Blog

Technology

Owning Your Customer’s Digital Experience

To attract customers to your digital product or platform, you’ll need to provide an experience that stands out. At a minimum, customers have baseline expectations and experiences you need to keep up with—but they’re looking for more than that. Technologies that provide personalized data experiences and real-life value will be the ones to delight companies and users alike. Owning your customer’s digital experience means understanding your user’s journey from beginning to end. By anticipating every touchpoint your user experiences, you can craft solutions that meet their needs at the right moment. Ultimately, digital products that do so will find loyal customers that keep on coming back.  Here are some considerations you may stay aware of along the user’s journey as you create your customer’s digital experience. Seamless, Frictionless UX and UI Users expect a smooth and seamless digital experience from start to finish. That means everything from anticipating and displaying the content they need to automatically unlocking the door they’re walking up to—all without a glitch. One of the quickest ways to get your customers to thank you is by providing them with a seamless payment experience. Digital and contactless payment tools like Venmo, Cash App, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are easy options that users rate highly. These tools enable a connected user experience for quick payment within your app. Making it easy to pay is a win-win for everyone from a user experience and user interface perspective. Users are hungry for one-stop shopping enabled by the digital marketplace, and frictionless payments connect to your users’ digital wallets. An ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT) opens up even more opportunities to influence your customer through a seamless experience. For example, consider how an app like Turo changes its customer’s experience of arriving at the airport in a new city. Turo’s customers can skip the rental counter and walk right out to their weekend ride with a digital key, eliminating hassle on their weekend getaway. Time saved delivers real-life value to your user, and many will repeat the experience if it goes smoothly the first time. Data/System Integrations Better insights drive better business decisions. App and system integrations enable interoperability to help guide business operations and provide the right solutions needed in today’s market. Integrations can be a lot more exciting than you’d imagine at first glance. Here are two significant ways to use data integrations to help your customers: Bring people and data together, so your customers feel connected to what matters most. Then, you can serve up their favorite products and content on the platforms where they already work and play.  Customize your customers’ experience to their set preferences to experience more comfort and continuity in their daily lives. For example, you can hide technical complexity and offer a seamless experience.  Using this combination of approaches, you can deliver a level of personalization to your customers that feels authentic and unique to them. Imagine getting home and having the heat turned to the right setting, the lights dimmed to your preference, and your favorite playlist queued. This hyperconnected experience is only possible when devices and systems share data and “talk” behind the scenes—and the result is significant to the user. Provide Tools To Solve the Problem Owning your customer’s experience involves using experience-driven thought to anticipate your user's needs and behaviors at every step of their customer journey. Innovative companies are taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies to anticipate the needs of their users and provide the data, insights, and tools they need to solve the problems they encounter. This approach benefits both sides, as customers are able to more quickly get to their solution, and companies reduce their customer service costs. Examples include interactive chatbots and virtual assistants. AI can answer a question, point you to resources, schedule a meeting, and do much more in these instances.  Data itself is a crucial tool we provide users in many of the apps we create. For example, we’ve created products that allow users tools and insight into their home mortgages, enabling them to make the data-driven decisions that are best for them. By informing users of their current interest rate and when market interest rates are down, we provide timely refinancing suggestions and the tools to get it done within the product. We also developed a marketing platform that enables prominent technology vendors to arm their channel partners with tools to manage marketing campaigns with automated personalized content and analytics. Ultimately, we help consumers save money while increasing their brand loyalty and the likelihood they’ll become trusting, repeat customers.  Set the Stage for Loyalty and Repeat Business Personalized experiences set the stage for loyalty and repeat business. The end of the user journey should feed into the next one—creating a cycle for brand loyalty from buyers who trust and want to reengage with your products continuously.  Consider the stage set by Withings. Consumers have multiple entry points to buy across several connected healthcare products—all leading them to download the Withings app. When users buy their first Withings product, they gain experience with the app and develop trust in the brand. Their experience is uniquely personalized, aggregating their health data in one place and integrating it with native iOS and Android health apps. Once users have seamless, connected data built into their native health ecosystem, Withings devices are top of mind when they’re ready to buy another connected healthcare product. Loyalty and personalization is a dynamite combo that enables brands to target at the segment level with broad-based recommendations. Customers receive offers targeted not just at customers like them, but as individuals with uniquely relevant products, offers, and communications. InspiringApps & BrainTrust This content is a collaboration between InspiringApps and Brain+Trust.

