Fitness trackers, Google Glasses, Smartwatches, oh my! Over 1200 developers, engineers and designers attended the inaugural Wearables DevCon to network and learn the latest tips and trends on developing wearable technology. Many attendees were sporting pebble watches and Google Glasses while chatting in the hallways while others listened to the numerous sessions that were held over the two-day conference.
One of the sessions was led by our own John Montgomery. He spoke about the importance of testing your wearable apps in-the-wild, and not just in your lab. He expressed the importance of creating wearables that your audience wants in order to delight users. He also talked about the significance of 360 degree quality of your wearable app.
uTest was a gold sponsor and had a booth at the event. We met many interesting people that told us about their own wearable tech project that included clothing and headgear. Pretty cool, right?
The event was such an overwhelming success that it is moving to a much larger location next year. Wearable technology is definitely taking off and not slowing down anytime soon. A recent article from Mashable states that Google is now making it easier for developers to build wearables off an Android platform via their own SDK.
Google’s senior vice president of Android and Chrome, Sundar Pichai announced earlier this week,
“When we think of wearables, we think of it as a platform. We see a world of sensors. Sensors can be small and powerful, and gather a lot of information that can be useful for users. We want to build the right APIs for this world of sensors. In about two weeks, you will see us launch the first SDK for what we think of as Android for wearables”.
There is sure to be much more to come in the wearables field and we can’t wait to see what we will see at next year’s Wearables DevCon. See you there!
Progress in software development can be a time-consuming process, where strategies and tactics are inherently dependent on steps that precede steps. As a remedy to lengthy gaps and the “hurry-up-and-wait” approach, an agile process allows for concurrent design and development (hence the name). Flexibility is the key element. Results are the outcome.
As we’re starting to see, many brands are relying exclusively on the agile process when developing their mobile apps. Before we share our own view on why this is the case, here’s a nice summary of the trend courtesy of TechTarget.com:
“Mobile apps are different from other applications in significant ways. They need to have a small footprint and download or update quickly and smoothly. They need to seamlessly interact with back-end servers when needed. This state can only be achieved with several changes and adjustments along with the way. The sprints, enhanced quality assurance and multiple test cycles of Agile development provide all of the necessary ingredients for mobile apps to get there.”
Spot on, in our view. Here are a few more reasons why agile and mobile are a perfect match:
- Contributors and participation – Working in an agile environment urges flexibility and immediate feedback. This helps to prevent the development team from spending an inordinate amount of time developing the wrong app, something that happened with great regularity in the web-based world of waterfall. Rather than endless design reviews, the iterative practice works on the product first and presents a “code-as-you-go” approach that focuses on the team members and their contributions over a “wait-and-see” methodology of traditional software development.
- Actual product – A straw model of a mobile application is far more valuable to your dev team, your product team, your marketing team, your end users (everyone, really) than whiteboards and PowerPoint slides. Nothing gets lost in translation. Ask any developer and they’ll likely agree: It’s far easier to work collaboratively on existing app than trying to navigate through slides and concepts.
- Collaborative continuity – End-user reviews and feedback provide in-process suggestions that yield the desired product. An agile process forces a development team to listen to its users. Tweaking becomes an integral part of the process rather than a contract discussion. Not only does the user get what they want, they become a part of the process (whether they know it or not).
- Turn and burn – The world of mobile moves at lightning speed. Developing an app within an agile environment allows for quick turn-around and continuous progress. It allows for flexibility and the ability to respond to change, rather than simply following a pre-determined course. Results are immediate and adaptive, not lengthy and restrictive.
Speed, quality and collaboration are the three foundations of the agile development process – and they are the central pillars of successful mobile app development as well.
Do you agree? Is agile the way to go if you want to develop a successful mobile app? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
- Vague and boring
- Over-the-top and absurd
The operative phrase in that first paragraph was “most of the time.”
There are exceptions; those rare instances when predictions are made with incredible foresight and detail. This ComputerWorld article from 2008 – The Future of Software Testing – is a classic example.
Written by noted testing expert Geoff Thompson (a future Testing the Limits guest, perhaps), this post reads as if it were written present day. He talks about the emergence of continuous testing, the growing importance of quality over cost and of how certifications will play less of a role in a tester’s career.
To illustrate, I wanted to take a closer look at a few of these predictions:
Prediction #1: “Building quality in, rather than testing it out, prevention rather than detection”
Thompson predicted a world where testing would no longer be considered as an assembly-line process (usually at the end of a project). Instead, it would become part of the entire process. It would be built into the application from the start, not “tested out” at the end. Whereas QA had been seen primarily as a way to detect defects, he saw it as evolving into a way to prevent them. He writes:
“It continually amazes me how many clients I see who leave testing until the last possible minute. When will companies understand that the earlier a test team is involved, and of course the better trained they are, the more they will recognise problems early in the lifecycle enabling them to be resolved before they become execution defects?”
