Whitepaper: Techniques For Mobile QA

The mobile landscape is constantly evolving every day. This and the lack of universal standards, tools, and mature segment-specific practices have created a whole new challenge for QA.

By downloading and reading the free whitepaper Techniques for Mobile QA, you will gain a better understanding of the mobile landscape and the best practices for mobile QA, including:

  • Mobile App Security Testing
  • Security Code Review
  • Penetration Testing
  • Application Security
  • Vulnerability Assessment​

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Free Whitepaper: Developing Mobile Applications

EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
Did you know that one in every five phones sold is a smartphone? Sales of smartphones, tablets, and e-readers are rising all the time and have actually passed that of laptops, notebooks, and desktop computers. The world has gone mobile and enterprises are following suit.

Check out our latest whitepaper and learn about:

  • The role of mobile apps in the enterprise
  • The cost of developing a mobile app
  • In-house vs outsourced development
  • Creating apps for multiple platforms
  • Mobile app quality assurance
  • Generating revenue

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Mobilizing Enterprise Applications: Obstacles, Benefits, and Key Considerations

The enterprise move to mobilize applications is advancing full speed ahead as organizations aim to increase efficiency, productivity and overall ROI. In this whitepaper, we will dive into:

  • The Enterprise Move to Mobile
  • Deciding what Devices to Mobilize
  • Which Mobilization Approach to Take
  • Guiding Principles for Mobile Enablement

While most enterprises are increasingly feeling the imperative to “do mobile”, many don’t know where to begin, and there are many obstacles to reach success.
– “Getting Started and Overcoming Obstacles from the Mobile Imperative”, Gartner, November 2013

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Realizing the ROI of Mobilizing your Applications

In part III of this blog series, we will discuss how to realize your ROI by mobilizing the applications you have identified. Additionally, enterprises and organizations must understand the different scenarios that exist when approaching app development.

By this time you have hopefully identified which applications you need to mobilize and understand how much ROI will be realized. Additionally, you should understand how long it will take you to realize this ROI, whether it be for an enterprise or an app that is public facing.

The BYOD Challenge

The next step in realizing your Return on Investment is taking a look at what technology you are using today. You need to get a handle on what types of devices are being used by both your internal and external customers. The cost to go mobile is greatly decreased when everyone is using the same platform. However, with the global acceptance of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), this has become more of an issue with regards to creating applications. While BYOD has saved organizations huge amounts of money, developing applications for each device type for internal and external customers can be quite costly.

In this scenario, you need to identify if the application(s) you are creating can be fitted to the variety of devices using mobile web or a hybrid app and must always be connected to the Internet, or if they need offline capabilities as well.

Choosing the Right Solution

Furthermore, The type of solution you need is dependent on the data you need to communicate. For apps that are data heavy, you must be prepared to use multiple threading technology. Both hybrid and mobile web apps are not the ideal solution for this, as customers have grown to become very impatient when gaining access to data. In this scenario you will most probably need a native app that can be used both online and off.

Lets take a look at the qualities of each to provide you with a better understanding of the types of apps, so you can choose.

• Mobile Web – This type of app solution is the least expensive but is single threaded so not recommended for apps that are data heavy. They require an internet connection to run. They are extremely popular due to the widespread use of web browsers and support of the HTML5 programming language.
• Native – The most expensive to develop on, it has become the solution of choice for most enterprises. It boasts multi-threading which makes it great for apps that are data heavy and can be run offline without an Internet connection. Because they are built for specific devices they have the ability to utilize hardware and software that is specific to those devices. Creating a native app for the Android platform can increase the costs of app development since a different version would need to be coded for each specific device.

• Hybrid – It is single threaded so heavy data apps aren’t recommended to use such a solution. The way this type of app is structured consists of two parts, web and native. These two parts are completely separate and communicate with each other via sending messages between each other in order to complete tasks. This type of app can work offline.
In any case, you should be analyzing how the app’s users go about dealing with data and create a mobile user experience that is as close as possible to their way of doing things. In doing so, you will be making it as seamless and adoptive experience as possible. For instance, if they are using a pen and paper to communicate data, you might want to create an app utilizing a pen-like stylus and handwriting recognition.

By not arriving to a strategy for developing your app to match your customers’ way of doing things, you may need to invest more money in redesigning or refining the architecture of your app.