in 7 days

Technology

Data Considerations for Connectivity

Three decades ago, when viewers watched Knight Rider covertly fight crime in an AI-driven, sentient sports car, artificially intelligent vehicles were a work of fiction, but the future is finally here. Consumers aren’t just driving with the help of interactive dashboard navigation; they’re also working, shopping, and living in a connected world thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity that’s stronger, faster, and more reliable than ever before. From house lights programmed to dim at a specific time of day to a wearable personal assistant in watch form, technology expansion and improved software integration have improved our lives with convenience and efficiency in our day-to-day world. We’re more connected than ever. Connectivity creates opportunities for companies to improve operations, encourage a good customer experience, and boost revenue. However, with exponential growth in available data, businesses must consider privacy, security, and transparency to their bottom line. Benefits of Connected Data The majority of data businesses collect is harmless and even necessary for a good user experience. Consumer-provided data, also known as first-party data, enhances app personalization that many consumers appreciate, creating a more useful digital product or application. Tech giants like Apple and Google collect data to connect services—maps, mail, searches, and app integration—seamlessly, which is much more efficient than asking users to submit their data anew for each program. While laws protect highly sensitive or confidential user data, other information—including search history, location, usage, and browsing history—is passed to businesses and advertisers. Companies use this data to personalize their experience across the IoT and serve up highly relevant ads. Third-party data is why you see ads for the exact product you researched. It helps cut through the clutter and gives consumers the information they need. Consumers can enjoy unique possibilities as data collection grows, and software and apps use it in more sophisticated ways. Using browsing data, app companies can anticipate needs based on time of day, location, or date (imagine an app that tells you where to eat based on your past restaurant experience—an end to the “where do you want to eat” conversation). It can help small businesses reach more of their target market to thrive. Data collection and analysis can even keep us safer by predicting criminal activity through early warning systems. The future is developing quickly. Here’s what consumers and business leaders need to know about data privacy and security in today’s connected world. Data Privacy For two decades, data privacy was an afterthought for many companies. Data harvesting gave unprecedented access to customer insights and market analysis, and many built their business through third-party data. Consumers primarily offered their information without considering how companies would use it, while companies considered data a trade secret and operated outside government oversight. Today, consumers are more protective of their data and have become increasingly distrustful of sharing their private information. Data collection practices needed to change, and we’ve witnessed a shift toward more transparency and more choices for consumers in the last few years. Your User and Their Privacy Data privacy, at its core, revolves around transparency. Consumers need to know how you collect and store their data and why, when, and what data you collect. Typically outlined in a privacy statement on a company website, privacy policies create trust between a company and the consumers they serve. Data collection is a balancing act. Consumers have noted that companies who ask for too much information, create complex or confusing privacy policies, and use inaccurate information about themselves used in marketing topped the list of what leads to distrust. Companies should be acutely aware of how they ask for information from consumers and empower the users by giving them back control over what they share. Relying on first-party data and collecting and storing it ethically shows respect for your consumers. When consumers know a company has their best interests in mind, they are more likely to continue building trust with the company for years to come. Current in Big Tech One of the most powerful shifts in consumer privacy came in an iOS upgrade for Apple products aimed to protect users’ data. The iOS15 upgrade included the option to mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens, an iCloud-based subscription that prevents sites from tracking Safari users, and an email address “cloaking” feature that provides a fake email address. Google upped the ante by announcing they would phase out third-party cookies by 2022 and were not planning to build alternative options to track users as they browse on Google products. After some backlash from the online advertising industry, Google created a Privacy Sandbox initiative to create website standards that access first-party data while still protecting users. The switch to a first-party data-driven world has considerable implications for development and marketing alike. Developers will have to get more creative with asking customers for their data—email forms, surveys, location data, and browsing behavior. Marketers will, in turn, use this data to identify consumer insights, which means they’ll have to be more in tune with their customers’ needs and continuously iterate to discover what works. Advertising may be more challenging as marketers won’t have a chance to rely on platforms like Facebook or Google to find their ideal customers. Data Security Consumers expect companies to use their data responsibly and protect it from bad agents—scammers and cybercriminals who collect and expose data for profit. Data breaches increased 68% in 2021 from the previous year—the highest total ever. Despite the attention to data protection, more than 294 million people were affected by these cyberattacks, which focused on smaller, targeted attacks on smaller businesses. Data privacy and data security go hand in hand. As companies work on compiling first-party data and building trust with their customers, cybercriminals will more heavily target individual companies protecting this data. Our ever-present connectivity, including smart cars, smart homes, smart devices, and the overall IoT, brings another dimension to data privacy because there are more access points for cybercriminals to steal personal data. Now is the time for development and cybersecurity professionals to double down on protecting this data. As your company builds software and digital products, ensure they are secure by design. Develop fool-proof security measures to prevent theft, detect theft early, and respond to security threats. Create code review policies, audit trails, and vulnerability scans to find security gaps. Consumers are accustomed to the ease and personalization of their apps and software integrations, and companies rely on the information these consumers provide to make informed decisions that benefit their customers. The connectivity ecosystem is a delicate balance between too much and not enough, but the future of data is in good hands. InspiringApps & BrainTrust This content is a collaboration between InspiringApps and Brain+Trust.