While many companies still leave testing to the last possible minute, they are quickly becoming the minority, as evidence by the rapid adoption of agile testing and other “quality-first” approaches. He nailed this one.
Prediction #2: “Ensuring that quality is not seen as a burden, alongside time and cost”
Essentially, the author here saw the growing importance of quality over cost and time. Not long ago, quality used to be a distant third behind cost and time in terms of priorities. Today, it’s just the opposite. If app quality suffers, it no longer matters how much money or time you saved in the software development process. The key question for today’s brand therefore is not “how do I save money?” but rather “how do I develop apps that people want to use?” Ask any brand and they’ll tell you the same.
Prediction #3: Software Testing Qualifications, Not Certifications
Software testing certifications were popular back in 2008 and they’re still popular today. Many would argue however that they have become less relevant – something the author acknowledged back in 2008. He predicted a world where qualifications (not certifications) would be the determining factor in the success of QA professionals, and he appears to have been right:
“The reality is that the qualification together with real practical experience is what makes a good tester. After all would you allow a surgeon who had just passed their exams but had no practical experience to operate on you? I don’t think so.”
Have you recently come across an interesting software testing prediction? Care to make our own bold claims about the future of software testing? The comments section is all yours.
It’s that time of year again, when thousands of people converge on Austin, TX for knowledge sharing, esteemed speakers, barbecue & tacos, and to have an amazing time every night in a traveling karaoke bar. More on that last bit in a minute.
Yes, it’s SXSW time, with interactive week starting in earnest tomorrow. And while this year’s lineup looks amazing, it’s the extra-curricular activities that make the festival the extravaganza that it is, and this year is no different. Well, with perhaps one exception…
This year at SXSW is extra special, as we’ll be unveiling a sneak peek at our new brand, which will be called Applause. Since late last year when we first announced that we’d be expanding the company vision and changing its name, everyone has been hard at work putting those wheels in motion. Now, at SXSW, you’ll be able to get a temporary, in-progress preview at the new branding and talk to the team about our focus on 360 degree app quality.
So where at SXSW Interactive can you see the new Applause? I’m glad you asked.
First, we’ll be traveling around nightly on the luxurious “transportainment” provided by the folks at the RVIP Lounge. Starting March 7th, hop on and enjoy traveling karaoke with our team – follow us on Twitter at @applause to find our locations on-the-go every evening.
And that’s not the only reason to follow @applause. During the daylight hours follow to find out where in Austin you can get your special one-time-only Applause gear (created for this year’s festival) from our street team.
The team will be tweeting out their locations, which is important for two reasons:
1. You can find our team and get this one-time-only gear
2. If our team sees you later and you’re wearing that gear you could win one of our great prizes:
- Jambox Mini by Jawbone
- Beats by Dre headphone
- Kindle Fire HD
Lastly, show us your love for the new Applause gear by tweeting a pic of you in it to @applause. One lucky tweeter will win a $500 Amazon gift card!
So if you’re headed to SXSW Interactive, be sure to follow @applause, as it will lead to evenings of wonder, give you a sneak peek at the new branding and possibly bring you great fortune! We’ll see you in Austin!
Think twice before trusting us with your personal information…said no 21st century business ever. Whether it’s the swipe of a card at a local convenience store, or that social media app you always find yourself on, using software that could potentially compromise your information is the norm, not the exception.
We’d go insane if we worried about every single transaction that could lead to identity theft or a depleted bank account. So instead, we put our trust in the technical leadership of brands to avoid these disasters on our behalf. Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about. Most of the time.
Mt.Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin (digital currency) exchange, recently lost track of 740,000 Bitcoins, resulting in a projected $350 million dollar loss after hackers allegedly planted a bug into the system. Here’s the scoop:
“In its announcement on Monday, Mt. Gox said that a bug in the Bitcoin software made it possible for someone to use the Bitcoin network to alter transaction details to make it appear that a Bitcoin transfer had not taken place when, in fact, it had.”