Utilizing an App Prototype Strategy

When you are ready to roll out your app, it doesn’t need to be in a full fledged way. If you want to test the app waters with a prototype, there are a plethora of tools that exist on the market that will convert existing applications. There are also a number of third party services that empower you to convert existing technology into web or hybrid apps. This will allow organizations to quickly deploy the app to their internal and external customers, analyze their experience, refine the app as needed and re-release.

For more information regarding Mobilizing Enterprize Applications, download our Whitepaper: MOBILIZING ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS: OBSTACLES, BENEFITS, AND KEY CONSIDERATIONS

Calculating ROI for Mobile Application Development

Calculating ROI for Mobile Application Development

Enterprises can at times use scores of different applications within the context of their business. You can have salespeople, agents, customer service representatives, sales managers, etc…

Identifying what applications or sections should be mobilized can be quite a chore. You have to consider not only your internal clients but your external as well. Though, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Once you’ve identified which section(s) of your applications are prime for mobilization via a simple analysis, it can provide your organization with maximized ROI.

Double Work Eliminated

For example, a government agency tasked to monitor certain requirements for grocery goods utilize pen and paper for personnel to note certain specifications at a physical location. They then go back to their office desks and input all this information manually, an unnecessary chore and a waste of valuable time, especially with the state of technology available.

This time can be extensively reduced by capturing the data and transferring it to the server instantly.  Mobile Spectrum provides terrific examples of our applications that capture data on forms and submit it to the server on demand.

Capturing and Consumption of Data

We have two different issues regarding the handling of data. One is that of capturing data, the other is to prepare data so that it is fit to be consumed. Let’s take a sales rep visiting with a client. If the rep needs to show something to their client and are not fitted with mobile technology, they will need to pull out binders with product descriptions and sometimes another with photos of the product(s). If they are more advanced they might have a laptop with an excel spreadsheet with many sheets and columns and rows with a plethora of data.

All this is a waste of time, both to the customer and consumer. What’s more, in today’s world where every second counts, this may hurt the ability for the salesperson to make the sale and will give more time for the customer to start thinking that they need more time to think about completing the purchase.

Mobilizing → Increased productivity

The time that it would take for both parties to share and consume information can be greatly curtailed by mobilizing these tasks. The rep may be able to visit more clients per day and customers will become enraptured with the way the product information is communicated and will be more likely to purchase.

Based on this specific scenario, organizations need to assess the Time X Cost that it takes them to perform certain business-related functions without the use of mobile. Then they can make decisions with regard to what sections of their sales application they see fit for mobilizing and will gain them the highest ROI.

Say for example, a salesperson on average visits 7-10 customers per day, and spends an average of one hour with them. Without mobile, just the setup time takes them 20 minutes and an additional 40 or so minutes to find what they need to present to the customer. This hour can be cut to half an hour or even less by mobilizing a rep’s sales activities and even going further, you can mobilize elements of your application that a customer can use to browse product pages and choose the items and quantities they want, hence minimizing the rep’s time at the customer. Thus, making it a win-win for all parties.

For more information, download our whitepaper: DEVELOPING MOBILE APPLICATIONS

The Need to Go Mobile

The Need to Go Mobile

The Mobile boom is well upon us and is part of the reason companies, both large and small are accelerating their mobile application strategies. That being said, enterprises are deeply involved in mobilizing applications that are already existing and in many cases are going with the mobile-first concept in developing new applications for licensing or internal use. This mobile-first strategy is quickly establishing mobile as the platform of choice for enterprise applications.

Now is the time that both companies large and small must understand the importance and necessity for going mobile. Beyond just going mobile, organizations must understand the ROI they stand to gain by mobilizing their enterprise applications, whether they be cloud or software-based.

Check out this whitepaper: Developing Mobile Applications

Your Users

The most important step when developing apps out of enterprise applications is knowing your audience and identifying who are your users. Are they internal, external or both? The bottom line is that mobile devices are not just about convenience. They are also about productivity. You want to be able to get the most out of your workforce. There are a plethora of business models that are based around the knowledge of users. These users are much of the time, if not all the time mobile.

When you make them more productive, they can bring more value to the organization internally, as well as externally to partners and customers.