in 2 hours

Technology

Key Technologies for the Developing Metaverse

The future is virtual thanks to advances in the Metaverse, a virtual world where individuals can gather, work, and play. The Metaverse is experiencing explosive growth, and companies are strategizing on existing and thriving in this new frontier. Meta (previously known as Facebook) believes it is the “next evolution of social connection.” Behind this evolution are the key technologies defining software development that dictate how we spend, connect, and experience life in the Metaverse.  Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and NFTs If you’ve heard the terms Bitcoin, crypto, and NFT but still feel out of the loop, you’re not alone. Bitcoin is the best-known example of crypto (in fact, it’s why blockchain tech was created in the first place). Enabled by blockchain, the Metaverse will support an economy of crypto and NFT assets that users own. That’s why this interrelated “fintech” will not only develop but be a key driver in the Metaverse. Blockchain Let’s start unpacking all this with a look at blockchain. Blockchain can be likened to a virtual banking system. It’s a digital ledger of transactions replicated and distributed across a network of systems on a virtual chain that is (appropriately) virtually impossible to hack. Blockchain-based Metaverse environments offer digital proof of ownership for assets. In other words, blockchain enables an economy in the Metaverse. Cryptocurrency Financial technology experts believe cryptocurrency (crypto) is exceptionally safe, private, quickly transferable, and inflation proof. That’s because crypto is created and stored electronically in the blockchain, using encryption methods to control the establishment of monetary units and to authenticate the transfer of funds. In the Metaverse, crypto is comparable to the money in your wallet. Unlike a physical wallet, a private key for your crypto wallet proves your ownership of the funds. If you want to buy something in the Metaverse economy with money in that wallet, crypto will serve as the currency of exchange. NFT NFT means “non-fungible token”—a digital asset representing a real-world object like artwork or music. NFTs are typically encoded with the same underlying software as crypto to prove ownership in the Metaverse. The key difference between NFT and crypto is that NFTs are unique and irreplaceable. Crypto is fungible (a dollar is worth the same as any other dollar, and can be swapped with any other dollar). Nonfungible is the opposite—there are no two same versions of the Mona Lisa. In the Metaverse, users can purchase NFTs for the purposes of not only art but other unique assets like virtual real estate and event tickets. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality Augmented reality, or AR, is an enriched form of physical reality. AR is achieved by embedding virtual objects or digital elements, including sound, visuals, and other sensory stimuli, into the real physical world. Virtual reality (VR) creates a simulated environment that enables users to interact with an artificial three-dimensional (3-D) environment through computer modeling and simulation. With VR, you disappear into a created space. With MR, the space is designed around you. There’s an argument that you can have AR or VR—not both. That’s where mixed reality (MR) comes into play. Mixed reality is a cutting-edge form of AR that lets users interact with virtual objects. Instead of just seeing an object in the virtual version of physical space, users can touch and interact with the object—for instance, placing a virtual whiteboard that users can draw on using a tablet. MR tech continually gathers information about a user’s environment to make the space feel “real.” While there are still many questions about how the Metaverse will function in the future, AR, VR, and MR will no doubt be at its core. These technologies will enable the Metaverse to resemble space and time in the real world, so interactions are visual, auditory, and dynamic. Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) is a computer’s ability to do things typically done by people. Today, Meta uses AI and algorithms to analyze, curate, and serve up content within their other platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Most people have experienced AI without realizing it. “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and “Hey Siri, read my messages” are both examples of AI in everyday life. For the Metaverse, users will find examples of AI in avatars and digital representations of the human body. Avatars represent the individual’s creativity in their virtual world, freeing them to change their look to whatever they want it to be. Digital humans acting as background characters can interact with real people through AI technology, creating a richer, more profound virtual experience in the Metaverse.  Bolstered by machine learning, AI technology, including language processing, will make interactions in the Metaverse increasingly more sophisticated. A key feature of AI is language processing, where processing breaks down natural spoken languages and outputs them into a machine-readable format. Then, the AI creates a response, converts it back to English, and sends it back to the user. Language processing could enable interaction between players and non-player characters (NPCs) in the Metaverse. AI and machine learning both benefit from a plethora of data. As the technology collects more data and experiences feedback from human interaction, AI gets better. As the AI gets better, it will be increasingly more realistically human, and the Metaverse will continuously grow more like the real-world human experience. Conclusion The Metaverse has plenty of benefits—like secure transactions, inflation-proof digital currency, and engagement with friends and family anywhere in the world—but it’s still a topic of debate. Questions of access, integrity, security, and ethics will keep the Metaverse in active conversation. However, the Metaverse is still relatively new, and research, operations, and testing advance it daily. The Metaverse is an amalgamation of advanced technology introduced with increasing speed over the past decade. Our clients don’t have to navigate the complexities and questions of the Metaverse alone. InspiringApps builds beautiful and inspiring software, and we’re here to help you thrive during your journey into the Metaverse. InspiringApps & BrainTrust This content is a collaboration between InspiringApps and Brain+Trust.

7 days ago

App Design

Can InspiringApps take over my project?

If your digital project has stalled, traded hands, or needs a new set of eyes—you’re likely looking for a partner who can understand your journey and help you move forward. We’d love to provide more info to see if InspiringApps is the right partner for you. At InspiringApps, we immerse ourselves in understanding your needs and vision, treating your app development project like our own. Clients repeatedly tell us that they love working with us because we passionately dig into projects alongside them.  We’re ready to get started. Right away, we’ll want to know the following about your current project.   Questions We’ll Have for You What technologies and languages does your project use? What problem needs to be solved (first)? What is your timeline or deadline?   Here’s What You Can Expect From InspiringApps Our digital solutions are built upon our proven process. We’ve outlined in detail what you’ll experience on Your Journey With InspiringApps before, but here are some key parts of the process: Code Review & Discovery: We’ll generate ideas and brainstorm solutions, as we formulate a high-level concept and strategy for your application. We’ll consider your overall goals, timeline, and budget to help us define your product’s technical requirements and if we’re the right fit to build it. A statement of work will outline everything you’ll need to know to move forward. Scoping: We assess the design and development needs of your product and define the scope, refining the timeline and budget as needed. Design: Our designers work to create both a well-designed user experience and a beautiful interface. Details start to come to life—first as low-fidelity wireframes, then as conceptual and branded designs. Strategic Project Planning & Execution: As we prepare for development, we’ll create a more detailed plan between all members of our team and define the sprints. Development: Our developers will work in 2-3 week sprints to create our custom web and mobile apps before they are tested and deployed. We are proud to have a track record of taking every project to the finish line—and we’d love to help you get there, too.  We recognize the importance of our clients’ ideas and dreams and work with them to bring those to fruition. From the very start, we approach your project with expert strategy and implementation, so you can rest assured every step of the process is taking you to the finish line. We hope that this information gave you insight into working with InspiringApps. If you’re ready to see for yourself, you can contact us here. We can’t wait to meet you.

