Browsing all articles in Technology
Apr
8

Let Your Users’ Fingers Do The Talking (UI Design & Testing)

While the Windows team at Microsoft faced widespread shock and dismay at the radical UI changes in Windows 8, feedback from users helps them to shape the OS into what the world wants it to be, and they've accelerated their typical release schedule.

While the Windows team at Microsoft faced widespread shock and dismay at the radical UI changes in Windows 8, feedback from users helps them to shape the OS into what the world wants it to be, and they’ve accelerated their typical release schedule.

Beyond the thousands of aesthetic and functional decisions that designers and developers make before an app goes live, the most overlooked step in designing and optimizing UI (User Interface) for native & web apps is recognizing that your users are in the best position to help improve the interface because they are the ones who don’t carry the baggage of product history.

The problem comes from the way the software life cycle used to exist – periodic major releases incorporating many improvements, and fixes to all the bugs since the previous release. But in today’s fast-paced development environment, too often when releasing an app, designers and developers are so caught up in the rush to market that the metrics they use to measure success are based on whether people are using (or continue to use) their application instead of why and how the users are using it. And simply plugging in Google Analytics, or any of the myriad other measurement platforms available, isn’t enough.

Designers must conceive – and then communicate to developers – the specific ways how and places where they want to streamline user interaction. And developers must work with designers to turn broken, under- or misused interface elements into opportunities for out-of-the-box re-design. There may be five ways to return to the app’s main view or site’s homepage – which one is being used the most? What views/interfaces/pages seem to have the best and worst user flow and bounce rate? What features aren’t being used as often, and should they be de-emphasized, or promoted more heavily?

Putting together a focus group (it can even be staff from within your company, or friends and family!), A/B testing new UI features in the field (you’ll be surprised how streamlined this is with today’s tools!), and simply asking for direct feedback from users are all critical steps to implement, and not just once. The “set it and forget it” mentality of compartmentalized design and heavy development followed by light refreshments and a tropical vacation is no longer sustainable for a business of any size. Today’s application development is agile in every sense of the word, and today’s most innovative companies and products – that’s most innovative, not just biggest – are constantly testing and improving their products with a “fail fast” mentality.

Here at ATS Mobile, we work with our clients to closely track the apps and websites we create after they are released, and continually make changes to improve the user interface so that users keep coming back. We leverage major analytics platforms as well as some of our own proprietary tools that help us link apps and web services to the ad campaigns that feed new users in, and work to improve attribution in this constantly evolving multi-channel world. In short, our work is never done because a product is never finished. Today’s bug may become tomorrow’s new feature, and with an open-minded attitude toward design and function and the help of your users, digital products can take on a life of their own.

Dec
30

SMS text interaction helps collegiate enrollment directors engage with students

In our ongoing discussions with higher education administrators in admissions departments around the country, the same message reverberates from staff members at schools of all sizes; the challenge is greater than ever to successfully attract, recruit, and retain students on their respective campuses.

Whether it’s the ongoing turbulent economic landscape, continuing demographic shifts, or the greater use of technology to provide online alternatives to individuals seeking college degrees, it’s a consistent challenge facing those responsible for enrollment management at schools nationally. 

If there is one common denominator for (virtually) every individual on campus, or for the future students that these educational professionals are eying to become the newest members of the next freshman class, it’s a mobile phone. 

Ever see a student without one?

There’s not a better way to disseminate a specific marketing message than directly to the desired recipient, no matter where they are. 

Utilizing options for text messaging or downloading apps on a smartphone provided an easy entree for ats Mobile to build out a SMS text-based engine that disseminates questions and answers to build towards a cumulative point total, while allowing its client universities to engage their brand with a host of targeted groups including prospective and current students, and alumni.

The SMS text game titled U-Mobile combines the options for learning, information gathering, and quizzing, wrapped up into the fun of playing an interactive mobile scavenger hunt with a prize, such as a steep discount at the bookstore, attached as an incentive. 

Compete, have fun, win, and connect.  It all adds up to a unique way to brand your school, help achieve your department goals, and it’s wrapped around a mobile game.

Entrants to any U-Mobile event are listed in the real time program dashboard allowing schools to simply log in to know who is interacting and by date/time, and by securing opt-in permission from a consumer can simultaneously send broadcast text messages to all members of a specific list from the same dashboard.

U-Mobile, another mobile tool available to higher education administrators to assist in enrollment management. 

Oct
25

Using Mobile Video & Rich Media To Promote Your Business

How will you use mobile video & rich media to promote your business?

