10 Business Functions That Are Ready To Use Artificial Intelligence

In the grand scheme of things, artificial intelligence (AI) is still in the very early stages of adoption by most organisations. However, most leaders are quite excited to implement AI into the company’s business functions to start realising its extraordinary benefits. While we have no way of knowing all the ways artificial intelligence and machine learning will ultimately impact business functions, here are 10 business functions that are ready to use artificial intelligence. 

Marketing

If your company isn’t using artificial intelligence in marketing, it’s already behind. Not only can AI help to develop marketing strategies, but it’s also instrumental in executing them. Already AI sorts customers according to interest or demographic, can target ads to them based on browsing history, powers recommendation engines, and is a critical tool to give customers what they want exactly when they want it. Another way AI is used in marketing is through chatbots. These bots can help solve problems, suggest products or services, and support sales. Artificial intelligence also supports marketers by analysing data on consumer behaviour faster and more accurately than humans. These insights can help businesses make adjustments to marketing campaigns to make them more effective or plan better for the future.

Sales

There is definitely a side of selling products and services that is uniquely human, but artificial intelligence can arm sales professionals with insights that can improve the sales function. AI helps improve sales forecasting, predict customer needs, and improve communication. And intelligent machines can help sales professionals manage their time and identify who they need to follow-up with and when as well as what customers might be ready to convert.

Research and Development (R&D)

What about artificial intelligence as a tool of innovation? It can help us build a deeper understanding in nearly any industry, including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, financial, automotive, and more, while collecting and analysing tremendous amounts of information efficiently and accurately. This and machine learning can help us research problems and develop solutions that we’ve never thought of before. AI can automate many tasks, but it will also open the door to novel discoveries, ways of improving products and services as well as accomplishing tasks. Artificial intelligence helps R&D activities be more strategic and effective.

IT Operations

Also called AIOps, AI for IT operations is often the first experience many organisations have with implementing artificial intelligence internally. Gartner defines the term AIOps as the “application of machine learning and data science to IT operations problems.” AI is commonly used for IT system log file error analysis and software consulting, with IT systems management functions as well as to automate many routine processes. It can help identify issues so the IT team can proactively fix them before any IT systems go down. As the IT systems to support our businesses become more complex, AIOps helps the IT improve system performance and services.

Human Resources

In a business function with “human” in the name, is there a place for machines? Yes! Artificial intelligence really has the potential to transform many human resources activities from recruitment to talent management. AI can certainly help improve efficiency and save money by automating repetitive tasks, but it can do much more. PepsiCo used a robot, Robot Vera, to phone and interview candidates for open sales positions. Talent is going to expect a personalised experience from their employer just as they have been accustomed to when shopping and for their entertainment. Machine learning and AI solutions can help provide that. In addition, AI can help human resources departments with data-based decision-making and make candidate screening and the recruitment process easier. Chatbots can also be used to answer many common questions about company policies and benefits.

Contact Centers

The contact centre of an organisation is another business area where artificial intelligence is already in use. Organisations that use AI technology to enhance rather than replace humans with these tasks are the ones that are incorporating artificial intelligence in the right way. These centres collect a tremendous amount of data that can be used to learn more about customers, predict customer intent, and improve the “next best action” for the customer for better customer engagement. The unstructured data collected from contact centres can also be analysed by machine learning to uncover customer trends and then improve products and services.

Building Maintenance

Another way AI is already at work in businesses today is helping facilities managers optimise energy use and the comfort of occupants. Building automation, the use of artificial intelligence to help manage buildings and control lighting and heating/cooling systems, uses internet-of-things devices and sensors as well as computer vision to monitor buildings. Based upon the data that is collected, the AI system can adjust the building’s systems to accommodate for the number of occupants, time of day, and more. AI helps facilities managers improve energy efficiency of the building. An additional component of many of these systems is building security as well.

Manufacturing

Heineken, along with many other companies, uses data analytics at every stage of the manufacturing process from the supply chain to tracking inventory on store shelves. Predictive intelligence can not only anticipate demand and ramp production up or down, but sensors on equipment can predict maintenance needs. AI helps flag areas of concern in the manufacturing process before costly issues erupt. Machine vision can also support the quality control process at manufacturing facilities.

Accounting and Finance

Many organisations are finding the promise of cost reductions and more efficient operations the major appeal for artificial intelligence in the workplace, and according to Accenture Consulting, robotic process automation can produce amazing results in these areas for the accounting and finance industry and departments. Human finance professionals will be freed-up from repetitive tasks to be able to focus on higher-level activities while the use of AI in accounting will reduce errors. AI is also able to provide real-time status of financial matters to organisations because it can monitor communication through natural language processing.

Customer Experience

Another way artificial intelligence technology and big data are used in business today is to improve the customer experience. Luxury fashion brand Burberry uses big data and AI to enhance sales and customer relationships. The company gathers shopper’s data through loyalty and reward programs that they then use to offer tailored recommendations whether customers are shopping online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Innovative uses of chatbots during industry events are another way to provide a stellar customer experience.