1 month ago

App Development

Development Support for Existing Digital Products

Digital products are the latest trend in communication but come pre-built with complexity and potential roadblocks that can slow down progress. Because of shifting priorities or budgetary changes, sometimes the best intended digital projects can fall to the wayside. Whether your app is fully-fleshed and in need of a little TLC or is unfinished and forgotten, there are several strategies to bring them back to the market—and the attention of your customers or internal team.  Our InspiringApps team can catalyze to provide new insights, a fresh outside perspective, and innovative solutions to get your digital project going from full-stack development to consulting. Full-Stack Development Full-stack app development allows developers to be responsible for both front-end, or client-side,  and back-end, or server-side, of an application. Full-stack developers are the swings of the development world, bringing skills in various coding niches, design, UX/UI experience, and more to the table. This cross-discipline role helps ensure the user experience on the app is smooth from start to finish and can help troubleshoot and fix bugs at any stage of development. Full-stack developers can be an excellent fit for finalizing an unfinished project and improving an existing app because they can provide keen insight from coding and user perspectives. Staff Augmentation Many hands make light work, but sometimes a business budget or the scope of a project doesn’t support hiring additional full-time staff members. Staff augmentation—the process of hiring positions through an outside company on a contract basis or to work on specific projects—can be the ideal solution for companies who need to complete development projects but don’t need a permanent developer on the team.  With staff augmentation, highly qualified and experienced coders can join a company on a project or temporary basis. The company benefits from the brightest minds without exhaustive and expensive recruitment, and developers benefit from working with clients in various industries. This option will bring new life to an incomplete project without the overhead of hiring new staff. Code Review Dashes, dots, brackets, and more may seem like nonsense to a non-programmer, but to developers, it’s another language—and one with strict rules that leave little room for error. Code review is like peer editing for programming code. Software developers systematically read through other developers’ code, combing through each line searching for mistakes or inconsistencies that can lead to issues in the final product. Although several code review software programs are on the market, there’s nothing like another human reading code written by a human. Code review can speed up development by finding errors before they cause too many problems. Architecture Assistance An architect builds beautiful buildings, but a web architect can create entire worlds and secure them with code. At InspiringApps, our web architects help determine what coding or software program is best for a client project, create technical guides and sample code, and ensure the app is built on a secure and stable framework.  Web architects have years of experience and ongoing professional development on the latest updates and innovations in the software industry. Professional architecture assistance for an app development project can improve a product and create a better user experience.  Accessibility Adherence Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become increasingly important to many organizations, and this includes accessibility. However, adherence to accessibility guidelines isn’t just the right thing to do—it is federally mandated for websites and apps. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) have dictated regulations through the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) Americans with Disability Act (ADA).  Do these regulations make your head spin? Navigating accessibility can be confusing, but hiring a team of accessibility experts like our InspiringApps team to help your app adhere to accessibility guidelines can give you confidence that your product meets your employee and client needs. Security Analysis Thousands of users adopt new digital platforms daily, which means bad agents have more potential targets. Digital security is a hot topic with tremendous consequences if a company doesn’t get it right—a security breach or hack can be the death knell for a digital product. Almost all digital applications contain vulnerabilities that can be exploited, which leads to increased risks for both users and the app’s owners.  Security analysis is an essential step in launching or refreshing an app. An attack can mean lost sales, loss of trust from customers, access to restricted or confidential content, and a damaged brand. During a security analysis, InspiringApps experts look under the hood of a digital product to determine security risk. They suggest ways to minimize or mitigate risks to keep your digital products safe. The InspiringApps expert team is ready to help you take your digital product to the next level. See how our Consulting Services will help you transform your app. 

