Must-Have Features For An eBook Reading App

With the advent of technology in every domain of life, nothing is left untapped, and printed books and papers are no exception. Ebooks are replacing printed books. Currently, ebooks are in high demand for the way it is structured, viewed, and conveyed. If you are wondering what an ebook is, it is a strong mobile service that is created to make the reading process more simple, comfortable, fun, and hassle-free.
eBook
After reviewing several ebooks, we have come across some essential features that must be included in your app if you are planning to develop one.
1. Massive Collection Of Book
An incredible ebook reading experience starts with a massive collection of available books, both installed and ready to read, and those that can be sourced. Apart from the typical categorization based on the genre like romance, non-fiction, historical, professional, etc., other things are also expected, like the status of various books, such as in-progress or completed, also sorting based on ratings or length, or other mechanisms.
New apps which developed by top app developers usa 2020 are also expected to utilize AI and machine learning to facilitate suggestions based on user behavior, such as which books they read and how they communicate with readers when they do.
2. Support Various Formats
The ebook apps support different formats, such as MOBI, EPUB, TXT files, PDF, Word Documents, and even encoded ebooks like those with Adobe DRM. Multiple reasons have led to their adoption, a few due to the abilities they render, some because they are supported and marketed by famous platforms. But the fact remains that the readers will have various eBooks bridging different formats. Hence, it makes perfect sense to support several forms possible.
An alternate model to support is to render an in-built conversion mechanism. The reading apps supports one or a small number of formats and performs really well.
3. Store & Sync Your Favorite Books
It is nothing new that a modern ebook reader app will store an ebook locally on the device for prompt and offline access. Many times, these ebooks would be rendered directly by the user. But once added to your app’s library, storing them to a back-up cloud mechanism allows the user to empty their device’s local store without stressing about their favorite books’ status. They would be available on-demand when required.
This further facilitates a sync mechanism where the reading apps available or are being viewed are available with reading status details across all devices owned by the user.
4. Different Platform Support

Your ebook app integrates across devices and performs both acknowledge the fact and facilitates users to resume enjoying their reads in various contexts on multiple form factors.
As more devices become amplified, operating on multiple OS, a success factor is how easy you make it for your users not just to read, but resume reading as their choice changes. Meaning, being available on Android and iOS, tablets and smartphones, and even colossal form factor devices like desktop computers.
5. A reader-friendly interface
Another factor that contributes to a successful reading app is a well-designed and intuitive user experience. The interface has to be well-planned and executed to render a pleasant user experience. Many interactions are based on the real-life experiences of reading printed books. Simultaneously, many innovations have been based on the capabilities of the platform.
There are well-established conventions, such as permitting various sizes to read the text, displaying a progress bar, adjusting the overall folio to show the updated sizing, and allowing people to pick the colors for the text. Some fascinating innovations are brewing up. These include taking the time of the day into account to change from blue to red tone or utilizing surrounding sensors to fix other aspects that impact readability.
6. Reading Tools
Since the reader indulges in the fantastic reading experience, another task is to make it more noticeable with tools and services that make it enjoyable. This can be done with standard and also expected tools, such as the bookmarking, capability to attach notes to selected text, an in-built dictionary, and the like.
Some ebook-reading apps have little more advanced tools like easily finding passages where a specific character has been addressed or cross-referencing a specific item. It has become easy for ebook readers to imitate a basic audiobook with text readout in the user’s favorite voice, with most platforms facilitating text-to-speech.
7. Reading gamification
There are only a few apps that lack some level of gamification. Ebook reading apps are not untapped, and several activities can be used to render an engaging, gamified experience to the users.
Features such as stickers, badges, streaks, levels, and more, frequently supported by rewards, are standard features. There are particular activities specific to reading ebooks like the speed of reading that are frequently used to facilitate these.
8. Social Media Integration

In the end, all mobile apps have to realize the significance of social interactions in everything that we do as humans. Conventionally where books were lent as suggested reading or people got together to read a book and communicate, the latest social integration apps have made it simpler to do it with people across the globe.
Services such as Goodreads have facilitated readers’ communities to get together, and social media allow for standard features like a social introduction to more new things like reading challenges. Besides suggesting books, people can also discuss them with like-minded people.
Conclusion
Ebook reading apps are obtaining popularity as the written material is erupting, and more people discover the joy of reading. There will always be a need for the ideal ebook reader app with fast digital accesses and a falling cost of devices.