Category: Uncategorized

App Development Costs: Understand Your Budget to Build Your App

The number one question when starting app development is; “How much is this going to cost?”.

How much should you invest at the beginning to build an awesome application and then scale it to a business worth billions?

We have analysed some key mobile application industry studies and succinctly created this article of findings and included our best practices regarding mobile application development.

This guide will help you to understand the application development cost formation. You will be able to effectively manage your application development budget, reduce application costs, and pay attention to mobile application cost drivers upfront.

Application Development Cost: Benchmarks

It makes a lot of sense to launch an app startup these days. The vast majority of the population utilise different mobile applications as part of their daily activities.

However, what is the cost to implement a mobile application these days?

Time Spent in Mobile Apps

The most reliable mobile application industry studies provided the following quotations for app development cost and timeline:

  • The median app development cost is around £257,175 (at a rate of £225/hour), which represents 1,143 development hours. The total app price could even increase to £1,091,250 in the case of complex functionality implementation (Clutch Survey, 2015)
  • Average minimum app development project is between £7,5000 to £15,000. The typical cost to create an app is likely to be far higher (Clutch Survey, 2017)
  • Enterprise mobile app development cost is an average of £210,000 (VDC Research, 2017)
  • Available app cost calculators state a price range from £400,000 to £540,000 for complex, multi-feature mobile apps
  • Regarding the app development timeline: over 80% of mobile apps take 3+ months to develop; 40% of apps are built in 6+ months (Outsystems Survey, 2018-19)

Basically, your app idea, along with business and functional necessities, influences the app development cost.

The most influential factors which determine the final cost to build an app are:

  • Vendor type and location
  • Complexity and the number of features
  • Back-end infrastructure and connected APIs
  • Complexity of UX/UI design
  • Inclusion of additional branded visual elements
  • Development approach (native, mobile web, hybrid, etc)
  • Number of platforms to be developed (iOS, Android, web, etc)

Mobile App Development Cost in 2020

The question is still open. How much does it cost to build an app in 2020?

The key findings suggest that the cost to develop an app ranges from just £7,000 to £750,000 based on up-to-date industry surveys.

Our team has also created a detailed investigation on the cost to build an app that lists estimates based on widely used app features, design complexity, and software development stages.

As a result, our conclusion supports the main findings regarding the cost to develop an app in 2020. An application with a core set of features costs upwards of £50,000, while the complex mobile app development cost starts at £245,000.

The table below illustrates the range of costs to build an app with timeline accordingly.

Cost to Develop an App: Understanding the Basics

The following elements should help you understand the app development cost, so you are able to influence the price range and set your project’s budget.

  • Native vs. hybrid app

The app development approach definitely influences the final cost to build an app.

An application that suits the guidelines of a specific operating system is called native. Thus, you can only build a native app for each system separately. Logically, the app development price increases in proportion to the number of platforms you want to target.

In contrast, a hybrid or cross-platform app works with multiple operating systems, which means that you can save money by building only one application for all required platforms.

However, due to the technical superiority and performance of native apps, the vast majority of app development companies recommend this approach.

Native or Hybrid App
  • Android vs. iOS app

You may also ask if there is any difference in app development cost based on the platform. The answer is no.

These days, the app development timeline for Android and iOS apps is almost the same. If you target both platforms, your applications can be built simultaneously, which allows the apps to be launched at the same time.

  • Misconceptions about the mobile app development process

The two most common delusions within app development are as follows:

1. You expect your app business to become another “Uber”

The majority of digital startuppers expect good outcomes right away. Many of the requests we receive sound like: “build an app like Uber” or “I want to develop an app like Instagram.”

You would surely agree that these app-based companies have evolved over the long term. Besides, just consider the fact that Instagram received $57.5M in investments for application development in order to become successful.

So, if you want another Uber or Instagram – expect to pay!

Advice: Instead of duplicating someone’s success, it is important to concentrate on bringing something new to the market. These days, you need to build habit-forming app products.

2. You can succeed without proper market research

It is highly necessary to evaluate the market and complete the pre-planning stage for your app concept. Do your homework carefully: study the market and find its pain points that your app idea can solve.

  • Reasons behind expensive app development

Airplanes and cars are both types of transportation, but they are different by all means. The same can be said about software. The cost to develop an app like Uber differs significantly from the cost of an app like Today Weather, which simply uses third-party API.

Why people have a tendency to devalue software?

This confusion exists due to the following three factors:

  • Apps are intangible – as opposed to hardware, software products are seen as screens. In order to show this information, all the hard work is done in the background. An analysis of Kickstarter campaigns derives that hardware projects receive more funding as opposed to software ideas. It is suspected that hardware remains more noticeable, while software is out of sight and, therefore, unappreciated.
  • Immeasurable intellectual capital value – the creativity and thoughtfulness involved at the project’s start is hard to measure. Usually, a cross-disciplinary team is involved to ensure all the app details and processes are covered. Clients do not see the result of this work since it does not result in any tangible deliverables, just an app concept. Therefore, many people become confused by the final app price tag for this service.
  • Non-obvious benefits – some prefer elegant, simple, and intuitive products, while others search for more power and speed in their apps. This can be compared to Mac users and those who have never understood the benefits provided by Apple’s devices.

