Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Uber-ify App Service

Recently Uber-ify services for everything is on rise. Uber for food, gas, car and many other things. And also brands are acknowledging that mobile app playing a role as a catalyst for their sales.

The key about Uber-ify is about real-time service and real time notification.

So, what so important having the app?

User experience. Well made app, with clear purpose and value added. Can make better user experience compared to website or mobile web.

Purchase instantly.

For product that may be being purchased one time only, web can get the job done. But the web has to behave like an 'Uber' app. Fast, straight to the point. No shopping cart, just go check-out. Simply put like a minisite rather than complex full-fledge e-commerce website.

What are the components of Uber-ify services?

Back-end, admin and mobile apps.

Start with MVP

Well, having everything in perfect condition is might take longer time and cost consuming. Having a lean product but start with the right strategy is important. Technically and operationally.

Operational has to understand how their operational works. And need to translate it into a system. A system is in on-line term can be managed on the admin and the back-end. They have the highest authority to control the system, create and remove any kind of things they need or don't need. They have to think about situation where customer can backfire them back.

The simpler is better, but make the jobs done. Which is increasing sales.

Admin and Back-end

Admin system is basically to manage the store. Prepare how much agents they has. Manage the agents accounts. Set the working hour, delivery time and most importantly the inventory.

Without inventory what would customer would like to have. Managing the inventory depends on the nature of business. Some like food and baverages require to use BOM system. Some other industries use simpler method. The admin need to manage the price for each inventory and its quantity.

Back-end system is technically manage the transaction runs smoothly and process any neccessary record for future's reference.

Admin need sort of notifications system, more than just form of email. Push notification on mobile or desktop will help. But responsible admin need need to know when they should be on stand by.

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps is the window from customer to the business and the way to interact with agents. Customer not only can purchase but, the app can be personalized according to the user's tastes. In technical term, it's when user login, the data is persist, and the admin can do personalization based on user's behaviour.

Simple works better because, people are generally lazy. And by having simple easy to do purchase, sales will hopefully can be increased.

By using native mobile apps, the experience is much better than hybrid approach. And the information from is more accurate. This will prevent big loss in sending data to server which leads to bad user experience. Having a native apps not only speed up the process but lower the error compared to hybrid apps.

Conclusion

Having MVP can help business owner measure whether their business is fitted with Uber-ifying service. With marketing and technology budget, we can understand your customer behaviour. And might leads for success in app world.

There is more detail about running the Uber-ify service, but I am afraid that reader can't cope with the technical jargon, or very hard to explain terms. I will doing more write up on this matters.





Monday, 29 August 2016

How Consumers Really Find and Use Your Apps

People download apps every day, but the truth is that many of them are abandoned or never even used. New Google and Ipsos research uncovers how people discover and engage with apps—and what brands can do about it.
Apps are now an intergral part of our daily micro-moments, with people spending an average of 30 hours per month in them.  Apps play a key role in those I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy moments.

Here is the finding from consumer survey donw by Ipsos Media CT, surveying 8,470 people with smartphone.

#1: App discovery doesn't just happen in the app store

40% of smartphone usres browser for apps in app stores. Ohter are finding out about apps in all kinds of instances while using their smartphones - when they're engaged in an app, searching for another specific app, watching YouTube video, or surfing a mobile website. Search is a major source for app discovery, according to their research: one in four apps users discovers an app through search.

#2: App engagement and reengagement is key, as app users tend to lose interest

People turn to apps to ease their daily grind. And they're more likely to use them if the serve a specific purpose. Their research revealed that 2 / 3 will  use an app frequently when it simplifies their lives.

38% of surveyed people said they're likely to download an app when it's required to complete a purchase. Once they've completed that purchase, however, half will uninstall that just-downloaded app and move on.

How can brands ensure that their apps are used not just once but again and again? The simple answer is simple: Prove the value and utility of your app.