Mt.Gox reportedly handled about 80% of the world digital currency! Trading and withdrawals were halted, and users returned to a blank page on their website, and the “cryptocurrency” industry is now dealing with a major blow to its validity. There are lessons to be learned from this heist into the Bitcoin network, both for software developers and for consumers alike. Here are four, in no particular order:
Lesson 1: If a system can be hacked, it will be hacked. Someone will always try to get their hands on valuable information. Whether it’s the stealing of credit card numbers directly, or the selling of emails and passwords on the internet, criminal hacking is a business – a very big business in fact. So stealing Bitcoins (a currency stored in virtual wallets and not backed by any country’s currency) and exchanging them for another currency? An internet thief’s dream come true. The same is true for any company really: If there is sensitive data to be had, it’s only a matter of time before someone goes looking for it.
Lesson 2: Security is a never-ending battle. In fact, it’s an arms race. Do you think your security software is impermeable? Good. But it won’t be for long. For software to be secure, it has to be dynamic and ever-evolving. Just as the software is improving, so too are the hackers. But they can’t beat you at your own game if you keep changing the rules.
Lesson 3: Response matters. Don’t leave your users in the dark. Users found out the hard way that their accounts were gone when Mt.Gox trading was suspended and a few hours later they went to the website to find it returning a blank page. Posts were removed from the Mt.Gox Twitter feed. Users were unsure if they would be reimbursed. No official statement had been released about the Bitcoin heist until several days after the fact. Some speculate that lost Bitcoins went undetected for years. Whether that’s true or not has yet to be determined, but we can say that the longer a company takes to address the problem, the more rumors circulate and the quicker trust evaporates.
Lesson 4: Don’t get fooled again. There’s no excuse for letting the same security breach happen twice. Granted, fixing this particular bug won’t help these users get their money back, but if a business experiences a breach – and it’s not enough to take down the entire operation – then their users can be confident knowing their data is secure going forward. A security breach isn’t the end of the world in most cases, but if the same bug happens twice, it might be the end of your business.
What other advice would you offer to prevent a heist like this from happening? Do you think it was mismanagement or inevitable? Be sure to let us know in the comment section. And don’t let your company fall apart at the drop of a hack.
Following the taillights on the smartphone wars, Google and Apple are gearing up for another battle for your mindshare and loyalty. It’s not wearable technology, nor your living room, well, yet. No, this time the tech giants are accelerating their pace toward owning your dashboard. On the Google side, the Open Automotive Alliance is set to bring Android to your vehicle. While on the Apple side, iOS 7 now supports a feature called CarPlay, a simplified version of iOS which takes over your car’s in-dash screen to provide you with an easy and safe way to use your phone.
While each side has their own launch partners, there does appear to be some overlap between the two, namely Honda. This begs the question, will your car’s dashboard be platform agnostic, perhaps running a Blackberry supplied QNX-based OS which can then be supplanted by your favorite operating system? Or, are manufacturers going to lock their drivers into one system or the other. And if so, will having iOS in your car or Android on your dash affect your ultimate choice of vehicle?
Regardless of which interface wins out, the automobile is a whole new arena to play in and one that up until now has been met with mostly sub-par experiences. The winner in the space will have to think about:
- Interface Simplicity: What changes can they make to their interface to make it easy and safe to use on the road. Car interfaces have to minimize distraction and have large tap targets or input methods (including voice) to be a safe option for users/drivers.
- Avoiding Feature Bloat: It may be tempting to put a whole operating system on the car’s dashboard, but where’s the line? Too many features and functionality and the user/driver can be come overwhelmed or frustrated. Too little and they’ll wonder why you’re taking over their dashboard in the first place.
- Apps, Apps and More Apps: Designing and developing apps for an entire new form factor takes time, thought and money. Beyond the included apps, will these systems be open to other developers to create their own in-car apps? If so, will there need to be strict guidelines about what’s acceptable and what’s not?
- Testing On-device (In-car): It won’t be enough to simply test in the lab when it comes to moving vehicles, connections to a variety of handsets, cellular connections, car model and year mean that the testing matrix will grow in complexity. And if you are a third-party developer granted the opportunity to write for the car, you’ll want to make sure that your app is safe, usable and bug free.
This will be an interesting space to watch in the next several months as both systems come online. Who will win, will really come down to execution, a solid user/driver experience and simplicity.
For the first time, mobile and tablet app internet usage in the U.S. has overtaken PCs… (finally).
We’ve seen it coming in the last few years as the apps economy has exploded, and the way users interact with their multi-devices has evolved dramatically. According to James O’Toole, in CNN Money, the trend will likely continue:
“Mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the United States in January. Apps made up 47% of Internet traffic and 8% of traffic came from mobile browsers, according to data from comScore, cited Thursday by research firm Enders Analysis. PCs clocked in at 45%.
Although total Internet usage on mobile devices has previously exceeded that on PCs, this is the first time it’s happened for app usage alone.
The shift follows a freefall in PC sales, which suffered their worst decline in history last year.
