Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Four Ways To Increase Your Mobile App Reviews

You might be wondering whether reviews really matter when it comes to your app … Let’s jump straight to the conclusion and say yes, it does matter (and much more than people realise). This article will guide you through tips to increase mobile app reviews.

Online reviews, in general, are extremely important; they can make or break a business. Reviews are part of a consumer’s online research efforts, and the opinions of others can directly affect your business. In other words, reviews play a major role in people’s purchasing decisions, whether the opinions are about restaurants, movies or apps.

  • 70 percent of people trust local businesses more as a result of positive online reviews.
  • 80 percent of consumers have changed their minds about a purchase based solely on the negative reviews they read.
  • 88 percent said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 57 percent of consumers visit a local business website after reading online reviews, and another 15 percent call the business.

With respect to apps, these opinions and reviews also affect how visible they will be in the app store search results. Users tend to download the first app that appears in their search result and app reviews are one of the factors that decide which app gets this highly coveted spot. It is also important to note that not having any online reviews can be just as harmful — if not more so — than having some negative reviews.

Unfortunately, people are not lining up to review your app, even if they are in love with it. Users won’t go back to the app store on their own accord to write a review, but they might do so with a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Here are 4 ways to increase mobile app reviews:

1. Create a great app

It might seem obvious, but you need to have a good app to generate good reviews. If your app does not function well in the first place, you cannot expect many users or positive reviews. You need to create a great app that provides value to its users. The happier the users are, the more positive reviews will come in. Make sure you update your app regularly to keep it relevant and functional.

2. Encourage user feedback

The key to increasing and improving your app reviews is by providing exceptional customer service. By allowing unhappy users to easily get in touch and express their concerns, you show them how valued their opinion is. How? Include a “Send Feedback” button in your app that connects straight to an email form. You can use this as a two-way channel of communication to improve your app. This way problems get solved much quicker, and the customer is left with a more positive feeling after they deal with support. Once you have helped your customer, you can politely ask them to review your app. As a result, bad reviews are minimized and your (now) happy customers will leave good reviews.

3. Use gamification

Gamification, according to Badgeville, is “the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.” In this case, you will try to entice users to leave a review by creating a game around it. Think of a contest or a giveaway. You can offer a small prize, like a gift card or a discount code, that will go to a randomly-chosen winner. Keep in mind that both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store have rules about contests, so make sure to check these out before you set up a game.

4. Integrate social media

Ask the people who are already a fan of your company to use and review your app! Leverage the power of your social media channels to increase app downloads and, simultaneously, increase reviews. Remind users to rate and review your app by cross-promoting through email, newsletters and social media. Another strategy is to ask social media users and influencers to rate your app during the beta stage. This way your app will already have a good amount of reviews before the full version is launched.

Remember, never purchase fake reviews or you will run the risk of having your app suspended from the app store! Anyhow, organic reviews are a win-win for the user and the app developer: it helps to improve the app for its users, as well as increasing its ranking and downloads. Now that you know how to increase mobile app reviews, go out there and rake in those good ratings!

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Newest Technology Trends That Will Shape

In its State of UX in 2017 report, the uxdesign.cc team commented that phrases like “intuitive” and “human-centered” are disappearing from developers’ and designers’ vocabularies.

But I would argue that those UX traits aren’t disappearing; they’ve become requirements rather than perks. Saying that a product is “intuitive” shouldn’t be necessary because that should be a given property of its functionality.

If a user can’t intuitively utilize a particular function, it becomes irrelevant.

The merger of UX and functionality poses a tough problem for developers, especially those working on global consumer apps like Uber. Those developers have to cater to the needs of a group of users wildly diverse not only in age and ethnicity, but in terms of the languages they speak, the values they hold and the devices they use. Plus, developers must account for varying levels of connectivity and make design choices accordingly.

All of this means there is no magic bullet when it comes to advancing technology. Change isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but it’s still inevitable. Here are four technology trends that will define 2017 and how companies can use them to improve their UX:

1. Collective intelligence

As its name implies, collective intelligence encompasses the evolving knowledge base of a group. It’s been a hot topic since the inception of the internet, which is in and of itself a CI platform. There are two sides to the CI discussion.

On the one hand, platforms relying on big data, artificial intelligence and automated objective data collection will keep getting smarter. Tools such as Amazon’s Alexa aggregate human-generated information in real time to help users navigate potentially changing environments.