Let Mobile Account Manager Jim Marnie show you how, in an encore presentation of his hit webinar “Using Mobile Video & Rich Media to Promote Your Business.” If you missed out the first time, this is your chance for redemption.

Click HERE to find other great webinars from ATS Mobile.

Feb
20

Top 40 Tips for Mobile Marketing

We asked 40 of today’s top mobile marketers for their #1 tip for success in mobile. Here’s what they said:

mobile shopping tips

  1. Erza Siegel – @ErzaMax of @Apptentive – “Without retention your mobile app will be swallowed up in the sea of apps. Customer retention is the most important thing a marketing department can focus on in mobile.”
  2. Andrea Arco – @arcoassociates – “Claim your listing-and comprehensively complete it- in Google Places, Yahoo! Local, and Bing Business Portal.”
  3. Jayme Pretzloff – @jpretz of @wixonjewelers – “As the digital divide evolves and segments web searches over different devices (phone, e-reader, tablet, computer) there is an increased necessity for adaptable websites that are cleanly viewed on each device.”
  4. Serena Ehrlich – @Serena – “Go straight to multimedia text marketing (MMS messaging). Companies can deliver a fully branded experience, including coupons, product videos, lookbooks and more, to opted-in customers quickly and easily.”
  5. Etay Gafni – @etaygafni – “Focus on insights (data + context) and answers and not on ‘Big data’ and generic analytics. Define key questions/KPI and get the right tools and process that would provide you with answers.”
  6. Zach Russel – @protechig – “You should have a mobile friendly site. With recent updates in HTML and CSS in the past few years, it is possible to get a mobile-friendly site made at a reasonable cost. Launching a mobile-based online marketing campaign with a non-mobile friendly site can cut your conversion rate by percentages in the double digits.”
  7. Kent Lewis – @kentjlewis of @AnvilMedia – “Increasing adoption and usage will mean increasingly more marketing opportunities and continued growth for mobile. By the end of the year, mobile will become a more strategic and must-have channel for many brands.”
  8. Mike Wolfe – @WAMGolfs of @WAM_Enterprises – “Don’t overlook the importance of e-mail in your mobile marketing campaign. Is your website
    optimized so if someone clicks a link in your e-mail it will work on a
    mobile device? Whether you like it or not, e-mail is part of your mobile
    marketing campaign.”
  9. Tiffany Monhollon – @tmonhollon of @ReachLocal – “When it comes to mobile marketing, it’s important to have some of the basics like a mobile-friendly website and mobile advertising to make sure your business is seen and can be found by local searchers. You also need to consider the ways consumers use apps and to make sure your business has a presence in some of the top apps consumers use to find local businesses – and map apps are chief among these.”
  10. David Rush – @davidmrush of @evzdrop – “Location-based apps now allow businesses to engage customers and deepen relationships. Businesses can resolve issues with customers in real-time. This can lead to a whole new category of social CRM through mobile that will help increase retention rates and improve customer satisfaction.”
  11. Nicole Buergers – @googleismybf of @TopSpotIMS – “If I could give one tip about mobile marketing in 2013, it would be look at your mobile analytics and develop your mobile marketing strategy accordingly.”
  12. Gregg Stewart @greggstewart of @15miles – “Consider that mobile users increasingly navigate web content via touch screen input. Make your links to content large enough buttons or link target areas so that a user can tap to their information needs with their fingers.”
  13. Mike Farmer of @leap2app – “Implementing social media posts and ads in the mobile marketing mix can help marketers stay relevant and in front of their target audiences as these users make the shift to social.”
  14. Bill Parkes – @billparkes of @nfusion – “Do not neglect your email marketing – remember the person reading their iPhone in bed – it can be your most powerful channel if mobile optimized.”
  15. Mel Carson @MelCarson writer of @DigiPioneers – “For maximum ROI in mobile marketing, think about the context your target audience finds themselves in. We’re watching TV and on our tablets more than ever now, so consider that context and tie in your marketing with content on the big box too.”
  16. Steve Mehr of @WebShark360 – “My best tip would be to focus your call to action to its most minimal and spend more resources focusing on your local marketing and social media efforts.”
  17. Steve Stratz – @sstratz of @illuminatepr – “Put the emphasis on creative, including sight, sound and motion, and telling a story. The opportunity isn’t to just advertise on mobile, it is to get back to marketing and it begins with creative and big, beautiful advertising.”
  18. Zach Cusimano of @BiznessApps “Make sure your business, at a minimum, has a mobile friendly website if not a full mobile marketing strategy. Recent studies have show that 98% of SMB’s businesses and site are not mobile optimized.”
  19. Alex Membrillo of @CardinalWS – “It’s vital your website is able to accommodate smart phones. So, my #1 tip for mobile marketing in 2013 is to maintain a clean interface when designing your mobile site. To accomplish this, incorporate less text, clear images, and add helpful features such as click to call.”
  20. Brooke Benschoter – @bbenscho of @Torison_Mobile – “Think like your customer. If you do not deliver what they need and want when interacting with your brand on their mobile device, someone else will and you will lose them. So ditch the company history and pages of narrative about staff and make them want to reach out and contact you.”
  21. Tom Le Bree – @tomlebree “Do it. If you look and the penetration of smartphones, all the places people are checking the email and social media, and the ability to use location, not to mention second screening; if you don’t you will miss out.”