Smartphone adoption, meanwhile, increased 39%, acording to research firm IDC. This trend will likely continue thanks to improved user experience on mobile apps and the expansion of high-speed 4G access, said Andrew Lipsman, vice president of marketing and insights atcomScore (SCOR).
As of January, 55% of American adults had smartphones, while 42% owned tablets,according to the Pew Research Center. “
Here’s a look at US time spent using the internet by device (comScore):
What do you think? Will the trend continue? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Augmented Reality has been a buzzword around the tech world for years now. If you haven’t had a chance to take a peek into some of the more interesting uses of it, you really should. I guarantee the first thing you think will be “The future is here!”
While animated three-eyed green dudes walking around your desk is all well and good, how will companies create stickier applications that you won’t just want to impress your friends with, but will want to use every day? Here are a few examples of how developers may work AR into your daily life. If you want a more detailed and forward looking list, head to the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, CA (now in its 5th year).
What matters to you as a consumer of AR capable devices (price, style) doesn’t matter as much to companies trying to increase worker productivity. AR software startup Daqri is one of the companies banking on exactly that. Some of the industries they are working with are healthcare (imagine being able to see a 3D human heart without having get access to one) and high tech manufacturing.
As Mark Zuckerberg (well, Jesse Eisenberg) said in The Social Network, “College kids are online because their friends are online.” If it’s true for Facebook, it’s true for AR. One of the more interesting social networking apps out now is Taggar, which allows you to ‘tag’ any real world object with pictures, images, or videos. Your friends can then come along and leave a response, or ‘tag over,’ the original tag.
This is really the biggest promise of any AR browser. Retailers and marketers are chomping at the bit to have you consume their content and products in as many ways as possible. One of the best known and most downloaded of these AR browsers is Layar. With Layar, you can both tailor your view of the real world with your own information and have interactive content fed to you by one of Layar’s partners, which include members of the publishing, automotive, real estate, and education sectors.
The key to success of these or any augmented reality application is not just if it can blow you away with creative graphics or immediate access to information, but if it can deliver the right content in the right context exactly when you want it.
More and more small businesses are growing and will continue to grow. With new and always improving technology, it is not only easier to do business, but it is also easier to find it as well. Thanks to mobile phones and smart devices, any business can be made accessible at any given time. Thus, when growing a small business, it is important to not only have a plan for growth, but also to have a plan for interacting.
Mobile technology has allowed businesses to take a step forward in how they interact with existing and potential customers. Now, in addition to creating a website, you have to think about how it will be accommodated in the mobile world. Business trends in 2014 are forecasting major growth in mobile business. But before you jump blindly into the bandwagon of mobile apps, there are some important considerations to keep in mind that will help you to grow and develop wisely (not just quickly).
1. Can you create an app in-house? Mobile app development is no easy challenge. In addition to design, you have to think about security issues, information storage, and accessibility. While you might have working knowledge of this all, it can be costly in time and money. Consider outsourcing the development and focus on keeping the maintenance in-house.
2. Compatibility is the most important thing to keep in mind before creating a mobile app. What works for one device, needs to work for all. This is getting easier from a developer’s standpoint, but it is still not seamless. And while there are easier ways to create mobile apps that work fluidly across different devices, think about how it affects the usability.
3. Your business plan comes into play heavily in a mobile app. You have to know what the app will do, how it will function for your business, and what you plan to get out of it before you even begin designing the app itself. Especially if you plan to make it your main mode of business, be ready with a plan.
4. Are you ready? With increased accessibility comes increased traffic, which leads to increased storage and infrastructure needs. The back-end things are just as important as the design. If you don’t have the capabilities to handle increased numbers, you should.
5. Design is what will either attract users or push them away. Once you’ve gotten your plan and infrastructure in place, you can move on to the design features. Again, it is important to make the mobile app simple and easy to use. Most people do not have the patience for complexity, especially on a smartphone. Additionally, when thinking about the design, make it as seamless as possible between your website and the application. This is important in the long run with marketing and branding, and will help to carry your business a long way.
As you make a plan for your business in the coming year(s), take time to consider a mobile app and only move forward if it will make sense for your business. Growth is important, but readiness comes first.
Last week it was confirmed that Apple acquired the popular developer tool, Test Flight. While it’s unclear what Apple’s intentions are with the tool, one result is discontinued support for the Android SDK. This means that developers who have come to rely upon Test Flight to distribute their pre-release Android apps to their testing teams are now left to look for another alternative.