How is App Development Cost Estimated?

How can you accurately estimate the cost of mobile app development?

The main app cost driver is the app’s features.

A feature is a special activity or task according to which the software should operate and give the expected result. This can be a sign-up button on a screen or something more complex like video-streaming integration. The number of features and complexity of their implementation directly correlates with the cost to build an app.

The formula used to calculate app development cost is as follows:

App Development Cost

Before app development begins, reliable software development firms usually provide you with a rough mobile app development cost estimate. The quote is based on your project description, business and technical requirements. This information is combined and concluded in a preliminary list of features.

Companies usually estimate app development cost using:

  • Concepts – present a sum of features to accomplish
  • Stories – list all the features necessary to make a concept
  • Story Points – show the app development pace and complexity

These items are presented in the form of a product backlog.

A product backlog is a list of the features, changes to existing features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes, or other activities that a team may deliver in order to achieve a specific outcome.

In general, clients are charged for app development services based on the following options:

  • Fixed charge – a payment which implies the cost charged for a specific timeline. This may work well for smaller projects, especially those with a clear and well-defined scope of work. The advantage of this option is that the app development cost is affirmed with the client before development starts.
  • Time & material – a pricing structure that is determined by the time and materials needed for a project and thus is typically calculated based on an hourly rate. This approach provides flexibility during the app development process and fits more complex and ongoing projects.

It is necessary to understand the benefits of applying the time & material option, even though you may be anxious about it in the beginning. As this option has both an initial project estimate and the ability to change the scope during the process, this helps to control the app budget and, with this flexibility, build a product people will love.

The latter is actually your core goal, isn’t it? 🙂

Why initial mobile app development cost estimates are not always met?

Basically, there are two reasons why the estimated app development cost does not end up matching reality:

  1. Unfaithful app quotes are provided by a software firm of low service quality. Some companies do not pay enough attention in the preparation of a good-faith estimate or are dishonest and simply want to sign the contract. Usually, these are bodyshop teams.
  2. Increase in app development scope due to changes along the way.

If your budget is limited for the first app version, you have three options:

  • Agree on specific features – set them upfront and stick to the plan. If you follow this rule, you will keep the same scope of work and the app development costs will stay the same as well.
  • Pay additional costs – with extra app functionality, be prepared for the fact that your cost to build an app will increase.
  • Drop functionality – along with your development team, you can prioritise app functionality. In this case, you may rearrange the scope of work so that it will contain necessary features and fit budget constraints. Reach a compromise so that your cost to develop an app stays at the same level.
How Mobile App Development Cost Estimates are Calculated

Cost to Build an App Based on Development Stages

In most cases, the mobile app development process consists of these five stages:

  • Pre-development (also called – discovery or research)
  • UX/UI design
  • App development
  • App testing and deployment
  • Ongoing support and maintenance

Note: Depending on the app vendor these steps can be renamed, take place in another order, or imply a slightly different format.

The majority of software development vendors (~ 70%) start a project with the pre-research/ discovery stage(Source: Clutch.co, 2017).

Our team is not an exception, since this step allows the team to clarify all the ins and outs of the app from both technical and business perspectives.

A common understanding and trust are formed with a client and software development vendor through personal meetings.

Discovery stage provides the following benefits:

  • Time and cost savings
  • Requirements validation
  • Goal-based design solution
  • Risk coverage
  • Synchronization of the Product Owner (client) with the team
  • App project task prioritization

The biggest benefit you receive after the discovery stage is an exact answer to the question: “how much does it cost to make an app for your business?” An accurate app development budget and delivery date are calculated based on user stories presented in the product backlog.

Once the discovery stage starts, a cross-functional team is allocated to the project. The team may consist of a Business Analyst, Software Architect, Designers, etc.

Among other possible Discovery Stage deliverables are:

  • Finalized project concept
  • UX/UI design
  • Product backlog
  • Project architecture plan
  • Market & Competitor analysis (optional)
Discovery Stage Deliverable and Roles

The average cost of the discovery stage ranges from £15,000 to £25,000 with a timeline of 2-4 weeks. These costs and timeline relate to an average app project lasting 4-6 months.

The subsequent app development stages use the deliverables derived from the discovery phase. Depending on the project, the team may proceed directly with the app coding phase or finalise the app design.

It is necessary to have a visual representation of the app prior to the actual app coding. Surveys summarise that the app design costs around £7,500 for an average of 11-20 app screens. Thus, the price for app design correlates with the number of screens, design complexity, and the use of any sort of custom visual elements.

Similarly, the number of features and their complexity, as well as the app concept and type influence the cost of an app during the development stage. Ordinary features like user login/logout, push notifications, in-app search by one entity type, and basic one-to-one chat cost less. The functionality connected with the content management system (admin panel), video and audio streaming, is complex and thus more expensive.