  22. Marko Muellner – @MarkoZM of @shopigniter – “Social is the best way to reach mobile consumers. Driven primarily by the massive growth in social media activity on mobile devices, social streams have become the best way to reach mobile consumers. I see a time in the not-so-distant future when advertising in social streams will replace traditional banners as the primary digital media spend, and mobile marketers will lead the revolution.”
  23. Paul Tudor of @tabletbrochure – “Content that is appropriate for mobile devices is key, creating interactivity and content that really adds value to your audience’s experience. A mobile device is a new medium to showcase content in a new way, rather than a new way to send a customer a PDF.”
  24. Nicole McGougan – @nmcgougan of @blackbaud – “2013 will be the year nonprofits will start to deliver the mobile experience. Supporters expect mobile-optimized sites and donation forms that make it easy to engage from a variety of devices.”
  25. Dan Blacharski @Dan_Blacharski of @UglyDogMedia “Go beyond the ordinary. Incorporating full-featured mobile wallets that give consumers more choice-and the ability to find merchants and products in their immediate vicinity-will mark the future of mobile commerce as both consumers and merchants look to mobile technology to provide them with closer relationships and more convenient shopping options.”
  26.  Connor Keenan of @Perfect_Search – In PPC campaigns, utilize the phone number extension setting. That way a potential customer doesn’t have to hunt your website for the business’ phone number, they can just call your business from their search query results. Decreases time to market and increases conversions.
  27. Justin Miller – @tweetsbyjmiller – “My one tip would be to invest in simplicity. People have low patience online, they have even lower patience on their phone, so if you can make a mobile campaign that’s clean, simple, and functional, you’ve won.”
  28. Larry Kim – @larrykim of @WordStream – “Mobile search differs from desktop search in that mobile users are often looking to take action immediately. The time between intent and action is much shorter on mobile actions. Focus on creating ads that are optimized for the user’s search context, including Location, Time, and Device. For example, think about creating mobile ads that offer directions to your store, or a 1-click-to-call phone number, or lunch specials, etc.”
  29. Eric Litman – @ericlitman of @medialets “Challenge yourself to spend more. 1 out of every 3 consumer digital minutes is now spent in mobile and yet only 1% of ad dollars are spent in the channel. That leaves an enormous gap and a tremendous opportunity to pick up significant share of voice.”
  30. Bob Egner of @episerver – “Make customer experience a priority when implementing mobile marketing strategies. > 66% of people indicate that a poor mobile experience can tarnish their opinion of a brand or company they really liked.”
  31. Darren Herman – @dherman76 of @themediakitchen – “”In 2013, marketers should begin to experiment with different units for mobile marketing. I do not believe the standard display ad that works on the big screen is the right format for the smaller screen, and this will force marketers and their agencies to think a bit differently.”
  32. Rodney Goldston – @RodneyGoldston @JugHeadMedia – “Increase sales and leads from mobile advertising with little known Google Adwords feature called Click-to-call, a clickable phone number right in your mobile ad which makes it as easy as possible for customers to connect directly to your business.”
  33. Ted Weismann – @TedWeismann of @applause – “One tip for mobile marketers responsible for brand experience via mobile is to utilize analytics that explicitly measure user satisfaction.”
  34. Steve Thomas of @Unidev – “Not all mobile is created equal.” A tablet customer is probably browsing for leisure, where a mobile customer wants something quick. Pay attention to how you lay out your website in order to please all mobile users.”
  35. Justin Smith – @thefivetoes of @thundertech – “Stop thinking of it as ‘mobile.’ Consumers are using their devices everywhere, not just on the go.”
  36. Tim Jensen – @timothyjjensen of @overit – “It’s crucial to realize not only
    how much people are using mobile devices but how often they are going back and forth among multiple devices. So when thinking about a mobile marketing plan, the most important factor is not to think of mobile not as separate from the rest of your marketing but to treat it as part of a whole branding strategy that covers all technology.”
  37. Eric Newman of @digbymobile – “When it comes to mobile marketing, the best thing you can do is be contextually relevant. Crafting the right message for the right person at the right time and place increases engagement and builds relationships.”
  38. Marcus Whitney @marcuswhitney of @Moontoast – “Don’t forget your social consumer. Leverage targeted social and mobile advertising apps to reach your consumers where they are – in the newsfeed.”
  39. Ori Tzvielli @oritzvielli of @astralweb – “The first tip i would give to anyone regarding mobile is to create your site for the mobile platform as well. Most companies do NOT have a mobile design. This means that both loading time of slower phones needs to be considered as well as the design.”
  40. John Keehler @johnkeehler of @RichardsGroup – “Mobile penetration has grown so rapidly that many organizations haven’t structured themselves in a way that will allow them to respond appropriately. Marketing departments often don’t have the people in place to drive best-in-class mobile strategy, and internal IT resources often aren’t equipped to create or support mobile platforms. 2013 is the year to put mobile leadership and partnerships in place to seriously address mobile demand.”