Luckily for Android developers there’s another alternative. uTest’s SDK, also known as Apphance empowers developers to increase their efficiency during testing through:
- Over-the-air build Distribution – Apphance makes it easy to put your pre-production builds in the hands of your testing team. And you don’t have to spend time provisioning apps and searching for cables. With email notifications, you can push the latest builds directly to test devices. You can also disable a build and ensure that your testing team is always using the latest build available to them.
- Crash Reporting – Understanding crashes can help you mitigate their occurrence, ultimately increasing user satisfaction. Apphance collects crash data and sends it to an easy-to-consume portal. You’ll know what happened on the device at the time of the crash as well as what led up to the crash. No more guessing what the battery life was or how much RAM was available at the time of a crash.
- In-app Bug Reporting – There’s nothing like capturing a bug the moment it occurs. And with a simple shake of the device, your testers will be able to invoke a bug report, which will capture a stack trace, allow the tester to annotate the bug and submit it directly to uTest.
The uTest SDK is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Unity. It’s easy to get started and instrument. You can try Apphance for free and it’s included with all uTest subscriptions at no cost. Learn more about Apphance by visiting http://utest.com/apphance.
The eCommerce sector is approaching $300 billion in the U.S. alone, and retailers that want to compete need to stay on top of current trends. So what are these trends for 2014? And what can you do to ensure you’re providing customers with a delightful experience that will win their loyalty? These are exactly the types of question we answer in our latest webinar, “eCommerce Trends to Win More Customers in 2014.”
The webinar – which features Guest Speaker Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester Research Inc. Vice President, Principal Analyst serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals and uTest’s own Damian Roskill – examines the 2013 eCommerce season and looks ahead to what you need to be ready for in order to achieve retail and eCommerce success in the coming year. In addition to the looks back and ahead, solutions are provided to help you and your company prepare for major eCommerce needs, including:
- Sustained peak periods that create large user demand
- Site vulnerabilities
- Users who use multiple screens and devices while shopping
- Growing cross-border commerce
The webinar is available now on our web site. If you’re looking for more resources, check out our Retail App Testing eBook and Optimized eCommerce white paper and learn how to ensure you’re delighting your digital customers.
All signs point in the same direction: Connected devices are going to have a big year in 2014.
The growth of available connected devices – from wearables to appliances to other everyday objects – was a major theme at CES 2014. According to Forbes, analysts are predicting that connected devices worldwide could top 50 billion in the next ten years.
This year alone, IHS predicts that more than six billion new internet-enabled devices will enter homes – the biggest increase since connected devices started becoming popular. By the end of 2017, that number will reach nearly 20 billion.
Worldwide production of connected equipment will amount to 6.18 billion units this year, up a solid 6 percent from 5.82 billion in 2013. This will be the largest increase for the market in four years, surpassed only by the 10 percent hike in production during 2010, a year after the global economic recession ended.
Production growth rates will then slow in the next few years, even though total units produced will continue to rise in absolute numbers. Between 2015 and 2017, an estimated 19.42 billion new devices will flood the planet, as shown in the attached figure.
IHS identifies the big connected players as devices already familiar on the market – mobile devices, gaming consoles, smart TVs, even laptops. If new connected devices emerge and catch on – say, smart appliances, fitness trackers, smart watches or smart cars, that number will surely spike even higher.
App makers are going to need to expand their testing efforts if they want to maintain a consistent level of quality as users expand to an every growing array of connected devices.
As we live more of our lives online – everything from booking travel and shopping, to bill payment, watching TV shows or movies, and reading the news – a greater emphasis is put on the ability to access web sites and mobile apps, especially for people with disabilities. Of the 241.7 million adults aged 15 and older, 6.2% experience some level of difficulty with seeing, hearing, or having their speech understood, according to the 2010 U.S.Census Bureau Americans with Disabilities report.
Take into account the growing segment of adults who suffer from age-related sight or hearing loss and you begin to see a significant population who can be inadvertently shut out from using sites or apps that are not accessible. Companies who don’t pay attention to accessibility standards risk losing revenue from lost reservations or communications, and may even face litigation.
Web accessibility was brought to the forefront by a landmark class action lawsuit filed by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) against Target Corporation over target.com. Target settled with the NFB for $6 million in 2008 and “agreed to update the site to accommodate sight-impaired online consumers, and to let the NFB regularly test those improvements once they are completed early next year,” according to Computerworld.
Despite this landmark settlement from a few years ago, accessibility testing still isn’t on the forefront of clients’ minds. The business case and value proposition is clear from the testing perspective and there are ways to easily work accessibility testing into your user experience (UX) or functional work.
