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IT Outstaffing: Should You Pull the Trigger?

Striving to get your IT projects done effectively and efficiently?

Well, most of the IT projects get stuck because of numerous difficulties and complexities resulting due to a lack of development capacity. 

IT companies require their staff to be updated, vigil, fast, and super talented. An IT company that faces the issue of lack of development capacity might face hefty losses in business and profit.

However, to avoid these issues, big corporations prefer to work with outstaffing their IT projects and strive to upgrade the effectiveness and efficiency of their core operations.

With Outstaffing their work, organisations are reducing their expenses up to a substantial amount along with improving their scalability and flexibility.

The majority of the organisations require IT specialists, temporarily or based on project requirements. In such a scenario, employing IT professionals for a permanent role can be a costly affair for the company.

Therefore, assigning the projects to an outstaffing company and entrusting them with management and developments of the same can be a smart decision for them.

To understand the concept of IT outstaffing services, let’s discuss its various aspects in brief.

Trends and statistics of outstaffing in the industry

Since the year 2020, there has been an unprecedented level of increase in the sector of remote working.

Remote working is also commonly known as hybrid working. Due to the devastating spread of Covid-19 majority of the organisations have adapted the culture of remote working to continue the core operations of the company smoothly.

  • Major organisations are concentrating more on their core business and prefer to assign complex tasks to professionals who are specialised in the respective fields. They are also boosting their work processby inducing their operations with RPA (Robotic process automation) to eliminate the repetitive tasks processes.
  • Most organisations are moving to cloud-based technologies for better scalability and security. The majority of companies prefer to outsource or outstaff all their infrastructure-related work.
  • Companies are looking for IT professionals that are specialists in building complex and advanced products. If the right talent is not available locally, they are open to hiring globally.
  • The substantial growth of Artificial Intelligence in the industry makes major organisations infuse themselves with this advanced technology. Therefore, such companies are looking to outstaff AI-centric projects to IT professionals who are specialised in automation and AI.
  • After the pandemic, more people are preferring to work remotely. Organizations are finding headhunting more tiresome, less fruitful, and most of the time the right talent is out of reach for an onsite job.
  • Several organizations are finding it difficult to maintain their talent pool and it is affecting their productivity. Since human resource plays a vital role in business growth, they are looking for innovative ways to attract and maintain talent. 

Definition: What is outstaffing?

For a better understanding of the concept of Outstaffing, let’s discuss it in brief.

IT outstaffing is a concept where big corporations, companies, or organisations collaborate with IT professionals and hire them to work for them as independent developers. Hiring an IT developer or a team of developers to do remote work on the IT projects of the companies is known as IT outstaffing.

These IT developers are directly employed by an IT outstaffing agency, but they ensure to perform all tasks for your organisation and submit it on time. The IT outstaffing company also has the entire responsibility of paying wages, bonuses, and other employment benefits to the employees.

To be clear about this concept, you must know that outstaffing and outsourcing are two entirely distinctive concepts.

Outstaffing is a concept that allows you to gain access to hiring an independent development team. Moreover, in Outstaffing, the chain of communication is not complex and is simple because you can directly contact them for the status of the projects. It also eliminates the complex process of communication in the form of hierarchy.

Furthermore, in IT outstaffing services, you can also instruct the development team to work on multiple projects at the same time according to the work agreement conditions.

Outsourcing Vs. Outstaffing

The concept of outsourcing and outstaffing is commonly confused with one another.

Indeed, both the concepts are a bit similar in some aspects; but if you will try to understand it in brief they are entirely different.

Let’s clear your confusion regarding both the concepts and help you gain a clear understanding of the same.

Advantages of outstaffing

Outstaffing is a popular concept of getting work done by independent IT specialists without enrolling them as an employee in your company.

Besides the easy culture of getting work done, there are numerous other benefits of outstaffingas well. The various advantages of IT outstaffing services are as follows:

Smooth model of hiring

Outstaffing is one of the best forms of getting your IT projects done by IT specialists and professionals.

With the benefits of IT outstaffing services, the company can have their own permanent staff and also can hire independent professionals who are specialised in certain fields and technologies from other companies temporarily.

The features that makehiring outstaffing services beneficial for your company as well as for your hiring model is that this way, you can maintain a flexible team and can have full control over cost and resource management.  You can make a onetime payment to the outstaffing service provider and the wages or salary of the IT specialist along with bonus and benefits would be handled by them.

Full control over the development project

Another benefit ofIT outstaffing servicesis that your projects and work is handed over to the hired development team, which means that the work will be done by the partner company employees. However, the control over the development projects remains with you.

While deciding whether to outsource or outsaff software development, you must keep in mind that with outstaffing, you will have a dedicated team of IT staff to work on your project.

By choosing IT outstaffing services, the companies will get a chance to vet the professionals before hiring and since she will act as a dedicated staff to your company the project will be delivered on time with the expected quality.

Full access to the resource

The prime reason why most organisations are choosing outstaffing is that this way, they will have full access to the day-to-day management decisions as well as resource management. If you have a project manager, she can assign the day-to-day task to the hired professional or you can also a hire team of IT professionals that include designers, developers, project managers, testers etc.

Substantially low costs

The cost of outstaffing is substantially low compared to hiring permanent employees. You do not have to pay any bonuses, benefits to the IT specialist you hire through outstaffing and you also get a dedicated employee to the team. Also, there is no labour penalties for downsizing your outstaffed team.

Moreover, if you are on a “pay per hour” contract, you will get a precise report on how much time each task is taking, and you can also request the staff to work on more specialised tasks.

Overall, the expenses spent on a permanent employee are substantially higher than making a single time payment to an outstaffing company. Furthermore, if the company is more careful and attentive in working effectively and efficiently, outstaffing will be the right option.

Cons of outstaffing

Outstaffing models are beneficial for companies in general, but every hiring model does have its loopholes as well. The outstaffing model has a few shortcomings or challenges that are as follows:

Communication gap

Since the hired professional will be working remotely or independently and separate from the entire development team, this might result in some communication gaps between the team of IT staff. Such communication gaps between the team might result in misunderstanding, complexities, and non-quality work.  

However, today, due to the advancement in technology and communication, this can be mitigated by using the right communication tools.

As the project management team of the company, you must ensure a smooth communication channel with all the developers of the development team that are part of the outstaffing company. Moreover, you must also make sure that the entire team of the project is connected and updated with the required details of the projects.

The reporting and work status must be transparent and should be shared with the corporate team managing the IT project.

Responsibility of the project

Hiring anIT outstaffing company to provide the IT projects to them can raise a question relating to the responsibility of the projects. Indeed, the final responsibility of the project is within the hands of the outstaffing company only; however, it is fair enough to say that the responsibility must be shared.

It is always recommended to curate the contract based on all the aspects of the projects including responsibility and resolution.

What types of business will benefit the most from outstaffing?

Outstaffing is a common work model that is incredibly famous in the entire corporate industry.

It has various benefits such as cost-effectiveness, saving time and effort to find the right talent, quality of work, flexibility and more.

The concept of outstaffing is a common concept that is not linked with any particular industry or business. However, as per the popular trends of the market and survey reports of various experts, we can say that the concept of outstaffing is highly beneficial to small businesses who like to manage their resources more efficiently.

IT outstaffing is also beneficial to the companies who want IT projects to be done by professional developers without going through the pain of hiring them as direct employees.

This hiring model is also suitable for businesses that need people who are specialised in certain fields or technologies only for a particular project or temporarily.

Where to outstaff?

There are numerous outstaffing companies available across the globe. However, the cost associated with outstaffing varies depending on the living standard in these countries. If you are looking to outstaff software development with a minimum cost without compromising on quality it will be better to hire from developing countries like India, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, the Philippines etc.

But always vet the professionals before making a hiring decision. Also, it is recommended to check the history, vision, experience, expertise, and reviews of the IT outstaffing company before making a partnership with them.

Final thoughts

The outstaffing model is incredibly famous, beneficial as well as productive for organisations that want to implement IT projects. If you are aiming to develop complex or high-quality IT products without increasing your employment budget, then IT outstaffing is the best option for you.

AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in the field of web, mobility, DevOps and AI. We have a pool of specialised talent with the experience of working on small to complex projects for several verticals from media to government.  If you are looking for an IT outstaffing company for your next project, contact us now.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is IT outstaffing?

Outstaffing is a form of indirect employment of a developer, development team, or professional. In this hiring model, a company hires a dedicated and specialised professional temporarily through an outstaffing service provider to ensure better resource management, flexibility, and quality of work.

What are the advantages of it outstaffing?

There are numerous advantages of IT outstaffing. Some of the most beneficial pros are as follows:

  • IT outstaffing is more affordable.
  • Full control of the management aspect of the IT projects.
  • Full control over the resources hired.
  • Access to the vetting process.
  • Decrease of a burden on the corporate team in regard to talent hunting and management.  
  • Saves time and promotes flexibility.
  • Access to the best talent and specialised professionals.
  • Promotes working on complex or multiple projects simultaneously.

Should I outsource or outstaff software development?

Outstaffing the development project can help the company to have access to the right talent with minimum cost and effort. It provides you with dedicated resources without the need to go through the complexities of hiring and maintaining talent.

On the other hand, outsourcing helps with getting the work done by an outsourcing company without any worries or additional effort from you.

How much does outstaffing software development cost?

As compared to the outsourcing model, the outstaffing model is comparatively cheaper and more cost-effective. However, the exact cost will depend on the speciation and experience of the resource. For an estimation, please contact us.

What is the best country to outstaff software development?

If you are cost-conscious, outstaffing IT projects to any developing country that has the right talent pool will be the right option for you. Since the cost of living is less in such countries, the project cost will also be less. However, male sure that the country and the organization has the right infrastructure, suitable working culture, experience in working on similar projects before outstaffing.

Finding the Best DevOps Consulting Services

DevOps consulting services are becoming popular day by day. The estimated value of the global DevOps market was USD 4,311.95 Million in 2020. It is expected to cross USD 5,114.57 Million by the end of this year. Considering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.95%, experts have forecasted that the value will reach USD 12,215.54 Million by 2026.

The reason why DevOps has become so popular is that it promotes a culture of trust and risk-sharing between team members. It motivates teams to continuously work together, experiment and shares knowledge to reach a common goal, i.e., make a software product ready as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The statistic shows the importance of DevOps in scaling software development. Courtesy: Statista

As it promotes team play and encourages communication and mutual support, the uncertainty regarding the quality of the end product is minimized. As a result, so many businesses are adopting DevOps at a fast pace to eliminate uncertainty and improve the quality of their products.

What is DevOps?

AWS by Amazon defines DevOps as

“DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.”

Microsoft Azure defines DevOps as

“A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers.”

The above definitions make it clear that DevOps is not just a method or technique. Rather, it is a combination of principles, practices, methodologies, values, and philosophies that are shared between teams to help them achieve a common goal of creating software with maximum value.

Benefits of DevOps

DevOps offer so many benefits to a business. But what makes DevOps more popular is how crucial these benefits are to a business.

High collaboration

Communication between teams is crucial when developing a product. Developing a web or mobile application is not a simple process. It involves a set of processes such as market study, product conceptualization, product designing, development, deployment, and maintenance. The quality of the final product will depend on the level of mutual collaboration, communication, and integration across various teams who are part of the whole process.

DevOps encourages an environment where the boundaries between each team are reduced. There is a free flow of information and mutual support between teams to ensure that the quality is maintained at each stage of product development. Did your IT team have to send back the module your development team had worked tirelessly for the last few months as there was a conflict between the code and the deployment environment? DevOps will save you next time!

Early conflict detection

DevOps encourages knowledge sharing between teams. Each team will have a clear idea of what must be done and what are the requirements at each stage. These requirements are clearly communicated to other teams. The automated, continuous monitoring along with rigorous testing eliminates the chances for any conflict. And even if a problem arises, it is identified and mitigated in the initial stage itself.

Innovation

DevOps promotes collaboration between teams. When a group of talent comes together, the chances of finding something disruptive is much bigger.

Also, DevOps streamline the whole process of product development starting from market study to deployment and maintenance. The roadmap, automation, rigorous testing, and continuous monitoring help with eliminating extra work and reworks. The teams are more relaxed and there is a good work-life balance that promotes a fresh mindset and innovative thinking.

Faster delivery time

Automated processes, an environment that discourages conflict, quick feedback cycle and continuous delivery models help with transforming software development into a smooth and fast process. Effective communication and continuous testing ensure that quality is not lost in any stages. As conflicts and rework are less to nil, the projects are completed within deadline and with maximum efficiency.

Better quality

From the above points, it is clear that DevOps directly improve the quality of the end product. Rigorous and continuous testing, mutual collaboration, effective communication, continuous feedback cycle and automation are a few of the many factors that contribute to the quality of the product.

Reduced cost

Most businesses wonder whether they can afford DevOps services. This doubt arises from the misunderstanding that the budget can be reduced without affecting the list of features or quality of a product. Chances are, if you are opting for the traditional development process, the cost may increase due to conflicts and reworks. You may end up spending more than forecasted.

DevOps consulting services

To get all the benefits of DevOps, you must find the right DevOps consulting company. However, finding the right one may seem difficult due to the variety of options available in the market. Also, there are certain parameters you must check while choosing a DevOps consulting service. These factors not only help you to find the best DevOps consulting company but also you will be hiring the right one for your requirement.

Finding the right DevOps consulting company

Here is a list of things to check while hiring a DevOps consulting firm.

Identifying your requirement

The first step in choosing a DevOps consulting firm is to identify your requirement. Ask yourself questions like

  • What are your requirements
  • How are you planning to meet these requirements?
  • What is the available solution for your requirements?
  • What are the pros and cons of each available solution?
  • Which are the solutions that match your budget and timeline?

For example, if your requirement is to develop a complex product that demands certain technical expertise and faultless implementation, hiring a DevOps expert will be better than hiring a full stack developer.

If you are planning to hire an external agency instead of hiring a team in house, DevOps will be a better choice since it offers a robust feedback cycle along with ensuring that the product is ready as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Expertise

DevOps consulting firms should be an expert in software development and IT operations.

A DevOps consultant usually works on complex projects. Without having a better understanding of the process, technology stacks, methodologies, and operation constraints it will be harder for them to implement a project and achieve the results that are intended.

Also, since a DevOps engineer is most likely to work with an external company, it should be easier for them to understand the current technologies used by the said company, what are the strength and weaknesses of these technologies, and how to improve them to match the actual requirement without increasing the cost to an exorbitant level. The best DevOps companies are a maestro in doing research, analysis, evaluation, and planning.

Communication

Communication plays a large role in any DevOps project. In fact, it is one of the core aspects of DevOps project management.

Since DevOps demand mutual collaboration and knowledge sharing between teams and there is a continuous feedback cycle involved, communicating in a clear and precise manner is very important. Not only that, but a DevOps expert should also be well versed with popular communication and project management tools since most of the communications and monitoring will be done through technology platforms.

Support mentality

What DevOps tries to achieve is a rapport between different teams in the same project. It helps with finding innovative ideas and helps with avoiding conflicts and glitches in product development.

While elimination is a reactive process, avoiding a conflict altogether will need a proactive approach. The approach demands proactive communication and a supportive mentality between team members and different teams. For example, the IT team can help the development team to understand the strength and weaknesses of the client’s IT infrastructure and help them develop codes that are fully compatible with the existing environment. This also demands that each team has expert knowledge and adequate experience in their own field.

Being friendly

Only a friendly environment can promote team collaboration and communication. When team members feel intimidated or not valued it will negatively impact the whole process. It will also add certain biases to the product development cycle and the quality of the final product will be below the bar. So, a DevOps Expert should be friendly in her approach and promotes friendly gestures and expression of gratitude whenever possible.

Professionalism

Friendly yet professional. That should be the description of a DevOps expert.

While friendliness encourages communication and feedback, overdoing it may add certain biases to the product development cycle.  For example, as a DevOps professional your duty is to ensure that a software product is ready as quickly and efficiently as possible. It demands keeping up with deadlines, monitoring resource allocation, monitoring the status of tasks assigned to team members and checking and verifying quality at every stage of the development. These duties demand an honest approach towards identifying problems and solving them as early as possible.  But biases due to lack of professionalism and being overfriendly may result in overlooking these issues and the quality of the product will suffer.

Willingness to learn

A good DevOps expert never stops learning.

Most likely that a DevOps engineer will be continuously exposed to different problems and different teams each time they take up a project. Since the core philosophy of DevOps is to work as a single team trying to achieve the same goal, each member of the team should have a proper understanding of the whole project. They should also understand why certain things must be done in certain ways and how not following the guidelines will jeopardize their team or the next team in the product development cycle. 

Empathy and patience

Software development is a complex process. It involves different stages, continuous feedback, and several iterations. Not all members of the team will be familiar with the scope of the project especially when there is a junior member involved. Since DevOps demands different teams, who may be an expert in their field but lack knowledge in other aspects of software development, to work together, it is likely that some members have some catching up to do. They may need more time for getting familiar with the project or need occasional technical assistance from an experienced member.

A good DevOps consultant will take notice of this and try to solve it in the most effective way possible. It is because she understands that when it comes to teamwork, there are no individual problems but problems that are common to everyone as a team. This is also why a good DevOps engineer can easily help their clients with solving the technological challenges they are facing.

Conclusion

The popularity of DevOps is increasing day by day. It is mainly due to the advantages DevOps is offering compared to other product development methodologies.

Hiring DevOps consulting services helps businesses to develop software products as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, the success of the projects will depend on factors like whether the business was able to hire the right DevOps consulting service. AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in working with projects that are varying in scale, technology, and complexity. If you are looking for a DevOps expert for your next project, contact us.

Finding the Right Mobile App Development Services: Checklist

In 2020, global revenue from mobile apps crossed 318 billion U.S. dollars. This was a big jump from 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.

The mobile games segment topped the chart with a revenue of over 200 billion U.S. dollars. Social networking mobile apps created revenue of around 31 billion dollars and came second on the list.

Due to high earning potential and the chance to capture a huge market share, mobile apps are becoming popular in all segments. Statista reports that as of the first quarter of 2021, over 3.48 million mobile apps were available on the Google play store.

As mobile apps became popular, the demand for mobile app development services also saw a huge rise. Businesses and entrepreneurs recognized the importance of finding the right mobile app development services, so they can maximize the potential for growth and revenue.

However, as the demand for mobile application development services increased, the industry also saw significant growth. Countless mobile app development companies came into existence across the globe to tap on the opportunity.

As a result, finding the right app development companies from the plethora of options become a difficult task for most businesses.

The number of available apps in the Google Play Store from 2nd quarter 2015 to 1st quarter 2021. Courtesy: Statista.

Resources required for mobile app development

You may think the new-age businesses like mobile games and social media etc. are different from traditional businesses. Their business strategy and resource allocation are something new that traditional businesses can never relate to.

However, this is a false notion.

Just like a traditional business, any technology-oriented business also has the strategies set out almost similarly. The resources are invested in market research, competitors’ analysis, consumer behaviour study, planning of solutions, implementation of the solution, marketing, and post-purchase services. The major segments where a new-age business invests its resources are listed below.

Market Research

Before you start building your app, there are a few steps you must complete. The first one on the list is “market research”.

Try to find answers to questions like

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the problems they are facing?
  • How the solution you are going to develop will help them?
  • What are the current options in front of your target audience?
  • How can your solution help the audience better?

Business strategy

You have to strategize how the mobile app you are going to develop will help you as a business. For every business, profit and growth are the ultimate goals. So, any investment they make should bring them returns in terms of profit or growth.