Brands can avoid getting lost in the app fog if they provide clear value. For example, Sephora app, enhanced its in-store shopping experience with an app that lets shoppers scan all products for additional information. The brand also offers in-store pickup of items purchased online. Sephora is sending a clear message that it understand what its customers want during every micro-moment of their purchase journey.

App users need an incentive to reengage with an app they've abondoned. And there are ways to draw app users back to your brand. 30% will use the app again if they offered a discount toward a purchase, and nearly a quarter of app usres would return if they received exclusive or bonus content.

source:
https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-app-marketing-insights.html

further reference:
http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/smartphones-so-many-apps--so-much-time.html


Saturday, 27 August 2016

Foundation of Developing WordPress Website

It's common for people to start with WordPress for their own website. It's not only for blogging, which is superb platform, but also for any kind of website, especially businesses to showcase their products or services.

Well, let me discuss the foundation about developing WordPress.

#1 Plan and Sketching

From starter we will have some brainstorming, what design should we be using, what theme, what is the problem we want to solve, what is the market we want to target for and other initial planning that we would do.

Then we will sketch out the design, and planning what content we want to put inside. Planning is crucial as we want to avoid unseen issue while developing the website. Try to squeeze all the possibilities and draft a finalized sketch and repeat until we have some satisfiying result.

※ If you have the already loved template you make skip #2 #3 as we don't have to develop the website from scratch.

#2 Responsive Static Website

Then what we will do as website designer is to develop the **static website** using Bootstrap. Now, Bootstrap is a framework to make website responsive easier (and of course save time) by applying their rules. lg, sm, md, xs for each screen category, the layout will automatically changed when we resize the browser screen. And when user on the mobile phone the layout will be xs or sm. We will create the static page for all pages. What we focus here is to have the final layout on the development not the content yet. However by putting the actual content will be help too.

This phase is quite challenging because we develop new site from scratch, probably the biggest value with developing custom WordPress site. Appreciate to have the custom theme, because you are the only one who have this theme.

This will use HTML, CSS, JavaScrip and Bootstrap skill.

#3 Build the Theme

Now we have to build the WordPress theme from scratch. We will use some boilerplate to speed-up time from Underscres. (http://underscores.me) This empty theme will have the proper files, so that you have to create new file one by one. What a time saver.

Now what we have to do is to transfer the static web to dynamic theme. On this phase you have to pretty much understand the underlying works with WordPress. You have to know the syntax for navigation.

Usually on this phase the static website will break into several parts. Like for header (with navigation), body, and also footer. Also there will be reusable parts that you want to put into another file.

Each pages is devided into <name>-page.php files. So when the theme is ready, we will create new page based on developed <name>-page.php file.

Also to be aware about single.php which is for blog post. But for other type post, you can use <type>-single.php.

From here we actualy will semi-setup the WordPress, because when we develop the theme, we continuously testing out with WordPress system.

#4 Setup The WordPress (in sync with #4 Build The Theme)

This process is at the same time of building the theme. Because theme is really depending on WordPress system.

Knowing right plug-in is key. Plug-ins will help to streamline the theme code. Many plug-ins that is really good out there but we have to know them.

Here are some that I use it so far for basic good webiste. This is for website manager.

1. Custom Post Type UI (https://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-post-type-ui/)

Use this when we want to create post, that is not tight to blog post. Let's say for resources, apps or etc.

If you want to use product for e-commerce you probably will want to use WooCommerce plug-in.

2. Advanced Custom Fields (https://wordpress.org/plugins/advanced-custom-fields/)

This is used on page where you want to put dynamic content on the website more than just word post.  This will help website owner to maintain the website if they want to change some wordings by themselves.

3. Admin Menu Editor (https://wordpress.org/plugins/admin-menu-editor/)

This for organizing the menu in the admin panel. When we hand over the website, we want the admin panel look understandable, we organize the menu according to their preference or relevancy.