On the other hand, we’ll see the continued prevalence of human-generated, open-source communities, which often serve as repositories of CI. For years, websites such as Quora, Reddit andStackExchange have allowed users to rely on one another for answers (and entertainment). More recently, my company was asked to build open-source communities to facilitate collaboration and learning among internal teams of developers and designers at large corporations. We have also seen the same principle applied to employee feedback and HR, such as with POPin.

So, if you’re pondering how best to take advantage of CI, rethink your company’s decision-making processes and its approach to the curation of company knowledge bases. Companies structured the way most companies still are — with a single key decision-maker at the top — will inevitably make some suboptimal choices.

That’s because one single person can’t have all the knowledge necessary to make the best decision in every circumstance. But by flattening your organizational structure and giving more people the authority to make key decisions that fall under their individual areas of expertise, your entire company will benefit.

2. Everyday AI (Chatbots)

We’re in the midst of a chatbot craze, but the importance of including rapidly evolving technology is more than just hype. A chatbot that offers a great UX is a thing of beauty — and it can work wonders for your organization.

While having a conversation with a chatbot still doesn’t feel quite like a mind-altering experience, we are reaching a tipping point where AI-based bots will be be key to forming better, more efficient connections with customers. Everyday AI can give businesses access to customer feedback as fast as their customers can type it.

Chatbots can handle issues that involve basic trouble-shooting, leaving customer-success team members to actually interface with customers. Bots can also drive engagement and growth by continuously creating opportunities for dialogue with customers.

But, remember, not everyone likes talking with bots, so if you’re implementing chatbots, be sure to inform customers beforehand. Likewise, make sure to include privacy safeguards, and be clear with customers about what your bot can and can’t do. Better yet, add monitoring mechanisms that allow real humans to step in when necessary.

3. AR, VR and mixed reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality are getting closer to being both affordable and functional enough to have major consumer and business applications — close but still not quite there yet. Major smartphone manufacturers, including Google, Samsung and Apple, are rushing to improve on VR-compatible devices, though, which means the technology will be mainstream sooner rather than later.

Choosing to explore VR and AR technologies in 2017 can help brands position themselves at the forefront of technology. One of the foremost (yet one of the least-suspected) examples is Snapchat’s AR geofilters, which frame, warp or magnify users’ photos with different graphics and illustrations.

And for companies that can deliver a branded VR/AR experience to customers in a creative way, the impact could be profound. Snapchat reels in anywhere from $250,000 to $750,000 per branded geofilter, and the brands buying those filters reap benefits, too. Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo filter, for instance, was viewed 224 million times in just a day.

4. Consumerized designs and digital technology platforms

Technology platforms are the foundation for new value creation. Of course, platform-based companies aren’t new. According to Accenture, the global market capitalization of platform companies isaround $2.6 trillion. And in 2017, they aren’t going away.

Digital platforms and UX go hand in hand. When companies prioritize platforms (which are designed for growth), their business models become more connected, collaborative and scalable, creating plenty of opportunities to put the end user first. One of the most recognizable examples is Apple’s iCloud. With iCloud, users have the advantage of accessing photos, notes, contacts and more, no matter which of their Apple devices they’re using at that moment — there’s no need to switch back and forth.

So, whether companies are focusing on their competitive edge, potential partners or their own product innovation, they need to look at the emerging and thriving platforms within their industry and figure out how those models can take their own business further.

Regardless of how your company chooses to implement new technology in 2017, one thing that won’t change is the importance of putting customers first. Research your customers, talk with them, observe what technologies they’re using, and work from there. Don’t assume all change is good change, but if a new technology is getting the attention of your customers, it’s time for you to pay attention, too.

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Mark Zuckerberg Finally Tries Out Virtual Reality Gloves

Consumers are still getting to grips with virtual reality and trying to decide whether to jump on board yet. Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg is keeping a close eye on what the research arm of Oculus is up to, with the latest R&D project being virtual reality gloves.

Right now, there’s the Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch controllers, which allow six degrees of motion tracking for your hands. What the Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Wash., is working on is a pair of gloves that bring the full movement range of your hands and fingers into a virtual world. By wearing them, you’ll be able to type on a virtual keyboard and draw with a high degree of accuracy.