At this step, a business should strategize whether the mobile app is part of their growth plan or a source of revenue. For example, a construction business can create a mobile app as a media consumption platform where they share the latest designs, DIY tutorials or general tips and guides on construction and design. Here the strategy is to help their brand name reach a larger audience, so it will be easier to sell to the same audience later.

On the other hand, a revenue-oriented solution will be a platform where a business connects with their customers and sell products and services directly to them. eCommerce websites are a suitable example of this.

The other things a business should decide include how are they planning to implement this strategy. Are they planning to generate revenue via ads, subscription offers, in-app purchases, one-time payments, upgrade plans or any other modes? If the strategy is to increase their brand reach, what types of content they can utilize? How frequently the content should be updated? Should the content be available in multiple languages?

Consumer study

To be honest, this one should be a part of all the stages of app development. The targeted audience will come into contact with a business in several instances. Each time, the interaction will provide more data about the targeted audience. As a business, you should leverage this information to improve your products and find better and efficient ways to reach the target audience.

In the preliminary stages, you can make use of direct surveys and market research to build a customer profile. Once the app is live, you can leverage the data from the inbuilt analytics or third-party tools. More information can be collected from customers directly once they have directly engaged with your business either during a business transaction or post-purchase.

The collected data can be used to improve existing products, introduce new products, improve your marketing efforts etc.

Building the app

The app can be built in house or by hiring external agencies who are experts in mobile app development.

While building an app in-house will offer you more control over the whole process, it may increase the cost of the process and may delay the launch of the app. You have to invest in technology, infrastructure, human resources and set methodologies and quality standards all by yourself. You also must take care of app deployment and post-deployment strategies. All these will build up cost and hiring the right resources and setting up infrastructure etc. will take time.

If you are hiring a mobile app development company, they already have the right resources and methodologies with them. So, the development cost and time may be less compared to developing an app in house.

If you have no prior experience in this field, has budget constraints or need to launch the app as early as possible, hiring an app development agency will be the right option.

App launch and post-deployment

Whether it is an iOS app or an Android app, your app should follow certain guidelines and quality standards to become eligible to be featured on respective app markets. For example, this is a guideline offered by Apple. And, this is one of the guidelines offered by Google. There are several such guidelines and tips available for both App Store and Play store.

However, submitting your app to the app store or play store won’t be enough. Even if the app store optimization is done right, the success of your app can’t be guaranteed at this stage.  You have to promote your newly launched app to your target audience and for that implementation of a well-planned marketing strategy is necessary.

You should also update your app periodically to meet new technology standards and keep it secure and bug-free.

Should you hire mobile app development services?

As you just read, mobile app development is a complex process of combining business strategies and technological innovation. It demands market and technology expertise. The resources needed for developing a mobile app is demanding and you should plan it carefully to not waste your investment.

Thus, unless you have prior experience in developing a mobile app, it is always better to hire mobile app development services so the result can be somewhat guaranteed. The good thing about hiring a mobile app development company is that the right one will have enough experience and expertise in the industry to help you out with the whole process starting from market research and product conceptualization to app launch and app marketing.

But the question is how do you find the right mobile app development services?

Finding the right mobile app development services

Definition of “right mobile app development services” may vary from one business to another. There are different factors that decide whether a mobile app development service is suitable or non-suitable for a business.

Price

First and foremost, the cost of hiring an app development service should be affordable. Unless the services are available at a price range you are able to meet, hiring becomes futile since the project will never be completed or you may lose ownership of the final product.

The best way to find affordable app development services is to hire globally. For example, the cost of developing mobile apps is comparatively less in south-east Asian countries like India or Eastern European countries. If you think hiring from these countries won’t handicap you in terms of communication and quality, this will be a wise decision to make in terms of investment.

Pricing model

Often app development agencies will have different pricing models. For example, some agencies charge you per project, some charge you based on services offered and some others may charge you based on resources. There are also app development agencies that offer you a flexible pricing model.

Experience

Hiring an experienced app development agency will be the right decision for most businesses as it will reduce risk.

When hiring a mobile app development company check whether they have any previous experience in developing similar mobile apps or a mobile app for the same market or industry. Check how the apps are performing in the market. If they have prior experience in developing a similar app, they might be familiar with the industry, business model and target market. So, they can leverage their experience in each stage of development such as user experience, choosing the technology platforms, payment integration, data security and legal compliance etc.

You must also check the performance and quality of the mobile apps they have developed by downloading a few of them and using them on a device. You can also check the ratings and feedbacks their previous customers have given them.

Expertise

Mobile app development is a complex process. It involves different stages and each stage demand expertise in certain disciplines.

For example, the first stage of app development can be identified as product conceptualization. This stage involves planning the product you are going to develop, what are its strength and how it will help you as a business and how it will help the targeted audience with their problems. Here, the expertise should be related to market research and business planning.

The next stage of app development deals with product design. It involves the process of transforming the product concept into design in terms of wireframes, icons, typography, and images. Here, creativity and design capabilities are the expertise called for.

In the next stages, experts are needed for

  • Finding the right technology platforms,
  • Maintaining coding standards,
  • Understanding quality parameters,
  • Following legal and security guidelines,
  • Meeting app store eligibility
  • Promote the mobile app
  • User analytics etc.

If your plan is to hire an agency to take care of the whole mobile app development process, you should check whether they have the expertise to manage each stage of the development cycle. Lack of expertise in even a single stage may negatively impact the success of your mobile app.

Location

If you are hiring from outside the country, you should be careful about communication and cultural differences.

If there is a big difference in time zone, it may negatively impact the communication since the team you hired may not be available at a time that is convenient for you. So before hiring, you must check whether support is available around the clock or during the time that is convenient to you and your team.

You should also check whether the team can communicate in a language you are comfortable with. Miscommunication will lead to misunderstandings. It will cause unnecessary delays in the development and may impact the functions of the final product negatively.

Quality standards

The quality of a mobile app is necessary due to several factors. First and foremost, the app should provide a good experience for the end-user. It should meet security standards to avoid any legal proceedings from authorities or the users who think the app has violated their basic rights. The quality should be kept in check to become eligible to be submitted to App Store and Play Store, the most popular app markets currently in the market.

So, while looking for mobile application development services, you should check whether the service provider has any understanding of these quality standards. Normally any professional app development agency will have a document that states the quality standards they follow, what are the measurements they take to ensure the mobile app quality and how they mitigate any issues that arise related to this matter and details of contact points who are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the quality of the product they develop.

Before hiring, you should check whether the agency can share any such documents. If no such documents are available, you should check what options are available to check what quality standards the agency follows.

Property rights and Disclosure

Have no doubts. If you are the one paying for the services, you should be the owner of the product idea and final product. A proper non-disclosure agreement should be signed between you and the app development agency in the preliminary stages of communication itself and the agency should respect the product as intellectual property of your business.

Security

Security standards are compulsory for any app product. The app should be safe and secure to use, it should be protected from unauthorized access and the data should be stored securely following all data policy and data security standards set up by security experts and legal authorities.

Any failure in this department will not only impact the business negatively but also cause additional costs in terms of fines and compensation and tarnish the image of the business in front of the public. It may even force the business to shut down its operation and the parties involved may have to undergo legal scrutiny.

Delivery management

Hiring mobile application development services doesn’t mean that you are handing over the whole process to the agency and left waiting until the final product is ready.

The agency should keep you updated periodically as the development progress and seek frequent feedback from you. You should not be left out as an external party but should be respected as part of the team. Regular meetings should be scheduled, and you should have ways and means to raise your concerns and share your feedback.

The delivery management standards and guidelines should be documented and shared with you in the preliminary stages of communication itself. As a client, you should also have the details of contact points at different levels so that if an issue arises, you can seek for remedy immediately.

Deployment

Deployment is the process of launching the final version of a mobile app and offering a way for the actual users to access it.

Generally, apps are deployed on app markets like App Store or Play Store depending on the technology and platforms. To be eligible for deployment, each app market has its own guidelines and quality standards. The app will be approved only after the review of the same. The agency should be familiar with all these guidelines and ensure that the app is deployed as preplanned. They should also take care of all the App Store Optimization(ASO) techniques that will help the app to reach more users.

Post-deployment services

Post-deployment services are mainly app maintenance services. It includes bug fixes, releases of the new versions, adding new functionalities and features, user analytics, data on acquisition etc.

Most companies charge based on hours or a monthly retainer fee for post-deployment services. But this will wholly depend on their business and pricing model. As a business, you should try to hire the best post-deployment services as they will have a direct impact on uptime and the user experience.

Conclusion

Finding mobile app development services is not difficult in this day and age. However, finding the “right” application development services may be difficult for most businesses as the definition of “best app development services” vary from one to another. As each business is unique, you should find an app development agency that understands your industry and business goal and share the same business values as yours.

AlignMinds has more than 12 years of experience in developing mobile apps for startups and enterprises alike. We have developed several trendsetting yet cost-effective solutions for multiple verticals throughout the years of our existence. If you are looking for an experienced mobile app development agency who is also an expert in this field, contact us now!

Why Choose Flutter for Your Next Mobile App Development Project?

Cross-platform applications are critical for any business enterprise and it is the most popular development trend in 2021. Recent studies and surveys say that Flutter is the most preferred choice for developing cross-platform applications as it speeds up the app development process and reduces the cost.

According to Statista, Flutter is the second most popular cross-platform technology in 2021 with a massive 532% growth over the last two years. Google confirms that half a million developers are using Flutter each month. This framework allows us to build high-performance, attractive, and customized solutions in a short span of time.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is an open-source mobile user interface software development kit from the world’s largest tech giant Google. It helps to develop cross-platform applications for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows, and the web from a single codebase. Flutter is the most advantageous framework in mobile application development.

Courtesy: Flutter.dev

Flutter combines the ease of application development with native performance while maintaining visual consistency across various platforms. Since it is open-source and completely free, Flutter is preferred by developers all over the globe. Also, it is amongst the top and most powerful frameworks as compared to various other languages. Flutter is set to dominate the market with its reduced code development time. This cross-platform application development framework reduces the development efforts without compromising on the user experience.

Why Flutter for mobile application development?

Mobile applications are becoming an integral part of our life today. The total number of mobile applications launched on Android has exceeded the 100K per month mark with another 30K iOS app releases. Since the post-pandemic period, app development services have become accessible even to small companies located in remote areas of the world, every business is launching new apps. Selecting the most suitable framework with improved performance is the most decisive factor in deciding the success of a mobile app.

Comparison of cross-platform technologies

Flutter from Google

Since Flutter uses Dart programming language instead of JavaScript, the app developers can see modifications in real-time. So, it is easy to avoid mistakes and build complex applications in comparatively less development time.

React Native

Just like Flutter, React Native is also an open-source framework for cross-platform mobile application development. However, it uses JavaScript and a small amount of native component APIs. Here a developer should strictly define the sequence of actions that describe how the application should work and turn the design into a real-world application.

Percentage of developers who are interested in continuing to use the same technology they are using. Flutter ranked 3rd while React Native stand at 10th position. Courtesy: insights.stackoverflow.com

Xamarin

Xamarin is another popular cross-platform application framework for iOS, Android, Windows, vOS, watchOS, and macOS. It uses C # and .NET. Since a variety of APIs is available, Xamarin developers can easily integrate many native hardware components into the solution which could, in turn, improve the user experience further. However, the user interface development is time-consuming.

Benefits of Flutter app development

Flutter helps with developing and maintaining mobile applications for both Android and iOS in a single code base. Let’s discuss the major advantages of using Flutter for application development.

Large community support

Flutter is an open-source project developed by Google. It is not only free, but the framework gets frequent updates and bug fixes. Google organizes meetup events and conferences to help companies learn how Flutter can help them to strengthen their businesses. Since they are open to collaboration, it is easy to create solutions and you can even modify the framework to suit your project requirement.

The total number of apps launched in various periods. Courtesy: Statista.com

Cost-effective and fast development

Code then compile is the common procedure followed by both Android and iOS developers. However, with Flutter, developers can check the results immediately after every modification in code and roll them back if necessary. Thus, the probability for bugs and errors is less in the case of Flutter app development. As a result, hiring a Flutter app developer makes it less time-consuming to launch your business apps into the market and utilizing minimum human resources.

Organizations using Flutter can quickly create well-tuned applications for their business and with an innovative UX design. Since Futter is using Dart programming language, debugging is also a comparatively easier process.

Web application capabilities

The Flutter framework has destroyed the traditional approach of developing separate solutions for web and mobile. With Flutter, you can build apps for iOS, Android, and the browser from the same codebase and offer the same experience to end-users.

Customized and attractive user interface

The layered architecture provides faster user interface rendering to produce personalized designs. It is also equipped with packages that contain custom widgets for both Android and iOS operating systems. Even a smaller development crew can build a beautiful mobile app using the Flutter framework.

Easy integration with the existing applications

Flutter offers a trouble-free integration facility with the existing business applications. You can try Flutter technology on an existing mobile application running on native code with least to nil compatibility issues.

Top 5 applications built with Flutter framework

Flutter is gaining popularity among developers and in the industry. This feature-rich developer-friendly framework has aided in the creation of many modern applications.

Google Ads

The mobile application for Google Ads allows you to manage the paid advertisement campaigns directly from your smartphone. The application’s feature includes campaign statistics and real-time updates on campaigns. This helps advertisers and marketers with real-time monitoring of campaigns and effectively manages them to meet their adverting goals.

Xianyu by Alibaba

Flutter helped the eCommerce giant Alibaba to come up with Xianyu. It is the online retail platform of Alibaba Group. This application is used by more than 50 million users to buy and sell various products.

Reflectly

This Flutter app allows users to create stories in a personal journal with artificial intelligence support. Reflectly adopted Flutter recently to overcome the issues faced with its React Native counterpart.

KlasterMe

KlasterMe is the first social media platform built with the help of Flutter framework. This application enables users to share creations with their friends. Users can build dedicated pages, add images, and create blog posts.

Hamilton Musical

Flutter framework supports the official application for Hamilton – the award-winning Broadway musicals. This application updates its fans with all music news and provides access to merchandise.

Lunching

Lunching is a Flutter app that facilitates the delivery of food online. Flutter helped Lunching with an easy and elegant design, smooth animations, and a rich user interface.

Factors to consider when hiring a Flutter developer for your project

Technical and professional expertise

A Flutter developer should familiarize themselves with the best practices in the industry. They should have a good understanding of common development methodologies, quality guidelines, cross-compatibility, and update themselves with the latest trends in the industry. Someone who has prior experience in working on similar projects or markets may have a visible advantage over other developers.

Geographical proximity

Traditionally, the best choice was always to hire someone from proximity. The common notion was it helps with avoiding conflicts that might arise from differences in time zone and culture. However, modern innovations have made remote working a viable possibility and it is time to make the best use of it.

Service cost

Flutter framework helps in bringing down the development cost. However, you should be careful about the development cost since it usually varies across the world. For example, developers from countries like India may charge less compared to someone or some agencies from USA. Also, you should be careful about the service model and how the agency will charge you.

Innovation and technology update

The domain of application development is very dynamic. Upgrading your technology can help you work better and more efficiently. The Flutter developer should be self-motivated and innovative. This not only helps them to have greater flexibility but also make them a great problem solver which is an essential characteristic for a developer.

How to hire a Flutter developer?

Agencies

Certified agencies provide full-time engagement and it is beneficial for long-term projects. You can rely on their expertise and professional skills.

Freelancers

You can easily find specialists offering services on various freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. Hiring Flutter developers from the same time zones can help with easy communication. However, it is better to focus on quality and affordability when hiring a Flutter developer.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing combines the benefits of both in-house hiring and freelancers. You can collaborate with Flutter application developers around the globe. There are also reputable outsourcing agencies you can partner with to discuss and implement your project. Such agencies will mostly have the right talent for your requirement since they are employed full-time in the agency, and they are hired only after professional evaluation. Also, such agencies will also have the infrastructure to support the app development process from start to end.

How to find the best Flutter app development company?

Work portfolio and customer retention

A successful company will showcase the previous work details on its website. You must be attentive to the details as it will show you what you can expect from that particular Flutter service provider. Give special attention to the scale of the work, nature of the work, the timeline of the project, the technologies used, and also check the final product by trying it out by downloading it from the app store or visiting their client’s website.

Expertise and cost-effectiveness

Make sure you find someone who can work within the set budget without compromising on the quality. If you are cost-conscious, it is better to hire someone from countries like India where you can find the right expertise for comparatively less cost.

Reviews and client testimonials

Most app development companies will have active profiles on platforms like Clutch and GoodFirms. Such platforms feature client reviews, ratings, and testimonials provided for their Flutter development services. By assessing their profile, understand whether the app developer was able to meet their client expectations and what are the strength and weaknesses of the agency.

Flutter for app development in 2021

Flutter is one of the most used technologies in the mobile app development industry in 2021. Flutter mobile application programmers can develop cross-platform apps that run seamlessly on several operating systems. Flutter framework poses minimal risks to you as a business and so it should be your first choice for cross-platform app development. If you need to know more about Flutter development, don’t hesitate to contact us!

How to Make Your Mobile App Go Viral? Best Kept Secrets

People have used telephones to communicate with each other. It is considered as a pinnacle in communication technology. Nobody might have thought that one day the technology will advance to a point where everyone will have their own portable mobile phones. Not just that, a device which was originally invented as a communication device will perform almost all tasks related to day to day life and eventually replace personal computers!

The high usage of smartphones phones and mobile apps during the last couple of years have led to an increase in the number of mobile app development companies. These companies are launching new mobile apps almost daily. But only some of the apps are catching the attention of the end-users. 

The following survey shows the time spent by the users on different app genres.

Source: Statista.com

Here is a survey which shows a projection of worldwide mobile app revenues from 2014 to 2023.

Source: Statista.com

The above graph gives an insight into the profits that a business earns by offering a quality mobile app.

But why does a user prefer one app over another?

Some of the reasons include the following

  • A user will like an app that has a lower battery consumption.
  • An app that has better integration with mobile hardware like cameras, microphone and sensors is admired by the users.
  • Users like an app that works online and offline.
  • While navigating, users like to access information that is simple and easy to understand.
  • Security and privacy are the most important factors a user considers before downloading an app.
  • Users also love a guidance feature in an app that easily makes them understand the features of the app.

Below are some tips on how to make your mobile app go viral.

Tips: How to make your mobile app go viral

Title

The first thing that a user notices while downloading an app is the title. 

A title that stands out will make a user curious about what’s inside. The title like Messenger and WhatsApp also tries to give an idea of the category to which it belongs to. To know the content of the app, he/she might read the description and images. Make sure that the images and the description are attractive.

Online presence

The online presence of the business also helps with mobile app marketing strategies and to make your mobile app go viral. 

It won’t be easy to make your mobile app go viral in the beginning itself. Especially if your business has low visibility. In cases like these, you can use paid marketing to promote your business and mobile app. Social media are a good option when it comes to promoting your mobile app. Use eye catching banners and good ad copy to catch the attention of the users and make them download the app. 

Also, create a website that gives details about the mobile app and include a link for downloading the app.

Rewards

One of the most used mobile app marketing strategies is giving rewards to users. An example includes that of Google Pay, which offers a cashback for its users. Rewarding users helps in gaining new users and building brand loyalty over time.

Social media integration

There should be a feature in the app that allows users to share their app activities on social media platforms.

For example, some games allow users to gain more rewards when they clear each level and share their new rankings through social media. A predefined eye-catching image and description are also shared by the game app that creates curiosity in other users. This curiosity generated will make others download and try the mobile game. When more users download and share it with others, this will make your mobile app go viral.

Increasing curiosity

Increasing curiosity among users is an important mobile app marketing strategy.