4. Options Framework (https://wordpress.org/plugins/options-framework/)

This is used to add an options panel on WordPress theme.

#5 Testing & Finishing

So far by having the solid admin wise back end will exite owner to create contents on the website. But the work should not stop there, there would be more improvement for user facing features.

This can look daunting for first timer to setup the WordPress site, a lot of tasks, even you already have the favorite theme to install, many other setup has to be done to make sure your WordPress system working properly.

Investing on pro to setup the site will save time, because they already learn from the right knowledge to setup the website. It always welcomed to learn by your own the full detail, so you can setup your WordPress and become a super webmaster.

* it's quite contradict of tell about WordPress while i'm writing on a blogspot. I already just build a blog for website. irekasoft.com/blog where I will focus on mobile technology, it includes iOS, Android and also PHP with laravel because you might want to develop API to interact with mobile apps.





Tuesday, 23 August 2016

August Update

This month is independance month for Malaysia as we almost 59 years having such a wonderful independance.

For this month (August 2016) we have some update:

FaceClock Calendar 3.0

We finally launched this major update for this app. We rebuild from ground up to engineer for multitude of Apple iDevices from small iPhone SE to iPad Pro for best layout. The app is basically show analog clock and calendar.

New iReka Soft Blog

So we already have new blog page on iRekaSoft.com/blog. It's where we will share technical expertise so that many other can learn something about mobile tech. We touch about iOS development, Android and also about design. We have learn a lot from Design+Code course so far and that is some of the outcome that we want to share.

Others...

Upcoming apps, still many things in prototyping digital and natively. We find more inspiration to increase our drive to get things finish fast.

AppEmpire. We kind of inspired with this method. This is about app business. It's whole thing more than just creating apps. You need good user experience of the app. Think about user's lifestyle that can fit with your apps. And not forgetting the marketing part, how does it looks and magnetizing user to download our apps from other competitors. Think about how do users want to use the app over and over again to gain retention and loyalty. That's important when we want to add value that we can charge within in-app purchases.

Till then. Lot of things to study, develop, execute.

Monday, 15 August 2016

OpenCV on Android

I have been searching the way to include OpenCV to Android but seems no good solution avalaible but to use a build project on github.

https://github.com/ShehabSalah/OpenCVExample

Friday, 12 August 2016

Cusomize Bootstrap Wordpress Theme on the Go!



When it comes to building websites, sometimes you need to create more complicated projects rather than simple blogs. WordPress does come with a great number of features, and with the help of the right plugins and themes, you can extend its functionality.

Loads of plugins or themes can help you do more with WordPress. You can find page builder plugins, specialized niche themes, and a lot more.

But the big question is: how do you locate a general solution that is simple enough to be usable, and powerful enough to actually let you create whatever you want, without wasting time learning a closed, proprietary and limited environment?

If that question has troubled you in the past, look no more. Today, we introduce you to a special WordPress theme: Bootstrap Building Engine for WordPress, or in short, BBE for WordPress.

Built upon the idea of contextuality, ease of use, and absence of limits, it’s the “page builder for the rest of us”.



BBE allows you to combine readymade responsive HTML components to build the web page as you want – while always retaining the ability to retouch the generated HTML code, live. Why would you need that – well, every professional webmaster, sooner or later, wants to have this kind of control – that’s why page builders have a quite bad reputation between PROs.

The ordinary page builder allows you to combine “bricks” that are not FULLY editable. With BBE, you are free to shape each and every brick the way you want.

