Monthly Archives: July 2016

How You Can Save The Newest of Technology

Until now, an outdated or half-baked app could be left sitting around, collecting a slow trickle of downloads even after its developers stopped pushing out updates. But that digital norm is about to change, as Apple recently announced its intention to clean up the App Store by evaluating and removing apps that fail to meet quality standards.

If you’ve received notice from Apple that your app is at risk — or if you just haven’t been diligent with your updates — don’t fret! Now is the perfect opportunity to tackle those updates and stay relevant while taking advantage of some of the newest iOS technology.

 

Roll out the updates.

Apple wants its users to love using their phones, and that means the apps they download need to function at a high level. To ensure that experience, Apple is purging the apps that no longer function as intended since repeated iOS changes left them behind.

Updates keep apps running smoothly. If Apple releases iOS 10.2, you either have to update the functionality of your app or deal with the inevitable bugs that pop up as the OS outpaces the software. And, over time, that chasm grows. The difference between 10.1 and 10.2 might be small, but the gap between 8.2 and 10.2 is enormous.

What does this mean for you and your development team? It means you now have an opportunity to reclaim some ground you might have given up ages ago with your app’s user base and functionality. That Instagram imitation from three years ago might have been hot at the time, but guess what? Instagram isn’t the same as it was in 2013, and neither are user expectations of how photo apps should operate. If you haven’t updated your app, not only is your product behind the times, but your understanding of current trends and user needs is also probably lacking.

But if your app is on the chopping block and you’re not seeing the download or review results you want, you might not be doomed. In fact, you may just need to refresh your app — and your understanding of the need it fills.

 

Freshening up your app

What new technologies have come out since you last overhauled your app? Could 3D Touch functionality make it more intuitive? What about Touch ID or a sticker pack to boost social capabilities? Fixing bugs is a big part of an update, but the real improvements come through added functionality.

 

1. Do ad hoc testing.

First things first. Open your app on the most recent device with the latest OS and put it through its paces. You won’t discover everything in one go, but it will give you a good idea of what your users experience. Companies such as Colligo depend on UX testing to iterate quickly and ensure they stay in touch with user needs.

The more testing you perform, the more you’ll begin to notice patterns in your software wherein the same features are the most prone to errors. In the early stages, though, there will be an element of randomness to where and how you focus your testing. Comparing how a certain feature operates on various devices, from a phone to a tablet to a browser, is a good place to start.

 

2. Dig deeper using Xcode.

Have development open the app in Apple’s Xcode to look at specific error logs. This will allow you to find many root issues that ad hoc testing would not. This action will also help you get to the heart of any functionality problems and take advantage of crash reports you should be collecting.

Xcode performs much of the work for you, categorizing and grouping every crash report users send to Apple and neatly laying out the common flaws that consistently cause your software to fail.

 

3. Check out the competition.

Once your app works properly, take a peek at your neighbor’s paper. What are competitors doing to keep their apps relevant? What features have they added, and how are they taking advantage of OS advancements? Be shameless about using whatever ideas you can gather to get your app noticed and downloaded. Learn from your competitors through their successes and mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

The Reality Will Change Storytelling

Virtual reality is no longer some futuristic concept from a 90s movie with bad CGI effects. Every household may not be equipped with the technology just yet, but consumers are getting a taste of it at technology events and retail stores. People bought VR “goggles” by the thousands during the holiday season this year. By 2020, Forrester predicts that there will be 52 million units in circulation as consumers and businesses find different ways to put it to use.

Related: Why Virtual Reality Is Vital

For marketers, the growing availability of VR headsets means rethinking many of the campaigns used to win over customers. Consumers will grow accustomed to immersive brand experiences, requiring businesses to create campaigns that are more interactive. Here are a few ways virtual reality will change advertising and marketing in the next decade.

A focus on storytelling

Storytelling is already immensely popular in today’s competitive marketing landscape. Storytelling helps businesses connect with customers in a way traditional marketing can’t. People generally become interested in the story behind a business or its products and they purchase based on the connection that creates.

With virtual reality, your business has the opportunity to tell a story from start to finish through visuals. This can be the story of how your company got its start or a behind-the-scenes look at how your company’s items are made. Storytelling provides the opportunity to bring customers into your showroom, factory or workspaces and helps them get to know your team on a personal basis. This could lead to more loyal customers who are also likely to tell friends and associates about you.

Create experiences

Virtual reality gives consumers the chance to experience things they might not be able to otherwise do, such as climbing Mount Everest or riding a zip line through the Amazon rainforest. While it may not be 100 percent like the real thing, being able to enjoy these adventures from the comfort of home is a huge bonus. NASA is working on software that will allow virtual reality device owners the chance to walk the surface of the planet Mars, demonstrating the many possibilities for the technology.

Related: How This Couple Is Amalgamating Virtual Reality with Architectural Visualization

For you as a brand, this means finding ways that your own products or services can be applied to a virtual reality experience. A sporting goods retailer, for instance, has a wide variety of opportunities for VR storytelling — from putting customers on the water to try out a new speedboat to playing basketball in the pros. A fashion retailer could create an online experience that allows shoppers to browse the aisles and choose products from shelves or racks, rather than having to enter keywords into a search engine.

Provide product demonstrations

In addition to putting customers in your store or on outdoor adventures, you can also give potential consumers the opportunity to try out your product. This is especially valuable if you sell high-dollar items that customers generally like to try before buying. It could be used in place of a prototype to let customers and potential investors learn more about a product without actually seeing it in person.

Falsely Pronounced Dead in Latest Twitter

This year, hacking group OurMine has successfully broke into accounts of major public figures — including Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey — who ironically are the world’s top tech executives (and Katy Perry).

Although these attacks pose a threat to personal information and data, most of these incidents have been harmless and, in fact, funny. On its website, the hacking collective OurMine states: “We have no bad intentions and only care about the security and privacy of your accounts and networks.” So far, this statement stands true, as the group positions itself as a security company offering services to help rather than harm online privacy.

For the majority of these high-profile hacks, the group posts variations of “we are just testing your security” and tagging themselves.

In July, matters got serious. Rather than another silly OurMine attack on a tech exec, state-sponsored hackers hijacked a computer network used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign — which may pose a “national security threat,” some sources say.

In August, the hacking trend seemed to be shifting from mischievous to dire. Last month, thieves broke into the second largest Bitcoin exchange and stole more than $65 million worth of the cryptocurrency. Just a few weeks ago, Russian hackers breached more than 330,000 cash registers at restaurants, stores and hotels.

The star for this week’s “hack of the week” is the World Anti-Doping Agency, whose break-in exposed medical records of U.S. Olympians Simone Biles and the Williams sisters.

Regardless of the hackers’ intentions — good or bad — the number of attacks is a growing concern. From Zuckerberg to Google’s Puchai to the Democratic party, the list goes on. Check out these big hacks of 2016.