How to Make the Most Useful Dashboard

From sports car to aircraft to super tanker, successful operation depends upon the pilot’s understanding and urgent timely use of a dashboard.  Real time information is critical to real time decision-making, and increasingly in the modern business world, decisions are made by management without extended meetings or discussion with others.

dashboard

Managers need real time information

And with the rise of modern technology-driven businesses, the same is true of management in the business world.  A good dashboard of relevant real time information is now available for most any business, often created by computer software from data derived from monitoring real time tasks within the business.

Related:- Responsive website a must ahead of the latest Google update

Consider these critical pieces of information

You should consider creating such a dashboard or reviewing the one you use if already driving with one at hand.  I’ve developed four criteria for use in creating and evaluating your dashboard.  When constructing yours, you should consider the following:

  1. Controllable outcomes: There is no use for information for which there is no ability to control changes as a result of analysis.  Ensure that you include only information for which you have a way to alter future outcomes in a positive direction.  An example would be a real time display of the value of the dollar against the yen.  If your business has no trade with Japan that could be affected by arbitrage, early shipments or other tactics that take advantage of the moving value of these currencies, that statistic is irrelevant to the dashboard – even if interesting to you.
  2. Earliest warning metrics:  What good is information if you can’t act upon it in a timely manner?  Find metrics that will be “leading indicators” of trouble to come.  Think of labor efficiency (future product or service delivery impairment) or warehouse inventory (sales slowdown, supply chain management problems) as examples.
  3. Items in the critical path (bottlenecks): This is one of my focus issues for my workshops, it is so important. One of your chief duties is to remove bottlenecks in the delivery process for your product or service, enabling all resources before and after the bottleneck to achieve maximum efficiency.  If a critical path machine or employee is slow or down, your own email box overflowing with questions from subordinates needing answers, or any other measure of critical path impairment in need of fixing, you should know about it at the earliest possible moment.  Add a measure of each that you identify with to your dashboard.
  4. Items impacting cash (now or later): Cash is the oil of your business.  Slowing of production, deliveries, raw materials, receivables collections, billing for work completed – all are going to influence cash flow soon and should be tracked when out of expected range.

Related:- Guidelines To Optimize Readability Of Your Web Typography

Some simple indicators you can track

Simple indicators that affect multiple areas above include increasing backlog, call center delay time denigration, increases in finished goods inventory amounts, unbalanced work in process inventory buildups, and reduced efficiencies in billed time for consultants or experts.

And how about projecting cashflow?

How about projecting cash on your dashboard:  cash on hand plus expected accounts receivable collections subtracting necessary accounts payable payments and payroll.  You will find many more candidates for your personal dashboard.  Try to limit yours to five or fewer critical measures that can be updated no less often than daily if not in real time.

You will be steps ahead of most of your competitors and in a much better place to succeed if you create and maintain an effective dashboard.

Responsive website a must ahead of the latest Google update

With increasing competition and technological developments, it is indeed important for every business maker to maintain a competitive edge over others. And our favorite search engine ‘Google’ is no different from this league. After boosting over its announcement at the start of the New Year about the up-gradation in its search algorithms, Google recently unveiled its “mobile friendly responsive website update” which perhaps might not be seen as “friendly” move by all. The update was developed typically keeping in mind the increased usage of smartphones in the age. Meaning, while surfing from a smartphone, the Google search results would pop up only the content from websites that are mobile compatible. And those who are yet to upgrade their websites to make them responsive, they are going to see a downward trend in their traffic and also the eventual revenues.

website

Throwing light on the concept, Google has explained that a site is considered to be mobile friendly if the content on the website is readable without tapping the screen or zooming into it, the tap targets are appropriately spaced, the page is devoid of unplayable content and is in the format of horizontal scrolling. To put it in simple words, the mobile version of a site as expected by Google, should be accessible and easy to handle on a mobile device.