1 month ago

Popular

Your Journey With InspiringApps

Let’s talk about the mobile or web app you want to create. We’ll start with an initial meeting that helps us get to know your team and the problem you want to solve. You’ll connect with experts on the InspiringApps team who will openly provide straightforward and honest answers to your questions.  We’ll discuss your objectives, timeline, and budget, as well as things like your communication preferences. Our digital solutions are built upon our proven process. We outline below what you’ll experience as you kick off your project with InspiringApps. Can’t wait? Let’s get started!   The InspiringApps Process Ideation We’ll work together to generate ideas and brainstorm solutions, as we formulate a high-level concept and strategy for your application. We’ll consider your overall goals, timeline, and budget to help us define your product’s technical requirements and if we’re the right fit to build it. A statement of work will outline everything you’ll need to know to move forward. Statement of Work Discovery Timeline/Budget   Scoping We assess the design and development needs of your product and define the scope, refining the timeline and budget as needed. Product Backlog Timeline/Budget Revision Product Strategy   Design Our designers work to create both a well-designed user experience and a beautiful interface. Details start to come to life—first as low-fidelity wireframes, then as conceptual and branded designs. Conceptual Designs Timeline/Budget Revision Lo-fi UI/UX Designs   Project Planning As we prepare for development, we’ll create a more detailed plan between all members of our team and define the sprints. Roadmap Definition Functional Designs Sprint Backlog   Build & Deploy Our developers will work in 2-week sprints to create our custom web and mobile apps before they are tested and deployed. Quality Assurance Testing Product Releases Product Delivery   Frequently Answered Questions Who will be my main point of contact once the project kicks off? While multiple people will be involved in building your app, you will have clear communication from InspiringApps, primarily from your designated project manager. They will be your first point of contact for any needs. When you need to talk about technical or design challenges, they’ll get you connected to the right people.   How will I communicate with you during the app development process? There are major benefits of live conversation and collaboration—whether that’s digital or in-person. There are numerous ways our teams can interact, from phone calls to video chat to screen-sharing to the still relevant face-to-face meeting. We are willing to take advantage of all these options as we work through complex issues or questions. Our clients say we aren't like "vendors"; we feel like part of their internal team.  InspiringApps' operating model incorporates clients into our weekly check-in meetings. As a result, our interaction is seamless.   What collaboration tools do you use? We use project management tools such as GitHub, ZenHub, Asana, Basecamp, and others to track project progress. We are also happy to use a tool that our client uses internally—we have a lot of clients that use Azure and Jira. All are great tools, and they’re extremely valuable in ensuring the project is on the right track.   How will I receive status updates and how often? We’ll discuss the frequency of status updates, so it is compatible with your desire to receive them. As noted above, there are numerous ways for us to stay connected. We’ll discuss the rhythm of communication and meetings needed and what you can expect at different phases of the project.   How involved will I be in the project? When do I get to provide input? Big reveals make for good television on home renovation shows, but it’s not the way you want to receive your product. It’s best to keep an eye on your software throughout the life of the project so that you can make iterations as needed. Our team builds and tests small sections of code at a time. As a result, you should expect the ability to interact with the app early in the process and as each piece of functionality is added. You are the subject matter expert for your product, and we rely on you for knowledge of your industry and customer. Your feedback, including help with testing the app during development, ensures that the best product is delivered.   How do development sprints work? Our developers work in 2-week sprints to create our custom web and mobile apps before they are tested and deployed. Within each sprint, our team builds and tests small sections of code at a time. As a result, you should expect the ability to interact with the app early in the process, and as each piece of functionality is added.   What if my priorities or scope changes during the project? We called it a journey, right? We expect things to shift, and we’re extremely flexible in changing priorities and timelines as needed. Simply contact your project manager to chat through anything that comes up.   Who will own the app? You will own the finished product.   Ready to get started? It’s critical for the success of your project that you take the time to find the right developer—one that has the experience and capabilities for the app you want to build, who communicates well, and has the right cost structure for you.  We hope that this information gave you insight into working with InspiringApps. If you’re ready to see for yourself, you can contact us here. We can’t wait to work with you.

1 month ago

App Development

Hiring Software Developers in 2022 & Beyond

When off-the-shelf software isn’t cutting it for your business, a software developer can help create innovative solutions that make work simpler, more productive, and less frustrating for your team (and for your customers). Mainly focused on consumer technology, software developers understand users’ needs and monitor the performance of the software and apps they create. Software developers have the knowledge needed to keep your software aligned with your business goals. Software development is a fast-growing industry, with more than 1.8 million opportunities available in the U.S., and in the next five years will grow 22%. With the pivot to digital communications and business modernization, software developers are in high demand, but it’s essential to find the right fit for your company. Here are some tips to help you hire software developers in 2022 and beyond. Keep up With Technology Software and applications can use many different types of technology and run on several platforms. To further complicate software development, technology changes constantly. What does this mean when you hire software developers? Your new employees should understand the latest technology, and you’ll need to provide the tools they need to stay ahead of the curve. During the interview process, find out what platforms and languages they’re most comfortable using and how they stay current on new technology. Once you’ve hired, invest in your new software developer with hardware and training programs to ensure success. Hire With Inclusivity in Mind Software development has long been homogeneous: male-dominated and lacking racial diversity. Surveys have found only 11 to 25% of software developers in the U.S. are women, 6.9% Hispanic, and 7% Black. Although big tech giants (Google, Facebook, and Amazon, included) have taken huge strides in creating an inclusive software developer workforce, smaller companies still fall behind. Your company can help close the gap by recruiting and hiring diverse developers. Consider targeting talent sources like women’s professional organizations or Black and minority business organizations, asking your employees to refer their friends, or offering internships through organizations that help place underrepresented workers.  Create an Inclusive Recruiting Structure Even if you’re not in the market to hire an entire team of diverse employees, you can build diversity and inclusion practices in your organization in other ways. The tech field has evolved and opened up opportunities to learn and perfect software development skills without completing a computer science program. Bootcamps, online learning, and other non-traditional education options open the door for underrepresented employees. When you’re willing to be flexible with your recruit’s educational background, you’ll find a new pool of highly-skilled, diverse employees. By hiring to support and develop these individuals, you can enjoy talent who grows with your business long term. Set Employees up for Long-Term Success It’s one thing to recruit software developers, but retaining them as employees is just as important. Creating long-term opportunities for them on the job and through training is a great way to keep software developers current on new technologies and bring a fresh perspective to their work. Your business will enjoy staying ahead of the technology curve. Support a Great Company Culture Because software developers are in high demand, companies should offer more than an excellent salary and generous PTO—your company culture matters. When your company encourages transparency, communication, and flexibility, recruits are more likely to turn their attention to the position. You can recruit the best and brightest software developers in 2022 and beyond by offering flexible and remote work, professional development opportunities, and promotions from within. Company culture doesn't happen overnight and requires consistency from all levels of the organization. Your potential software development employees will notice and appreciate a healthy workplace. Understanding the job market and what your prospective software development hires are searching for in a company will give you a competitive advantage during recruitment and help you find the best software developer to support your digital communications. Providing the right tools, using inclusive recruitment strategies, and creating long-term opportunities will help you attract software developers. For more inspiration, learn more about the intentional ways InspiringApps has developed and maintained a great company culture.