Sounds interesting? Check out the BBE theme for WordPress right now!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

8 Movies Entrepreneurs Should Watch

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur like me, or you’re already on your way (in which I’m jealous), we all need a little motivation, something to take us to inspiration station when we are in need of it the most. Perhaps Hollywood does glorify entrepreneurship a bit, but we all know that every now and then a reminder of why we started in the first place is needed. Here are 8 movies every entrepreneur should watch to get a heavy dose of inspiration:

1. Office Space
This American comedy will always be a goodie. Office Space highlights corporate culture of a software company in the 90’s, touching upon work relationships and office politics. At the very least, this film will give you a chuckle, but I’m also fairly confident that it’ll get you thinking about leadership and team-building techniques.
The entrepreneur-ish topics covered in the film include corporate culture, mentorship, career development, work-life balance, personnel retention, team-building techniques and management of information technology.
2. Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
This flick is a 2005 documentary based on the best-selling book of the same name by reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, which touches upon one of the largest business scandals in American history — the collapse of the Enron Corporation. This is a must watch for the history buffs out there, or anyone looking for a thought-provoking and shocking example of modern corporate corruption.
The entrepreneur-ish topics covered in the film include: putting reports together, off-shore diversification, accounting, business ethics and agency problems.
3. The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada will motivate you to take the plunge, and pursue your dream job. Seriously, this movie lights a fire under my bum every time. It’s a movie that shows how to handle uncomfortable situations, how to navigate worlds that seem unfamiliar, and how hard work pays off eventually.  It’s also an interesting window into the fashion industry and will teach you a thing or two on how to work your way up the corporate ladder.
The entrepreneur-ish topics covered in the film include: sales and branding techniques, as well as the importance of media, and career development.
4. Thank You For Smoking
Thank You For Smoking is the perfect film for a marketing savvy entrepreneur or someone who wants to learn a few tricks on how to sell just about any product. The film tells the story of tobacco industry lobbyist Nick Naylor who creatively spins arguments to defend the cigarette industry in the most challenging of situations. This is a great watch for those wanting to learn a few things about crisis management, corporate communications, PR and negotiation tactics.
Topics covered include public relations, marketing and advertising campaigns, crisis management, corporate communications and effective negotiations skills.
5. Erin Brockovich
This legal drama is based on the true story of a woman who, against all odds, helps win the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit. The film embodies female empowerment and underscores the importance of sticking to one’s scruples even in the face of obstacles. It touches upon themes like social responsibility, sustainable business models and gender biases in business.
The entrepreneur-ish topics covered in the film include: both corporate social responsibility and sustainable business models.
6. Wall Street
Wall Street is about Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), an ambitious stockbroker who navigates the economic rollercoaster of Wall Street, adopting the “greed is good” mantra. This movie is a window into corporate finance, portfolio management, investment law principles and capital markets. More telling is the story of a young, susceptible mind, showing how easy it is to get carried away with the glamorous lifestyle that accompanies wealth.
The entrepreneur-ish topics covered in the film include: company valuations, finance, portfolio management, investment law principles, mergers and acquisitions, business ethics, and capital markets.
7. Catch Me If You Can
Based on a true story, Catch me if You Canis a classic film that exemplifies the entrepreneurial journey. It touches upon important themes like creative problem solving, turning something good out of a bad situation, and the good ol’ hustle to reach success.
8. Startup.com
Startup.com is a 2001 documentary that examines the rise and fall of the real-life startup GovWorks that raised $60 million from Hearst Interactive Media, KKR, the New York Investment Fund, and Sapient. It’s good viewing to better understand the boom and bust of the dotcom period and serves as a cautionary tale on how friendships can easily be threatened by business partnerships.
The entrepreneur-ish topics covered in the film include: finance for entrepreneurs, growth management, capital raising, management skills, and team building.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Make Living with Mobile Business

What is my term about mobile business nowadays for me. In particularly in mobile apps which building, with hard earned skills and knowledge to develop mobile apps to help many people in the world in exchange for love and money.

At iReka Soft, we develop native (not naive) mobile apps on iOS and Android platforms to help people to solve many problem using their smartphones with mobile apps, either connected to network or not. And developing mobile apps are actually taking a lot of effort, time, patient, travel, skills and so many more to master the basic and to be able to work on any task within the range of expertise with 'industry standard' result.