Google says they are bringing up the ranking of mobile friendly pages up the order of search results. Thus, mobile users will now see only those website results at the top line which are capable to automatically fit the text on their mobile screens.

This latest update, as clarified by Google will only affect the rankings of search results popping up on the mobile phones but across all languages globally. Further, this will affect only the content displayed on individual pages of the site and not to the entire websites.

However, this in no way means that mobile friendliness will be the only criteria that will determine the rankings of the search results. Google has posted that they will continue to use a number of signals that will determine the eligibility of any page to stand first in the queue, the intention of the query typed in the search bar being at top most priority.

Experts believe that Google’s this “mobile-first” move is not just to satiate the mobile users, Google is actually securing its place in the bottle-neck competition, especially in the mobile space. It is important to note here that popular mobile versions to the likes of Facebook have been drilling Google’s mobile advertisement business off late. While Google is facing a downward trend with mobile ads, at the same time Facebook is enjoying a bigger market share. Apparently, Google is trying to fill the gap with this mobile friendly concept.

The transition from desktop to mobile:

In spite of the increasing trend in responsive websites, it comes as a surprise that websites of many top notch brands are yet to be converted into the friendly version. However, taking a back foot may not come in easy now. Ahead of the update from Google giving preference to mobile friendly websites, it has now become all the more important to wake up and act.

Not only this, the increase in the usage of mobile (smartphone) users off late, an urgent need of action is mandated now. This steep rise combined with the Google update effect is going to give a hard time to many players.

Google has offered various tools to the webmasters to check the compatibility of their websites with mobile devices viz. Mobile-Friendly Test or the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. On checking, a pop up warning will appear stating “there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search”, in case the website being tested is not mobile specific.

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Benefits of a Responsive website:

First things first, for those who still aren’t clear about the concept of responsive websites, here you go! A responsive website is one which automatically recognizes the device on which it is accessed and fits into the given screen size and resolution. Thus, be it the desktop or the smartphones or the smart TV’s, the website will virtually fit across all these devices.

The benefits of having a responsive websites are not only reaped by Google and the visitors but also by the webmasters. Here are the 5 reasons why a responsive website should be preferred over the others:

Usage and virtual experience

Irrespective of the device accessing the website, the user will enjoy the best virtual experience. While referring to a website on the smartphones, it is handy to ‘double tap’ or ‘pinch and drag’ in order to view, browse and navigate through the contents of the website. However, the level of readability and convenience is considerably reduced in such cases. Especially when filling forms or typing minute details on online portals. Thus, the user feels clumsy and lethargic when using such non-responsive websites. This in turn will boost the number of bounce-rates of your site.

In contrast, a responsive site will get your user engrossed and interested in viewing and scrolling through the contents of the website.

Content specific

At times, the content on the website including the videos, images or text are specific to various devices. For example, there may a large banner on the desktop version which is linked to several other internal links of your website. Now, for the mobile version, you may prefer smaller thumbnails in place of the big banners. This is possible in case of responsive websites where it is comparatively easy to switch between contents from one platform to another.

Doing away with apps

Talk about mobile accessibility and ‘Apps’ is the answer by many. However, mobile applications turn out to be a cost overhead for many organizations considering the fact that they are platform (OS) specific and have a lot of maintenance and other costs involved.

To save on this, a responsive website can be looked upon as an answer. Be it an Apple device, a Windows phone or an Android device, your “single” site will appear the same throughout and will bring in uniformity and a reduction in cost.