Creating a mystery around the features of the app before the launch is a good marketing technique. A business can also promote a mobile app with the help of celebrities. People show interest when they see a familiar face. A T.V ad can also help with increasing the visibility of the mobile app..

Before the launch of the app, conducting a giveaway can increase the popularity of the mobile app. A giveaway will attract many users and it will also help with word of mouth marketing. 

Promotion through videos

You can make your mobile app go viral by posting and promoting short videos that can be shared through social media platforms. Users usually like to see a video than to read a description. If the video is successful in promoting the benefits and features of the mobile app, users are more likely to download it and try it out. They will also share it with family and friends. If done correctly, videos are the best option you can adopt for your mobile marketing strategy.

Retaining users

Gaining new users will be important for a mobile app. However, retaining the existing users is also equally important. 

By giving reason for the users of your mobile app to stay on the platform and increasing their usage time, you are not only increasing your revenue margin but building brand loyalty by giving them the best app experience. By doing so, you are indirectly encouraging them to become a brand ambassador for your mobile app and pitch it to their friends and family. As we commonly say, “A satisfied customer is the best marketing effort you can have”. The same applies for app marketing too.

Updating the app with engaging content regularly is one of the best options to ensure user retention.

FOMO

A user may download and use an app due to the fear of being left out. This phenomenon is called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in marketing. 

When marketed well, FOMO can be used to the advantage of a business and can help to make your mobile app go viral. Take the example of Facebook. Earlier only a few people used Facebook. Now the number has increased to a stage where people will get surprised if you say you don’t use the social media platform.

Making a user comfortable

Building a good relationship with the users is also an important part of mobile app marketing strategy. If a suggestion put forward by a user is a good one, the business can implement it to improve the mobile app. Also answering their queries and making them comfortable is an essential part of mobile app marketing. 

What are the best mobile app marketing strategies?

There are mobile app marketing services that help to make your app go viral.

The mobile app marketing strategies followed by an app marketing company include:

Referral marketing

Most of the businesses use this type of mobile app marketing strategy. 

A user shares a link to download the mobile app with their friends and family in return for rewards or points. These types of promotions are mainly done by gaming apps and eCommerce apps.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most used app marketing strategies where a business uses email communication to promote a mobile app. 

Emails are sent regarding an app launch to people who might be interested in such apps. Email marketing can also be used to educate potential users about the benefits and features of a mobile app. 

If you are an ecommerce company, you can promote the products on your platform via email marketing and the people who are interested in purchasing such products may try out your platform. 

Social media marketing

Social media is one of the best and cost-efficient ways for marketing your mobile app.

There are millions of users active on different social media platforms. With a correct marketing strategy, you can attract people to your app within a short span of time. Facebook uses A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) to deliver ads to a potential user. So it is a good option to find people interested in your product. You can also use messaging platforms such as WhatsApp to invite users to your mobile app.

Offering a trial

You can offer a free trial to help potential users understand the benefits of the mobile app . If the customers find the features to be useful, they will pay for it after the end of the trial.

Call-to-action (CTA) campaigns

CTA is a successful mobile app marketing strategy. Here, many techniques are used to get the attention of the users.

The Ice Bucket Challenge by ALS Foundation is a famous example of a CTA campaign. It was created by the ALS Foundation to promote awareness of a disease- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Another example includes that of Uber- “Drive with Uber – Be Your Own Boss”. It suggests that anyone can make money with their vehicle.

App store optimization

Correct app store optimization helps your mobile app to gain maximum visibility, organically. 

If your mobile app has a dedicated website, search engine optimization can help with gaining more website visitors and increasing the app downloads. Likewise, app store optimization is an important part of app marketing. You can seek help from a mobile app marketing company to better your scores in app store optimization.

Knowing about competitors

You should have a clear understanding of your competition. This helps in developing a better mobile app that is easy to promote and easy to be accepted by the user. 

As users like to try new features and they are always on a search for the best mobile app that can make their life easier and more entertaining, there is always a chance for new mobile apps to win in the market. Having innovative features that your competitors do not possess will make your app stand out.

Planning a burst campaign

Burst campaign provides a boost to the marketing strategies. 

Before 24 or 72 hours of the launch date, a business aggressively advertises the mobile app through paid media such as T.V., social media, websites etc. This is called a burst campaign. 

Burst campaign helps the app to gain a good exposure and make the app go viral even before the launch.

You can hire marketing and advertising professionals to help you with your burst campaigns.

Hire mobile app promotion services?

A perfect mobile app marketing strategy is necessary for an app to be successful. 

Mobile app marketing is the planning and execution of a set of ideas to ensure maximum exposure for your mobile app and get more people to try it out. Some studies show that over one-third of the companies dedicate 31% to 50% of their budget to mobile app marketing services. 

About 68% of mobile companies have a fully documented and 30% of mobile app development companies have partially documented mobile app marketing strategy.

Some of the strategies employed by mobile app marketing agency are as follows.

Market research and other promotions

Market research is a vital part of any app marketing strategy. All mobile app promotional activities should be based on the latest trends in the industry. So, deep and constant market research is the first step towards promoting your mobile app.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

ASO has a vital role in making a mobile app go viral. To ensure you follow all ASO standards, you should hire an excellent mobile app development company and maybe a mobile app marketing agency.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is achieving a stable and maximum growth under a short time span. Growth marketing or growth hacking is a very good option for a start-up company. As usually growth marketers work based on metrics and data, you can be sure that your marketing efforts are result oriented and there is a good chance of outdoing the competition.

Generally, since an app marketing agency will have years of experience in market research and mobile app marketing, it is always a good choice to approach them for your app promotion as a failure in marketing will not only cost your marketing expenses but the app development expenses too.

Promote Android apps

Following Android design principles is essential when you promote Android apps. 

Some of the best ways to promote your Android app are as follows:

  • Get the Android app featured in Android related platforms such as the Android Community, Android Developer forum etc. 
  • If you are promoting a paid Android app, Google recommends starting with a higher price. Later you can cut down the price or give discounts during festive occasions to increase new signups.
  • An icon defines your business. Icon and the title is the first thing a user sees while browsing the app store. So it is important to create an eye-catching icon for promoting an Android app. 
  • The landing page of your app in the app store should have attractive in-app images and videos. A proper description based on the benefits of using the app will be appreciated by users.
  • Google helps to promote both Android and iOS apps. You can make use of the Google app campaigns. It helps to promote your mobile app through Google services such as Google Play, YouTube, Google search etc. 
  • Remarketing is considered as a strategic component of advertising by Google. Remarketing helps with increasing new registrations, sales and brand familiarity among users. If done in a proper manner, remarketing can help to make your app reach maximum targeted users.

For more guidelines on android app marketing, you can visit the official Android page.

There is a different strategy for marketing iOS mobile apps.

Promote iOS app

Promoting an iOS app may seem a bit different compared to promoting an Android app.

It is better to promote an iOS app by giving two versions- A free one and a paid one. The paid version of your app should have more engaging features than the free version. You will see more downloads for the free version. Eventually some users will turn to the paid version to get access to the full feature.

You can give discounts during the launch to promote iOS apps among the people. Building your app’s online presence is also an important iOS mobile app marketing strategy.

Apple recommends to follow these points when you promote iOS apps.

  • You should always use Apple provided product images in all your marketing materials when promoting the app through supported Apple devices.
  • Apple product images should be readable at the provided image resolution. The minimum device size should not be smaller than 25 mm in height for printed materials and 200 px on screen.
  • You should not promote iOS apps based on Apple features. The headline and copy should focus on the app rather than the iOS platform. Apple also recommends using a clear and simple description. This along with a call to action to download the app is important while you promote iOS apps.

For more details on iOS app marketing, please visit the official Apple page.

Last word of advice: When you formulate your mobile app marketing strategies to make your mobile app go viral, you should also ensure that you have proper resources to update the app content regularly. This increases the user retention rate and will help you to build brand loyalty over time. Hiring a top mobile app development company ensures that you have a quality mobile app in your hand that will be loved by the user. A good app developer will also ensure that their development strategies will be supportive of your app marketing strategies. 

AlignMinds Technologies is an award-winning mobile app development company with a decade of success stories. We offer digital product engineering services that include strategy and design, web and mobile app development, DevOps and cybersecurity. We can help your businesses to get an edge in the competition through innovative solutions. Contact us now! 

Hiring Dedicated Development Team: A Complete Guide

We all are living in a world which is constantly evolving and adapting to needs.

In this fast-moving world, where everyone and everything is connected, there is absolutely no need for hiring regular staff for your company. Discovering and adapting to new approaches of working ensures a better workforce and work culture.

Technological advancement has helped in hiring employees from all around the world belonging to different cultural backgrounds who are an expert in their field of work. The dedicated development team is the newest entry into this segment.

Hiring a dedicated development team has become one of the best approaches for both cost reduction and quality maintenance. You can hire a dedicated development team and obtain the best skill set out there. ​Surveys ​show that many companies hire dedicated development teams from countries that offer the best services and quality at a very low cost.

Now, what is a dedicated development team and how to hire dedicated development teams?

Let’s look into the details.

What is a dedicated development team?

What will you do if your company doesn’t have the required expertise in developing your project?

Do you want to get involved in every stage of planning a software or an app and also want to work with a reputed and professional team?

All these questions lead to the concept of ‘dedicated development team’.

Dedicated development teams are another system or establishment different from your company that are hired to work for you. Hiring a dedicated development team helps you find talents from many parts of the world.

You will get a team of professionals who have the required expertise and experience in the domain while hiring a dedicated development team. Hiring a dedicated development team also helps you greatly in your cost-cutting strategies.

As the term suggests, dedicated development teams are fully committed to you and the work you offer. The team directly reaches out to you for updates on the projects and you can directly communicate with the team, control and monitor progress from any part of the world.

Advancements in cloud-based technologies have also led to the development of various working models. The dedicated development team is one such working model that came into prominence by using cloud-based technologies.

Now, why should you hire a dedicated app development team?

Why hire a dedicated development team?

Are you confused between hiring a dedicated development team or building your own in-house team?

If you find these points relevant based on your requirements, hiring a dedicated development team is your best choice.

  • If your team is not having the required expertise in the development of your project, you need to hire a team of experts. By hiring a dedicated development team, you can ensure that your project is developed by an expert team in the field.
  • If you do not want to spend on hiring employees and infrastructure and consistently reduce budget; hire a dedicated development team. As the dedicated development team has all the infrastructure facilities and a full-fledged team to support your project, you only need to pay for the services they offer.
  • If the project is a large scale one, and if your team cannot complete the project under the specified timeline, hiring a dedicated development team will definitely help you in reducing the project delivery time to a great extent.
  • Dedicated development teams regularly update themselves with the latest technological advancements and infrastructures. So you don’t need to spend on upgrades when hiring a dedicated development team.
  • If you want to develop a quality project with the insights from experts in the industry, hire dedicated development teams. This will also help you to combine your innovations with that of the team enabling in the development of a better product.
  • If you are looking for an easily manageable team of experts, hiring dedicated development teams can help you. ​Most likely they will be a team of professionals with the required skills and communication quality and a ​dedicated development team is directly controlled by the client.
  • If you want to start a project immediately and is looking for the best professionals in the field of work, hiring a dedicated development team makes sure that the project begins the next moment after the requirements are made clear.
  • You can also hire a dedicated development team if your company doesn’t have the necessary resources to ​support the development of a product.

There are certain factors to look into while hiring a dedicated development team.

Hiring a dedicated development team

You should have a good understanding of the factors that help in hiring the best one among the many dedicated development teams out there.

The main points to look into while hiring a dedicated development team include:

  • Requirements of your projects
  • Experience and expertise of the dedicated development company
  • Flexibility
  • Infrastructure and technological advancements

Analyse and evaluate the requirements of your project based on the targeted customer. Cost and project completion time will vary depending on the requirements.​Calculate the cost, project completion time and accordingly hire a dedicated development team that best suits the requirements.

Experience and expertise is another important factor to look into while hiring a dedicated development company. Before hiring a dedicated development company of your choice, contacting past clients will help in getting an overall picture of the firm ​and evaluate whether the team has the skills and knowledge to complete the project on time without compromising on quality.

Gaining more and more experience ​in their craft​ makes a company perfect. Hiring a dedicated development team with many years of experience helps you in launching the ultimate product according to the ​demand in the market and which will be loved by the users.

Flexibility is another factor to consider while looking for a good dedicated development team in foreign countries.

While hiring a dedicated development team, you should check how the team is adapting to technological advancements in the industry. An ideal dedicated development team should have the latest technologies incorporated into their workflow along with necessary resources and high-end infrastructure.

Analysing the pros and cons of hiring a dedicated development team ​will help you in deciding whether to go with a dedicated development team or not.

Let’s have a deeper look.

What are the benefits and cons of hiring a dedicated development team?

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Hiring a dedicated development team helps you in many ways. You also face some problems while hiring a dedicated development team.

First, let’s discuss the benefits of hiring a dedicated development team.

Advantages of hiring a dedicated development team

The main advantages of hiring a dedicated development team is a significant reduction in cost and time. Some of the other benefits are:

  • There is no need to invest in infrastructure as everything is already available with the dedicated development team.
  • There are no daily management issues as in an in-house model of development.
  • You get a team of professionals and experts who are hired after multiple ​stages of tests, interviews and evaluation.
  • You can employ cost-cutting strategies very efficiently while hiring a dedicated development team. You can cut or increase the number of members in the team at any stage of the development cycle.
  • All the stages of development are directly controlled by you. You can also make changes or bring innovations at any stages of development of the project.
  • You can carefully plan and assign tasks to each member of the team if needed.
  • You can access real-time updates on the project progress.
  • Hiring dedicated development teams is the best choice if your project is complex and long-term.
  • When you hire dedicated development teams, you will get to work with a more coordinated and affordable workforce that does not compromise on quality.
  • A replacement is always available if you think that anyone in the dedicated development team is not up to the mark.
  • Another important advantage of hiring a dedicated development team is, you can hire the team on an ​hourly, weekly, monthly or project basis.
  • Risk of a data breach is minimum while hiring a dedicated development team as ​most of them promise intellectual property protection and data security and will legally sign any related agreement along with a non-disclosure agreement.

There are also some cons to look into while hiring a dedicated development team.

Cons of hiring a dedicated development team

You should also consider some of the cons of hiring a dedicated development team. Some of the possible cons include the following:

  • This team model is ineffective for short-term projects, as the members need to adapt to the project requirements and this consumes time. Efficiency is also low for short term projects.
  • If you are hiring a dedicated development team from another country, communication barrier may be a problem.
  • The initial stage of hiring a dedicated development team takes time and multiple evaluations as you will need to search for the best team, compare price, reviews and ratings.
  • If you have changing project requirements, financial planning is difficult due to variations in cost estimates.

Now, another question remains:

How to hire a dedicated development team?

How to hire a dedicated development team?

The process of hiring an excellent dedicated development team is time-consuming. There are two stages of hiring a dedicated development team.

The first stage

  • The first stage is to have a thorough analysis of the requirements of your project before hiring a dedicated development team. Set priorities to your needs of the project.
  • Make an estimate of your budget.
  • Search the internet for the most rated dedicated development teams. Make acquaintance with past clients to know ​about the quality of their work and make a detailed​ analysis of the ones you have shortlisted.
  • Compare the rates of the dedicated development team you have selected.
  • Give priorities to the dedicated development teams with awards and recognition and that is flexible to work with.
  • Look out for the latest tech and infrastructural facilities, expertise in a variety of platforms and uninterrupted power supply and high-speed internet while hiring a dedicated development team.
  • Hire dedicated development teams with good project management skills such as prompt delivery time, focussed and adaptive to sudden changes in the requirements.
  • Hire a dedicated development team which is having secure encryption protocols for data protection.
  • Clutch and GoodFirms are a few examples of platforms that help you in searching for the best dedicated app developers. Conducting a search in these platforms helps you in finding the best dedicated development teams.

According to ​the project requirement, your quality expectations, budget and the timeline of product delivery,​ hire the right dedicated development team.

The second stage

After shortlisting a dedicated development team, there are some points to consider to ensure a good workflow.

  • Check the number of team members and analyse the skill set and field of expertise of each member.
  • The team members should be able to design engaging content to the users.
  • Look out for the team members who are focussed, reliable and experienced.
  • If time permits, you can ask the selected team members to show some past work or check whether they are fit for the project by asking questions related to the implementation of the project​.
  • Good communication skills are also an important part of hiring a dedicated development team. Members with adequate communication skills are a plus point of an excellent dedicated development team.

Now let’s discuss ​the cost of hiring a dedicated team.

How the cost of hiring a dedicated development team is determined?

Cost is always a deciding factor while hiring a dedicated development team. There are many dedicated development teams with varying rates.

The number of team members is a determining factor in the cost of hiring a dedicated development team. You can change the number of members at any time in a dedicated development team based on your agreement.

As stated in earlier sections, you can hire dedicated development teams on an hourly/ weekly or monthly basis. Cost of hiring is different for each method. According to your requirements and financial estimates you can evaluate which of these methods is a better option for your project.

The cost will also depend on the level of involvement of the team. There are various stages of product development. Product conceptualization, product design, product development, QA (Quality Assurance) and testing, product deployment etc. As the team gets involved in more stages, the cost will also increase​.

All these factors have an influence on the overall cost of hiring a dedicated development team.

What is the cost of hiring a dedicated development team?

The cost of hiring a dedicated development team is determined by the geographical location. Surveys ​show that the cost of hiring dedicated development teams from Asian countries such as India is low as compared to the USA.

Dedicated development teams from the USA charge a higher rate of about $150-$195 per hour, but South Asian countries such as India charge between $26-$35 dollars per hour.

The following table shows the estimated cost of hiring a dedicated development team.

Source: Clutch.co

Hiring the right dedicated development team is the first step towards the success of your product. ​AlignMinds Technologies is an award-winning product engineering company with a decade of success stories. We can help ​your ​businesses ​to get an edge on the competition and​ bring more revenue and recognition through innovative solutions. ​Contact us now!

Ensuring Quality in Mobile Apps – Key Considerations

We are living in a world where mobile phones have become a part of our lives.

Mobile phones, nowadays are not only used for calling but are used for many activities as well. Ordering food, shopping of products using platforms such as Amazon, booking tickets for various activities such as travel, watching movies etc. are made easier by the introduction of mobile apps.

Courtesy: Statista.com

Moreover, surveys show that the usage of mobile phones is increasing over time. This has led to the development of mobile apps in many genres. Every business is considering turning into developing quality mobile apps after evaluating the huge usage of mobile phones. But only a few mobile app development companies are investing time and money to develop a quality mobile app.

If you ensure a high mobile app quality then you can witness the steady growth of your business. Users of your app will admire your venture for keeping up the quality standards.

Users do not compromise on the performance of a mobile app. If the mobile app did not work as intended, users will uninstall it and give it a lower rating in the app stores. This will have a negative impact on your business.

Let’s see what are the negative aspects of a mobile app that makes a user remove it from their mobile phone.

8 things users hate the most about low quality mobile apps

Here are some aspects that reduce a mobile app’s quality.

  • Customers hate it when mobile apps crash while using it.
  • Freezing is another aspect that reduces the quality of a mobile app.
  • Users uninstall apps that are slow to respond.
  • High battery usage and too many ads are not appreciated by the users.
  • Some users try to free up their internal storage by moving mobile apps to external storage. Inability to move an app to external storage also declines the overall mobile app quality.
  • Not responding to feedback is another problem that a user hates.
  • If the user experience is not up to the mark, he/she will uninstall it from their mobile phone.
  • Users don’t like it when a mobile app is asking for unnecessary permissions.

To ensure mobile app quality, the mobile app development company or developers face many challenges throughout the development cycle of an app.