As the image above shows, these prototype gloves aren’t hooked up to the Oculus tracking system yet. Instead they rely on an array of trackers focused on the area where Zuckerberg is moving his glove-covered hands.

As TechCrunch points out, the VR gloves probably aren’t brand new tech Oculus developed internally. Oculus acquired Pebbles Interfaces last year, which already had a virtual reality hand tracking system in development. This is likely an extension of that tech.

Zuckerberg also points out that the research lab is working on reducing the size of the headsets to glasses we can carry anywhere. He also mentions “advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body” in his Facebook post about the lab visit.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for this next-generation of Oculus-branded VR technology to appear. The gloves may work, but they currently use a dedicated sensor array not shipped with the Oculus headset. There’s also a question mark over how much processing power and data storage Oculus will need to deal with in order to detect and react to finger and hand movement in real-time.

I’m sure the gloves will be perfected and offered to the public, I just don’t think Oculus will have the tech ready for quite a while. And let’s not forget Sony won’t be standing still in developing new peripherals for PlayStation VR.

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Here Six Tips to Building a Stronger Brand Using New Media

Branding has always been important, but it’s never been as essential as it is now. Thanks to the internet, your potential customers are being flooded with dozens — if not hundreds — of different buying opportunities every hour.

While quality, cost and execution will all play a role in a customer’s decision, trust remains the key way to win the sale. Branding is one of the most important things you can do to win trust, so it’s important you do it right.

Here are five simple tips for marketing your brand with new media.

1. Spend moments on execution, but months in prep.

For your company’s branding to really work, it will need to be more than just a name. A logo, tag line, tone of approach and color scheme can be important.

Consistency in these choices is just as important as the choices themselves. A decision to change any element of your business brand can undermine a lot of hard work, so be willing to take your time — months, if needed — to decide exactly how you want to present your brand.

Actionable tip: Consider creating a comprehensive brand uniformity guide where your branding elements will be standardized. Trapeze has a solid brand identity guide to use as an example and guidelines to creating your own.

2. Monitor your brand-related queries.

Whatever people are searching about your brand on Google indicates what they think about it and, importantly, what problems they have. Moreover, if too many people are searching [your-brand-name scam], this phrase will show up in Google Auto-suggest results as others.

Monitoring what people are searching and where your own site ranks for different search phrases is crucial. You can use various keyword research tools in combination with keyword position monitoring software like SEranking.

3. KISS still applies.

The famous battlecry of “keep it simple stupid” is thoroughly embedded in the jargon of every salesman. This lesson doesn’t start and end on the sales call, though. Simplicity has been shown to be more effective in branding efforts as well, especially since it makes your company more memorable.

4. Get into social media and interactive content.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Ello . . . I could go on for hours. There are tons of social media sites, and people age 18 to 34 actually spend more time on these sites than they do watching TV.

Obviously, you need to get your company onto these sites; however, your work won’t end there. You need to post regularly, add valuable content and use as much interactivity as you can by putting out videos, interactive presentations, manipulable infographics, and so forth. Rich interactive designs have been the hottest trend for a few years now.

For instance, Target successfully reached out to college students with their “Made for U College Styler” and ServiceNow captured the attention of their target audience with an interactive quiz.

Interactivity doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Smartketerclaims that something as simple as animating your banners can significantly improve your campaign performance.

5. Be consistent with your branding.

Whatever the details of your company, you need to repeat yourself for your brand to stick. Did you catch that? You need to repeat yourself for your brand to stick.

If you’re not consistent from site to site, customers won’t recognize your brand, won’t build trust, and your efforts will end up fairly impotent. So, keep in mind: You need to repeat yourself for your brand to stick.

Brand consistency requires scalable team collaboration. Make sure you have tools in place for your whole company to be aware of your branding efforts. Here are some collaboration tools to try and use in the office. This site lists several mobile alternatives.

6. When in doubt, hire out.

How much is a good-looking logo worth to your company? What about the creation of the right tag line or company motto?

If you’re not sure you can come up with something really solid on your own, then employing a copywriter, graphic designer and brand strategist is a very wise move.

Branding is a constant effort that gets reinforced with every move you make, and doing so carefully is just one more aspect of “smart business.”

By being consistent, memorable, and just a little bit omnipresent, you can build a brand that separates you from your many, many competitors.