The app testing stage ensures proper app function and quality. Logically, the cost for app testing is directly connected to the app functionality. In practice, app testing takes up around 30% of the app cost spent on client side (front-end) implementation. The front-end part of an admin panel costs less; around 10%.

The graph illustrates the average app development cost during each stage based on data collected from 102 app development firms. Each development stage adds up to the total mobile app cost.

Cost Per App Development Stage

Want to know your initial app development budget?

At AutomationSquared, we can estimate your project roughly to give you a general idea of the potential cost of your app. Interested?

Get in touch :- Calendar MeetingEmail Us

Mobile App Development Cost Based on 8 App Types

Mobile App Development Types

Please note: the following app development costs are given to build a common understanding. As well, some app types may have similar functionality.

Remember: each and every project is unique, since no one has the same requirements, business context, technologies, and people involved.

1. The most basic app development cost

  • App Cost: > £17,500
  • Timeline: 1 month
  • Examples: Calculator, Camera, Clock, Local games, SMS apps, Local audio/ video players

Basic apps are simple apps with 5-6 screens and no backend or necessity for a network connection. These apps are not that common today. There should be a clear purpose to develop this type of app. These days, most apps need to operate with the Internet, as people consume lots of information online.

2. Data-driven app development cost

  • App Cost: £17,500+
  • Timeline: 1-1.5 months
  • Examples: Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Maps

Data-driven apps are defined as those that consume and process only specific information. For instance, Today Weather app uses third-party API information.

These apps are also not that common today, but they still exist. In most cases, these apps are either the extension of a larger software product or include additional features.

Other examples of apps in this category are calendar or stock apps. Note that these apps may need some back-end work, and so the cost to build an app increases.

3. Authentication app development cost

  • App Cost: starting from £75,000+
  • Timeline: 3-5 months
  • Examples: McDonald’s Loyalty App, Google Drive

Authentication apps need a user to log in to provide full app functionality. The app development cost for this type increases since there are many subordinate features. Here, the user has a personal account and interacts with the data, which is synchronised among devices. This also requires a corresponding admin panel for content and user management.

It is advisable to employ registration via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc). This is a one-step procedure that is quicker to implement. Our team has vast experience in developing apps with login functionality.

4. Social networking app development cost

  • App Cost: £75,000 – £360,000+
  • Timeline: 3-5 to up to 9+ months for ongoing project
  • Examples: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yummi

Logically, social networking apps imply social interactions, chats, and information sharing. Therefore, the back-end infrastructure should be planned with the intent to process lots of data.

There are also many subdued types of social apps like media sharing, apps for consumer reviews, communities, blogs, anonymous and interest-based networks, dating apps, etc.

Making a clone of the most widely used social products like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube does not lead to greater success. These products have existed for years now and your social app simply cannot include all of their functionality. All of them started from either an MVP or a first basic version with their core features.

For example, in the beginning, Instagram was an app working with photos – adhering a photo into a square. This is known as the Instagram MVP, the key functionality which allowed Instagram to succeed in the app business. Building the first version of your future custom full product is a great approach to begin any project.

5. E-Commerce app development cost

  • App Cost: £75,000 – £360,000+
  • Timeline: 3-5 to up to 9+ months for ongoing project
  • Examples: Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, ASOS, GoPuff

E-Commerce apps include the functionality mentioned earlier: user registration, user account, social features. These apps are equipped with detailed product catalogs, separate product pages, and a user check-out system completed via payment transaction. For the payments, services like Braintree and Stripe are great to integrate.

The e-commerce app infrastructure is a complex one, as it requires a well-planned back-end and admin panel to manage users, orders, catalog pages, payments, inventory, etc.

As a result, app development cost rises along with the development timeline. It is necessary to build two separate applications with their own logic, UX/UI design, and functionality. This is especially true if you plan to launch this type of app on both iOS and Android.

7. Marketplace app development cost

  • App Cost: £360,000+ (web platform)
  • Timeline: 9+ months
  • Examples: TripAdvisor, Booking.com

A marketplace app includes features from both e-commerce and on-demand services, as it is an extensive version of these apps. The marketplace app concept has two sides of the economy – demand and supply. The logic and interaction in user experience should be well-defined. This process takes time, so the cost to develop an app of this type is higher.

For instance, Uber focuses solely on transportation services. In contrast, TripAdvisor offers hotels, restaurants, airline tickets, and more services with the help of a website and native iOS and Android applications.

8. IoT & Hardware app development cost

  • App Cost: starting at £75,000+
  • Timeline: from 3-5 months
  • Examples: Beacons, Amazon Dash Buttons, WeMo, BELI Printing Service, Jo

Internet-of-Things apps interconnect particular physical objects or equipment with technology. Once the IoT technology is applied, these items are considered ‘smart.’ These ‘smart’ items could be medical tools, pet collars, devices for home assistance, and so on.

These apps need to connect with a device either via Bluetooth or WiFi technology. This helps to send requests and receive data.

