App Accessibility for All

App Accessibility: Valuable for All Apps

App accessibility refers to the concept of building an app in such a way that it is usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, including those who are living with disabilities. While the ADA’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 standards do not specifically address mobile apps, we think app accessibility is the right thing to do on many levels. Even from a pragmatic perspective, one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, so overlooking app accessibility reduces your potential user base significantly. Read More

Creativity: Creative Confidence Cover

Practice Creativity to Inspire Creativity

Creativity, according to dictionary.com, is the “ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.” Creativity generates jobs, drives economic growth, and forges new industries. It’s a highly regarded skill, but often only attributed to entrepreneurs, innovators, and change makers.

A creative-minded team of brothers, David and Tom Kelley, would like to change that perception. David is the founder of the Stanford d.school and the well-known design firm IDEO, where Tom is a partner. They are authors of the book Creative Confidence, written in part “to help individuals and organizations unleash their full potential – and build their own creative confidence.” The Kelleys argue that everyone has a creative side, even those who claim not to, but not everyone has the courage to be creative. They believe that creativity can be nurtured and mastered, but that we are constrained by the fear of failing. Read More

Grow your Business

Using Apps to Help Grow Your Business: The Trispective Group

Some apps stand alone as businesses in and of themselves, while others are used to expand an existing business. Expansion can happen in a variety of ways, such as increasing current customer engagement or providing tools to a sales team. We recently had the privilege of working with The Trispective Group to help grow their business by creating an app that opens up their services to new markets. The new app makes their expertise accessible to those beyond their current core audience. Read More

Product Companion App - monkii

Using Mobile Apps to Enhance a Physical Product: The monkii App

Apps are a regular part of life these days, doing everything from connecting us to friends to helping us buy products we like to guiding our adventures in a new town. Most of the time, apps stand alone in their functionality, but apps can also be utilized to enhance user experience with a physical product. We recently built such a companion app for fitness company, monkii.co, and you might find your company’s product could benefit from something similar. When done well, a product/app combination can lead to new market opportunities and increased sales. Read More

Top App Design Tools

Top App Design Tools

Thoughtful design offers a definitive competitive advantage in numerous industries, and app development is no exception. Design impacts everything from the app’s appearance, to its ease of use, to the emotions people feel while using it. As noted in our book review of Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, the way people feel when interacting with a product strongly influence whether or not it succeeds.

InspiringApps employs a four-stage process (discovery, design, development, and deployment) to take a mobile application from start to finish. While each phase is critical to the launch of a successful product, decisions made during the design phase lay the foundation for the app. Our designers understand the impact of design and consider many factors in order to create an outstanding product.

It’s useful as a client to have a high level understanding of the process and tools, for it enables you to know what kind of information is valuable at each stage. The list below summarizes the app design tools we use frequently. Each tool has a place in the process, enabling us to ideate, communicate needs with our team, and share the developing vision with our clients. Read More

Watch App Development

When to Develop a Watch App (or Not)

With the recent release of Apple Watch 2 and new versions of Android Wear smartwatches introduced regularly, the idea of building a watch app is front of mind for many clients. A watch app seems cool and timely (couldn’t resist), fun to use, and super convenient. While a watch app is all those things, it may not be the right choice for your business.

Although some watch apps (like fitness tracking, Apple Pay, music) do still offer some functionality without a phone nearby, watch apps do not stand alone at this point in time. As a result, one doesn’t build a watch app instead of a phone/tablet app, but rather alongside these devices. The best watch apps do not mimic the features of the phone app, but act as a companion app that takes advantage of the unique features of the watch in order to bring additional value to the user’s experience. In almost all cases, the user will continue to use other devices for more in-depth tasks. Read More

Staying Current with Changing Technology

Staying Current with Changing Technology

As a leader in mobile app development, we consider it our responsibility to keep current with changing technology. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, though, given the vast number of new products, languages, versions, and technologies that continue to be created in this industry. In our experience, staying on top of your game requires two things: time commitment and an awareness of how you learn best. The team at InspiringApps spans a wide variety of personalities and each of us has a preference for how to keep our tech knowledge fresh. Here’s a summary of our techniques for staying sharp in a sea of constant change. Read More

Basics of the Mobile App Development Process

Potential clients often wonder what’s involved in the app development process. We previously posted about the importance of doing market research before building an app, and we’ve also discussed some of the technical concerns like operating systems and native vs cross-platform development. If you’ve thought about these market and technical considerations and determined you’re ready to build an app, what comes next? At InspiringApps, we suggest a four-phase process.

Read More

iOS7: Because being a developer isn’t hard enough already

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For this week’s Lunch and Learn, software engineer Will Helling gave us an overview of the changes he’s discovered as he works to make our ePCR for iPad app compatible with iOS6 and the forthcoming iOS7.

Here are some of the highlights of his presentation:

Design – while the presentation was largely about changes from a developer’s perspective, it’s impossible to talk about iOS7 without mentioning Apple’s radical design changes.

Although they’ve kept their main color scheme (white, blue, grey and black,) Apple decided to allow whitespace to dominate the new design. We noticed that this helps make the content “pop,” compared to the overwhelming frames created by the various toolbars in iOS6.

View control overrides

In iOS7, view controls are automatically set to fullscreen, covering the status bar. However, iOS6 does not have this feature, leaving an awkward gap between the status bar and the view. To ensure compatibility with both operating systems, Will had to use a command that would force fullscreen in iOS6:


Flurry 

iOS7 requires developers using Flurry to update to the most recent version, 4.2.3 – apps not using this version may experience “irrevocable data integrity issues.” Since providing the best tools based on our users demands is a core function of ePCR for iPad, updating this feature was absolutely necessary. In order to update, Will had to download the new SDK and make sure to include Apple’s security framework and ad support framework. And… voila! Flurry is compatible with iOS7.

Libraries

Will also ran into some backend issues with libraries. iOS7 links to the new XML library… but the old XSLT library is incompatible with the new XML library, and the new XSLT library is incompatible with the old XML library. This required Will to do a manual universal compile of LibXML.

iOS7 will be available to consumers sometime next month, but with some users slow to adopt to a new OS, we’ve emphasized making sure ePCR for iPad works on both systems. As these new changes roll out, we also plan to introduce some new features, like a “night mode” that will be easier on users’ eyes at night.

We have a weekly Lunch and Learn where team members share different aspects of their work. Have a topic you’d like to know more about? Let us know in the comments!

Boulder Startup Week at InspiringApps

It’s May, and Boulder Startup Week is upon us. Due to the success from last year’s packed, standing-room-only event here at InspiringApps, we decided to host not one, but two events for 2013 to accommodate the entrepreneurial spirit of Boulder. Be sure to register early to ensure your chance to get in the door.
 

I Moved To Boulder And…

Wednesday, May 15th 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

What happens when you move to Boulder? A LOT. It’s pretty amazing how easy it is to get plugged into the community here. Instead of just reading about it, come meet people who have moved here in the last year and hear how easily they’ve integrated into the community.

This event will start with a short panel where some recent Boulder transplants will tell their stories and answer questions, and then we’ll wrap things up with a happy hour.
Register here to attend (free)

 

UX Crash Course

Friday, May 17th 2013 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

Does everyone LOVE what you are building? Great product is the result of great user experience (UX). Join the national thought leaders in UX to learn how to make product that not only works, but is a JOY to use. Brian Baker, Managing Partner of The First User, along with Aaron Lea of Inspiring Apps will illustrate the fundamentals of UX – and with a small group of folks, dive deep into how you can build Great UX into your product.
Register here to attend (free)

We hope to see you there!

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