are being used, they too should support vertical scrolling. Opting for both vertical and horizontal scrolling is not a good idea.

Take advantage of mobile features – A great way to develop your website is to learn the features of mobile devices which are the most popular. You can then incorporate these features into your mobile website and this will be a definite plus for your website.

An option to visit your regular website – Mobile website is bound to have very limited information and in case a user requires more information, you can always provide a link of your regular website on the main page of your mobile web site.

Speed of your website – While developing your website, this is the most important thing to consider. Your site’s speed should be good enough to deliver website’s content quickly. If you want to achieve this, apart from avoiding JavaScript you need to avoid usage of flash as well. The most important guideline for mobile web development is to focus more on functionality and speed.


Read full article: 10 Most Important Guidelines for Mobile Web Development »


How Most App Makers Are Making Money

“Freemium” has become the standard business model in mobile apps.

According to a BII analysis of App Store data, 93 percent of the top 100 grossing iPhone apps use in-app commerce. Of those 100 grossing apps, two-thirds are free.

As most the top grossing apps are games, in-app commerce is most commonly used to sell in-game currency. However, companies like Pandora and eHarmony are using in-app purchasing to sell subscriptions, while Marvel is using it to sell access to comics.

in app purchasing is driving mobile app revenue aug-2012

in app purchasing is driving mobile app revenue aug-2012


Read the full articole: This Is How Most App Makers Are Making Money »


The Future Isn’t About Mobile, It’s About Mobility

While the globe grapples with uncertain economic realities, “mobile” appears to be gold.

Facebook is expected to announce their uniquely targeted mobile advertising model before the end of the month. Amazon is talking to Chinese manufacturer Fox Conn with ambitions of building their own mobile device to serve as a compliment to Amazon’s considerable digital ecosystem of products and services. China itself has surpassed the US as the world’s dominant smartphone market with over a billion subscribers and roughly 400 million mobile web users. Advisory firm IDC predicts that by 2014 there will have been over 76 billion mobile apps downloaded resulting in an app economy worth an estimated thirty five billion in the same year. Mobile business will become big business in the not so distant future.

However, there will be blood as the business world pursues the mobile gold rush.

We’ve seen this movie before. In the early days of the web, it was the website that created a browser-fueled gold rush — until organizations realized that maintaining a website that provided real value was more difficult than launching something quickly. The same story is now playing out in social — getting something launched on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest is easy, but building an engaged and meaningful following isn’t. And the same will happen in the rush to mobile if companies take a “channel” approach vs. a behavioral approach. In short, it’s not about mobile as much as it is about understanding mobility.

In the early days of digital, the core behavior we needed to understand was that people wanted information at their fingertips and the convenience that came with digital transactions. In the social era it was all these things plus social connectivity. Mobility means information, convenience, and social all served up on the go, across a variety of screen sizes and devices.

Mobility is radically different from the stationary “desktop” experience. In some cases, mobility is a “lean back” experience like sitting on a commuter train watching a video. In other cases it can be “lean forward” — like shopping for a gift while you take your lunch break at the park. And in many cases, it’s “lean free” when your body is in motion, or you’re standing in line scanning news headlines or photos from friends while you wait for your turn to be called.

Mobility trumps mobile. The difference between mobility and mobile is like the difference between hardware and software. Mobile is linked to devices — it is always one thing, wherever it is. But mobility changes with context: cultures incorporate mobile technologies differently. For example, in Africa, SMS technology helps farmers pay bills electronically. In America, it helps teenagers keep up with their friends — an average of 60 times a day. Mobile itself is the nuts, bolts, and infrastructure, while mobility is the context which determines if it all works together or doesn’t.

To avoid “bloodshed” in mobile, learn from past lessons in Web, digital and social. Improve your understanding of the nuances of mobility and mobile behaviors before you ramp up your investment in mobile. Resist the temptation to rely too much on a guru; hiring a guru will only take your organization so far. Many of the organizations who brought in “social media gurus” learned this lesson the hard way. A single individual cannot scale. However, if the organization is willing to put real teeth behind their mobile efforts, a single smart person can help form a center of excellence. Establishing a center of excellence that puts mobility at the core, and integrates it with other business initiatives, can get a business thinking about mobile more strategically.

Secondly, realize that going mobile is not the same thing as having an app. In fact, avoid the temptation to “app everything.” A lot of content — whether video or text-based — can easily be optimized for mobile consumption. Popular apps such as Flipboard or Pulse point to a future of consumer “appgregation” — using one app to aggregate many sources of content. Instead of creating a whole host of apps that few are likely to download, invest in making your “digital ecosystem” more mobile-friendly.

Lastly, don’t put mobile tactics in front of strategy. In the early days of the web, every site seemed to have an animated GIF or a clunky site-counter. In the early days of social, companies spent millions on costly Facebook apps with cute gimmicks but no real utility or sharing value. Today, companies are scrambling to come up with something “mobile” whether or not it makes sense for their long-term business goals, and whether or not users will actually want it. The outcome is the same in across all of these examples: a low number of visits/installs/downloads and ho-hum business results. Tomorrow’s winners of today’s mobile gold rush will boast significant (and sustainable) usage numbers due to the value of their content, whether it’s sheer utility or impossible-to-ignore entertainment value.

Today’s mobile realities are stark. Competition is fierce and users are demanding. If your company wants to put out a fitness app, you’re competing not just with Nike FuelBand or Run Keeper, but with dozens of other apps put out by scrappy start-ups.

Before doubling down on mobile, any business should first ask themselves if they really understand mobility as a behavior and lifestyle, followed by tough questions about the role mobile plays in their business. From there, a strategy for mobile, built on an understanding of mobility, can take root.

Build on the expensive lessons learned from past bubbles and there will be less “blood” all around.


Read the full article: The Future Isn’t About Mobile; It’s About Mobility »


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