In order to develop this kind of app, it is necessary to have a ready-made device and its comprehensive documentation. The hardware should work properly and in accordance with the documentation. It is then possible to estimate the cost to develop an app, at least roughly.

In the past, our team has worked on a few projects connected with hardware.

  1. BELI Printing Service – an app that prints order receipts directly to a printer on location with a merchant.
  2. Jo – an app that records video from a panoramic camera and converts it into a horizontal picture.

In conclusion, the following table summarises the key approximate app development cost and timeline information for each particular app type.

App Development Cost

10 Hidden App Development Cost Drivers

The process of app evolution can be separated into the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Development of the first app version. This milestone includes design creation, coding the feature, quality assurance, etc. As well, the app architecture is organized for subsequent project versions including components such as hosting, proper server capabilities, databases, different supporting libraries, etc.
  • Phase 2: Ongoing app development. This phase refers to the necessary app updates, implementation of new features, app maintenance, bug fixes, and more.

Some of the elements, especially those that fall into the app architecture and ongoing development categories, can sometimes be undervalued or simply hidden from the client’s eye. This may cause confusion among clients, as these parts impact the cost to build an app noticeably.

Below is a list of elements that have some of the biggest influence on app cost:

  1. App infrastructure services (servers, hosting, domains)
  2. Assembling the app architecture: monolithic vs. microservices architecture (the latter uses more technical resources, but is also more efficient in the long run)
  3. Databases used for data storage (user data, photo and video content, etc.)
  4. Assembling back-end infrastructure (especially for further app scalability)
  5. API and third-party service integration (e.g. payments, maps, analytics, etc.)
  6. App administration (complex web portals or CMS for app management)
  7. Development tools and libraries used
  8. Data encryption to transfer data
  9. Regular app updates and bug fixes
  10. Video or audio streaming functionality

Please also take into account: Software development vendors estimate the current costs to build an app, which exclude support and app maintenance costs.

If you are planning to build a great app product, you should consider the ongoing app development cost you will have to handle.

The cost to maintain and support an app is considerably higher than the budget spent on original app development.

So, how much does it cost to maintain an app?

Recent studies regarding the ongoing app development cost state:

  • Typical mobile app development equates to around 35% of the total budget spent over the next two years (Computerworld, 2012)
  • After the app launch, expect that further support and app maintenance costs will be around £5,000 – £10,000 annually (Clutch Survey, 2017)
  • Around 50% of the app development cost will be spent on maintenance during the first year, 25% in the second, and 15%-25% each subsequent year (Outsystems Survey, 2018-19)

Thus, it makes sense to set two different mobile app development budgets; one for the first working product version, and another for app’s further support and ongoing development.

Conclusion: How to Build Your App on a Budget

We assume you now have an idea of some approximate app development costs. Here is a list summarizing how it is possible to stick to the initial app budget, as well as a couple helpful recommendations.

1. Do your homework. Note the app requirements (technologies, platform(s)) and conduct your own market research for an app idea, solution, and target audience.
2. Choose the right app development team. Select a vendor who is experienced in your niche, has worked with well-known brands, and has a substantial portfolio.

These vendors are likely to work on minimizing the app development costs and timeline, and:

  • build and work on their own open-source libraries and use them in app development (while not breaking licenses rights).
  • use their own best practices and ready-made solutions for the intended functionality (e.g. user registration, chats) to save time for regular operations
  • apply only proven and working libraries and third-party services with enough documentation
  • utilise effective project management processes and tools inside the company
  • apply just the right technologies and development tools to achieve the necessary results

3. Take into account hourly development rates. Outsourcing to Eastern Europe (e.g. Ukraine) can be perceived as cost effective, but has inherent risks.

4. Start small. Beginning the development of the first app version with a focus on “must have” features that drive revenue is a good way to start growing your project. Invest in further features after.

5. Use simple app design. Apply concise and intuitive app design for the first app version.

6. Monitor and be involved in the process as a Product Owner. Your feedback is highly valuable to the team and only through a combined effort can you achieve greater results.

7. Planning is key. Even though it may not have a single line of code, the app discovery stage is one of the keystones. Never undervalue this phase because it is worth the initial investment.

8. Receive a detailed project estimate. Just after the discovery stage, you should receive the core project materials and the rough app estimate should become exact.

9. Stick to the app scope. Otherwise, be prepared to pay extra or reorganize the work with your app development vendor.

Let’s summarize the results of our app development cost analysis:

  • App development cost per platform ranges from approximately £15,500 to £360,000+.
  • Industry studies present the cost to build an app from £7,500 to £750,000+. This supports the fact that the app development cost is hard to predict upfront.
  • App development cost is based on factors like app development vendor, number and complexity of features, design, development approach, and platform(s).
  • Accordingly, the timeline to build an app varies anywhere from 1 to 9+ (ongoing project) months.
  • It is highly valuable to complete the Discovery stage. The stage price for the first app version is around £17,000 – £22,500 from the app development cost. The deliverables are a finalised app concept, product backlog listing app functionality, app design, and architecture plan. As well, an accurate app development budget is specified.