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No duplication of content

As stated earlier, apps or for that matter even OS specific websites will call for duplication of content and maintenance. From images to thumbnails to textual information, every effort towards up-gradation will keep multiplying.

Instead, having a responsive website will make life easy for all. The content will only have to be updated once and all the websites and apps across all devices will accordingly be updated – a big savior of time as well as cost.

Most important – traffic and SEO

The latest Google update will increase the importance of this point even further. The search results from mobiles will considerably increase the traffic source for websites that are mobile-optimized and eventually the revenue generated will be increased. Reports suggest that at times the number of visitors surfing from mobile devices exceeds the number of those accessing from desktops.

Another added advantage of having a single responsive website over multiple platform specific ones is the SEO benefits. Creating links and generating traffic information for a number of sites will be reduced to a single website. Thus, the efforts required for building SEO will also be reduced to a single website. This will also help to the extent that the various links will end up at one particular site, thus taking a departure from redirection.

If not, then?

Well, to say the least, it will not be incorrect to state that responsive websites help to garner more visitors, thus an increase in traffic and revenue, the viewers feel more engaged and associated, and reduces the time and efforts involved in the maintenance of traditional websites.

And with ‘search engine giant,’ Google implementing its update in this direction, it seems this is the right direction and the future of web designing world. And for those who are yet to upgrade their traditional site to the mobile friendly version, (and of course which will now appear less frequently in the Google search results) Google has clarified that once your site is upgraded and made mobile friendly, it will automatically be redirected and start popping up in the search results.

Guidelines To Optimize Readability Of Your Web Typography

Typography is a design element of great importance in the web world. Although it is not necessary for you to have thorough knowledge about typography, it is necessary that you take into account certain factors when working with web sources, for example, the popularization of mobile devices. Having basic knowledge of typography will help you create simple navigation websites, with a clear and easy to understand message for your users.
Typography
Although there are no rules in this regard and choosing typefaces is an art that you acquire with a lot of practice, what we can leave you with are some guidelines to follow to improve the readability of the typography you choose for your web designs.
Choose the right size
Placing your sources in an appropriate size is necessary to maintain the hierarchy and not affect the readability of the message you want to convey. If it is very large, there may be hierarchy problems and correct visual reading, on the other hand, if it is very small it does not allow easy reading and therefore can frustrate the readers. If your message is not easy to decipher, many customers will leave the site without even visiting the other sections. If illegible text is found in other sections of your site and not in the main one, they are also likely to leave the site, it all depends on the type of information they are looking for. So, it is not only important to write briefly and simply, but to choose a readable font and select a suitable size for it.
In general, the body of the text should have a score of 12 to 16 pixels. This standard measurement varies according to the font you choose, for example, a font may require smaller or larger measures depending on the case. You should also consider if that body of text serves as a support for the title, in such cases you are likely to require a higher size.
Consider the spaces between characters
Proper spacing between characters improves readability. Most fonts you use probably do not present this problem since typographers have the experience to achieve adequate spacing in their fonts. However, if you notice certain readability problems, maybe you could try increasing the spacing between characters. You could notice a considerable improvement.
It is also important to consider the space between each line of text. It must be appropriate according to the letter size. Usually, this space is 2 to 5 times larger than the font size. In programs such as Photoshop, this value is automatically associated, although it can be easily modified. If you notice that the default size associated with this spacing is not helping with readability, you can modify it when you want. There is no formula about it, it is a matter of careful observation and put yourself in the user’s position.
The hierarchy is also applied in the text
As a designer, you are already an expert in visual design. You know that the hierarchy helps to achieve correct visual reading, which is essential in every design. As you should know, there are many ways to achieve hierarchy, but in texts, it is much more common to highlight them by size. You can also choose a different font for the title, which is more visible and has thick sticks, preferably.
Another way to achieve hierarchy is through color or format. For example, if within your title you want to highlight a word, you can put it in italics, in bold or you can apply another color to the word you want to highlight. Whichever method you choose, make sure you keep it on the whole page, that is, if you decide to highlight a word in the title through the use of italics, it is advisable to apply this same rule for other words that you want to highlight on your website by app development company.
Make use of the grid
It is likely that when making the layout, you use an imaginary grid to determine the width of the columns and you can better structure each page of your website. This grid not only serves to determine column widths but can help you with the size of the menu bar, sliders, and even typography. Having a grid allows you to more accurately align all your elements, the included text. This, in turn, serves to be able to create an overall feeling and also to make the text more readable. A paragraph of text is much more readable if it is aligned.
As for the text paragraphs, you must also take into account the number of characters. It is not a matter of taking into account the different screens because, with the use of mobile devices, the sizes are quite varied. But the greater the number of characters the text line has, the more difficult it is to read fluently. The same happens if the line remains very small, it is a problem because the user has to scroll down to finish reading the message. It is assumed that the message should arrive quickly and should be simple to be understood immediately.
Select the appropriate color scheme
In this aspect, not only the color of the text comes into play but also the background color. The contrast between both colors should be obvious, however, you should avoid choosing very vibrant colors as it can be annoying for your visitors. Sometimes, colors are chosen that do not contrast very well and result in a readability problem. On other occasions, colors are chosen that do generate a good contrast and although it does not constitute a readability problem itself, users cannot be exposed to that combination of colors for a long time because their eyesight becomes more easily tired.