1 month ago

InspiringApps News

InspiringApps’ Core Values

InspiringApps’ Core Values Our five core values shape who we are in and out of our office. Join us for a deep dive into our core values—how we demonstrate them, what they mean to us, and how they help us create beautiful and engaging digital products for others.  Empathy Understanding and perspective that shapes the process and the product Empathy comes naturally to our team members, and it’s easy for us to find the right questions that get to the heart of our client’s intent. We have a deep capacity for understanding a problem from a business, development, and user perspective, which holistically frames our entire software development process in the key areas that make a product successful. Respect Consideration and appreciation for client, team, and individual Diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives make us a stronger team. We appreciate and embrace each other’s differences. We respect our clients and their ideas, and we work hard to approach problem solving from a positive perspective as equal partners. Inclusivity A mandate kept top of mind for the InspiringApps team We seek equality for both our team and our products. Inclusivity best practices are made throughout our software development process, and inclusive recruiting initiatives remain top of mind for our team. Commitment Approaching tasks and team with passion and intention Easy to use is often hard to design, so we sweat the details, treating your app development project like our own. Clients repeatedly convey they love working with us, because we passionately dig into projects alongside them. Our team is committed to the work and to each other. Small but mighty, the culture has a cohesive atmosphere that never skips a beat. Integrity Approaching all with heart and authenticity Integrity is at the core of all we do at InspiringApps and is exhibited throughout our hiring, training, and development practices. Honesty, excellence, and authenticity are as important to us as they are to our clients. Conclusion We’re passionate. Determined. Crazy talented, yet humble. The mix of people that make up the InspiringApps team truly represents the values that influence our work most—empathy, respect, inclusivity, commitment, and integrity. These foundational commonalities contribute to both our great company culture and the beautiful and engaging apps we create. Do our values align? We thrive on creating strong partnerships with innovative clients who want to make a difference. Let’s get started.

1 month ago

App Development

App Development: Market Considerations

The start of the new year tends to be filled with resolutions, and perhaps one of yours is to build that app you’ve been contemplating for so long. App development has exploded over the past several years, so if you have a great idea, it is tempting to rush headlong into a project. Before diving into the technical details, though, we encourage you to spend time clearly defining the opportunity, and reflecting it against existing solutions. This is necessary whether your target user is an internal team or a consumer external to your company. It’s even true for gaming apps, as differentiation is always valuable. Opportunities exist when there is a gap between what is currently on the market and the new possibilities created by economic changes, technology advances, or new social trends. Developing a product to fill that gap is part science and part art, but it always involves creating a solution that is perceived as useful, usable, and desirable. The more you can do at the outset to define your opportunity, the better success you will have at creating the right product and marketing it successfully. To help define the opportunity, work with your team to consider questions like these: What problem will this app solve? (your value proposition) For whom will you be solving that problem? (your customer segment) How big is the opportunity? (your market size) How does the market currently address the problem? (minimum expectations) What product features are critical for success? (requirements) Why are you best suited to do this? (your differentiator) The first two steps, defining your value proposition and market, require an in-depth understanding of the industry and the particular pains your target audience faces as they attempt to achieve their goals. The value proposition states specifically what product (or service) you intend to build in order to create value for a particular customer segment. It’s your idea, framed in the context of your customer’s experience. Once you have clearly defined the need you want to address, you’ll want to learn about the solutions that are currently available. If you desire to sell an app externally, these alternatives will become your competition, and it’s critical to quantify what unique value your app will bring relative to them. If you are looking for a solution to gain internal efficiencies, this research will tell you if you can use an off-the-shelf app, which could save you time and resources. While taking these steps may feel both time and money consuming, developing these market insights will actually enable you to be more successful overall. If you’d like to learn more about the market and business analysis work to consider before you get too far into development, we encourage you to download our book, Inspiring Apps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps. It’s free in the iBooks store.  