In this uTest University webinar, accessibility testing expert Helen Burge discusses tips and tools for understanding accessibility testing, including the potential impact on the client’s reputation and the difference between accessibility, usability, and UX.
Some other topics covered in Helen’s “Tips and Tools for Understanding Accessibility Testing” webinar:
- Web design often focuses on font choices for better readability, but color choices can affect how people consume the content.
- Color ratios outlined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are an important checkpoint.
- Testing tools range from screen readers and color analyzers, to Braille keyboards, HTML validators, and web developer toolbars.
Learn more about accessibility testing and other testing topics at uTest University, the learning hub for the testing community.
Siri may be the one asking you if ‘you’d like fries with that’ very soon if the fast food giants have it their way (Burger King pun intended).
Taco Bell is in the beta testing stages of its mobile food app designed to eliminate lengthy pit stops at the drive-thru and long lines inside its restaurants. You’ll just need to order the food you want via the mobile app, pay for it virtually, and presto…just pick up that hot goodness inside one of its restaurants. Just as text messaging eliminated the voice aspect of communication, so too may you never have to verbally speak to a human being ever again when ordering your food (who wants that?).
Other major fast food players testing mobile apps for food orders include McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A, and Chipotle has long been ahead of the curve with a mobile option of their own for years. But before that midnight taco supreme via mobile becomes a reality, there’s three areas fast food giants may want to focus their testing efforts on:
Ordering food via a mobile app is designed to replace the headaches of waiting in long in-person lines and in the drive-thru. Is the fast food ordering process seamless with familiar layouts and is the app easy enough to use? If ordering a taco isn’t as easy as looking up at the board in front of you with food lovingly and intuitively laid out, users may as well just get in line.
Is users’ private information and especially sensitive financial data foolproof from hackers? Starbucks recently beefed up the security of its own popular mobile app and “accelerated the deployment of an update for the app that will add extra layers of protection…out of an abundance of caution.” Without added layers of security that have been deeply tested, users may cling to the security of money they know they’ll be able to control – the cash in their wallets at the drive-thru.
Handling the Lunch-Hour Rush
Can the fast food retail app shoulder the load of the lunch-hour rush? It’s great if the app has passed the checkpoints of secure data and beautiful design, but if the app can’t handle the burden of a 12:30 lunch rush just as well as it can an order placed later in the afternoon, any good qualities the app has go out the door…and it’s back to the (equally frustrating) long lines at the counter and drive-thru.
The fast food big guys certainly have the right idea when it comes to the fast food experience done faster than ever before – taking the waiting completely out of the equation. And the sky’s the limit as to what can be incorporated into this mobile experience, such as saving ‘favorite’ orders for future treks and mobile reward programs integrated into the mix. But can the Taco Bells and the McDonald’s’ of the world take the pain out of long lines and wasted time and truly channel it into a satisfying, secure, convenient and bug-free user experience for all?
Whether you’re a tester or a customer, we know that you’re always on the go. As such, we wanted to take the opportunity to make it even easier to access uTest from your smartphones and tablets. Based on user feedback, we’ve overhauled our iOS app from the ground up and added functionality for our customers. Now designed exclusively for iOS 7, uTest for iOS gives you quick access to tools to participate in and monitor your test cycles.
uTest for iOS enables customers to:
- Review bug and issue reports
- Accept or reject bugs/issues
- Request more information about a bug/issue
And testers will get an improved experience as they can:
- Get tips on how to participate in more projects
- Send and receive messages
- Accept test cycles
- Claim test cases
- See profile stats
uTest for iOS 7 is available in the Apple App Store today. Be sure to leave a review and let us know what you think!
Back in the heyday of muscle cars and woody wagons, a car was pure mechanics. Today, cars increasingly rely on software – and with that reliance comes the potential for a major issue caused by a software bug.
Toyota recently recalled 1.9 million Priuses worldwide because of a software issue. The “programming error” can cause the hybrids to shut down unexpectedly – not exactly what you’d want while you’re driving down the highway. The car maker also recalled some RAV4s, Tacomas and Lexus SUVs because of another bug. This issue, found in the electrical system, can cause stability control and anti-lock brakes to functioning inconsistently. From The New York Times:
The recall also underscores the growing complexity of today’s vehicles, which are increasingly laden with technology and electronic systems that can leave them more susceptible to problems, analysts said.
“Cars are getting more complicated,” said Jack R. Nerad, the executive editorial director at Kelley Blue Book. “Twenty years ago, we weren’t having software glitches.”
This comes on top of stories over the past few years of people hacking into smart car systems. While experts ease consumers’ minds by pointing out that you’d need a high level of access to the vehicle itself before the car could be hacked, a software bug in the car’s actual code is a very big, far reaching, potentially more common problem.