What Progressive Web Apps Can Offer Your Company

The term “progressive web app” is still a popular buzzword. If you still can’t draw a line between a website and a classic web app, the new term can create even more confusion. If you are already familiar with the web world and understand the difference between different types of web apps, it is high time to get to know the new app format.
Progressive
In this post, we reveal what progressive web apps are, what advantages they offer and how companies are already benefiting from them today.
What distinguishes progressive web apps from traditional ones?
progressive web app (or PWA for short) is an advanced type of web app that differs from the previous app formats by a number of improvements, namely:
Service workers can work offline

A service worker is an important part of any advanced web app that acts like a proxy server between an app, a browser and a network in the background. A service worker is also responsible for caching data from a PWA, which enables a PWA to be used offline. Saved content is synchronized as soon as the internet connection is restored. Why is that important? It’s not just about disconnecting, it’s also about a poor internet connection, which can affect the speed and performance of a web app. Thanks to the Service Worker, a progressive web app can not only be available offline, but also the high performance and ensure a better user experience.
Secured by HTTPS
With PWAs, communication via an HTTPS connection becomes the standard. HTTPS encrypts all data in order to reduce the risks regarding data security and on the other hand to enable the use of HTTP/2. PWAs use the HTTP/2 protocol to ensure secure data transmission. This enables different page elements (including images and animations) to be transmitted via a connection, which also makes it possible to send several requests to the server at the same time, to prioritize requests and to transfer data faster. Most web browsers also support the new protocol. All of these factors also play an important role in Google ranking. For these reasons, many online shops and digital business cards are presented as progressive web apps. The fast data transfer also enables high-quality images to be used to attract the attention of potential customers.
Enables an app-like user experience on mobile devices
A manifest is a JSON file linked to the directory of a progressive web app. The file contains various configuration settings that make it possible to define certain properties of classic apps for PWAs, such as the PWA icon, the background color, the font, the name or even the short name of the application, the design of the welcome screen to make a Progressive Web App look as if users are dealing with classic native apps.
Outside, the manifest contains necessary data on how a Progressive Web App should be displayed when it is “installed” on a user’s device like a native app. The manifest enables a user to be prompted for installation by an “App Install Banner” on the screen. If such an offer is accepted, a progressive web app receives official permission to be added to the home screen. It’s about adding not just an icon to the screen, but also additional functions that were previously only available for native apps.From this moment on, the “installed” progressive web app behaves as a traditional mobile app in full screen mode and enables an app-like user experience on mobile devices, although it is still running in the browser. As a result, a PWA combines the advantages of native apps with the advantages of a responsive website.
Always ready to motivate you to interact with push notifications
As soon as a user starts a progressive web app on the desktop or in the mobile browser, they are usually asked if they want to receive notifications. If a user allows notifications, they will receive a personal registration ID to which notifications will be sent later. The push notifications are aimed at keeping users up to date and increasing the interaction rate with the app.
Push Manager and Push API are used to enable push notifications to be sent. The manager regularly checks the status of an app in passive mode and sends an update either to a browser or to an operating system if the app is already installed on a user’s device.
Why is it worth having Progressive Web Apps built?
