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10 Ways to Make Your Own App

10 Ways to Make Your Own App

Consumers spend a whopping 85 percent of their smartphone time using apps. Because of this, it has become imperative for businesses to offer an app that helps connect customers with their products and services. Fortunately, the process of building an app has never been easier. In fact, business owners with little to no experience are able to bring their app vision to life, and they even have the option of saving money by doing it in-house.

1. Research the Needs of Your Customers

The first steps you take before the app building process begins will have a monumental impact on the success of your final results. After all, if you do not take the time to research what your customers need and want in an app, it will be much harder to develop something that they will use. Therefore, it is vital to conduct some market research. Consider sending a short questionnaire to your most loyal customers that asks them to rate their interest from 1 to 10 for each major feature you are considering adding to your app.

2. Sketch out Your Idea

After you compile your market research, you should begin by drawing sketches of how you envision each of the app’s features. You do not need to be an artist to perform this step. Instead, this is simply a way to get a better look at your idea and to help you formulate a solid approach to the actual development stage. Even if you end up outsourcing the project, your sketches and notes will provide a valuable resource.

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3. Use a Mobile App Builder

You do not need to have any special technical skills to utilize a mobile app builder. Even better is the fact that some companies offer special perks that take the pressure off of working with your design. For example, the Bizness Apps mobile app builder is completely free to use until you are ready to launch the app. This means that you can take your time and tweak things as needed without being required to make a financial commitment. In other words, if you end up deciding that the app you develop is not going to work, you can scrap it and start again without losing a lot of money.

4. Keep Apple and Android Products in Mind

Apple and Android products have their own specific app needs, and each company utilizes privacy standards that you must adhere to. Due to this, some businesses choose to create two unique versions of their app that can be distributed via the appropriate mobile device. However, you can take advantage of mobile app builders that make it possible to develop one app that works properly on both platforms. Either way, it would be a mistake to completely ignore Apple or Android in favor of their competitor, especially because they have a combined market share of 96.8 percent.

5. Create a Wire-frame and a Prototype

A wire-frame provides all of the basic elements of your app, but it will not have most of the information filled in or be operational. Imagine a website that has the text boxes and other basics visible without having them filled in, and you will be able to understand what a wire-frame looks like for an app. After this step has been completed, you can move forward to a full prototype that contains text, images and any applicable links. The prototype stage is prime for testing and tweaking.

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6. Add Support for Push Notifications and Sharing

Getting someone to download your app is only half the battle. Although people spend the majority of their smartphone time using an app, the average consumer only focuses on five apps at a time. This means that the rest of the apps on their phone go unused for long periods of time and may never be utilized at all. Studies show that adding push notifications can increase user engagement by 88 percent, so it is vital to include this feature. Additionally, giving consumers the ability to share information from the app with their friends via social media will provide your company with invaluable free exposure.

7. Build Back-End Functionality

The back-end functionality that you use to support your app is a critical piece of its overall speed and usefulness. The majority of larger apps such as Twitter that offer widespread connectivity and sharing have a cloud server on the back-end. This makes it possible for the app to remain constantly updated, and it can also remove some of the storage space requirements that are placed upon each user’s smartphone. If your app will be mostly self-contained and feature data that is fully stored on each person’s phone, though, you may wish to use a more simplistic MBasS back-end.

8. Test Everything

After your app has been built, you need to test each function multiple times to ensure that nothing is broken. It is also necessary to run your tests across every possible platform. Therefore, if your app is compatible with iOS and Android devices, you should test it on a variety of iPhone and iPod generations. The same steps should be taken with Android’s products, including the Kindle.

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9. Refine Everything to Provide the Best User Experience

We all hope that our first testing phase will provide perfect results, but the odds are high that this is not going to be the case. Take everything you learn from your tests and refine your app to offer the best possible user experience. Make sure that it is easy to navigate through the app. It is a good idea to ask one of your technologically challenged friends to spend some time using the app in order to discover any functionality issues that could prevent common users from enjoying the experience.

10. Build Anticipation for Your Launch Date

Properly marketing your app before it launches can hugely increase your download numbers. One of the best examples of building anticipation before a launch date was the year-long marketing rollout for Hatch, which is a virtual pet app. Although you do not need to get started a year in advance, it is best to begin promoting your app and its upcoming launch date as soon as possible. This can help you receive coverage from tech websites. If you combine this approach with offering a special for early adopters, it is possible to build a very strong launch.

Now that you know all of the basics, it’s time to start building your app! Keep in mind that there are millions of apps available, and only the very best will receive high praise and build a steady user base. For that reason, it is critical to always keep the needs and interests of your target market in mind.

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Featured photo credit: Jason Howie via flickr.com

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Holly Chavez

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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