ENTRIES TAGGED "app"

WORA Can Be Better Than Native

Targeting the highest common denominator

Some would claim that native is the best approach, but that looks at existing WORA tools/communities, which mostly target cost saving. In fact, even native Android/iOS tools produce rather bad results without deep platform familiarity. Native is very difficult to properly maintain in the real world and this is easily noticeable by inspecting the difficulties we have with the ports of Codename One, this problem is getting worse rather better as platforms evolve and fragment. E.g. Some devices crash when you take more than one photo in a row, some devices have complex issues with http headers, and many have issues when editing text fields in the “wrong position”.

There are workarounds for everything, but you need to do extensive testing to become aware of the problem in the first place. WORA solutions bring all the workarounds and the “ugly” code into their porting layer, allowing developers to focus on their business logic. This is similar to Spring/Java EE approaches that addressed complexities of application server fragmentation.

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Don’t Allow Behaviors. Encourage Them!

Increase your product engagement by telling users what to do.

As a consultant, I’ve talked to a lot of startups who have “social” products. You could tell that the products were “social” because they had comment sections and sharing icons that let people post to Pinterest or Facebook.

Of course, one of the things that the founders complain about is that too few users are actually making comments or sharing or doing anything remotely social with the product.

There’s a very simple reason for this: the founders have added features to their product that allow users to be social rather than encouraging them to be social.

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How to Engage (and Delight) Your App Users

OSCON 2013 Speaker Series: The importance of being whimsical

What makes a good app? Sure, it should do what it claims to do, intuitively and efficiently. But that is just the base line. How do you stand out from the sea of apps? You need to go above and beyond, and whimsy may just be the secret ingredient you need.

Tumblr

At the keynote at AnDevCon BostonChris Haseman and Zack Sultan showed us how they designed and implemented the Tumblr app. They shared many tips and tricks to make your app look good and work well, but the recurring theme is to delight your user.

There are many whimsical touches to Tumblr, one being the pull-to-refresh animation:

Tumblr

Tumblr could have gone with a loading text or a standard spinny, but this custom animation brings the app a notch above others. It entices users to refresh more, increasing engagement. This is the power of whimsy.

Welcome animations

Animation is a great way to add whimsy to your app. At AltWWDC, Ben Johnson showcased many different apps with effective animations.
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Go Native, Go Big, and Go Deep

Android software development at a crossroads

Apps have to get bigger and more ambitious. A key question for the developer community is how do you create big, integrated, multi-functional, configurable apps for the mobile enterprise? Curiously, Facebook is providing some answers by not using HTML5 and not attempting to make a cross-platform app. Go native, go big, and go deep.

Facebook Home is a harbinger of serious mobile apps

Facebook Home has earned positive reviews—in many cases from reviewers who had tired of Facebook and the intrusiveness of Facebook’s privacy policies and practices. Facebook Home is an example of a new kind of Android software development. It spans a variety of functions as a suite of cooperating software. It uses Android’s intent filters, high-level interprocess communication (IPC), shared databases (ContentProvider components) and remote APIs to bond together a software product that replaces many of the standard parts of Android—as they are meant to be replaced.

Facebook Home isn’t some kind of rogue hack, nor is it a “fork” of AOSP, as Kindle Fire is. Facebook Home is a tour de force of correct Android application architecture. It takes over your phone, interface by interface, always playing by the rules, and it does so for justifiable reasons: for putting Facebook’s functionality everywhere you want to perform communications and social media functions.

Going native

Moreover, Facebook Home simply can’t be done on iPhone. iOS has a specific vision of apps that is separate from system software, while Android’s frameworks are the basis of both applications and system software. Facebook Home was built with this difference in mind: It replaces key elements of the Android system user experience. It is a suite of communicating apps. The word “app” doesn’t sufficiently describe it.

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Developer Week in Review: 2012 preview edition

Developer Week in Review: 2012 preview edition

A look at the developer stories that will define 2012.

It's a brand new year, time to look ahead to the stories that will have developers talking in 2012. Mobile will remain a hot topic, the cloud is absorbing everything, and jobs appear to be heading back to the U.S.

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