Following a mobile app QA checklist is an important factor which determines the overall quality of an app.

But, what is QA?

QA and ensuring mobile app quality

Throughout the app development cycle, QA is the most important factor that determines the popularity of the app among users.

QA means quality assurance. QA is the systematic monitoring and a way to check and prevent any errors or defects while developing a product. Ensuring QA in every stage of development helps in delivering a product that meets customer expectations.

Your company should plan a mobile app QA checklist and should work accordingly to meet the goals. Ensuring QA during every stage of app development helps in avoiding issues such as crashing or freezing of the mobile app. This will help in gaining positive feedback from customers.

There are about six stages of mobile app development. Every stage should have its own mobile app QA checklist. This will ensure an excellent mobile app quality.

1. Ensure mobile app quality during product conceptualization

Maintaining mobile app QA checklist at the very first stage of development helps in delivering a perfect app to the user.

Product conceptualization is the initial stage of app development. It is the stage where your ideas and concepts about the mobile app are envisioned.

The requirements and the design features of the product are drafted in this stage. This stage of development helps you to get a better understanding of the possibilities of your product.

Understanding the priorities of the user helps in ensuring mobile app quality from start to end of the development cycle. Market research based on customer needs helps to identify the demand for a particular product, in this case- the mobile app. Planning app specifications based on this evaluation will help you efficiently in the development process.

Involving employees, who are also customers during product conceptualization helps you in accessing more ideas. Verifying practicability of the suggestions put forward is also a necessary part of ensuring mobile app quality. Documenting these suggestions helps to make the necessary changes during the development cycle.

Take into account the calculations based on the future course of your business while planning a mobile app. In the future, your business might venture into new fields. There is no need to develop another app if you have a mobile app that can cater to the needs of the near future.

Users will not tolerate any performance or quality issues in a mobile app. Hardware and OS (Operating System) also determines the mobile app quality. So while product conceptualization, consider these two factors. A best quality mobile app will exceed the expectations of the user and also should work in every condition.

Planning based on the user requirements and interactive features of the app is another important aspect that ensures mobile app quality during product conceptualization.

A mobile app should have all the functions that a customer needs. Users look into many aspects while downloading a mobile app. Some of this includes seamless login and registration, user-friendly interface and design, engaging content etc.

Choosing a platform, which is the most preferred by users, is also important. There are three types of platforms in which mobile apps are developed. They are web-based apps, Native apps and hybrid apps.

A web-based mobile app is easy to develop and is directly linked to the website of the firm. All the functions of the website are accessible using the mobile app. Native apps are exclusively developed for a single platform (Android or iOS etc.). A Hybrid app is an app which is the blend of the two types discussed above.

The design of an app is also a part of measuring mobile app quality. There are certain aspects that help in building an app with a striking design.

2. Ensure mobile app quality during the design stage

Apps help to simplify your business and tasks. A good app with a brilliant design catches the eyes and mind of the users.

Attractive app design is an indicator of mobile app quality. There are about four steps in the design stage of an app.

2.1 Wireframing

Wireframing design is the first step in creating design layouts.

Digital sketches of designs are called wireframing. Wireframing provides a clear outline of the styling, colour, graphics etc. that will be used in the app. Creating device-specific designs during wireframing will help in providing a better user experience.

2.2. Style guide

Style guides provide a set of guidelines which is useful while designing the content.

A style guide is used as a reference manual that helps in achieving an overall consistency of the mobile app. Style guide documents the font style, colour scheme etc. which is based on the interests of the firm.

2.3. Mockups

The design is rendered using style guides and wireframes.

This visual layout is called mockups or high-fidelity designs. This high-fidelity design resembles the final product. It is a computer-based interactive representation.

2.4. Prototypes

Prototypes help in testing the functionality and design features of the app.

A Prototype is used to demonstrate how an app works. It simulates real-time user experience. App prototyping shows the basic functions and design of an app.

Different mobile app platforms have different design guidelines. Android and Apple recommend some design guidelines that will help in ensuring the mobile app quality.

2.5. Android app: design guidelines

Android uses a design system called Material Design which is based on print design methods. Some of the design guidelines put forward by Android includes the following:

  • Organize the content using cards, lists and sheets
  • Notify users with the help of snack bars, banners and dialogues
  • Usage of a floating action button to perform tasks
  • Android also has an organized system to apply colour to promote consistency and accessible contrast.
  • Material Design provides 13 types of typography which include headlines, captions and body text.

For more information on Android app design guidelines, please visit the official page.

2.6. iOS app: design guidelines

For apps designed for iOS, Apple recommends the following to enhance your mobile app quality.

  • Use legible text at every size with precise and bright icons
  • Highlight content using suitable graphics, colour, fonts etc.
  • Keep the interface design light and casual with minimal use of drop shadows and gradients
  • Use distinct visual layers.
  • Use of transitions provides the users with a sense of depth while navigating through the content.

For more details on the same, please visit the official page of Apple.

The design stage of the app is followed by the development stage.

3. Ensure mobile app quality during the development stage

A properly planned and documented development stages of the application ensures overall mobile app quality.

In the development stage of a mobile app, the developer writes the codes. These codes are then tested by another team that looks into errors in the code. By continuous testing, the team makes the code bug free.

In the development phase, a good level of attention is necessary to develop a bug-free app. A prototype of the app built by the developer and proper documentation sees to it that nothing misses out during actual development

Planning and maintaining a “mobile app quality assurance checklist” from the very beginning of the development cycle is a very important aspect of this phase. It helps in checking mobile app quality during every phase of development.

In the development phase, a good level of attention is necessary to develop a bug-free app. A prototype of the app built by the developer and proper documentation sees to it that nothing misses out during actual development.

There are three important parts of mobile app development. This includes the following:

  • Back-end or server technology: Back-end is a process which involves writing codes for an app to operate. The end-user does not directly interact with the back-end features. There are three types of back-end technology – cloud server, custom server and Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS).
  • Application Programming Interface (API): API helps the app to communicate with the back end. APIs are used to increase the user experience and also help the users to interact with other applications.
  • Mobile app front-end: Front end is the user interface part where the customers see and interact with the app. It is also called client-side development.

A simple and easy to use app helps in building up the reputation of the company. Issues such as security breach, crashing, slow processes, failing transactions during purchase will decrease your reputation in the eyes of the users. You will eventually incur a loss in your business as a result of a low-quality app.

If there are any such issues mentioned above in the app, this will lead to high remediation costs and also increases maintenance and marketing costs.The development team should follow popular coding guidelines and can thus avoid committing any such faults.

A good level of attention given to every detail during testing can help in fixing errors easily and early. Avoiding bugs from the early stage of development can help in reducing the cost of bug fixing, patching and updates.

Apps use data such as images and videos commonly. To increase the performance of the apps, the development team can reduce the size of this data by compressing it without compromising on the mobile app quality.

Reducing the load time of the app by pre-fetching data is also a good measure to ensure mobile app quality. Load the data as per the need of the user. Breaking down the content and pre-fetching them helps in reducing the data loading time.

Today, the mobile phone makers use different methods such as sensors, gestures, voice etc. to provide the best user experience. The app development team can use these to the advantage of their app by providing certain features which other apps of the same genre lack.

The next stage involves continuous testing for fixing the mistakes in the app. There are many types of tests that help in enhancing mobile app quality.

4. Ensure mobile app quality while testing

Fixing bugs through frequent testing ensures a higher mobile app quality.

Documenting every test will help in maintaining an overall consistency in mobile app quality. Another factor that helps with ensuring mobile app quality is high accuracy test results. Using real devices will help in achieving high accuracy during testing.

Different platforms use different types of testing to maximise mobile app quality. So the testing team should choose the suitable tools for testing in different devices working on different operating systems. As updates are rolled out for various operating systems every year, test the app on different versions to reduce compatibility issues.

Testing an app on various screen resolutions and rectifying the errors help in improving the performance of the app. Consider the geo-location and carrier while testing the app to reduce crashes as some apps are available only through particular carriers in some locations.

Tests done on the basis of confidentiality, authentication, authorization, storage and web services will ensure the development of good quality apps. Tests should ensure that proper encryption protocols are followed by the app to secure the privacy of the user. Before giving data access to a third-party application, the app should communicate it with the user.

Tests should also ensure that proper encryption protocols are followed when data is stored locally on the phone.

Making and receiving calls- this is the main function of mobile phones. Apps should not interfere with the connectivity and performance of mobile phones.

There are three methods of testing an app which includes:

  • Manual
  • Automated
  • Cloud-based

4.1. Manual testing

Manual QA testing is done with the help of a qualified tester without the usage of any automated tools.

Manual testing consumes time and money as it is done by professional analysts and testers. As the end-user is a human, manual testing helps in determining how the customer uses the final product.

4.2. Automated testing

Automated tests are done with the help of automated tools and without human assistance.

In this method of testing, a test script is generated based on the targeted platform. It saves time as it is faster than manual testing. It also saves money as fewer manual tasks are required in automated testing.

4.3. Cloud-based testing

Cloud-based tests are based on cloud-based technologies.

While using this method of testing, the testers get access to a wide variety of devices through the internet. The testers can test the app simultaneously in different platforms, thus saving a lot of time. But, the chance of data breach is higher while using this type of testing.

There are various types of tests conducted to ensure maximum mobile app quality.

4.4. Mobile app QA checklist: Different testing types

Proper testing makes a mobile app perfect. Security, compatibility and usability are given prime importance while testing a mobile app.

Testing done on real devices helps in getting a more accurate result than using an emulator.

There are various types of tests done to ensure quality before the deployment of the app.

  • Smoke testing: Smoke testing is also known as ‘build verification testing’. It is one of the tests done to verify if the app is stable and to look into the working of the key functionalities of the app.
  • Cross-platform testing: Cross-platform testing helps to know how your app functions in multiple platforms. It looks into the consistency, user experience, performance issues etc.in different environments.
  • Functional testing: This test helps to know if the app is functioning as intended.
  • User interface testing: It is a test used to detect faults in the graphical user interface of the app. The user interacts with the app through this interface.
  • Accessibility testing: It is a test which gives an insight into how a person with disabilities such as poor vision and hearing can use or access the features of the app.
  • Performance testing: The test helps to know how the app performs under various workloads and looks into battery consumption, network performance, memory usage etc. There are different types of performance testing. This includes load testing, stress testing, endurance testing etc.
  • Usability testing: Usability testing ensures better customer comfort. Usability testing is usually done with the help of people who closely resemble the targeted users. This test helps in receiving real feedback before the launch of the app.
  • User experience testing: The test helps in improving user satisfaction. User experience testing helps to know how the app interacts with the user. The test also ensures that the original design and specs are also maintained after the development of the app.
  • Security testing: This test helps to identify the vulnerabilities of the app. The most important tests under this category include vulnerability tests and penetration tests. Stick to global level security standards while testing app security. High security of the app provides a good reputation for the company and ensures an overall mobile app quality.
  • Compatibility testing: A test to ensure that the app functions smoothly in a variety of devices, platforms, screen orientations etc.
  • Beta testing: Beta testing helps in getting feedback from a real user.

There are also tests that help in knowing the reliability, content localization, Wi-Fi and GPS integration etc. Multiple testing approaches and testing on different devices help with improving mobile app quality.

5. Ensure mobile app quality during the deployment stage

Users download their desired app from various application stores such as Google Play and App Store. The policies for deploying apps are different for each store. You should have a good understanding of these submission policies to reduce time and effort during the deployment of the app.

You need to work on creating an End User License Agreement (EULA) to protect your organization, intellectual property etc. and also design an icon for your app before deployment.

The vendor of the app store will review your submission to look if your app is following the guidelines or norms put up by them.

Here are some important points to consider before launching Android and iOS apps.

5.1. Important points to consider before launching an Android app

  • Localizing content: Plan to localize your app according to differences in geography and culture before deployment.
  • Simultaneous release: Plan your release simultaneously on different platforms to ensure a better reception among the users.
  • Follow all mobile app quality guidelines: Offer the best design, features and functions for your users.
  • Design details for Play store listing: Add a description of the app along with videos and screenshots in the app store listing. Also, attach the privacy policy of your app.
  • Plan the in-app products and subscriptions: Add details about in-app products and confirm the countries which can access these products and subscriptions.
  • Promoting the app: You can promote the app using Google Play badge.

For more best practises, please visit the official page of the Android launch checklist.

5.2. Important points to consider before launching an iOS app

Before submitting an iOS app, consider the following:

  • Safety: People should download an app with confidence. The app should not have any offensive or upsetting content. Implementing proper data security is another factor that makes an app safe and thus ensures an overall mobile app quality.
  • Performance: Apple divides this category into five important sections.
    • App completeness: Apple App Store will reject an app which has incomplete app bundles and binaries, the apps that crash or have other technical problems. You should submit a fully developed app with all metadata, fully functional URLs etc.
    • Beta testing: App store does not include trial or beta versions of your app. To beta test, you can use the TestFlight (beta testing app of Apple).
    • Accurate metadata: Metadata provided in descriptions and screenshots of the app should mirror the content of the app.
    • Hardware compatibility: Apple encourages developers to build an app that is equally accessible with iPads as well.
    • Software requirements: Apps should not interfere with volume and power buttons. Such an app will be rejected by the Apple App Store. Apps should not alter features or functionalities of other apps and hardware components.
  • Business: Apps that cheat users with expensive in-app products will be removed by the App Store. Ads should be displayed according to the app’s age rating.
  • Design: Develop designs that are simple, refined and innovative. Update your apps and give more functions to the users.
  • Legal: All legal requirements should be followed according to the location where the app is going to be launched. All apps should include their privacy policy in the App Store metadata.

For more detailed information, consider visiting the official site of Apple.

After you submit the app, there is a review process of Apple to check whether the app has met all the quality standards.

6. Ensure mobile app quality in the post-deployment stage

Mobile app analytics platforms help you to get a glance into the performance of the app.

Updating the app to meet new user requirements will help in increasing the app value. Proper maintenance is another factor that determines mobile app quality post-deployment.

Users will give feedback once they start using the application. Use such feedback to update the app as per the requirements of the users. Take feedback and suggestions into account while planning an update for the app.

Replying to all the queries of users will help in gaining positive feedback. The app developers should watch for operating system updates and should fix compatibility issues by bringing necessary changes to the app.

Users look for mobile apps with high quality while downloading and using an app. In order to give the customers a perfectly built app, you need an expert and experienced team to develop the app for you.

In other words, hiring qualified developers is also an important aspect of ensuring mobile app quality.

You can get in touch with expert mobile app developers through a search on the internet. According to the budget and other requirements, you can choose to hire

Hiring a dedicated development team is the best option if you are looking for cost-cutting strategies without compromising on the mobile app quality.

For startups,hiring a freelance mobile app developer is a good choice. Hire only established freelance mobile app developers rather than freshers for assuring mobile app quality.

Hire a mobile app development company if you do not want to compromise on the mobile app quality and if budget is not a problem.

Make sure that the team you hired that consists of mobile app developers, designers, project managers and QA testers are top-notch in their field of work. Give preferences to the ones who update themselves with the latest trends and technologies.

Hiring a dedicated development team is the best option if you are looking for cost-cutting strategies without compromising on the mobile app quality.

For startups,hiring a freelance mobile app developer is a good choice. Hire only established freelance mobile app developers rather than freshers for assuring mobile app quality.

Hire a mobile app development company if you do not want to compromise on the mobile app quality and if budget is not a problem.

Make sure that the team you hired that consists of mobile app developers, designers, project managers and QA testers are top-notch in their field of work. Give preferences to the ones who update themselves with the latest trends and technologies.

AlignMinds Technologies is an award-winning mobile app development company with a decade of success stories. We offer digital product engineering services that include strategy and design, web and mobile app development, DevOps and cybersecurity. We can help your businesses to get an edge in the competition through innovative solutions. Contact us now!

Hiring Mobile App Developer: Things to Consider Before Planning Your Perfect App

The internet has become a crucial part of our lives.

Today, there are 3.5 billion mobile users worldwide. The transition of feature phones into smartphones during the past years has led to higher internet usage. There are many​ ​surveys that show an insight into higher mobile usage compared to preceding years.

The following graph forecasts an increase in smartphone users by the year 2025 in India.

Courtesy:​ ​Statista.com

People mostly use smartphones for games, business and education along with communication. On average,​ ​a user in India spends about 4.3 hours on a smartphone daily.

This recent trend has led to the development of various mobile apps in many genres. Here is where a business firm thinks twice before developing an app. They find finding a good mobile app developer is rather hard.

Most businesses start planning a mobile app by looking into the interests of the user. The next phase usually involves hiring mobile app developers.

The future of the mobile app depends on whether you were able to hire the best mobile app developer and how much expertise he/she had in the field working on similar solutions.

Hiring a mobile app developer is not a troublesome task if you know how to approach it. Consider these points before hiring a mobile app developer.

  • How to hire a mobile application developer?
  • Which is better: freelance app developer, app development company or dedicated app development team?
  • The best place on the internet to hire a mobile app developer
  • Developing a mobile app: in-house developing team or offshore development team?
  • How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer?

Let’s discuss these points in detail.

How to hire a mobile app developer?

As the number of apps launched on different platforms is increasing day by day, your app should have its own strong points. To ensure that your app stands out from the rest of the apps in the market, you should hire mobile app developers who are exceptional in their field of work.

How to hire a mobile app developer for your next project?

Usually, this is the first question that comes to the mind of anyone who is looking to develop a mobile app.

To hire mobile app developers, begin your search using the internet. You can also ask for help from your contacts from the industry. After finding the most experienced and the most reputed team of mobile app developers, compare the price range.

An analysis and comparison of the projects accomplished in the past will help in hiring the right mobile app developer for your project. The best way is to hire mobile app developers who have received awards and certifications.

Looking into the expertise in multiple fields of app development and search based on reviews by earlier customers will help you to hire mobile app developers who are exceptional in planning and developing a mobile app.

There are three types of mobile app developers.

This includes freelance mobile app developer, mobile app development company and dedicated app development team.

Which one is better?

Let’s analyse the pros and cons of hiring freelance mobile app developers, mobile app development company and dedicated app development team.

Hiring app development company vs freelancer vs a dedicated app development team

When it comes to finding a developer for your next mobile app, you usually have three options.

  • Hire a mobile app development company
  • Hire a freelance mobile app developer
  • Hire a dedicated team of mobile app developers

There are many mobile app development companies that offer exceptional development services. There are also fraudsters who take advantage of posing as a great mobile app development company, thus draining all your money.

Hiring mobile app development companies helps you in hiring staff with more skill, experience and expertise as they are appointed after an initial screening or tests. The mobile app development companies assist you in the full development of the app including testing and app deployment. A mobile app development company will also offer you a more professional approach and support.

There are also some disadvantages to hiring a mobile app development company. Communication barrier is one of the cons of hiring a mobile app development company. As you cannot interact directly with the team of developers, accessibility to the workflow is less. Rate of hiring mobile app development companies is higher if you are looking for developing a budget-friendly app.

A Freelance mobile app developer is a good option for startups. But hiring a freelance mobile app developer is not a good choice in the long run. ​The main disadvantage is he/she will have less exposure to new technologies and less expertise compared to app development companies. Also, a freelancer may not know all the aspects of mobile app development.

While hiring a dedicated app development team, one should look into the quality and commitment provided by the team.

Let’s take a closer look at each aspect of hiring a mobile app development company, freelance mobile developer and a dedicated app development team.

Hire mobile app development company

Mobile apps are now an unavoidable part of every business.

There are a lot of mobile app development companies that offer good services. But one should hire a mobile app development company, that is the best to succeed in the competition.

Before hiring a mobile app development company, you should have a thorough background check on the firm. This helps in knowing the track record of the app developer company.