Category: Uncategorized

The 5 Biggest UX Mistakes Turning Your Users Off via Jeff Bullas & Irina Linnik

Sick of users being disengaged with your website or app? It’s time you took a look at your UX (User Experience) design…

UX design is responsible for delivering a certain experience to the user that will increase the level of satisfaction from using a website or software product. A good UX is appealing, engaging, and takes the user on a frictionless journey, from landing on the page to completing the needed conversion.

There is much more to UX design than creating a few compelling buttons and a fancy layout. A UX designer has to consider the possible user journey and overall, make the work user-centric in order to lead the user through the website (or an app) and make them interact with the intended touchpoints.

Many designers don’t think about the users and focus on their own sense of beauty instead. Below, I’ve collected the top 5 UX mistakes many designers make which results in lost conversions and unhappy users.

Mistake #1: Forgetting about the user’s mental model

mental model is a model in the user’s mind that corresponds to the user’s expectations about the product. It’s basically the user’s expectations based on previous experience, user’s needs, similar products, etc. So if a user tests a product and it doesn’t match their mental model, there will be a problem.

The thing is, many designers focus on their own conceptual model aka the way they see a product, ignoring the possible user’s needs. As a result, there is a mismatch between the two models. While it is not always bad, sometimes, the mismatch is so drastic that it leaves the user completely disappointed in the product.

What every UX designer should do is consider both models when working on the design. The design should be appealing and clear – but, at the same time, it should not appeal only to the designer’s taste. By keeping the design user-centric, a designer can cater to the real needs of the product users.

Mistake #2: Irrelevant content that messes with navigation

Call-to-action (CTA) elements, such as buttons, are important because they motivate users to take the intended action and lead them towards a conversion. But sometimes, CTAs are ineffective because they completely mess up the navigation and prevent the users from the actual website/app navigation.

How many times have you come across a website that immediately closes the screen with a page-size pop-up that demands you to sign up for a newsletter or request a free demo? The worst part of such pop-ups – they tend to have a tiny “exit” icon somewhere on top of the pop-up and the user is often unable to find it.

By blocking the screen with irrelevant visual elements, you interfere with the natural customer journey, take away control from the users and instead, force them to take a certain action. All this leads to is really poor user experience and annoyed and frustrated users.

In this example, there is just too much going on. While the cookies information is OK, the website could at least wait until the users click on the “Got It” button before showing the pop-up that invites someone to join the mailing list. As a result, the user does not even see the page and its content as it is completely blocked by the pop-ups.

Thus, when creating a software product, it is essential to add the CTA visual elements only in the relevant places and after a certain period of time, when the user is acquainted enough with the product.

Mistake #3: Innovation at the cost of usability

When a user visits a certain website, say, an eCommerce store, they expect to see a cart in the upper right corner. That’s just something that every eCommerce website features – a universal UX rule for this type of website.

Nike Cost of Usability Innovation for ux mistakes

Image Source: Nike

Now, if a UX designer decides to be innovative and change the ordinary course of life, it will confuse the user. If a user lands on the eCommerce home page and does not see the cart in the upper right corner, it will be a huge turn-off and even discourage the user from further shopping.

The key thing to remember here – don’t implement innovation to the backbone elements that help the users navigate in a fast and habitual manner.

Mistake #4: The use of carousels

For some reason, carousels are widely popular but in fact, they quite often do not bring any value to a user. Here are the disadvantages of carousels on a website:

  • No real value – they are just an additional piece of information.
  • Take the control away from the user by automatically changing the images.
  • Distract from the content on the page.
  • Encourage the user to scroll down to get to the actual valuable information.

In short, a carousel is just a big image with a bit of a copy on it – so no wonder users prefer to skip it. If you really need to add a carousel to your site, make sure the users can control it (instead of automatic ones) and place a valuable offer on each image (make it clickable!).

Carousel for ux mistakes

Image Source: Shouldiuseacarousel

Mistake #5: Ignoring mobile UX

The number of mobile users worldwide is overwhelming and it keeps growing in a steady manner. This, in turn, causes a major rise in mobile app development.

Though every modern business strives to get an application, not all of these apps make it to the end, meaning, not all of them are used for longer than a few days. The reason for app uninstalling is simple – poor UX that does not help the user navigate the app and use it in an intended manner.

Some of the biggest mobile UX mistakes are:

  • Tiny buttons that are OK on the desktop but cannot be seen on mobile.
  • Huge copy that seems endless on mobile.
  • Poor quality of images.
  • Confusing navigation.

One more key difference between desktop and mobile UX is navigation. A user who browses a desktop version of a site usually has enough time to do so while a mobile user prefers to make as little taps as possible. So it’s important to keep the mobile navigation clear and simple and minimize the number of taps (but do not overdo it and keep the balance).

And don’t forget to test the app on different devices! Every device has a different screen size and resolution so it will impact the app design as well.

Pro tip: Remember performance!

The performance of a website or a mobile application is a factor that impacts the user experience heavily. If the site loads too slowly or a button is not clickable, the user may very likely leave and never come back.