PROGRAMMING

For me the key to sustain in this industry as developer is having ability to understand 'code'. I firstly learn to code with HTML for web. Then going to Flash, then to PHP. On JAD (UNiSEL) program I learn about C. Then, learn Java in Tokyo University of Technology. Then I self-taught myself with Objective-C to develop for iOS platform. Lately I also learn about Swift. It's not a secret that coding can be intimidating for someone. Yes, it can be intimidating. As far as I learn code, code is a snippet of function and it has to be place correctly within the project. Code need to be perfect from syntax error. The code has to compilable, and also as good programmer, keep the code readable and comment out where it should be, make it looked like grouping with similar flow. In overall view, code, is just line of programming syntax. And what make it works is a group of right codes being together.

Here is some fundamental about code. Code is like essay. Like this. But we want a computer, particularly compiler to understand what we are writing about. So the master of computer, created the so called programming language, and some defined rules and instructions. So as programmer can instruct computer (nowadays smartphone is equally powerful, as we call it minicomputer) to do what-ever we want it to be for us. And this thing is only limited by the operating system on how much programmer can do. But, if the programmer is super clever they might can create their own library to do more than just given framework, which may need to take super long time and effort to do that.

For example prior to iOS 3.0 there was no Push Notification service on iOS. So how could programmer can ever do that. Well, almost impossible. Unless they had work for Apple, but as normal and rational developer, they will wait for the technology to get adapted properly by the OS. And in short programmer is capable to do many things, as it's inside the range of what the OS can support. See what is your app's intention and make research if the OS support it or not.

Well, that is what about programming and coding for us. It's really expensive and hard to learn, because things can get really boring, and frustrating when we don't have the right knowledge or good mentor. Nowadays the resources is more and have more quality, easier to understand, and have sense of humour to (like RayWenderlich.com). Besides that there is lot of good website providing tutorials and also Udemy sites that have course at good value. We are lucky to have tons amount of resources online.

BUSINESS

Business is come from human which has problems. When there is problem, there is a need solution. Some of the key problem that human has is laziness. It's worth to innovate to make things easier and faster. And another problem human has (or might not a problem) is to incline towards beautiful object or design. So by having a good combination of both: solving human's problem plus having good beautiful object people will tend to purchase or to use the product. And of course there is a lot others reasons or factors why people use particular products.

It's super crucial for a business to create product that has demand or market for it. Without it, there will be no value transition between them.

DEVELOPING

As for me, I tend to develop things that is solving my problems. And about things that might be solving some other person's problem. Well, sometime I can't reach the real people who has the problems. And I most of the time make assumption they would like this feature and this, and this. It's be able to cut short the time and development time but I don't know was that really what people might need. Anyway by implementing analytics we can measure engagement of user, but only can be known afterwards.

Well, it can be said as hit or miss.

For doing business I can not do a lot of miss. I might have some success but, having a lot of miss is somewhat painful and demotivate my work for next project. I really want to have a good project from one to another. Small success can lead bigger success. Some apps that I created have good number of downloads but some other are not. Even, I thought it's better from previously created apps (which has better downloads).

MARKETING

To percieve what people want. Know the market. Reach the audience. Let them know. Let them asking. Let them fall in love, and so on.

Having to know what people want is pretty easy. Look at the market. There is tons of products that actually solves people's problems. Especially look at the top downloads. We can understand what is the trend, and what thing that people are looking.

Many of our downloads might come search. Search on particular keywords will bring our apps to the customers. When people look for a thing for solving their problem, probability to get relevant result is there.

DRIVING THE MARKET 

This thing can, actually can might change your life if you know how. But fundamentally the products has to be good enough to make people happy.

... this topic in on investigation ...