Checking similar apps developed by the mobile app development company helps in knowing their expertise in the field and involvement in the project. This also helps in knowing the feedback and ratings from the users.

To hire mobile app developers, who are the best, you should emphasize on communication. Hire mobile app development company that briefs project updates on a daily or weekly basis. A good mobile app development company will arrange a project manager to communicate with the client on project updates.

Timely completion of the project is another important part of hiring mobile app developers. A right-minded mobile app development company respects project deadlines and will complete the project promptly.

To hire a mobile app development company offering the best work, a look into the data security norms will help you in choosing the right one. The mobile app development company should have strict laws on data security. Hiring app development companies without a single incident of a data breach is an added benefit.

The mobile app development company should have developers who are proficient in a variety of platforms such as Android and iOS. The firm should also have the best UI/UX team of designers. Choose the right one with unique creative skills.

Before hiring a mobile app development company, the client should have a detailed analysis of the commitment of the firm. You can contact past clients to get a detailed work review of the mobile app development company. Hiring a mobile app development company that supports the client in the entire process of planning and development including the launch of the mobile app is an admirable point to consider.

Hiring mobile app developers who give proper support and maintenance after the launch of the app is also an important part of this process.

Hire freelance mobile app developer

Hiring freelance mobile app developers is a tricky task.

There are many sites which offer help in hiring freelance mobile app developers. Top sites include DevTeam.Space, Upwork, Hired etc. Also, job portals like Jooble help you post vacancies for mobile app developers on their platforms and find the right talent.

Keep these points in mind before hiring freelance mobile app developers.

  • Request to present a portfolio of earlier works to know the skill level before hiring a freelancer.
  • There are people out there pretending to be a qualified mobile app developer, but in reality, he/she may be a fresher in the field. Only hire freelance mobile app developers after an initial screening.
  • Hire a freelance mobile app developer who is established rather than freshers. This will help you in securing fail-proof work.
  • Hire a freelance mobile app developer who is brilliant in mobile app planning, development and execution of ideas.
  • Hire a freelance mobile app developer who is trustworthy and works according to the needs of the client.
  • Hire mobile app developers who are flexible in their working hours.
  • Look out for good communication skills before hiring freelance mobile app developers.
  • Hire a freelance mobile app developer only after discussing the price and project deadlines. Some freelance mobile app developers work on different projects at the same time. This may increase the time for project completion.
  • Country of origin is another factor to look out for. ​Surveys​ ​suggest that some countries such as the USA and India have the highest number of android app developers in the year 2018. Rates also differ from one country to another while hiring a freelance mobile app developer.
  • Online interactions are another important part of hiring freelance mobile app developers. Identify the best freelancer available with the criteria set by you.
  • You can also choose between a group of freelancers or an individual according to the complexity of the project.
  • Conduct a thorough online and offline research before hiring a freelance mobile app developer to minimise risks such as data breach.

Hire dedicated mobile app development team

While hiring a dedicated mobile app development team, there is no need to set up a workspace as every necessary element is set up already. Give preferences to the dedicated app development team which has the most modern tech and innovations.

Hiring a dedicated mobile app development team who have the necessary skills to develop engaging digital solutions for the customers will help in getting positive feedback. The dedicated mobile app development team should consist of multi-talented individuals. The client should also have full control of the team.

Hire dedicated mobile app development team only if they have the proper infrastructure facilities which support uninterrupted internet, power supply and ​access to the latest technologies.

Hiring a dedicated mobile app development team can help in minimizing the risk involved in data security as you are in direct control of the team. Direct communication and involvement are other features of hiring dedicated app development teams. You should also make sure that strong encryption data protocols are followed before hiring a dedicated mobile app development team.

  • If you are looking for cost-cutting strategies while developing an app, you can definitely hire a dedicated mobile app development team. But you should ensure that it does not compromise the quality of the work and ​you have the resources and expertise to manage the team.
  • Hiring a dedicated mobile app development team will help you in getting a workforce that is better than hiring freelancers.
  • Consider experience and flexible hours of work while hiring from a different timezone.
  • Hiring a dedicated mobile app development team also helps you in analysing the skill set of each individual in the team. If anyone is not up to the mark, you can immediately have a replacement.
  • You can also hire a dedicated mobile app development team on an hourly/ weekly/ or monthly basis.

If you do not want to compromise on the quality of the product, you can hire a mobile app development company.

If you are just starting a business and need a mobile app for better reach, then hire a freelance mobile developer.

If you are looking for a minimum cost and best quality, hire a dedicated mobile app development team.

The next step of the hiring process involves finding the best place to hire a mobile app developer.

Let’s have a closer look.

The best place to hire mobile app developer

The best place to hire mobile app developers, of course, is through the internet. A thorough search on the internet helps you to hire a mobile app developer who is an expert in the field.

Search platforms such as google help in finding the best place to hire a mobile app developer. There are also B2B directories such as Clutch, AppFutura, TopDevelopers, GoodFirms which helps you to hire a mobile app developer.

Only hire mobile app developers from reliable sources such as mentioned above. Websites offering full details ​such as company profile, past work portfolio, reviews and ratings from past clients​ along with contact number and address is a reliable one.

Hire mobile app developer only and only if he/she understands and meets the requirements furnished by you. You can also search sites offering professional assistance which helps to hire mobile app developers from the best circle.

If you hire a mobile app developer using the internet, please double-check for reliability and quality.

You can opt for hiring an in-house development team or offshore development team for developing a mobile app.

Now, what is in-house mobile app development and offshore mobile app development?

Let’s have a closer look.

Developing a mobile app: in-house development team or offshore development team?

Hiring offshore mobile app developer

Offshore mobile app development in simple words is outsourcing mobile app development to other companies. Nearshore and onshore are terms associated with offshore mobile app development. It is based on the geographical location of the mobile app development company you are outsourcing with.

Nearshore mobile app developers are those from neighbouring countries. Onshore mobile app developers are the developers located in the same country as you.

Offshore mobile app developers are those from different countries mostly far away from your nation.

Hiring an offshore mobile app developer is one of the most feasible choices. The majority of the offshore mobile app development companies offer high-quality work at an affordable rate. ​Since they will be mostly from a different part of the world, they might have a different perspective in creating better solutions and add more value to the project you are planning.

Hiring an offshore mobile app developer helps you in cutting your cost as you do not need to hire mobile app developers including other staff and also do not need to spend on infrastructure.

Offshore mobile app developers have expertise in different areas of work so adding new elements to the project that was not discussed before is easy. There are also no problems when a staff resigns, as there will be a replacement.

Different nations have different economic structures. A good understanding of the currency differences helps you in developing a mobile app at the lowest cost. For example, if an American offshore mobile app developer can develop an app for around $100,000; a mobile app developer from India can develop the app for approximately $4000 which is due to the currency conversion rate and cost of living. Reduction in time and budget is the greatest advantage of hiring offshore mobile app developers.

There is a risk of piracy and copying codes in hiring an offshore mobile app developer. You should take extra care while hiring an offshore mobile app developer.

Hiring famous and established mobile app developers can help you in developing your perfect app and reducing risks. According to some ​surveys​, India is one of the best countries to hire an offshore mobile app developer.

Now, what is an in-house developing team?

Hiring in-house development team

If you already have a team of developers who is part of your organisation, the team is called an in-house development team. There are many advantages and disadvantages while depending on in-house development teams.

You are in direct control of an in-house development team. There may be no language and cultural barrier as​ the employees have already adapted to the work culture of your organisation​. You can have a deep involvement with the development of the project when you have ​an in-house development team.

You can communicate directly with the team and execute your ideas much more easily. The development process of the app is closely watched and evaluated by you. This helps in avoiding and rectifying errors as early as possible.

Sufficient training given to the team ensures that every member meets the requirements. There is also a very low risk of a data breach as you are directly involved in the project.

There are also some disadvantages of relying on an in-house development team for your app development.

The first one is the cost of creating an in-house development team. The cost of setting up a workspace and the necessary infrastructure is costlier ​compared to hiring ​an offshore development team.

To hire mobile app developers with the right talent, a lot of time and investment are ​needed. You would also want to pay allowances and bonuses on special occasions to the employees which will increase the cost of owning an in-house app development team.

Hiring staff and giving them necessary training will increase the time of mobile app development. Everyone in the team will not have the required expertise in the field. Training given to such employees will further increase the time of project completion ​or indirectly affect the cost.

According to the complexity of the app, the number of staff and infrastructure requirements may also increase. When a staff resigns, filling the position is a difficult task. This further increases the ​cost and time needed for completing the development of the app.

In the long run, hiring an in-house development team is a good choice. But if you want to consistently reduce costs and develop an app in a short time period, hiring an offshore development company is the best option.

How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer?

Let’s assess this question in detail and find out how various steps of app development associates with the cost.

Every business is turning into developing mobile apps to widen their horizon. To plan, develop, and execute a perfect app, you should hire a mobile app developer who is a specialist in the field. The main thing to consider here is the cost to hire a mobile app developer.

There are mainly three factors that affect the cost of hiring a mobile app developer.

  • Mobile technology/platform
  • Location of the mobile app developer
  • App complexity

Mobile technology/platform

There are mainly three types of mobile applications.

This includes native, hybrid, and cross-platform mobile apps. To understand how much it costs to hire mobile app developers, let’s analyse these mobile apps in detail.

Courtesy: Clutch.co

The first one is the native mobile app. Developed for a particular platform, native apps maximise functionality and user experience. Developing native apps is more expensive than developing apps in the other two categories. Cross-platform apps are designed using JavaScript.

Cross-Platforms are useful for those looking for compatibility in various platforms. The cost of developing cross-platform mobile apps are less compared to native apps. Cross-platform apps offer limited functionality.

Native apps and cross-platform apps are combined with the help of CSS, HTML, or other web tech to develop hybrid apps. The main benefit of using hybrid apps is that it works on any platforms with slightly modified codes. The cost of developing a hybrid app is lower compared to native and cross-platform apps. As this is a new category of app, troubleshooting options are minimum compared to other categories.

If budget is not a problem and if you want to provide maximum user experience, go for native apps. Also use this category, if the app is having a complex structure.

To be compatible with various platforms and to gain a wide market, use cross-platform apps.

If yours is a startup company and is looking for a low budget app, hybrid apps will be your best bet.

Location of the mobile app developer

The next factor that determines the mobile app development cost is the location of the developer. Mobile app developers from the USA, Canada, Australia charge the highest rate. Whereas India, Ukraine, South East Asia charges the lowest rate to develop a mobile app.

Courtesy​: Goodfirms.co

App complexity

Another factor that determines the mobile app development cost is the app complexity. To develop a complex app you need to hire a mobile app developer who has the required expertise in the field of work. The cost of hiring experienced mobile app developers is higher than that of hiring a fresher.

App design and security, user experience are other factors determining the cost of mobile app development. User experience defines the success of a mobile app. A good app design helps in providing good user experience. Thus a good amount of money spent on the design helps you to get positive feedback from users. As an important feature, a significant part of the budget goes into strengthening the security of the app.

App deployment, maintenance, and updates are other factors that determine the cost of developing an app.

Time is also a factor determining the cost of development of a mobile app. If you want to launch an app very soon, then you need to hire more staff along with the necessary infrastructure to speed up the process.

How much does it cost to hire a mobile app developer?

Based on GoodFirms ​survey​, the average cost of hiring a mobile app developer is as follows:

Choosing a perfect mobile app development company helps in planning the perfect app. Hiring mobile app developers who have the experience and expertise in each and every stage of mobile app development helps you in establishing a successful mobile app.

AlignMinds Technologies is an award-winning app development company with a decade of success stories. We can help ​your ​businesses ​to get an edge in the competition and​ bring more glory and revenue through innovative solutions. ​Contact us now!

24 eCommerce App Requirements That Can Turn Your Business Into A Success

Every major company in the world is turning towards developing mobile apps for their eCommerce requirements.

The eCommerce apps help to conserve time and money by helping the customers to shop at their will at any instant. It helps in an easier lifestyle. It is not a simple task to be first in this never-ending competition. eCommerce apps help companies to deliver an enjoyable experience to the users.

Customers look out for eCommerce apps while using the services of a company. eCommerce apps help the company in broadening its perspective. They can use this app as a key to reach every section of the society. ​Here is the list of the most needed eCommerce app requirements to become the best of its kind.

1. Know your customers

The first eCommerce app requirement is to know your target audience.

The company should analyze the needs and outlook of its customers. Understanding the necessities of the customers are useful while planning eCommerce app requirements. Good interaction with the customers through surveys and social media also helps in the development of the best eCommerce app.

Digital marketing tactics help the company in broadening the number of customers. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are part of digital marketing strategies that help in promoting a brand. Google AdWords is the most important and most used example of SEM.

Social Media Marketing and Email marketing are other examples of digital marketing.

2. Know your competitors

The company should analyze and have a close study of the competition in the eCommerce field. Providing more features than the competitors is not enough for an eCommerce company to grow. Offering great user experience and engaging content are also an essential part of growth.

The eCommerce app requirements should be based on the preferences of the customers. The innovations and ideas should suit the existing and potential customers and should not meet but exceed their expectations.

3. Customization of the eCommerce app

An eCommerce app should be simple and elegant.

The prime focus must be to meet customer requirements. ​Customization of the app based on the customers’ need and demand is an essential eCommerce app requirement.

Before planning eCommerce app requirements, the team should have an insight from the customers’ point of view. The app should​ help them with solving their problems and provide them with an outstanding experience.

4. A good feedback system

A feedback system is a very important eCommerce app requirement.

The company can get insights from the feedback system of the app. A good feedback system ensures the proper growth of the company. The feedback helps in implementing certain initiatives such as quick response and follow-ups based on customer queries. This also helps in improving the performance of the app.

Feedback collected directly through the app and while purchasing products helps the eCommerce company to know their limitations. Through the feedback of the customers, the app can guarantee a good user experience that builds loyalty and brand image of the company.

As a very essential eCommerce app requirement, the feedback system helps the business in gaining perfection in the quality of its services and customer relationship management.

5. Search options

Search platform with filters is one of the basic eCommerce app requirement.

A customized search bar with customer preferences is better than a basic one. The filters can also include the price range and ratings.

The search pattern of the customer can help in showing a personalized home screen or product section. A provision for comparing different products through the search bar can help the customers.

6. Reviews and Ratings

eCommerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart use a system of ratings and reviews to help the customers. Such rating systems are an important eCommerce app requirement.

The ratings and reviews are very much helpful in determining whether the product fits the customers’ needs.

They also help a new user to know the quality and capabilities of a particular product. A provision for the users to upload images and videos of the products increases the chances of knowing the product. The system should also check and discourage fake reviews and ratings.

7. Sign up using various platforms

A Good eCommerce app should help the users to sign up using their social media account. This enables the customers to sign in by using other platforms such as Gmail, Facebook etc. and make the entire process a hassle-free experience.

This is another eCommerce app requirement which most of the customers search for while downloading or using an app.

The registration process should be simple and trouble-free​. Customers can share their experience of using the app on social media​. This will, in turn, help the eCommerce app to gain popularity and new customers.

8. Providing a good User experience

User experience is a significant eCommerce app requirement.

Knowing the needs and requirements of a customer helps in offering the best user experience. It shows how a customer interacts with the app, thus letting an eCommerce company know what are their priorities and desires. User experience helps in enhancing the quality of the app based on customer interests.

Discounts and rewards make the customer happy. ​This along with engaging content and best user experience​ make the customers delighted.

9. Optimization for offline availability

Many customers get frustrated when the app does not work properly in low network areas. App optimization for weak signals is a relevant eCommerce app requirement.

The developers should make sure that the users do not get disappointed while using the app. Offline compatibility of the app helps the company in gaining positive feedback from the customers.

10. Product gallery

A dedicated tab in the eCommerce app showing various images and videos of products helps the customers to an extent.

But these images or videos should be an accurate copy of the original product. Images and videos should be clear so that the customers can get a good​ understanding of the product​.

11. Analytics incorporated into the app

Courtesy: Clutch 2019 E-Commerce survey

A chief eCommerce app requirement is, ​it should provide accurate insight into product preferences and sales.

These data will help in understanding what products are selling and develop new products that are similar to trending products. This helps the eCommerce company to have positive growth.

The analysis of the data helps in enhancing the usability and features of the eCommerce app. Thus data analysis driven renovations help in increasing the number of customers. This will escalate the revenue of the company.

Data analysis can be also used to decipher the interests of the people.

12. Notifications and wish list

Creating a wish list based on the interest of the users is an essential component of an eCommerce app. Notifications about products on wish lists help the users to get better deals on their favourite products.

Discounts given on the price or delivery of items in the wishlist makes customers happy.

Push notifications help in advertising new arrivals on the platform. Notifications based on the search criteria inform the users about the availability of their desired product. ​Alerts should be customizable for the users based on their convenience.

Customers should be able to know if the desired product is available in their area. If not, the eCommerce app should help them with enabling notifications so that when the product becomes available, the customers can place an order.

13. Compatibility in various platforms

Compatibility is another important eCommerce app requirement. It should be equally compatible with various platforms such as Android, Windows, iOS.

Keeping the same design and interfaces across different platforms helps in avoiding confusion among users​. A simple UI/UX design helps everyone with basic knowledge to use it conveniently.

14. Personalizing app usage

An option for personalising the app according to their taste and preferences will help an eCommerce app to win the heart of its users. Options like customising the theme and other features ​will give the eCommerce app a new dimension.

Full access over privacy settings is also a key eCommerce app requirement.

15. Usage of AI and AR

Using Artificial Intelligence (A. I) helps in minimizing human interaction. It creates a friendlier interface in the eCommerce app. AI customizes and ​revolutionizes ​the user experience by personalizing the content, according to the customer.

Besides, through AI, the eCommerce firm can check the customer choices by having a deeper understanding of the search patterns. This also helps in knowing the preferences and tastes of the user.

Augmented Reality (AR) ​offers the user a chance to see and feel the product, like in the real world, before owning it.

16. Payment options

The app should house maximum payment options to its users. Online payment, cash on delivery, e-wallet are popular among customers who use eCommerce apps.

Multi-currency payment options with high-level security are an essential part of an eCommerce app. Payment options for international users also help the app ​to rank as one of the most favoured one in the eCommerce section.

Security is the most important part of the payment feature. This eCommerce app requirement should be planned without any flaws.

17. A faster check-out and delivery

A good eCommerce app should value the time of the customer. So faster page navigation with a faster check-out is an additional eCommerce app requirement.

Details such as price and product specifications, accurate date of delivery help the customers to plan their purchase accordingly. If there are any delays in delivery, the app should communicate it with the customers with the help of notifications.

18. Special membership options and loyalty programs

An eCommerce app can provide special membership status to customers.

Customers with such special status can​ book and view products before they arrive on the platform. Loyalty programs catch the eye of the customers and this can generate more revenues if marketed well. Loyalty programs made available helps in increasing the number of users ​and building a long-lasting relationship with the brand.

These programs can also include discounts and reward points on specific items.

19. Discounts with flash sales

The eCommerce app can conduct flash sales with good discounts on a weekly or monthly basis. This eCommerce app requirement helps the brand in its promotions by making use of social media and other types of advertisements.

This helps in increasing the value of the app in the public’s eye. Flash sales also help in gaining ​more users for the app.

20. Using live chatbox

Enabling live chat helps the customers to interact directly with ​customer care in real-time.

Live chatbox make it much easier to clear the queries of the customer. ​Company representatives ​can respond and communicate with the customers through the chatbox and also help them ​with finding the best product for their need or solving any inconvenience they are facing on the platform. Live chatbox is a very essential eCommerce app requirement in this internet-connected world.