Of course, the performance of a software product is not the responsibility of a UX designer alone. However, because the product fine-tuning happens behind the curtains, it is quite easy to forget about it or miss something important. I recommend paying attention to analytics and looking at the areas that are the most abandoned by users. As well, you can conduct a performance audit to identify the weak points and timely fix the existing issues.

Guest author:Irina Linnik is a digital specialist at SoftTeco – a company that designs custom software products for enterprise clients. She has over 6 years of experience in copywriting and loves creating compelling copy that informs readers about the latest technological trends in an engaging and clear manner.

Category: Uncategorized

Worried about IR35? – Don’t Fret

Any mention of IR35 and you will get a justifiable tsunami of complaints from the freelance and contractor community; nobody likes enforced changes in taxation that affect take-home pay and working practices. And for the client businesses – an external shift that affects ongoing projects and long-term contractor relationships. 

We’ll leave it for others to argue the whys and wherefores for this change, but can we find positives in the situation for the clients and the contractors, however well hidden. 

Large IT projects undertaken by teams of contractors can have a project momentum that is difficult to interrupt. Development agility can be lost as it is not always in the team’s interest to question the direction and purpose of the project. Working with a progressive software development house, like Automation Squared, can introduce a different dynamic to projects. There is an opportunity to reevaluate the objectives and the design, to bring in external influences and sector experience that can introduce innovations in the technical approach and business model for the application.

When Automation Squared approaches a new project, we encourage a step-back from a detailed specification. We want the opportunity to fully understand the motivations behind the project and the critical business outcomes. Our teams include commercialisation specialists as well as software experts, and our experience embraces every tech sector. Such an approach to Design and Discovery creates a dynamic that can draw the best ideas from both the developers and the client’s project leaders. ‘Mutual Challenge’ is a positive way to view the client-developer relationship in creating a truly agile environment and developing truly great software.

For the contractor, we offer a team working environment that encourages innovative and entrepreneurial thinking, as well as technical excellence. Rewards are based on achieving real results that deliver commercial gains for our clients — customer and developer satisfaction.

Category: Business

What is Extended Reality (XR)?

It’s the year 2030, and you have a busy day scheduled. You need to check on your production lines in China, visit Mars during your lunch break, and attend a business meeting in Brazil – all from the comfort of your office in London.

While it might sound far-fetched now, this future might be within our grasp thanks to advancements in Extended Reality (XR). Today’s infographic from Raconteur illustrates the growth of XR technology, and its potential to transform business across industries.

Understanding Extended Reality

To understand Extended Reality (XR), we’ll begin by defining three of its main components: virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) applications use headsets to fully immerse users in a computer-simulated reality. These headsets generate realistic sounds and images, engaging all five senses to create an interactive virtual world.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is not a new reality, but a layer on top of your existing one. Rather than immersing users, AR relies on a device – usually the camera in your phone or tablet – to overlay digital graphics and sounds into a real-world environment. Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters are commonplace examples of this kind of technology.

Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality (MR) lies somewhere in between VR and AR. It blends real and virtual worlds to create complex environments where physical and digital elements can interact in real time. Like AR, it overlays synthetic content in a real-world environment; and like VR, this content is interactive, and users can manipulate the digital objects in their physical space.

With their Spectator View, Microsoft has used MR as a complement to their HoloLens AR product. The Spectator View app offers users a third-party perspective of a HoloLens user and their AR content in real time.

Extended Reality

Extended Reality (XR) is the umbrella term used for VR, AR, and MR, as well as all future realities such technology might bring. XR covers the full spectrum of real and virtual environments.

The use of an umbrella term speaks to the future of XR as a fundamental shift in the way people interact with media. In the future, instead of saying “I’m using AR to attend a business meeting” – it will just be another day at the office. People will interact with the real and virtual worlds in seamless ways, without mention of extended reality’s distinct categories and their underpinning technology.

To use an umbrella term is to recognize the intersection of these technologies, and the many ways they will work together to disrupt our everyday tasks.

XR for Business

Extended reality is changing the landscape in a number of industries. It’s expected to grow eightfold, reaching an estimated market size of more than $209 billion by 2022.

A glance at current use cases shows the potential for XR across industries:

  • Entertainment
    XR brings immersive experiences to the entertainment world, and offers consumers an opportunity to virtually experience live music and sporting events from the comfort of their VR headset. While a majority of market share leans heavily towards entertainment, it’s not the only one gearing up for a virtual expansion.
  • Marketing
    Virtual realities have opened new ways for brands to engage with consumers, offering immersive ways to interact with new products.
  • Training
    Extended reality opens new avenues for training and education. People who work in high-risk conditions – like chemists and pilots – can train in safety from a more conventional classroom setting. Medical students, meanwhile, can get hands-on practice on virtual patients.
  • Real Estate
    Property managers can streamline the rental process by allowing potential tenants to view properties virtually, while architects and interior designers can leverage XR to bring their designs to life.
  • Remote Work
    XR removes distance barriers, allowing remote employees to seamlessly access data from anywhere in the world.