If there is one thing for certain, it is that mobile is already playing a HUGE role in 2013 and we’re still in Quarter 1!  Mobile Websites are crucial for businesses and brands to stay alive in the next year as highlighted by the professionals above. Mobile apps play a large part of shifting trends too, and even basic mobile marketing platforms, such as text message marketing, will even show how vital mobilization is. The word of the year in 2013 is Mobile.

Dec
18

Top 5 Tablets Under $500

With Christmas right around the corner, last minute shoppers can find the perfect tablet for $500 or less.  Here’s our list of the best, affordable tablets.

5. Amazon Kindle Fire    Price: $159 and up

fire-223x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting at just $159 for the 7? LCD Display, Wi-Fi, and 8GB of memory, you can’t find a better deal.  Save both your money and time by ordering directly from Amazon.  Other models include features like 4G LTE and larger screens.

 

4. Google Nexus 10         Price: $399

google-300x205

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful 10 inch display and a 2560-by-1600 high-resolution make the Nexus 10 very pretty to look at.  With Wi-Fi and 16 GB included,Google has created a beautiful competitor to the iPad.

 

3.  Microsoft Surface      Price: $499 and up

surface-300x166

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s entrance to the tablet world debut’s their newest Windows 8 operating system.  Although the base price only includes the tablet itself, it’s 32 GB memory and 10.8 inch screen, on top of its other unique features, make it valuable.

 

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1      Price: $499

samsung-283x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. The features associated with this tablet, like the S Pen, make this the most creative tablet on the list.  The possibilities are endless with the Galaxy Note and it rightly deserves its place on this list.  This is the biggest competitor to the number 1 tablet under $500.

 

1.  Apple iPad (&mini)    Price: $329 and up

ipad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple’s iPad, and new iPad mini, are the most reliable and well known tablets on the market.  They get the number 1 spot because although the other tablets are innovative, you cannot get better quality.  Despite the hype surrounding the Apple brand, these tablets live up to their name.

Dec
17

How NOT to Place Your QR Code Effectively

Through QR Codes, the bridge between mobile media and viewer is only a scan away.  While QR Codes can be placed on products, packaging, and virtually any surface you desire (even food!), the question “where?” is crucial to its success.  Let’s take a look at a few examples of where QR codes are effectively wasted.

billboard-300x225Billboards
Sure, a billboard seems like a great place for a QR Code. A large space for placement and thousands of people will have the opportunity to scan.  On the other hand, not many people can scan a QR Code while driving 65 mph down the highway, putting the scanner in danger.  Billboard QR Codes have a higher rate of causing accidents than they have scan ratings, making them a poor choice for QR Code placement.

shoe

 

Soul of a Shoe

When purchasing a pair of shoes, do you typically base your decision on what the inside looks like? Chances are the outside styling and inside feel are the determining factors.  But hey, if you don’t mind sticking your phone where you’re sweaty foot has been, soul QR Codes were made for you.