21. Returning products and raising questions

If the product does not satisfy the customer, there should be an option for returning it. Offering a refund or return option helps an eCommerce company to build trust in the eyes of their customers.

The customers should also be able to raise questions about their desired product ​or the purchase process​. ​The questions, if answered in a time-bound manner, will help the eCommerce business to win the trust of the customer.

22. Ease of access

Any kind of disability should not stop anyone from using the features of an eCommerce app. The design should ensure that everyone can use the app with ease.

The app can incorporate screen narrator and provide search options based on speech. A smartphone camera can help a disabled person to search by product images. This eCommerce app requirement gives an equal ​level of accessibility ​to every customer.

23. Frequency in updates

Frequent updates ​fix bugs ​and introduce additional features.

New updates should use only a small amount of storage space from the device. Planning is important while releasing new updates. Safety and security are of prime importance and steps taken to resolve such issues make the app safer.

eCommerce apps should regard the privacy concerns of the users with the utmost respect.

24. Ads and featured products

Ads bring revenue to the business through more sales ​and commissions​.

However, the presence of ads on the platform may irritate some users. ​The ads should not be too pushy to the viewers. Personalizing ads or an option to filter out sponsored products will help in solving this problem.

Personalised ads will help users to find their desired products more easily. It will help the eCommerce business to increase sales through better conversion. ​Personalised ads can be also displayed on the home screen of the app.

The most important factor determining the success of an eCommerce app is the team who develops it.

AlignMinds Technologies is an award-winning app development company with a decade of success stories. We can help ​your ​businesses ​to get an edge in the competition and​ bring more sales and revenue through innovative eCommerce solutions. Do you have an eCommerce app requirement? ​Contact us now

What Really Determines Mobile App Development Cost?

If COVID has benefited any industry, it is the tech industry.

Due to quarantine and self-distancing as a measure against the pandemic, the direct interaction between consumer and business has widened. As a result, there is a surge in demand for technology innovation and adoption in the market to fill this growing gap.

Even the ones that were called “traditional” have either digitalized their business or are in the early stages of technology adoption.

However, there are businesses and entrepreneurs who are not yet able to make the transition. One of the major reasons is the budget and availability of a reliable technology supplier. For most of them, the current situation was unforeseen, and they are sceptical about the ROE they may gain through the digitalisation of their business. Or, they have a limited fund available with them.

This article is written with an aim to help such businesses and entrepreneurs.

What is mobile app development?

To understand what mobile app development is, we should first understand what mobile apps are.

A mobile app is a set of mobile programmers with specific functions that are bundled together targeting a defined population with specific needs. These programmes tried to fulfil the needs of the defined population through

  • Delivering services directly through the app
  • Helping the population to request for the services and products through the platform
  • Helping businesses to connect with the population

In the first and last cases, there will be a single vendor whereas in the second case there may be more than ne vendor.

Mobile apps are rapidly becoming popular since the last decade. Industries like retail, telecommunications, banking, insurance, healthcare, and government have already leveraged the power of mobile apps to enable users to conduct transactions and access information in the most convenient way.

The number of mobiles apps are increasing day by day and the usage of mobile apps have seen a rapid increase in the past years.

(Source: https://www.statista.com/topics/1002/mobile-app-usage/ )

Number of mobile app downloads worldwide from 2016 to 2019 (Source: statista.com)

Number of apps available in leading app stores in 2020 (Source: statista.com)

These numbers are expected to increase many folds in coming years as technology is improving at a rapid pace and businesses are leveraging technology to offer a convenient medium for their customers to connect with them and get services and products from them.

Mobile app development cost

Due to the fact that customers are looking for more convenient ways to get services and products done and businesses are having a hard time with minimizing the gap between them and their targeted customer base, it has become almost a mandatory to use technology to your advantage.

However, one of the major hurdles in getting a mobile app for your business is the cost associated with the development of the app.

There are many factors that go to deciding the cost of developing a mobile app.

Factors affecting the app development cost

Geography

One of the major factors in deciding the mobile app development cost is the location of the app developer. Usually, service providers from first world countries charge a higher rate for their services. Whereas, app developers from south-east Asia and east Europe have a comparatively lower cost associated with their services.

Half of the mobile developing companies charge anything between $25 to $49 for each hour of work they do.  Developers in Asia keep their hourly charges to a maximum of $100.

Features and functionalities

The function and features of the proposed mobile app is another major factor that decides the cost of the mobile app. For example, to fulfil a function, the developer may have to choose various technologies, services and components and the integration them together to make the app suitable to successfully execute the function. As the function varies, these technologies and components will also vary, and the cost associated with them.

Platform

There are mainly two types of mobile apps: Native and hybrid.

Native: Developed for a particular platform, for example, Android. These apps will work only on this particular platform.

Hybrid apps: These are cross platforms apps that works on more than one platform.

The advantage of a hybrid app is that it will on more than one platform and there is no need to develop separate apps for different mobile platforms like iOS and Android. This will help in cutting down the development cost significantly since the resources needed now will be less.

If you are focusing only on one platform, for example, Android, the cost may be different compared to developing the same app for the iOS platform. It is mainly due to the workflow, resource allocation and quality standards that vary from platform to platforms.

Time

If you want the app to be deployed as fast as possible, the cost may go up. This is mainly because more resources need to be invested in the process to deliver the product as early as possible.

Experience and expertise of the development team

Experience and expertise do not come cheap. If the app developer is an expert in the field and has years of experience under the belt, she will be charging a relatively higher price for the services. The good thing is that such developers can provide quality products, based on the requirement and the nature of the market, within a short time possible.

Design and user experience

Design and user experience plays a vital role in deciding the success of a mobile app. An app with good design and offer great user experience will win attention and popularity easily in the market. However, coming up with a good design strategy and optimizing user experience requires expertise, time, and resources. A good design strategy and user experience are the results of in-depth market research, conceptualization, testing and evaluation. Therefore, developing a disruptive product always requires a good investment.

App security

Most of the mobile apps deal with at least one set of sensitive data like user information, financial transaction, documents, user locations and user behaviours. This information may be critical in the smooth functioning of the mobile app. But, what important is ensuring such data are stored securely and there is no data theft or unauthorized access. Since the value of data is usually decided by the sensitivity of the same, we will have to put extra security measures to protect such data. Security is one of the critical features of any digital solution.

App Deployment

App deployment is all of the activities that make a software system available for use. Usually, it means, the app is ready for use and is uploaded to app marketplaces like Play Store by Google (In case of Android apps) or App store by Apple (In case of iOS apps). App deployment itself is a service and there is usually a cost associated with it.

Maintenance and update

Apps demand maintenance and regular updates. Releases of security patches in regular intervals is a critical part of maintenance. Usually, the first version of the app is released with minimum features. More features will be added as updates based on user feedback and market demand. Also, as technology advances, there will be new methodologies that need to be integrated with the app to replace the outdated ones.

Maintenance and updates plan (Post-deployment plans) varies from developers to developers. Industry, technology, future versions planned etc are some other factors that decide the cost of Maintenance and update.

App development cost and app development methods

Waterfall and Agile are the promising app development methods in the industry.  In the case of waterfall method, documentation is required in advance before the process for development begins.  On the other hand, if you are going to use agile methodology, there is no requirement for process documentation before the development.  Using the waterfall technique, you will get a clear viewpoint on what you are getting and how much cost will it require.  Agile method is the most adopted as it comes with a more flexible structure.  You can adjust the products, functions, features and changes.  Through the agile app, you get your app on time and start getting your target audience faster than the waterfall method. 

Waterfall app development method goes right with a fixed fee structure.   You can decide the fixed charges you would like to have while developing the app, however, you may have to compromise with the quality of the app.

In the case of agile methodology, you will get what you pay for.  As mentioned above the method is flexible enough that you can count on the amount you invest in developing the app.  The developers will provide you with estimated rates of their work and you can track the time, efforts, and resources they put into the development process.

Conclusion

Android is the most popular mobile platform today. If you want to target the maximum population but have a limited budget, go for Android apps. 

The cost of developing an app depends on its functions, technology, app architecture, resources needed, planned stages, timeframe, security, and maintenance. Since App development is a dynamic process, there will be always an uncertainty associated with the cost until and unless all the requirements are finalized and there is a development plan in place. The inclusion or exclusion of even a single feature in your app will change its cost. However, never compromise on app quality due to expenditure.

If you have an idea that needs to be transformed into a mobile app, contact us now.

If you are wondering how much it will cost to turn your idea into a mobile app, contact us now and share your requirement! Our team of experts will get in touch with you soon!

Best App Development Companies in Kenya

  • Which is the best mobile app development company in Kenya?
  • Where could I get the best app developer in Kenya?
  • Who are the best mobile app consultants in Kenya?
  • What companies based in East Africa (particularly Kenya) are the best for developing custom mobile apps and websites?

What is common in these questions?

They are the same questions phrased differently!

Even though it looks like that may be true, these questions are asked by different people on Quora over a period.

These questions are asked by different people on Quora over a period.

There are so many similar questions that ask the same questions but phrased differently on the internet. The numbers are increasing day by day.

One of the reasons why such questions are asked more frequently is Kenya is rapidly becoming one of the technologically advanced markets in the world.

The number of people using smartphones and digital services is increasing in Kenya. As people are adopting technology to make their lives easier, businesses are investing more money on technology to keep up with the trend. As a result, the app industry is rapidly expanding in the country.

However, since Kenya is an emerging market, there is a gap in demand and supply when it comes to the app industry. While businesses are looking for technology solutions with top quality at an affordable price, there are not so many service providers who are able to meet this growing demand. This is just opposite to a developed market like the US which has already gone through several technology evolutions and the market is somewhat saturated with a good number of service providers.

Due to this wide gap between technology demand and technology supply, it is often difficult for a person or business to find the “right app developer” in emerging markets like Kenya. So, these questions are not without a cause.

Is that mean there are no good app developers in Kenya?

Absolutely not.

The Kenyan market is adopting technology at a fast pace. Due to the quality of the services provided and at the cost they were made available, there are several app developments companies who have already made their space in Kenya.

How to choose the best mobile app development company in Kenya?

There are many ways to find the best mobile app development companies.

Use Google

As always, Google is your best friend. Simply do a search on Google using keywords like “Best app development company in Kenya”. See what comes up.

Google has a sophisticated search approach that is developed to show only the best results.

Go to Business directories

There are several websites that list the businesses by industry and services offered. Websites like Clutch.co, Goodfirms.co etc features reviews from clients on the listed company profile. They also release curated lists of top app development companies based on the client ratings and reviews periodically.

App developers with good ratings and reviews may quote a higher price for their services. Unless you are looking for something cheap, always go for companies with top ratings since they are more likely to deliver quality and results.

Seek help from your business network

Investing in an app will cost you money. But, it will be the most beneficial step you can take for your business. The only thing is, you must make sure that the money is invested in the right team.

One of the most reliable sources to find the best app developers can be your professional network. Check whether anyone in your network has worked with any app developed company in the past. If yes, how was the experience and what was the result? Ask them questions like

  • What was the overall cost of developing the app?
  • What were the features offered at that price?
  • How long it took the development team to deliver the final product?
  • How was the communication between the teams?
  • How was the quality of the final product?
  • Did the app development company take care of deployment and maintenance?
  • Has the app helped your friend to achieve the same result she was expecting?
  • How did the market respond to the app?
  • What was the feedback from the actual users? Was it positive?

Find the creators of popular apps in your industry/market

In the past, as an app development company, we have partnered with some of the prominent organisations in Kenya to implement some of the cutting-edge solutions the market has ever seen.

Look at the examples below.

EMS2GO: Developing pick and delivery app for POSTA Kenya

Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) is the largest distribution name in Kenya. They vowed to deliver superior communication, distribution, and financial solutions to customers. As part of their mission, PCK wanted to develop a real-time pickup/delivery solution for their customers. AlignMinds developed a comprehensive pickup and delivery solution that consists of three components.

  • A consumer pickup and delivery app to help registered users to place and track orders real-time.
  • A driver app to help drivers and riders timely deliver the package to the right recipient.
  • A web backend that helps the staff of PCK to manage the system.

Visit the client’s website: https://www.posta.co.ke/ems2go/

Citizen Radio App for live streaming

Royal Media Services Limited is the largest media house in Eastern Africa with fourteen radio stations under their wing. They also own Kenya’s most popular TV channel, Citizen TV.

To meet the demand of their growing fanbase, RMS wanted to develop a mobile platform that will enable them to live stream all their radio programmes.

The mobile app AlignMinds developed, which are available for Android and iOS platforms, featured all the 14 radio channels of RMS and enable any smartphone user to enjoy their programmes live.

The app has been downloaded 100,000+ times in Play Store and a rating of 4.5 from 1206 users.

Google play store: Citizen Radio

Citizen TV

Citizen TV is the largest television news channels in eastern Africa. To widen their reach and penetrate even the remote areas in the countries, Citizen planned to develop a web news portal and a mobile app with live streaming to deliver unbiased news to maximum population.

To help Citizen with their business objective, AlignMinds Technologies developed a modern news portal with live TV and other friendly features like news page, article share, font customization etc.

The citizen mobile app which is available for Android, iOS and windows platform set a new trend in the news industry with its robust features that encourage users to spend more time on the platform. The app has been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times on Google Play and has an average rating of 4.1 from a total of 6,599 ratings.

News portal: https://citizentv.co.ke/

Mobile app: Citizen TV News app

Balton CP: Integrated digital portal

Balton CP has worked in Africa for more than 50 years with a mission to bring the highest quality products and state-of-the-art technology from around the globe to develop new services for the emerging African market. They are a leading player in the field of agribusiness, technology and innovation, energy and project management with their operations that span across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Ghana, and Nigeria.

AlignMinds developed an integrated digital portal with a central point of web management to help Balton CP to have distinct websites with independent web management for each of their subsidiaries and centralized management for the super admin.

Website: https://www.baltoncp.com/

Finding the developers behind the most popular apps in the market has its own advantages.

These apps became popular not by fluke. Only with a deep understanding of the market, right conceptualization, supervised development, and flawless deployment (Testing and maintenance) a solution can be turned into an awesome app.

To build something like this, the team must have the right talent, genuine passion, and good quality standard.

If you are searching for such an app development company in Kenya, you are in the right place.

We have implemented numerous projects for our Kenyan and international clients throughout the period of 10 years. We have done projects for POSTA Kenya, Royal Media Services, Citizen TV, Balton CP group and many other prominent players in the Kenyan Market. Contact us now!

Want Your MVP to be Successful? 5 Most Important Considerations

Erik Ries who wrote the bestseller The Lean Startup says that the best strategy to dive into the Product-Market fit is by rolling out a Minimum Viable Product(MVP) and continuously iterating the same based on user’s feedback. This is the exact opposite to what we do today which is to release with what we think is our final and perfect product to the public.

This is not a wise idea!

“If you are not embarrassed by your first release, you probably spent too much time on it”

Here are the 5 most important rules for building a successful Minimum Viable Product(MVP).

5 Most important rules of building a successful MVP

1. Learning must be your goal!

MVP is the version of a new product which allows the team to gather a maximum amount of validated learning about the customers with the least amount of time and money. Your concept must be genuine. If you cannot explain it clearly and simply, don’t expect that your customers will understand it.

The important point is that you must have a clear idea about what you want to learn from this feedback. What problem your MVP is going to be addressed? Are your customers really like your idea or not? What is the important feature you would like to have on your product to solve the problem which you are planning to address? The problem you are choosing to get answers is the most important thing and chose it smartly to validate the results in build, measure and learn product building ecosystem.

2. Do not waste too much money

The whole idea behind building a minimum viable product is that you get a chance to review and improve your product before you are pouring a lot of money into it. So, you don’t need to release a full-fledged version of your product and instead, please concentrate on the main problem you are planning to get resolved or your core idea. It must be a cheap and not time-consuming solution to get feedback from your customers. You can choose the best-suited one from the different types of MVP.

3. Choose your target customers wisely

You will face more difficulty in finding the right customers if your proposed solution is more innovative. It’s not necessary that your proposed solution must be for everyone! You can share your MVP with the same people from your professional network who find passion in new ideas, give honest and constructive feedback. I am sure that they will give you an impartial opinion about the questions you are asking and will be the entry point to a wider section of your targeted customers.

4. Test, test, test and more test

If your assumptions are not correct, then there is a great chance that your MVP is going to be a disaster. Avoid it at any cost. The best way to get it is to test our MVP more and more. Your thinking will not always be the same as what the customers are actually looking for. Instead of assumptions, it’s always better to find an answer and validate every hypothesis even if it looks good. The more feedback you get through testing, the more you are closer to your customers’ needs and goals.

5. Changes make your product fantastic

“ Everybody has ideas, however, what really matters is having ideas to solve real problems”
– Orkun Ozbatur

Our ideas and views are so dear to us so much so that we always have a tendency to avoid the actual feedback from the customers. Most of their feedback might not be in align our ideas. This is the prime reason that many products are ended up by using very fewer people apart from us. The thumb rule is that if your product needs to be successful in the market, it must be liked and used by the real customers not us. It’s anytime a good idea to develop one which the customers love and are ready to spend their hard-earned money on it.

This article is written by Manoj Pillai, Head of Delivery at AlignMinds Technologies

How the App Development Community is gearing up to Fight Covid–19

There’s no stopping Covid-19 now. It’s spreading like wildfire. Any city or country, you name it, and you will find several positive or suspected Covid-19 patients there.  

Speaking to Time magazine, Richard Kuhn, a virologist and professor of science at -Purdue University, informed that if the health officials had taken action earlier and contained the outbreak within Wuhan, things would not have escalated to this level.

So, now the question is how to control this pandemic that threatens to take the whole world under its wraps?

Sure, lockdowns and curfew imposed by many governments are helping us control the viral transmission of this global pandemic, to a very higher degree. But then is this enough?  

Not until the health sector world over starts relying more and more on smartphone apps, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to fight the spread of coronavirus. These technologies are widely being used in a variety of industries, such as retail, banking, and more. High time the health industry takes note of it and starts applying technology to their industry.

Leveraging this technology might help stop the spread of this pandemic right in its track.

Consultancy for Covid-19 through apps

Currently, people who are suffering from fever, cough, and shortness of breath meet the doctor in person. This means, they visit the doctor at a clinic or hospital, and thereby transmits the virus to all those who came in contact with – it could be the doctors, nurses, other patients, and more.

Instead, if such patients stay at home and connect with the doctor via an app, and describe their symptoms, the doctor will be able to treat him accordingly.  Given that the suspected patient doesn’t move out of his house, he is not exposing others to the virus.

Case study

In Singapore, nearly a million people have used the telehealth app called – MaNaDr. About 20% of physicians offer different services via this app. Patients were getting pre-screened on MaNaDr and advised to be at home if the symptoms were not severe. However, the patient reports to the doctor every evening to keep him posted about his condition. If the latter feels that he is getting sicker, then an ambulance is ordered to take him to the hospital. 

This kind of virtual monitoring makes it easier for the doctors to treat patients and also puts less pressure on the hospital that is already facing resource crunch in the wake of Corona spread. More than anything, consultancy apps avoid transmitting the virus to others.

Covid-19: Tracker Apps

Worried that its healthcare system would collapse in the face of coronavirus scare, India has gone on a complete lockdown mode – which is being now termed as World’s Largest Coronavirus Lockdown.  Not surprisingly, the tech community is keeping itself busy in developing different apps that could help control the spread of the pandemic.

CoWin-20

The soon to be launched app, CoWin-20, would most likely help users find if they came in close contact with people infected with the virus. Plus, it would also be able to tell you if you’re in an area with a high number of infected cases.  The app most likely determines this by scanning the database of infected people and checking individuals’ travel history.