Externally, you want to create mobile engagement that is slick and turn-key. You partners and customers must be able to access the most current data, get information about such things as shipments, delivery dates and contact information. You want to be able to empower your external user base. This will increase engagement and make them more loyal.

Choosing What to Mobilize

Next, you need to decide which applications or parts of should be mobilized to best benefit your users.

There is no shortage of corporations that are developing such a diverse mix of applications, and in some cases, thousands of them. To mobilize them in a timely manner is simply impossible. That is why it is paramount that you choose the business processes you see as the most ripe for mobilization.

Much of the time users just need access to data, so you would want to conduct an analysis of what data they need to access and to provide a mobile experience that gives them what they want when they need it most.

Many times, users just need access to sections of the most robust applications that they will utilize on the go. Whether they need access to just data, parts or all of enterprise applications, what needs to be provided to the users is data and/or access to applications on demand, whether they are offline or online.

Organizations also must decide which devices they will develop applications for, that will most increase the productivity of the users and give them unfettered access on the device they want, when they want, be it an iPad, iPhone or Android.

 

 

Mobile Testing Challenges – Surviving the Mad App Rush

Mobile Testing Challenges – Surviving the Mad App Rush

The rising popularity of smartphones presents a wealth of opportunities for app developers and publishers. As with most opportunities, there is no shortage of challenges. We’ve noted some of them below.

The primary challenge and the one we will go into the most in this post, is testing these apps, so that they work in all your target market environments.

Now, while a tester who is used to testing web applications gives them a leg up on other testers with no experience, mobile testing is a completely different ball game. In the web world, a tester might have to test a handful of web browsers. When the complexity of different devices, operating systems, and models is introduced, this creates a challenge of paramount proportions.

This is especially the case with the Android and Windows mobile platforms, where companies such as Samsung and Nokia dominate the market. We are not just talking about different devices. We are talking about the multiple operating systems that are resident on the devices of your target market.

One way, which is highly common in testing the array of devices, is by using device emulation. While emulation is less expensive, there is a reason for it. Nothing beats the real thing. With emulation there is always the high chance that your testing might not come close to a real life environment that is needed to test.

Research. Research. Research.

One way to cut down this hassle is to research your target market. Say, you are releasing an app to the Swedish market that delivers meatballs to you door, hot and ready to eat.

You discover that by conducting some research that Swedish mobile users mostly have Samsung and Nokia issued devices. In this case, you should test on the most used device models, indicating it in the app store description. You might want to say that specific devices have been tested and more are being tested. You cannot guarantee the successful use of the app on phones not specified.

Another important thing you should research are the most commonly used network protocols. You wouldn’t want to have built your app with the 3G network in mind for connection, when 3G doesn’t even exist in one of your primary target markets.

The Mad App Rush

Because bringing an app to market is almost always based on timing, there are mad rushes to the app finish line. With this release frequency, comes the heightened confusion regarding testing among the team, which could lead to a buggy release if things are not done precisely. Remember, there is no room for error. If you release a buggy app, you might just get booted out of the app store where you are publishing.

Additionally, functional testing isn’t the only type of testing you should be conducting. After the app is launched, utilizing an in-app analytics tool is key to optimizing the mobile user experience.

Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression. This statement looms large over the mobile app sphere. If your app doesn’t work upon launch, as the user perceives it should, you may have just lost a customer, never to return.

 

Astegic to Mobilize the 24th Annual Government Procurement Conference

Astegic to Mobilize the 24th Annual Government Procurement Conference

Astegic will be mobilizing the 24th Annual Government Procurement Conference by creating the official conference app for the event, via our mobile app platform, mConference. In doing so, we will be creating an atmosphere for the conference community which will empower, connect, inform and engage. This live event will in essence be mobilized with the most important conference information literally in the palms of all attendees.

Equipped with out-of-the box functionality, the app will employ options that are fully customizable. This will allow all attendees to tailor their virtual conference experience, maximizing it with full access to the conference’s agenda, being updated on keynote speaker info, providing a map to all exhibit halls, advising attendees of special announcements, any news about the event, feeds from diverse social media channels and much more.

Want to learn more? Schedule a meeting with us today!

Conference attendees will be empowered to share and receive updated information in real-time as it happens, allowing them to see the most vital information on their mobile dashboard.