 

bikni-300x170Bikini Bottoms

While creative, and eye catching to say the least, placing a QR Code on the bottom of Great Britain’s female volleyball team’s uniform will not get any attention from a QR scanner.  Maybe between matches they will receive a scan, but in the middle of a game? If men had QR scanners within their cornea, this would be a perfect placement.

 

 

bus  Transportation

Another clever, but unsuccessful attempt to place a QR Code is on the side of a bus.  Unique? Yes.     Eye catching? Absolutely, But taking the time to scan at risk of missing a ride doesn’t appeal to most public transportation passengers.  And like the billboard, with texting and driving laws now being enforced, few scans will be converted without a dangerous situation arising.

 

 

Foodcookie

I’m not sure if this is creative or delicious, but considering the vanilla frosting, I’ll probably eat before I have the chance to scan the code.  Putting QR Codes on food is appealing, but it comes down to the hunger level of the consumer to whether it will be scanned.  Maybe it can pique the curiosity of a few scanners, but personally, I will digest it before I have the chance to open my scanner.

 

Now that we’ve seen a few creative, but ineffective QR Code placements, let’s look at a very effective one.

bob

From the start, it’s clear that this QR Code sticks out from any of the others.  This QR code is a custom QR Code, including a picture and a caption embedded within the code.  Custom QR Codes receive 2.3x as many scans as regular QR Codes, making this one more likely to be scanned.  Besides the fact that it is customized, it is placed on a business card.  A business card is a surface that is stored for later use, as the recipient may want to reference back to it in the future. Unlike product or product packaging, it is less likely to be thrown away.  A business card also makes the QR Code more personal to the scanner, attracting them to scan to see what more they can learn that isn’t printed on the card.

Oct
24

Around the ATS Office: Twitter Upgrade

This week, Advanced Telecom Services @Advancedtelecom, Advanced Mobile @AdvancedMobile, 84444 @84444, and Cars2go @Cars2go_ began redesigning their Twitter accounts.  All four Twitters now have custom icons for their pictures which creates a cleaner appearance.

Also, new on each Twitter page is a custom background.  Rather than continue to use Twitter’s generic backgrounds, a colorful background now sticks out behind the news feed.  Each page has its own color scheme that coordinates with the other features that were redesigned including the icon and QR codes.

When you open the Advanced Telecom Twitter, one of the first things you notice is the QR code in the top left of the screen. This new addition to each page links directly to the respective site.  Accessing atsMobile.com is just a QR scan away.

If you are following any of these Twitter pages, you may also notice the increase in content.  Boosting the number of tweets and retweets per hour has increased the number of followers on each page.  You can follow any of these pages by clicking their respective links above.

Mar
15

Yet Another Reason Why Washington is Out of Touch

If you thought Washington was out of touch with the American public, you were right.

And, nowhere is that more evident than with Washington’s affection for their Blackberry’s.  In January, 77 percent of Capitol Hill staffers said they have BlackBerrys, down from 93 percent in 2009, the last time the survey was conducted.

 

 

In Canada, Blackberry is still the predominant smartphone in use.  Research in Motion (RIM), which is the Canadian company that manufactures the Blackberry stressed the security capabilities which may play a part in why the Blackberry is so much more pervasive in Washington.

“In an era of real cyber security threats and attacks, BlackBerry continues to offer unmatched security, reliability and value for government agencies concerned about securing and protecting sensitive government information,” the company said in a statement. “Today, that includes over one million government customers in North America alone.”

 

But, what about the rest of the United States where Blackberry’s share of the market is declining as rapidly as Ron Paul’s nomination hopes?  As per ComScore’s January 2012 report, RIM Blackberry has only a 15.2% market share among the general US populace as opposed to 77% market share in Washington.

Just another reason why Washington is out of touch with the public.

Chart: U.S. Smartphone Platform Share Jan-2012Description: The number of U.S. smartphone subscribers surpassed the 100-million mark in January, up 13 percent since October to 101.3 million subscribers. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 48.6 percent market share (up 2.3 percentage points) followed by Apple with 29.5 percent market share (up 1.4 percentage points). RIM ranked third with 15.2 percent share, followed by Microsoft (4.4 percent) and Symbian (1.5 percent).Source : comScore MobiLens, Subscribers Age: 13+, 3 Mo. Avg. Ending Jan-2012Tags: smartphoneAuthor: comScore, Inc.charts powered by iCharts
Follow us on Twitter! Follow us on Twitter!
Follow ATS Mobile on Twitter

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories

Meta

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.