Co-Win is currently being tested on both iOS and Android. 

Corona Kavach

This is yet another app being launched by the Indian government. Currently available in beta version, the app, Corona Kavach, would helps users check if they have crossed paths with patients who have tested positive for the virus. Plus, it keeps you posted with the latest details on the community spread of Coronavirus through the user’s location.  

Covid Symptom Tracker app

This new app launched by British researchers of Kings College London will help track the symptoms related to the Virus, allowing people to self-report their condition daily. The app, according to a Techcrunch report, will measure temperature, tiredness, and symptoms such as headaches, breathing problems, coughing, and more. If the user is showing signs of Covid-19, a testing kit will be sent home to understand the symptoms better. Further, it will help parse between mild coronavirus from seasonal coughs and colds, which currently may be making people to self-quarantine unnecessarily, or inadvertently infecting people.

Covid News, Tips and Alerts Apps

WHO MyHealth

With the Covid-19 pandemic taking its toll world over, people are already on their tenterhooks. But what’s making the situation even worse is misinformation being communicated about this virus through Whatsapp forwards and all, creating further panic among people. 

To combat misinformation, the World Health Organization is gearing up to launch an official Android, iOS, and Web app, called WHO MyHealth, for news, tips, alerts, and more to keep you updated about the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article is written by Jennifer Warren, a Content Crafter with  GoodFirms , a research and review platform for service and software companies. The company provides a curated list of top mobile app development companies, top writing service companies among many others.

Sustainable Mobile App Development: 7 Factors You Should Take Care

Mobile application development has driven everyone into a state or period of uncontrolled excitement. As mobile phones are an important and obligatory part of daily life, 1000s of new mobile applications are released day by day both in Android and iOS. Yet only a handful will survive. It is not just the development of an application, moreover, it is a business. Let us have a brief study of the important points to remember for successful development and launching of the app.

It is always the vast idea that develops into a mobile application so each and every tiny point has to be focused on the good future of the app. As application development need to infect mobile phones all over the world, the development process has to be very systematic and should focus on various aspects. Here is the list of top 7 factors you should take care of during sustainable mobile app development.

  • Methodology
  • UI & User Experience
  • Functionality Testing
  • API Management
  • Mobile Content Management
  • Connectivity with Users
  • Promoting and Marketing the App

1. Methodologies

In the field of sustainable mobile app development or software engineering in general, methodologies mean a framework that is used by the development team to plan, structure and control the process of developing an information system. It is a process of splitting of development procedure into various phases with the aim of better planning and management.

Common methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, spiral development iterative, incremental development, rapid application development, extreme programming and several other types of agile methodology.

A variety of such frameworks have evolved over the years, each with its own recognized ups and downs. A particular methodology used to develop software is not necessarily suitable for use by all projects. Each of the available methodology frameworks is suitable to specific kinds of projects, each based on various technical, organizational, project and team considerations.

While going through various app development methodologies, it is seen that Agile development methodologies are more popular than other traditional development methodologies and I would like to describe the same over here.

2. Agile development methodology

Agile software development is a primary framework for undertaking software projects including mobile application. There are a number of agile development methodologies like Dynamic Systems Development Model (DSDM), Crystal Method and Scrum.

Most of the agile development methods try to minimize the risk by developing applications in short timeboxes, called ‘iterations’, which commonly last for one-four weeks. Each iteration is like a mini software project and includes all the tasks necessary to release the mini-increment of new functionality: planning, requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, and documentation. While each iteration will not include the functionalities to warrant releasing the product, an agile software project intends to be capable of releasing new product at the end of every iteration. At the end of each iteration, the project team re-evaluates project priorities.

Agile development methodology is a crucial factor in sustainable app development.

Agile development method mainly emphasizes on real-time communication, avoids written documents and prefer face-to-face communication. Most agile teams are located in a bullpen and include necessary manpower necessary to finish the application or software. At a minimum, this includes programmers and the people who define the project such as project managers, business analysts, or even actual customers. The bullpen may also include technical writers, interface designers, testers band management team. Agile methods also highlight working software as the primary measure of progress.

3. UI & User Experience

How to amplify user experience by improving accessibility, usability, and pleasure is what the user experience design tells.

Some of the main factors that influence the quality of user experience are listed below. These factors are also important in the case of sustainable mobile app development.

1. Visual design

The motive of visual design is to use elements like pics, symbols and colours to convey the message of application to users.

2. Information architecture

It is the fine art of organizing and structuring the information related to software product and services by supporting usability and findability.

3. Structuring, organization and labelling

Structuring is the process of relating building units of a mobile application to each other, where each building units contains basic information regarding them. Grouping these units into meaningful and well-defined manner is called organizing. Labelling is the process of using of appropriate wordings to assist easy navigation and findability.

As the mobile app is delivered to the hands of a wide range of users, user experience design plays a very important role as it enhances user satisfaction by improving usability, accessibility and pleasure provided in the interaction between a product and the user.

It is better to start by an MVP (minimum viable product) and test the same in a small circle nearly 500-1000 users depending on our mobile application. Before launching the final product, it is good to have feedback from MVP and small iterations will help to launch the final product.

As mobile app development is not a onetime process, it needs to continue upgradation and improvement. Even if it is a freelancer or a reputed company, a good relationship is very important until the releasing of the app.

Begin it with a brainstorming session of all your plans, ideas, and features and design the mockups of each screen. Mobile applications working on various platforms have different UI, so follow the particular UI guidelines for each platform. Share the demo app with maximum people so we can learn from the feedback and iterate the design till we are satisfied.

4. Functionality testing

Functional testing is a quality assurance (QA) method and a type of black-box testing which is based on various test cases on the specifications of the mobile application under test. Functions are tested by examining the output for various inputs and the thing is that the internal structure of the program is very rarely considered, not like in white-box testing. Functional testing explains what the system does and it tests a slice of the functionality of the whole application.

Don’t consider it as the final testing of the app and it is not the system testing of the same. Functional testing is different from system testing in such a way that functional testing verifies a program by checking it against design document(s) or specification(s), while system testing validates a program by checking it against the published user or system requirements.

Functional testing is of different types and is pointed below;

  • Smoke testing
  • Sanity testing
  • Regression testing
  • Usability testing

The procedure of Functional testing can be briefly concluded in six steps.

  • Realizing the functions that the software is expected to perform
  • Analyzing of input data based on the function’s specifications
  • Analyzing of output based on the function’s specifications
  • Executing all the test cases
  • Comparing actual outputs with the expected outputs
  • Check whether the application meets customer requirements.

5. API Management

API Management helps organizations publish APIs to external partner and internal developers to unlock the potential of their data and services. Businesses everywhere are looking to extend their operations as a digital platform, creating new channels, finding new customers and driving deeper engagement with existing ones. API Management provides the core competencies to ensure a successful API program through developer engagement, business insights, analytics, security and protection.

6. Connectivity with users, Promotion and Marketing the App

1. Customers are our press

End users are the backbone of any business and due to them, application developers enjoy continues rewards.

2. Leverage your mobile website

If we have a mobile website that attracts heavy traffic, it can be used for marketing and promotion of the app and also many other advantages in excess. These people are the ‘targeted group’ who will be happy to accept the app from birth. It is the one way to make the app spot to users.

3. Feature the App in an official blog

Writing a blog will be very useful to make the customers know about the whole story of the application. Tell them about the plus points and how it helps them make thing easier. Including pp links, videos and images will help to provide a good idea of the application.

4. Focus on emails

91% of people check their emails regularly. Take this chance by incorporating our app links into newsletters, customer service mails and it is better to use it in email signatures.

5. Consider alternative app stores

Do not depend only on google play store and app store for marketing our app, there are many other online market where we can upload our app. The study has revealed that if the app is submitted on other relatively less popular stores, it will increase expected downloads 200 percentage more compared to google play store.

There are few app stores that can be considered for marketing like,

  • GetJar
  • SlideMe
  • Opera Mobile Store
  • AppsLib
  • Amazon Appstore
  • AppBrain

6. SEO matters if you aim for sustainable mobile app development

Identify the best-targeted keywords that can rank for. Also, analyses which keyword your app is currently ranking on. Build some high-quality link accordingly to increase the rankings.

7. Join Entrepreneurs & Developers group on Social Medias

Let’s try to increase our visibility in communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and various other Media to become better known among entrepreneurs, app developers and users. We can build a correlation among them by discussing features, bug fixes, future updates etc. It allows an opportunity to boost our apps without spending a cent. It is also important to know about App Store Optimization (ASO) which also work similarly based on search relevance, keyword relevancy and keyword density.

The mobile application market is exponentially evolving along with the invention of new technologies, so it is important and inevitable to follow the path of sustainable mobile app development in order to deliver productive outcomes to the end-users including businesses and costumers.

– Jerin Johny

Are you looking for a reputed mobile application development company to implement your next project? AlignMinds is an award-winning company with more than 10 years of success in the field. Contact us now!.

Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD): 5 Strategic Advantages

Rapid Mobile Application Development (RMAD) was introduced by the analyst firm Gartner which allows the business professionals to build and deliver cross-platform business apps quickly and easily increase efficiency and time. It is the mobile equivalent of Rapid Application Model (RAD) which is based on the concept that high-quality software can be built faster through much convenient process such as early prototyping, reusing the software components etc.

5 Advantages of Rapid Mobile Application Development Model (RMAD)

1. Speedy delivery of apps

Over the past 5 years, we have seen a drastic increase in the number of apps along with growing demand for quicker and more efficient apps. With the growing demands and building the apps in a short time, we have seen the failure rate has also increased throughout the creation, deployment and management of mobile applications.

Most of the companies increased spending time and resources for the development of the mobile applications, however in many cases after spending a lot of time and resources for building an app, there is no guarantee that it will be used by more users. In addition to this, new technologies are introduced at a lightning speed, forcing business to introduce them to remain in the market.

Under these circumstances, many of the companies have come forward with Rapid Mobile App Development.

2. No code or development with little code

The main problem of the app development was the time taken and the resources needed for the creation of the app.

Rapid Mobile App Development eliminates most if not all coding when comes to the creation of an app. This codeless platform makes it possible for everyone, whether they have experience with coding or not, to build an app in a simple platform. Thus, the severity involved in creating an app that would have taken months for completion has been reduced to mere minutes. That’s why the name RMAD, in which a non-developer can also create and deploy the app quickly and in a short time.

3. Organizational Benefits

Once a company knows how to handle different projects created with RMAD platforms they can truly experience some of the best benefits. It is said that about 94 per cent of the project either fail or the budget may be high, behind schedule or behind expectation. RMAD can help IT departments to meet their required quality and meet the project deadlines.

Also, it creates a common language between the IT department executives which increases the co-operation among the employees which can boost the company in their process.

4. Better Software development

One of the benefits of RMAD is better software development since it can make use of the readily available software components. The prototype development which starts in the early phase acts as a framework and the same can be set up on existing projects or parts of the projects. This reduces the time for the creation of the app from scratch which reduces the cost and time.

Rapid Mobile Application Development allows the developers to follow the Rapid prototyping model, in which a prototype is created with minimum requirement analysis and once the actual requirements are clearly understood the prototype is discarded and actual system is developed with a clear understanding.

5. Management of apps created in RMAD

We have seen above that RMDB increases productivity and build the apps quicker than earlier. If an organization uses the RMDB to create few apps, managing the whole apps is not a big challenge, but if a company creates numerous apps with a short time, suddenly they get piled up and it will be very difficult to manage. Business who use RMDB should keep in mind about this problem, and the solution for this is an enterprise mobile application management platform.

With this platform, a business can easily manage and keep track of all their apps, who should use and when it should be used. With these benefits, it will lead more people to use the apps and will have better investment in return.

 – Ebin J Sebastian

Are you looking for a reputed mobile application development company to implement your next project? AlignMinds is an award-winning company with more than 10 years of success in the field. Contact us now!.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): What to Expect?

Accelerated Mobile Pages is an Open Source Initiative to overcome the slow and frustrating experience of web pages and to provide fast mobile experience. Google together with other publishers and technology companies found this solution – AMP Project to bring the whole internet to your mobile really fast – be it images or videos. AMP is a fantastic approach to make the mobile web faster.

How does Accelerated Mobile Pages work?

AMP basically has three components

1. AMP HTML

These are a subset of HTML designed to create “reading” contents than interactive contents. This strips out most of the elements that make the app pages load slowly in mobile devices.

2. AMP JS

It strips down third-party JavaScript and manages resource handling and asynchronous loading.

3. AMP CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Cache and optimize AMP-enabled pages for better performance.

Pros and Cons of AMP

Pros of AMP

  • Instant speed
  • Increased performance and reliability
  • Increased customer visits
  • Excellent support for ads
  • Improved ranking

Cons of AMP

  • Rewrite your template to accommodate the restrictions (like, CSS must be inline and less than 50 KB).
  • A custom amp-imp element must be used for images and width and height must be included explicitly.
  • Custom tag amp-video must be used to embed videos via HTML 5. Amp-YouTube must be used to embed YouTube videos.

Is using Accelerated Mobile Pages good or bad?

Performance is crucial for a website to be successful. If the web pages cannot load fast, the user will simply leave your website and try somewhere else.

AMP provides the free flow of information and works faster and better for everyone and everywhere. However, it comes with the cost of removing sometimes your most desired piece of code because AMP does not allow some form elements and third-party JavaScript as they really slow down your pages.

Therefore, for the developers who are interested in exposing their website features to the fullest, rather than relying on a stripped-down version of their code, there are so many performance gauging tools available online that provide recommendations on how to improve performance. It provides you with a list of blocking JavaScript files, large-sized images, resources requesting for an HTTPS connection, the order of display of items in your web page and every other information that is required to improve your website’s performance.

Instead of using AMP to shorten your piece of code, focus on finding slow areas that affect your app performance and think of ways to fine-tune and optimize your code. You won’t end up displaying the stripped-down version of your code and can utilize the power of your website to its fullest. In other words, AMP is not of much importance for developers who aim for code optimization and for those who are not interested in integrating a third-party concept to their code.

– Susan B. John

What Are The Advantages of Kotlin Over Java?

Kotlin vs Java has been one of the hot topics of debate for the last few years.

Ever since Kotlin was released in February 2016 programmers have been having doubts about which language to use for Android development.

Java has been around for a very long time. It is being used by millions of programmers worldwide but had some minor drawbacks. Then Google introduces a new language specifically for android which is said to be better than Java.

Last year, Kotlin has been made a ‘first class’ language for Android development by Google in addition to existing support for Java and C++. The impact of Google’s decisions for adopting Kotlin can be seen from GitHub’s findings.

The number of GitHub notes and contributors using Kotlin for projects has more than doubled over the last couple of years.

I’ve been making android apps using Java for about 4 years now and, I learned Kotlin just three months ago. While making an app in Kotlin, I quickly understood that there are many advantages of using Kotlin over Java.

Advantages of Kotlin over Java

1. Readability

Comparing to Java, Kotlin has more readable and precise code which makes it easier to understand the program. After a small learning curve, a Java developer can easily understand how to write Kotlin very quickly.

After learning Kotlin I observed that it needed much less code than Java as shown below

Java

Kotlin

As we can see, Kotlin reduces boilerplate as compared to java. Now, boilerplate refers to those codes which must repeat lots and lots of times and which do not serve any purpose to the functionality of the application. Kotlin has been designed in a way that it eliminates the need for boilerplate code.

Kotlin requires fewer lines of code as compared to java.

In Java, we must create references for views using findViewById. In Kotlin, that is taken care of automatically, therefore, reducing the lines of code drastically. That makes it easier for a beginner to learn Kotlin.

2. Null-Safe

Null pointer exceptions also referred to as “The billion-dollar mistake”, is one of the most common errors that cause apps to crash if you are using Java.

Kotlin is null-safe by default. It does not allow variables to be assigned with a null value. But in Java, we can assign null values to variables and, it may lead to null pointer exception that may crash the application.

3. Using Getters and Setters

In Java, we have to use getter and setter functions for receiving data from variables in the modal classes. Model classes are just used for holding data. We can use the getters and setters for accessing the data from model classes.

In Kotlin we don’t need all those getter and setter functions. We can access all the data’s using the variable name itself. See the example below.

This modal class in Kotlin only has to define the variables instead of also defining the getter and setter methods. While comparing the above two images, we can clearly see that Kotlin uses less code as compared to java.

4. Interoperability

Kotlin language is interoperable. This means that both Java and Kotlin are somewhat similar and we can use java commands and Java libraries in a Kotlin project.

Since Java is still being used by most programmers, Kotlin has been made to be interoperable. It can be used with existing Java classes and won’t cause any errors. The compiler will allow the code containing the Java and Kotlin classes to work flawlessly.

Because of this feature, developers can transition from Java to Android with ease.

5. Immutability

An immutable object is an object whose state cannot be changed once it is created.

In Kotlin variables are defined using val or var to help developers easily understand which values can be reassigned.

Using val in our code makes it super clean and will be able to safely assume that the properties will never be changed and that they will not be null. The benefit is that it allows you to just get on with the project at hand.

Conclusion

I can confidently say, Kotlin language is far better than Java for Android development as it takes care of the drawbacks Java has. Moreover, the transition from Java to Kotlin is easy and anyone who is interested in programming can make good progress within a short span of time.

– Benedict Thomas

Broadcast Announcements & Broadcast Receiver in Android

Android Broadcast Receiver is a component that responds to the system’s wide broadcast announcements. It can be registered for various system or application events. Whenever those events occur the system notifies all the registered broadcast receivers and then the desired action is being done. Broadcast originates from the system as well as applications. Like the alarm notification, low battery notification etc. are the example of broadcast originating from the system. While getting the push notifications for desired application describes the example for broadcast originating from the application. 

How to make BroadcastReceiver works for the system broadcasted intents?

There are mainly two steps to make BroadcastReceiver works for the system broadcasted intents

  • Creating a Broadcast Receiver
  • Register Broadcast Receiver

1. Creating a Broadcast Receiver

public class MyBroadcastReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {public MyBroadcastReceiver () { }@Overridepublic void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {

This method is called when this BroadcastReceiver receives an Intent broadcast.

Toast.makeText(context, “Action: ” + intent.getAction(), Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();}}

Consider a receiver class named as MyBroadcastReceiver implemented as the subclass of BroadcastReceiever class which overrides the onReceive() method. Whenever an event occurs Android calls the onReceive() method on all registered broadcast receivers. In the above code, the Intent object is passed with all the additional information required and also you have got the Context object in order to do other tasks like maybe start a service (context.startService(new Intent(this, TestService.class))

Register the Broadcast Receiver

There are two ways to register the broadcast receiver:

  • Static way (in manifest file).
  • Dynamic way (in code).

Static way

In static way, the broadcast receiver is registered in an android application via AndroidManifest.xml file.  Consider, here we are going to register MyBroadcstReceiver for system-generated event ACTION_BATTERY_LOW which is fired by the system once the android system encounters the battery low.

<applicationandroid:icon=”@drawable/ic_launcher”android:label=
”@string/app_name”android:theme=”@style/AppTheme”><receiverandroid:name=”MyBroadcastReceiver”><intent-filter><actionandroid:name=”android.intent.action.BATTERY_LOW”></action></intent-filter></receiver></application>

Now, whenever your android device will encounter battery low problem it will trigger the BroadcastReceiver, MyBroadcastReceiver and the desired action mentioned inside onReceive() method will be executed. Like, if you look into your android device you gets a dialogue message warning you that the battery is low so put it in charge.