Extended reality is not without its challenges. The spread of data presents a new layer of vulnerability for cyber attacks, while the high cost of implementation is a barrier to entry for many companies.

But even these challenges can’t slow the progress of XR, and the question remains: how will businesses define reality five years from now?

Category: Uncategorized

7 Tips for Using Technology in Employee Training

It is undeniable that technology changed training in more ways than one, mostly for the better. It makes training materials more effective, engaging, and accessible. In this article, we’ll talk about the different ways to embrace technology and incorporate it into employee training.

1. Take Training Online

Traditionally, training is conducted in a classroom set-up and led by an instructor. This is still common practice today, but for a new approach, online training is a good alternative. To do this, you need to use e-learning software. This training program will facilitate online learning. It provides modules that learners can access anytime and anywhere. Often, the lessons are available in bite sizes, making them easy to comprehend.

Ready to take your training in an online platform? Check out True Office Learningand see how they can help.

2. Use Virtual Reality

Fortune 500 companies like Walmart and Boeing are using virtual reality in their training programs. Productivity numbers and retention rates have increased as a result of using virtual reality. More importantly, this makes training more effective and engaging. It is a tool that has revolutionized worker education. 

3. Incorporate Gamification

Like with the use of virtual reality, gamification is another way to make training more engaging. Gamification and game-based learning can create better work environments. Specifically, they improve employee motivation to learn. It enhances the overall learning experience. This is a far cry from traditional training programs that are boring.

4. Use Social Learning Tools

In today’s digital era, using social learning tools is important in training. One of the best ways to do this is to have online forums and interactive chats. This will facilitate interaction among learners. It also helps in building a positive company culture and fosters a better relationship.

5. Provide Online Assessments

There are many ways to evaluate the effectiveness of employee training programs, and one of the best ways to do this is through online assessments. This gauges the strengths and weaknesses of the training. In the same way, it allows real-time feedback regarding the performance of the participants. They will immediately know how they are doing with the training.

6. Embrace Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Both artificial intelligence and machine learning are also transforming employee training programs. It provides a new way to teach employees about their job responsibilities. It is also a great onboarding tool and a great way to deliver cohesive training experiences to new employees. It can be used by the management to coach its human resources.

7. Use Digital Whiteboards

These are like traditional whiteboards, except that they have more functions and features. These are digital spaces that instantly transform into text whatever is written on the board. It also helps to connect employees who are working in remote environments.

Take advantage of innovative technologies to level up your employee training programs. From e-learning software to social learning tools, take advantage of novel approaches to inform and educate your employees.

Category: Business, Learning

Where is the world headed?

We’ll see a dramatic shift of expertise toward the wisdom of the crowd.
We’ll trust diverse opinions over the individual expert. We see this already with easy access to synthesized knowledge. CrowdMed, Wonder, Kaggle, InnoCentive, Pass The Idea, and countless other digital-age crowdsourcing platforms democratize expertise in even the most sophisticated topic areas.

Artificial intelligence will help us make smart decisions.
Robots and intelligent devices will instantly interpret diverse information sources. A deep learning robot will be able to make all sorts of decisions:

  • Find patterns in medical data to help doctors make smart diagnoses
  • Pinpoint fashion trends by scanning what people are wearing at music festivals
  • Recommend city traffic patterns based on air quality and congestion
  • Help teachers customize instruction based on individual students’ learning paces
  • Learn what viewers don’t like about a TV ad that causes them to change the channel

Additionally, connected devices mean that AI can equip us with real-time recommendations incorporating remarkably personal measures and drawing on traditionally human variables (like emotion and desire). For example, AI will be able to intervene before we get a craving for unhealthy food or could help us craft a more persuasive sales pitch. AI is already mimicking us, as evident in Facebook’s AI chatbots, and beating us, as evident in Google’s Go champion. Its expansion will have profound consequences on our personal lives and business growth.Related reading

Traditional education will get more accessible through democratized platforms and more open expertise.
Udemy, Coursera and other massive online learning platforms expand knowledge’s reach. Open educational resources diminish the demand for costly textbooks and further democratize access. Dynamic learning modules adjust based on a student’s expanding skills, giving many the personal attention required to progress. The future will be created by many who are just now getting access to education.

Category: Uncategorized

Tried & Tested Methods To Build a Perfect Landing Page [Infographic] by Kristel

Want to build a perfect landing page for your next campaign? Follow the ultimate landing page building guide mentioned below. This guide comes in the form of an infographic and covers essential landing page factors that wíll help you build a visually pleasing landing page which is optimised for conversions. The landing page tips mentioned here are tried and tested methods. As such, go ahead and check them out and for future reference, download the infographic (for free) and keep it handy!

The Anatomy Of A Perfect Landing Page Infographic

The Anatomy Of A (Perfect) Landing Page [Infographic] by the team at LeadForest

Kristel is a Digital & Social enthusiast. She loves to write about latest trends in Social Media, SEO & Everything Digital.
You may my email kristel@leadforests.com to fetch the gravatar for the post.

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Category: Uncategorized