Between normal cars increasingly relying on electronics and software and emerging smart car technology, the QA departments at car manufacturers are going to explode over the next few years. You can’t find a software bug with a crash test dummy.
Facebook recently announced that for the first time, its mobile app revenue surpassed its desktop revenue. In Q4 of 2013, 53% of the company’s revenue was generated from its mobile apps. This reflects the overall shift in the market towards mobile devices. Nielsen’s most recent Digital Consumer Report states that 65% of all Americans now own a smartphone, up from 44% in 2011. The study also found that Americans now spend an average of 34 hours a month, an increase of nearly 10 hours from 2012, using mobile apps and browsers on their smartphones. Meanwhile, internet surfing via desktop devices experienced a decline of almost 2 hours to an average of 27 hours a month.
Facebook is moving with this market shift as it attempts to strengthen its mobile presence. In early February, Facebook released another mobile app, Paper – stories from Facebook for iOS. Paper gives users a more elegant interface to interact with their news feed. So far, the app has experienced mostly positive reviews from critics and users with a score of 76 on Applause. On Wednesday, Facebook COO Sheryl Sanberg confirmed that Paper will be ad free for the foreseeable future. However, the company has been heavily reliant on ads for revenue, accounting for $2.3 billion during Q4.
As Facebook, and other developers, continue investing more resources into the mobile app market, it is important not to lose sight of app quality. Before developers can think about monetizing their app, they first must create compelling content that will engage their users. Also, it is important for developers to test their apps to ensure that it will delight everyone. Based on initial feedback, Facebook has met these criteria and is allowing Paper to gain a foothold before bombarding users with advertisements.
Let’s get the most important and obvious thing out of the way first…
First of all, you need good ingredients, and you need to know how to put them together in a palatable way. This article assumes you’ve already built a well functioning app that is useful or fun. If not, go back to the drawing board, this article is not for you. If you’ve got a good or decent app idea, and you’ve gotten it to work well enough, and it should make a splash but it just hasn’t… read on.
A good cocktail… no scratch that. A GREAT cocktail will always draw eyes to it. From the minute the bartender places that beauty down on the bar. Mouths should water, and the next few people should be calling the bartender over and saying “What’s that cocktail? I’ll have one of those.”
What does this have to do with your app? Well, think about it. An app that has been designed with a clear understanding of first impressions will be attention grabbing. If you use your app when your friends are near, does their attention get drawn to your screen? Does it look so good that they ask you what that app is, and then take that marvellous fingertrip to the app store so they can try it themselves? The best looking apps sell themselves.
Cocktails have character. It starts with the name, and then the flavor profile, and then the way it looks, and the way it tastes. The character of a cocktail will determine the kind of person who will drink it. The TV show ‘Sex and the City’ made the Cosmopolitan their signature drink, because everything about that drink screamed high fashion, single ladies in the city, living the high life with the kind of fabulous daring that most women (and some men) wanted to emulate.
An app should have a clear “ideal” consumer in mind, and the design should reflect this. This will inform your marketing decisions. But your app won’t necessarily appeal to the person that personifies this ideal, it will sell to those who WANT to personify this ideal. In the case of the Cosmopolitan, after Sex in the City turned it into such a big deal, all the sophisticated cosmopolitan women turned to other drinks for their evening buzz. It was all the women who wanted to pretend to be glamorous and cosmopolitan who were enthusiastically ordering it up. It became such a phenomenon, that the snootiest bars began to refuse to serve Cosmopolitans, because they became seen as too popular (which in snooty speak, means not exclusive and special like it was before).
Carefully Mixed To Perfection
Cocktail recipes can be ridiculously detailed. For the uninitiated, it can look disproportionately detailed. I mean, who cares? Just slap a few ingredients together… as long as it makes you feel good, and it tastes good enough, it’s all good right? Well, no. This is the way a teenager feels about their alcohol. For grownups, (you know, the people who can actually afford cocktails) taste matters. The complexity of the taste matters. The ingredients add to the appeal, not only because of their taste, but because of the way it sounds. Cointreau, Grand Marnier, a squeeze of fresh lemon, a dusting of sugar. Shaken over a bed of ice flown in from Italy, after Monica Bellucci blew it a kiss…
Give people details they can appreciate. Give potential fanboys something to obsess about and discuss or argue about with their friends. Give your app a story that people can tell other people, and you’ll have the best marketing that money can’t buy. Word of mouth. Fanboy word of mouth. If you were to describe your app, would your app be James Bond, with a million fancy gadgets and tricks up his sleeve? Or would it be random green ooze, sliding away into the sewers?