2 months ago

App Design

Designing for Gen Z

Designing for Gen Z Generation Z is a powerful group in today’s world. They’ve entered the workforce and are likely to continue to shake the status quo. This group has incredible spending power and the determination to make a difference and affect change. Tech is a seamless part of their life, and they’re open to transparent and effective digital products that fit into their lives intuitively, as well. In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how your generation influences your relationship to technology throughout your lifetime. Each generation has shared experiences during their formative years that help to shape collective values. These values, in turn, influence motivations, preferences, and expectations when it comes to technology. As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Gen Z.   Gen Z Background All eyes are on Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012. Just like the generations before them, they’re in the life stage of self-discovery. Since this generation’s youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of tech, social media, and online privacy issues–for Gen Z, discovering their true selves is no easy task.  Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference. Their innate understanding of the power of social media and their regular consumption of news and information–often as it happens– has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating  life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects.   Gen Z and Technology Born into tech, Gen Z uses their problem-solving skills to navigate life in today’s world confidently. Gen Z resists the Millennial-curated Instagram feed and instead shows their followers a more spontaneous and authentic persona that makes no distinction between their online and real life. They appreciate self-made stars and creative transparency, practiced by the many influencers they follow (and want to be). They are speaking out, using their digital reach to influence national conversations from pop culture to politics. With tech at their disposal, they have opportunities to learn virtually anything at their fingertips, leading to content creation and early entrepreneurship. They’re skipping college to jump right into the “real world.”   Considerations when designing for Gen Z We’ve identified four key considerations to keep in mind when designing digital products for Gen Z with this information in mind.   Prioritize a Smooth User Experience The easiest way to encourage the use of and user retention for your app is by providing users with a smoother user experience. This is certainly a recommendation for all audiences but is critical for apps aimed at younger generations. If Gen Z users detect any glitches,  hang-ups, or stickiness within a digital product, there’s a good chance they’ll look for a better solution. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product–draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices, standard features, and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more.   Make it visual Younger audiences aren’t interested in sifting through different kinds of content. Video content is more straightforward for them to navigate, and they tend to absorb it quicker than reading. When creating a video for Gen Z, there are a few essential must-haves: Creative, short-form video is the way to get Gen Z to love your brand – but attention spans are short. Use catchy, hyper-relevant content to grab the user’s attention within the first 3 seconds or risk losing it altogether. Use content that can be consumed with the sound-off by employing captions and visual storytelling. This is a recommendation for all users, although it is also best practice in regards to accessibility. Reconsider the use of any content where sound is a must. Consider the video’s platform when you create video content. When designing for Gen Z, this means using vertical video fit for Instagram reels, Tik Tok, and Snapchat.   Help to Express Authenticity & Individuality Gen Z values authenticity in the brands they love, and they infuse it into their feeds as well. Gen Zers are conscious of their “personal brand”–the aesthetic representing their personality and interests. Thanks to the accessibility of digital video tools, Everyone is a content creator, and they use these digital tools to curate how the world sees them. Questions to ask when considering your Gen Z audience’s desire to be real:  Does your product take into consideration the highly visual nature of Gen Z? Does your digital product provide tools for content creation? Does your app offer anything for them to share and a way to do so quickly? Is there an opportunity to utilize user-generated content? Is there an opportunity to be more transparent? To provide behind-the-scenes details? Does Gen Z relate to this content?   Concluding thoughts on designing for Gen Z These ideas can give you a sense of the necessary nuance in designing apps aimed at Gen Z. By taking their needs and preferences into account while developing a product, you can significantly broaden your app’s market potential. Many digital products have the potential to be solutions for users spanning multiple generations. Check out our background articles on designing digital products for Millennials, Gen X & Baby Boomers, or learn more about designing for all.   Download our free development guide Download our free guide on How To Design Digital Products for Every Generation. We share practical takeaways for any company looking to create a successful digital product – with audience strategy on designing for each generation and designing for all.

3 months ago

App Design

Designing for Millennials

Millennials are currently the largest generational cohort in the United States, making up more than 30% of America’s workforce. The generation dubbed the “me me me generation” by Time Magazine, who lived through two financial crises and a horrific live terror attack, have now settled down, found successful careers, and have immense buying power—an estimated $4 trillion in 2020 alone. Millennials are fiercely loyal to brands they love, are willing to pay more for well-made products, and love to buy online. Designing for Millennials should be a top consideration for companies bringing products to market today. In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how your generation influences your relationship to technology throughout your lifetime. Each generation has shared experiences during their formative years that help to shape collective values. These values, in turn, influence motivations, preferences, and expectations when it comes to technology. As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Millennials. Background on Millennials Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, experienced an upbringing unlike any other in history. The oldest Millennials spent their childhoods in a pre-Digital world, but this generation was quickly characterized by the rise of the internet, the dot com boom, and the surge of technological advancements that came along with it. Also called ‘digital natives,’ Millennials have been fundamentally shaped by technology regarding how they learn, work, socialize, buy, communicate, and play. The internet became the trusted authority for learning and information and is crucial to how Millennials approach solving problems. This sudden disruption has caused a disconnect between Millennials and previous generations. Millennials and Technology Millennials are a highly tech-savvy group dependent on tech in many facets of their lives. This demographic is the first group to be connected to their peers and leverage their social media networks for many purposes. Social media helps them stay in touch, join with brands and companies, access news, ask for peer recommendations, and even connect to job opportunities, to name only a few. They value their lifestyles and relationships first and make life and career decisions based on those factors. When it comes to communication, Millennials prefer text messaging or direct messages over a phone call. In the workplace, platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams allow teams to connect and collaborate remotely and in real-time, giving Millennials the work/life balance they desire.  Generally, Millennials are more open-minded and civic-oriented than previous generations thanks to access to diverse worldviews on their Internet browser. Collectively, this group wants to have an impact and contribute to the greater good—70% of Millennials volunteer regularly. Digital Products for Millennials This generation has grown up with the internet at their disposal, and they expect transparency from companies and their products. They know quickly if something is providing value, and if they’re not sure, they’ve created a system of accountability through ratings, reviews, and online forums that will tell them. When Millennials reached a prime spending age, there was a shift in the way that Millennials spent their money compared to previous generations. Millennials place a high value on experiences over things, which led them to leverage technology to fuel the experience economy. In short - Millennials are ditching the fast cars and expensive purses their parents purchased upon adulthood, preferring to spend money on concerts, events, travel, and more. Digital products would do well to recognize their desire for connection, fun, and flexibility and provide a solution that enhances their real life. Considerations When Designing for Millennials When it comes to designing digital products and content for Millennials, keep these four considerations in mind: Speak Their Language Speaking the Millennial language is both a messaging and experience consideration. Consider Byte, an at-home teeth-straightening system similar to Invisalign, which originated in the mid-90s. Byte has identified Millennials as their target audience and makes it clear through their messaging. Clever copywriting hits on the Millennial desire to work from home and customize their experience, even backing it up with a review that hits on Millennial-beloved products and pop culture. In addition, a digital product can define its user experience so it effectively communicates to the right audience. Millennials have been through the full evolution of digital experiences, so they instinctively recognize and act upon smooth interactions. With a single gesture, they’ll be quick to close an app or ditch a digital cart if they start to sense a stickiness in the product or in the offerings themselves. A company that wishes to speak the Millennial language needs to deliver upon the digital interactions they’ve come to expect. Instant and transparent communication with your user is key—like delivering an automated email after purchase. Companies wanting to encourage brand loyalty can go a step further in creating digital moments of delight that will stick with Millennials: free or two-day shipping, reward programs, loyalty points, free flights, and personal assistance are examples of the personalized shopping experience millennials seek. Tech Aversion Millennials have integrated technology into almost every facet of their lives, but recognize their limits. They make a conscious effort to spend time away from their phone. In a world that capitalizes on every minute you spend within a platform, a digital product can spark loyalty by showing Millennial users it compliments or adds to their quality of life. Let’s consider a few ways that companies are incorporating Millennials’ desire to have control over their time and digital energy. Instagram users can monitor the time spent looking at their feed. A chart breaks down daily usage and lets users set a ‘daily reminder’ or time limit before receiving a notification from the app. Android and Apple have similar system settings abilities that encourage digital time-outs. Dating app Hinge targets a Millennial audience—even more specifically, an audience who wants to find someone special and settle down (unlike Tinder). In its recent “Designed to be Deleted” campaign, its tone of voice is optimistic—sending its dating pool the message that they ultimately want you off the app and in a relationship. Consider some of the small design and messaging considerations Hinge implemented in their successful dating app to drive the message home: Illustrated characters and animations that erase UI elements Use of casual, optimistic tone of voice Friendly color palettes, round UI elements App-icon characters that emphasize the ‘deleting’ message Access vs. Ownership Millennials kicked off their adult life at the start of the Great Recession. In contrast to their baby boomer parents - Millennials aren’t looking to have a vacation house by age 40. They might not own homes at all. Millennials prioritize personal and professional growth as keystones of success. This group is trying to maximize time and resources to live a full, healthy, happy life—using technology along the way. Millennials are getting married later, renting longer, and have been a pivotal part of creating the gig and share economies. To Millennials, access is often better than ownership. The flexibility and breadth of experiences offered by on-demand apps like Spotify, Lyft, Netflix, Rent the Runway, and countless other products have permanently rewired Millennials' expectations and preferences. Conclusion These ideas can give you a sense of the necessary nuance required in designing apps for a Millennial audience. Taking their needs and preferences into account when developing a product can significantly broaden your market potential. Many digital products may be solutions for users spanning multiple generations. Check out our background articles on designing digital products for Gen X and Baby Boomers or learn more about designing for all. Download Our Free Development Guide Download our free guide on How To Design Digital Products for Every Generation. We share practical takeaways for any company looking to create a successful digital product – with audience strategy on designing for each generation and designing for all.