Some other important system events are as follows:

Event Constant Description
android.intent.action.BATTERY_CHANGED Sticky broadcast containing the charging state, level, and other information about the battery.
android.intent.action.BATTERY_LOW Indicates low battery condition on the device.
android.intent.action.BATTERY_OKAY Indicates the battery is now okay after being low.
android.intent.action.BOOT_COMPLETED
This is broadcasted once, after the system has finished booting.
android.intent.action.BUG_REPORT Show activity for reporting a bug.
android.intent.action.CALL Perform a call to someone specified by the data.
android.intent.action.CALL_BUTTON The user pressed the “call” button to go to the dialer or other appropriate UI for placing a call.
android.intent.action.DATE_CHANGED The date has changed.
android.intent.action.REBOOT Have the device reboot.

Dynamic way

In dynamic way, we use Context.registerReceiver() method. Dynamically registered broadcast receivers can be unregistered using Context.unregisterReceiver() method.

BroadcastReceivermReceiver=newMyBroadcastReceiver();
registerReceiver(this.myReceiver,newIntentFilter(“MyBroadcast”));

IntentFilter object that specifies which event/intent our receiver will listen to. In this case, it’s broadcast. This action name is used while sending a broadcast that will be handled by this receiver.

@Overrideprotected void onPause() {unregisterReceiver(mReceiver);super.onPause(); }

Once the component that had made the registerReceiver() call is destroyed sendBroadcast() will also stop working, hence the receiver won’t receive anymore be it an event generated from an app or the system. Whereas with the previous method where we registered via the manifest file, this is not the case.

Dynamically registered receivers are called on the UI thread. Dynamically registered receivers block any UI handling and thus the onReceive() method should be as fast as possible. The application may become sluggish of an “Application Not Responding” error is the worst.

Which Method to Use When for Registration

The type of preference among the two approaches is determined by the motive. Suppose you want to do some changes right on the screen (home screen, launcher, status bar, etc.) By showing up some notification or some indicator in the status bar by listening to system-wide events or maybe those sent by other apps, then it makes sense to use statically registered broadcast receivers. Whereas based on similar events you want to do changes right in your app when the user is using it or maybe it’s put in the background, then it makes sense to use dynamically registered receivers which last till the registering components are destroyed.

In fact, there are certain events like Intent.ACTION_TIME_TICK that cannot be registered in the manifest but only via registerReceiver() to prevent battery drainage.

Broadcasting Custom Intents

If one wants that the application itself should generate and send custom intents then one will have to create and send those intents by using the sendBroadcast() method inside the activity class. If one uses the sendStickyBroadcast(Intent) method, the Intent is sticky, meaning the Intent you are sending stays around after the broadcast is complete.

public void broadcastIntent(View view){Intent intent = new Intent();intent.setAction(“com.example.broadcastreceiverdemo“);
sendBroadcast(intent);}

This intent com.example.broadcastreceiverdemo can also be registered in a similar way as we have registered system-generated intent.

<applicationandroid:icon=”@drawable/ic_launcher”android:label=
”@string/app_name”android:theme=”@style/AppTheme”><receiver android:name=”MyReceiver”><intent-filter><action android:name=” com.example.broadcastreceiverdemo“></action></intent-filter></receiver></application>

You can see a working example by visiting this link.

– Deepika Bisht

Principles of Writing SOLID Code: A Guide for Beginners

This blog post will help you to understand the basic principles of writing solid code.

Key principles of writing SOLID code

  • Single Responsibility Principle
  • Open/Closed Principle
  • Liskov substitution principle
  • Interface Segregation Principle
  • Dependency Inversion Principle

These are general principles that you want to always have in the back of your mind as you design your software. For the obvious reason, the first five are called SOLID. As in “we write SOLID code”. They are not always cut-and-dried; they are rarely 100% achievable. But active awareness of these issues will help you to avoid common coding errors.

1. Single Responsibility Principle

“A class should have a single responsibility”.

I prefer to think of ‘responsibility’ here as ‘purpose’ or ‘job to do’, but it’s called SRP. This is basically just another statement about modularity. Find the logical units and encapsulate them in a class. Don’t take classes that do some of this and some of that. You’ll get greater re-use of the component since the component wasn’t bundled with several other responsibilities the upstream consumer doesn’t want or need;

An alternative conceptualization of the SRP: A class should have a single reason to change.

This principle refers to the impact of a change of requirements on the code. For example, a class should either talk to the database, or format output for the UI, not both. Classes that deal with the database won’t need to be updated if the UI changes, and vice versa. When requirements change, modification is kept to just those spots directly affected, and these changes don’t have unanticipated consequences elsewhere in classes that whose responsibilities have leaked over into ours.

2. Open/Closed Principle

“Software entities (classes, modules, functions, etc.) should be open for extension, but closed for modification.”

Construct your classes so that requirements changes can be managed by adding code, not by modifying existing code. Once you have written code that works, you should ideally never touch it again, because if you don’t touch it, you can’t break it. If you’re writing nice modular code, you probably have objects being used by other objects all over the place (code reuse = good). If you now break that class, you break everybody who is using it (==bad).

This is a very simple little pizza ordering app. There is a TPizza class with an addTopping method and a computeCost method in this application. In this example, we’re interested in the TPizza class itself.

private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e) {TPizza currPizza = new TPizza(); if (ckOlives.Checked)currPizza.addTopping(ETopping.Olives); if (ckPepperoni.Checked)currPizza.addTopping(ETopping.Pepperoni); if (ckMushrooms.Checked)currPizza.addTopping(ETopping.Mushrooms); int pizzaCost = currPizza.computeCost();lblCost.Text = pizzaCost.ToString();}

Here is the button code. Again, we’re not interested in the interface code, so this is just to show how TPizza is used. So, all very straightforward. Now, let’s look at TPizza class.

enum ETopping { Olives, Pepperoni, Mushrooms } class TPizza{ETopping[] toppingArray; int nToppings; public TPizza(){toppingArray = new ETopping[10]; nToppings = 0; } public void addTopping(ETopping newTopping){toppingArray[nToppings] = newTopping;nToppings++; }

So, it’s got a nice enum type and a nice array of toppings and an addTopping method and all is good.

Here is computeCost method.

public int computeCost() { int totalCost = 15; for (int i = 0; i < nToppings; i++) { switch (toppingArray[i]) { case ETopping.Olives: totalCost += 1; break; case ETopping.Pepperoni: totalCost += 2; break; case ETopping.Mushrooms: totalCost += 2; break; } } return totalCost; } }

This works great. But the problem arises when I want to add cheese topping. I can’t add cheese without modifying existing code in the TPizza class. This gives me a chance to break the TPizza class. It could be worse, of course. If there are other places in the class where we have used the same approach (printing out an invoice, sending instructions to the pizza oven, drawing a picture of the pizza) their code will also have to be changed.

How would you have written that architecture so that you could incorporate the change in requirements (adding cheese topping) by adding code, rather than changing existing code? (Answer=> Use a topping class, who knows its cost and type. Or, if you’re really feeling elaborate, a base topping class and descendants). Not that this failure is also a violation of the SRP. It should not be the job of the TPizza to keep track of the cost of individual toppings.

3. Liskov Substitution Principle

Subclasses should be substitutable for their base class. All members of an inheritance hierarchy should fulfil the same behavioural contract. If they don’t then your “is-a” abstraction is probably wrong.

The LSP helps us to avoid misusing inheritance and consequently running into the problems that result when this occurs. A user of a base class should continue to function properly if any derivative of the base class is passed to it. Failure to follow the LSP almost always leads to problems with the OCP, as you wiggle around coding in special cases to your class family.

void runWildLifeSimulator(TDuck d) { d.swim(); d.quack(); d.fly(); }

runWildLifeSimulator is what is called a ‘consumer’ function of TDuck. That is, it uses a TDuck instance. TDuck has made a contract – it will implement swim, quack and fly. Anybody who wants to be a TDuck needs to implement those, and it should make sense.

Surely, a Rubber Duck is a kind of duck. But because a Rubber Duck doesn’t fly and a TDuck does, this isn’t a good class hierarchy. Think about what you would have to do to the consumer function.

void runWildLifeSimulator(TDuck d) { d.swim(); d.quack(); if (TDuck.getType() != TRubberDucky) d.fly(); }

Why should a function that wants a TDuck has to know anything about THE DESCENDENTS of TDuck?  What if there are other violations in the class hierarchy? A switch statement? And of course, what happens if you need to change something about these ducks.

There is a workaround for this, of course. It is? (Let TRubberDuckie override fly to { do nothing }

There are workarounds for all violations of good design. If you hit the peg with a big enough hammer, it will go into the hole.  But these sorts of problems have been showed to produce rigidity and inflexibility and general goofiness in code. Try to avoid them.

4. Interface Segregation Principle

The dependency of one class to another one should depend on the smallest possible interface. Clients should not be forced to depend on methods they do not use. This one is very closely related to the SRP: don’t stuff everything into one big garbage multipurpose class. Changes to code are isolated to those classes that are logically affected.

interface Imessage { public bool SendSms(String message); public bool SendEmail(String message); }

In this case, all the classes that inherit this interface are forced to write methods for sending email and SMS. If some clients are interested only in emails, the issue arises.

The solution is,

interface Isms { public bool SendSms(String message); } interface Iemail { public bool SendEmail(String message); } interface Imessage : Isms { public bool SendSms(String message); }

5. Dependency Inversion Principle

Program to the most abstract class possible. High-level modules should not depend on (concrete) low-level modules.

Consequences of ignoring these core principles

These core OOAD (Object-oriented analysis and design) principles will help you to write SOLID code. But, what are the consequences of ignoring these principles?

As a result of ignoring these principles, the system will be,

1. Rigid

Changing one part of the code causes or requires a change to many other parts of the code.

2. Fragile

Changes in one part of the code break other parts of the code.

3. Immobile

The components/parts of the code cannot be easily reused, because they are tangled.

 –  Albin Antony

My Experience Working with Amazon S3

What is Amazon S3?

The Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is a scalable, high-speed, low-cost Web-based service designed for online backup and archiving of data and application programs.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is simple storage for the Internet. You can configure it very simply and quickly in the AWS console. In S3, there’s no initial charges, zero set-up cost. You only pay for what you utilize. Unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, pay as you use and full control on file privacy are the most key features of S3. Amazon S3 also provides options to host static websites.

Why I find Amazon S3 great?

Most of the Websites are having Dynamic contents which are a collection of many Images, Videos and Audio, etc. These images will be either uploaded by the Users or the Admin of the website. Some websites will be having hundreds or even thousands of images depending on the Market they are focusing on. Storing the whole images inside Server will run out of the disk space and causes server issue. So, it will be good to save it directly in the Amazon S3.

How to Configure Amazon S3?

Amazon S3 is very simple to configure and use. This can be configured from the AWS console.

In S3 you can create Buckets. Buckets are very similar to Folders in our PC. It helps us to organize the files. S3 generates random URLs for each and every file uploaded to it. Each file is objects in S3. These objects can be accessed from the Web. S3 provides you with different policies and permissions to secure the contents stored in it.

Amazon Web Service (AWS) console provides you with the ability to create an IAM user. IAM user this the centralized user account provided by the AWS in order to access the AWS service remotely or through API calls, etc.

When we are using PHP code and if we wanted to access the objects from the S3, we need to use IAM user credentials to get the object from S3 bucket, if public access to the object is not allowed.

How S3 is used with a PHP web application?

As we have already mentioned that the S3 can be used for storing static contents like Pictures, Videos, Audio, etc. Let us see how it work in a real-life scenario.

Source (awsmedia.s3.amazonaws.com)

As the Image displays, when a user is trying to access a Webpage, the requests hit the Webserver. The Webserver sends a request to the Amazon S3 asking for an Image stored in it and the S3 returns the Image that is used in that particular Webpage.

How to set up Amazon S3?

Let us assume that we have a Web server running. We have a PHP site running in it with thousands of images as part of the content in it. We need to make sure there will be no storage issue due to running out of hard drive storage space.

Choose the following steps to mount S3 on an EC2 instance.

  • Create a new directory under that Webroot of the PHP Application where you wanted to mount the static contents.
  • Now you need to download and install s3fs from the source. S3fs is used to mount the S3 bucket to the system.
  • In-order to connect to the Amazon S3 bucket we need to authenticate. For that, we need to create a password inside the user home directory and pass the AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY which we got from the AWS console.
  • Now, after mounting the Drive we can start using it as a local drive that is attached to the PC.

What are the PROS /CONS of using Amazon S3?

We understood Amazon S3 and its features, also how we can configure it. Now let us discuss the Advantage/Disadvantage of using S3, in the perspective of a web application.

PROS

  • S3 is that it can be mounted to an EC2 instance and can act as a local drive attached to a system.
  • S3 can be used as a Backup Volume where we can store the backups. This can save the EBS (Elastic Block Storage) space which is the main storage.
  • S3 can be used for many servers at the same time. Whereas EBS can only be attached to an instance at a time.
  • Highly Available, Redundant. Basically, data loss is not possible (99.999999999% durability, 99.9 uptime SLA).
  • S3 storage provides up to 5TB storage space.

CONS

  • S3 is an object store it is not a file system.
  • Hence S3 is not a file system it does not have file-system permissions.
  • S3 is slower than the EBS volume which is directly connected to the instance. Hence it is good to store static contents like Photos, Videos, etc.

Conclusion

Amazon S3 is the best way to Host web sites cost-effectively. Since the price of physical drives is huge, Amazon S3 will be a good option to store static content.

– Ravi Kiran Varma

How to Integrate Google Ads API in .Net

First, let’s take a look at how Google Ads work –

Google Ads in action:

You might see the Ads with the top row results in the Google search. What are they, why they differ from the other results?

Those are Google ads that a company paid for so that people will notice their business whenever they’re searching Google. And, the company only have to pay whenever someone clicks on the ad. This is known as cost-per-click advertising (CPC).

How to show your Ads on Google

Go to  http://tinyurl.com/pevnb3j and create your own Google ads account. Then you can create your Ads with your preferred locations, keywords, etc. For help on creating managing your Google ads account go to http://tinyurl.com/qy6kuq7

Google ads API

The Google ads API allows applications to interact directly with the Google ads platform. You can build applications to more efficiently manage large or complex Google ads accounts. If you want to use Google ads API in your applications, first you will have to create an MCC account.

What is an MCC account?

MCC (My Client Center) Account

An MCC account -manager account- is a Google ads account that lets you easily view and manage multiple Google ads accounts –including other manager accounts– from a single location.

You can create a new MCC account here – http://tinyurl.com/q9n7gsh

Learn more about MCC accounts here – http://tinyurl.com/q9f8tv8

The following information should be submitted for making Google ads API calls,

  • Developer Token,
  • Client Customer ID,
  • oAuth2 Client ID,
  • oAuth2 Client Secret,
  • oAuth2 Refresh Token.

Where do you find all these?

Developer Token

After creating your MCC account successfully, you can see your Developer Token here http://tinyurl.com/pov4xwa

Client Customer ID

Client Customer Id is your Google ads account ID. You can see this on the right-top position in the MCC or Google ads website.

oAuth2 Client ID & oAuth2 Client Secret

Do you already have an account in Google developer console? If yes you can see this information here – http://tinyurl.com/qcunww3

New to Google developer console? learn how to use and manage it here – http://tinyurl.com/kl2vqxo

oAuth2 Refresh Token

You can download the Adwords API libraries with examples in this link – http://tinyurl.com/nntrpyu.

After downloading go to the following path? “..\utilities\OAuthTokenGenerator\bin\Debug\”. There you can see a file named ‘OauthTokenGenerator.exe’. Run the file and you will get the following screen:

Submit Client ID and Client Secret you have handy then click OK, and it will show you the Refresh Token for your account.

Like to know more about Refresh Token? Go to – http://tinyurl.com/noqeloa

Sample Code

Following is a sample code for creating a new AdWords account in our MCC account,

Download “Google.Adwords.dll” and “Google.Ads.Common.dll” from http://tinyurl.com/nntrpyu

Find the .dll files inside – “..\examples\AdWords\CSharp\bin\Debug\”.

Please note: You can use the Developer Token only after your MCC account is verified by Google Team. This process is done by humans and it needs long time so. (sometimes it takes more than two months!)

Want to start coding right away?

MCC test Accounts comes for help.

MCC Test Account

MCC test accounts allow developers to execute AdWords API requests against the production environment for development and testing purposes. The MCC Test Account will not server the Ads on real Google search.

You must use a production (non-test) MCC account’s developer token to make AdWords API calls against a test account. You can use the production developer token against a test account even when the production developer token is pending approval.

You can create a new MCC Test Account here – http://tinyurl.com/nqlaymn

Download AdWords API libraries and sample codes from here – http://tinyurl.com/nntrpyu

– Anver Ali

When to Use Parallax Scrolling in Your UI?

Market research has shown that 95% of users assess the value of your website based on its visual appearance. Websites must be creative and innovative enough to keep users attracted to your website.

When someone visits your website, their first question would be “Why must I access this site when I have other real worth websites? What is so different about this site?” and that’s where your website must stand out from the crowd dominantly, clearly and convincingly answering user’s queries and making them stay on your website.

Parallax Scrolling is one such hot design technique used in most of today’s websites providing its users close interaction with the site and making browsing more interesting. Parallax effect was more popular in 2D video games in earlier days, but with the advancement in JavaScript, one can successfully use effects of Parallax in their website to give completely unique experience.

How Parallax Scrolling works

Parallax scrolling is achieved by having the background image (or elements) move slower than the foreground image giving an impression of 3D depth. Different elements move at a different speed, creating a sense of animation and enhanced interactive user experience. Content is marked up using HTML tags, while jQuery checks how far the user has scrolled and move different elements at a different speed.

The Parallax movement started in the web using two simple layers. Thanks to advancement in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3, now foreground and background elements can be grouped into different layers and speed of these elements can be controlled based on their layers.

Pros of Parallax Scrolling

Holding visitor interest

As a user scrolls down the page, he is taken to the next level of information without having the user to click anywhere to see the information. This feature keeps user attracted to your website, stirring their interest and wanting them to view more of the information.

Better product display

Instead of just displaying your product as a static image, Parallax scrolling can help the user explore your product in a totally new and different way. It gives 3D view presentation controlled by their own scrolling behaviour.

Bagigia is a classic website where user gets totally different experience of viewing products. 3D presentation of the product is shown with the user controlling the scrolling behaviour.

Visual narration (Storytelling) made more efficient

Storytelling is the best way to communicate a message to a human mind. A well-designed, one-page website can prove powerful storytelling equipment because scrolling through it will be like reading an interesting book that you cannot put down unless complete.

With the right amount of animation and scrolling, Parallax scrolling can effectively communicate your message about your product, their effects and the audience. Parallax provides a nice overview of your website by letting the user visualize the website through scrolling efforts.

Unique Design

Using the Parallax effect, you can design a website that is visually appealing and user-friendly and make your website more fun place and interactive thus, making it stand out from the crowd.

Cons of Parallax Scrolling

Parallax site takes longer to load

JavaScript/JQuery is used to calculate the position of every element in the page and every time there is a scroll, position of all elements needs to be re-calculated that could slow down page load.

Parallax Scrolling does not always work

Parallax effect does not always work well with mobile technology. You might need to make sure you have a separate mobile-optimized version of your website if your parallax scrolling website does not play well on mobile devices.

Too much scrolling

Too much scrolling may irritate the user that would tempt them to leave the site before viewing the main contents of your website.

Conclusion

Parallax scrolling is just sweeping the entire web community and is expanding across the web. Parallax scrolling websites are the future of tomorrow’s website design. It has become the biggest trend in the design world today and when done right and with the right amount of Parallax scrolling, it can no doubt, put your website ahead of the curve providing that extra edge over your competition.

–  Susan B John