CONCLUSION

Making an app can be making an assets if we publish it on our own, but there is stake on it. Will it hit or burn. It happen for many developers and mobile business owner. Thing maybe can be developed but there is need a lot of energy to build it, need inspiration and drive to make it happen.

In other way, developing for people in-front of us is safer. This category is clientele. They might or exactly know what they want. It might not solving any problems at all, but as developer we want to solve clientale's problems anyway. By working for clientele is good, helping them to achieve what they want or dream about.

Life is go on. And for iReka Soft, apps for life.

#keepitup #dontgiveup

Friday, 5 August 2016

iRekaSoft.com Internal Web Update

iRekaSoft.com is build using WordPress. And it's supposed to be a blog website. But since beginning I use blog 'post' as app. And now, eventually when I want to use the website for blogging, there is mental block there. Until now.

In WordPress there is a lot of useful plug-ins. One of them is CPT-UI or Custom Post Type User Interface. So what it does is to use post as another 'type'. I created a new type called 'app'. Then, by using (another plug-in http://stephanieleary.com/code/wordpress/convert-post-types/) Convert Post Types, I transform all the post become 'app' type. By changing it, the page irekasoft.com/apps blank for a moment.

So there is a required skill to query newly created 'app' posts and properly show on apps page. And tadaa it works. What changes here externally is at the URL. So by addressing the app previously for example irekasoft.com/faceclock will become irekasoft.com/apps/faceclock. So it literally break all the URLs which I published many of the places especially on the App Store app page.

With this snippet at function.php it will redirects the old URL to the latest URL with /apps/. So this solution is by far the best I can get. At least no dead URL from previous link.

So you have it. The latest iteration of iRekaSoft.com. It's a long journey since it was build up. The back-bone is same but the UI has been changes wonderfully to modern responsive layout build with Bootstrap.

If you need custom apps or web please don't hesistate to fill up this form at irekaweb.com/inquiry.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Upcoming App Update : FaceClock Calendar 3.0


It's actually looks very familiar from current app, but I had reiterating the view mapping from ground up, to be able to mapping well with all iOS devices, from 3.5" screen, to 4", 4.7", 5.5" to 7.9", 9.7" and iPad Pro 13". 

I am not cater for each screen perfectly per inch but rather to use screen's aspect ratio. 


Refer to figure above, that is the rough sketch of the clock and calendar mapping according to screensize. Each screen can be divided into blocks. The number of block is based on aspect ratio. As you can know on iPhone, 4", 4.7", and 5.5" screen has the same aspect ratio which means the mapping can be satisfied with one same rule. So what is the rule. Basically to tell the clock which position it should located in coordinate form. For example for vertical iPhone 6, it's 4x7 blocks, for clock is (x:1,y:1,width:2,height:2), and calendar is (x:0,y:3,width:4,3). The coordinate and grid size will automatically adjusted according to actual screen size. 

By doing this I can fit the widget in all condition that has been presetted. But what if Apple announce new device that don't being currently supported aspect ratio. Honestly I don't know. Surely breaks the view mapping.

But so far what I see is the aspect ratio is very consistent and already matured, you may see the next gen iPhone will have the same aspect ratio as now. As well goes to iPad. So don't worry too much.

This FC Calendar is on going process, it's on testing, and it's bit nervous to release because it is a new project from ground up, but we need to make it backward compatible from previous update. Meaning, we have to preserve user's NSUserDeafults, so that new app will have the same behaviour like the current app has in term of settings.

This utilities aka widget app with this grid system will be evolve into more widgets in the future. I love how it being engineered to be more flexible than rather using fixed width and heigth as what I did, and have simple condition between iPhone 3.5" and 4", and now there are so many devices to support natively on iOS. But for other cases we can just use Autolayout feature, which can solve multi-screen type problems. 

So wait the update on the App Store soon.






Hello July, Hello Q3 and H2

Officially this month enter the second half and Q3 of 2017. How time flies. Critically what we thought here is as mobile devs, it can be t...