3 months ago

App Design

Designing for Generation X

Designing products for Generation X should be a consideration for companies bringing products to market today. This tech-savvy group is not afraid of ever-evolving technology and looks for digital solutions not only for themselves, but also for their kids and aging parents. In a previous post, Designing Apps for Different Generations, we looked broadly at how the generation in which you were born influences your relationship to technology throughout your lifetime. Each generation has shared experiences during their formative years that help to shape collective values. These values, in turn, influence motivations, preferences, and expectations when it comes to technology. Companies developing products aimed at Gen X, should understand that these values can provide valuable insight to consider throughout the process. Gen X Background Generation X, born between 1965-1977, make up the smallest generation. Spending their formative years in the 70s and 80s, Gen Xers had busy or absent parents and the balance of world powers in question. This generation spent their earliest years exploring new forms of entertainment. Incredible cinema like Star Wars, video games like Atari, and the premiere of MTV allowed them to form an affinity for pop culture that remains unique to this generation. Apple introduced the MacIntosh in the teen years for Gen X. Pagers became mainstream in their early 20s. Ever-evolving technology advances allowed them to be connected like never before. Gen Xers are currently ages 43-55. This practical and driven generation is BUSY. They’re at the peak of their lives—juggling careers, raising kids, and caring for aging parents. Many Xers are on the cusp of a life shift like an empty nest and growing financial freedom. And similar to Boomers, they are starting to feel the effects of age. Gen X and Technology Generation X grew up right before the rise of computers and the explosion of technology. Collectively, their pragmatic nature challenged norms and social standards and gave way to culture-shaping institutions like Google, Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, and YouTube. Many Gen Xers were tech early adopters and continue to embrace it. They’re highly connected on social platforms and cell phones – both Androids and iPhones. They see tech as a way to get more things done, assist with their aging parents, and stay connected with their kids. Video content is more popular among Gen X internet users than social networking, with 78.7% downloading or streaming video online at least once per month. Considerations When Designing for Gen X Provide Value and Solutions This busy generation finds ways to streamline their day-to-day tasks, looking to tech to provide solutions on anything from their latest home improvement project to a healthy recipe for their family on-the-go. Provide Gen Xers with straightforward design that helps them conduct these searches, but more importantly, delivers the content that they seek. This generation is known to have the greatest brand loyalty and will be lifelong users of products they feel add *real* value to their *real* life. Skip the Nonessentials Gen Xers have been around for generations of tech developments and anticipate problems that might arise. Save your product from their frustration and know that a straightforward approach is your best bet. Lose those few sentences of fluffy copy and ditch the long animations in favor of a simple, practical design leading to a good user experience that connects them to your product’s valuable solution as quickly as possible. The most important thing is to be transparent with these users, especially when it comes to their data and other sensitive information. Communicate with your users with direct notifications and alerts and be explicit about what their data will and will not be used for. Download Our Free Development Guide Download our free guide on How To Design Digital Products for Every Generation. We share practical takeaways for any company looking to create a successful digital product – with audience strategy on designing for each generation and designing for all.

3 months ago