In providing attendees with the knowledge they need, they will also enjoy optimum security utilizing a secure single sign-in that will be seamlessly integrated with the attendee registration system. Rounding out this secure mobile experience, attendees will be presented with a variety of login options and passcodes that are secured via SSL, so all classified information concerning the event can be viewed only by those granted this secure access.

In addition to mobilizing the event, we’re looking forward to partaking in all that this conference has to offer. We have a long history of providing mobile development and IT services to both government and private organizations. Interested in learned more? Schedule a meeting now and we’ll see you then!

About the Conference

The Government Procurement Conference is a national conference fostering business partnerships between the Federal Government, its prime contractors, and small, minority, service-disabled veteran-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone, and women-owned businesses. Now in its 24th year, the Government Procurement Conference has become the premier event for small businesses throughout the United States.

 

State of Mobile Apps: 2014

State of Mobile Apps: 2014

Judging from the record number of attendees (70,000+!) at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, the largest mobile event in the world just last week, it would be safe to say that the dawn of mobile is upon us. Adding to that, last year’s sale of Waze (community based driving navigation) to Google for over a billion dollars, the recent sales of Viber (Internet Based Phone) for over 900 million dollars to a Japanese firm and WhatsApp to Facebook for a mind staggering 19 Billion Dollars is only a testament to the rise of mobile apps.

In the US alone, Internet users are relying more and more on their Smartphone and Tablet apps to gain access to the Internet. The first time that the use of mobile apps to access the Internet surpassed PCs was just last week. Overall, the use of mobile devices was responsible for 55% of total Internet usage in the US in January. The breakdown was dominated by apps at 47% and 8% was from mobile browsers. This was according to data gathered by comScore. PCs on the other hand accounted for 45% of Internet traffic.

Even though this is not the first time mobile usage accounted for more Internet traffic than PCs, it was the first time that the use of Apps alone eclipsed the PC. This shift comes after a massive slowdown in Personal Computer sales, which have been lagging for some time and posted their worst decline ever in 2013.

According to research powerhouse IDC, the adoption of smart devices has increased just under 40%. As apps are optimized for a truly streamlined mobile experience and high-speed access introduced by such technologies as 4G is introduced, this trend will more than likely continue.

In the US market, 55% of the population owned smartphones while 42% had tablets. Just look at the phenomenal growth potential there alone!

Now, with the growth of m-commerce and apps such as PayPal and Google Wallet making the shopping experience fluid, more brick and mortar retailers are getting in the app game.

So, as you can see, the app explosion hasn’t peaked. In fact, it’s just getting started.

 

Good UX Design Enhances the Mobile User Experience

Good UX Design Enhances the Mobile User Experience

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” Joe Sparano – Graphic Designer

While 2013 was the year that mobile took off, 2014 will be the year that mobile seeps its way into the consciousness of all. App publishers the world over will seek new ways to enhance the mobile user experience in ways that will empower users to connect and engage with the masses.

As many until recently have utilized the desktop and laptop to get things done on the web for the past two decades, Mobile UX design will take center stage as designers will seek to turn Smartphone users into loyal app users. One of the challenges that exist is to dispel the notion many have, that, just because it’s a small screen, everyday tasks should not be considered a hassle.

Brands will continue to strive to make the mobile user experience so smooth, users will consider their mobile devices as a first screen, rather than their second. By building apps and incorporating solid Mobile UX design they can achieve this.

Below are just a few mobile UX design trends that will all but guarantee an amazing user experience in 2014 and beyond.

  • Flat Design – This concept has broken through into the mainstream with Apple’s use for its just released iOS7. The core of this philosophy is to communicate icons and any images in a simplified fashion, leaving anything else by the wayside. No styling, shadows are used. It is all about functionality.
  • Pull Down to Refresh – Apple, as the innovator the company has been for so many years, was the first to use this gesture. While almost all successful apps utilize this gesture in some shape or form, they all do in their own way. It is a design concept that increases engagement with devices.
  • Targeted Gestures – Shaking, tilting, pinching, swiping. These are all gestures that are used in some of the top apps. The thing with incorporating gestures into your mobile UX design is knowing your audience. It is best to see what gestures are used by the top apps serving your target market and design accordingly.

The most important part about Mobile UX Design is to keep it consistent!