It Makes You Feel Good
Finally, you’ve sipped a few of your fancy cocktails down. The inevitable happens. Now we come to one of the best things to know about people in general. If something makes them feel good, they will like it, even love it. There’s a quote by Maya Angelou that tells you all you need to know about this. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
If your app is complicated and needs people to figure things out, and really pay close attention in order to get it to work, then you’re going to make people feel bad. They’re going to get frustrated, and feel dumb. Now your app is associated with negative emotions, and they’re going to be more likely to stop using it. Sure, maybe your app will save the world someday, because of your genius idea, but not if no one uses it. Make things easy for people, make them feel smart and cool as they use it, give them a pleasant buzz. They’ll always associate a positive feeling with your app then, and if you do something less than perfect after that, like a less than ideal update that mucks things up a bit… they’ll be very likely to forgive and forget.
So go on, and lift your glasses in toast. Drink deep, because this could be exactly what you needed to take your app to the next level.
This post originally appeared on our sister site, the Applause App Analytics Blog.
Jenny Corteza has an eclectic mix of passions, from Zen to motorcycles, from coding to cocktails. In her spare time, she can be found working on cars and thinking deep thoughts about transmission service. Oddly enough, this is when inspiration about other things in life strikes most often.
With more than 8,000 developers and app-lovers in attendance, Apps World North America held in San Francisco last week was a truly buzzworthy event! From the cool sessions, to the numerous exhibitors – innovation was alive and active during this two day conference.
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, started the conference off right with his keynote, drawing a standing-room only crowd. He discussed how Apple should consider offering an Android phone in order to avoid the same fate as Blackberry. He also mentioned Microsoft’s inability to create in the past few years and how Apple is all about continuing innovation.
Our own Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Matt Johnston, spoke on the keynote retail panel alongside Sephora’s Vice President of Mobile, Danny Sullivan, and Staples’ Senior Vice President & General Manager, E-Commerce, Arun Arora, about how smartphones and tablets are changing the consumer experience. One point Matt made was the importance of discovering what the customer wants, whether it’s developing a tablet app or wearable app, not just trying to keep up with the competition.
Apps World hosted more than 200 exhibitors and featured focus areas such as Android, mobile payments, developer, enterprise and topics for sessions. And of course, there was plenty of space for networking.
uTest was one of the many exhibitors at this year’s Apps World. We met many technologists from all types of companies ranging from startups to enterprise companies, hearing about the apps they are developing or product they are about to launch. We even gave away an iPad Mini.
Apps World heads to the United Kingdom next for Enterprise Apps World on June 17. uTest will be exhibiting at this event so if you are in the area, stop by Booth #12. We look forward to seeing you there and at next year’s Apps World North America.
There’s no question that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have disrupted the must-see TV model and have cable companies biting their nails. As cable companies fight to keep up with apps that provide streaming mobile content, I decided that it was as good a time as ever to take to the uTest Community to test the hypothesis that streaming is booming – Would you cut the cable cord for ‘smart’ programming?
The results were pretty clear – a whopping 69% of uTest Community members surveyed are either considering or have already cut the cable cord in favor of television programming that is streamed to their devices.
I have kept my satellite TV subscription for a couple of years, but I rarely watched it. Too much reruns, too long commercial breaks, too many bad channels…nothing good the time I wanted to watch something….now I can binge-watch Lillyhammer, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development and much more. – Caio B.
My wife and I are cutting the cord next week. We are almost always on Netflix or watching a movie from our collection or streaming, or just playing a video game. – Pablo B.
We killed cable several years ago and we primarily use Amazon Prime and Netflix now. As for watching football, we have a Roku player with the PlayOn channel and I am able to watch all the NFL games and even local channels without issue. – Jennifer D.
We’re moving to a Roku setup with a Plex media server and Netflix. It’s looking really good so far. – Paul A.
While the community overall is smart programming-leaning, some noted its limitations in variety:
If there was a way to ensure that the programs I like to watch would be available on Netflix and Hulu, I would do it. However, sometimes I like to channel surf because it allows me to see new programs that I wouldn’t have watched otherwise. I’m not sure if that’s possible on services like Netflix and Hulu. – Margaret T.
I’d love to, except I’m a sports fan. Once there’s a good solution for watching live sports without a cable subscription, I’m in. – Josh F.
If the uTester Community is any indication of the already numerous reports of folks making the switch, cable companies may be forced to strike back soon with their own streaming services.
What do you think? Do you rely on the comfort of cable or would you be prepared to go streaming for life? We’d like to hear from you, so sound off in the comments below.