To answer this question, we have all the advantages summarize the PWAs not only in the use (such as good performance, offline capability, greater range, independence from app stores and more), but also in the web app development offer. Below are some of the benefits that we believe can help speed up your decision-making process.
With little time and money involved, with minimal investment, app developers can have a single progressive web app created that simultaneously fulfills several requirements and benefits from a platform-independent app as well as a responsive website combined and offers good performance. This reduces the double work. When developing PWAs, reusable components are often used, which can greatly reduce both time and costs. Because it is only a single application development, maintenance costs are also significantly reduced.
– Findable and search engine friendly: As progressive web apps are available via a browser, they can be found in the search engines like all traditional websites and web apps and can be linked on the web, which also increases visibility. As a result, such apps are found faster and easier.
– Can be run in all common browsers using any device: The progressive web apps run 100% in all common browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Edge. In addition, the listed browsers are called up via various end devices such as laptops, PCs, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.
– User-friendly: Potential users can try out a PWA without loading it from the app store and installing it on the end device. This property also allows access to the latest updates. Furthermore, PWAs offer a wide range of advantages – good performance, increased speed, offline capability, on-screen icon for direct access, push notifications and more – which have a positive effect on user experiences, increase the conversion rate, the chances for Increase customer acquisition and customer loyalty.

How to create realistic characters in your creative writing

The sign of a great character in a piece of creative writing is when you can’t believe the character isn’t real. Your central character should most definitely be just this realistic, especially since she’s the star of the narrative. The startling truth is that if you make a character credible, she’ll also be more lovable.

creative writing

This is because people relate to characters with depth and humanity as opposed to those who aren’t well developed.

How to develop well-rounded characters

You can fashion complex, well-rounded characters swiftly by asking yourself questions about what type of person you want to create. For instance:

  • Where does your character come from?
  • What does she do for a living?
  • How old is your character?
  • What family background is he/she from?

The here is a list of questions which you could ask yourself regarding your character:

  • What does she look like?
  • What is your character called?
  • How does your character deal with conflict as well as trouble?
  • Are there other individuals in your character’s life? How does she relate to them?
  • What is the objective of your character in this text?

Once you’ve got your characters plotted out, you can turn to the conversation and creating a realistic and interesting dialogue between your characters.

The sign of a great character in a piece of creative writing is when you can’t believe the character isn’t real. Your central character should most definitely be just this realistic, especially since she’s the star of the narrative. The startling truth is that if you make a character credible, she’ll also be more lovable. This is because people relate to characters with depth and humanity as opposed to those who aren’t well developed.

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How to develop well-rounded characters

You can fashion complex, well-rounded characters swiftly by asking yourself questions about what type of person you want to create. For instance:

  • Where does your character come from?
  • What does she do for a living?
  • How old is your character?
  • What family background is he/she from?

The here is a list of questions which you could ask yourself regarding your character:

  • What does she look like?
  • What is your character called?
  • How does your character deal with conflict as well as trouble?
  • Are there other individuals in your character’s life? How does she relate to them?
  • What is the objective of your character in this text?

Once you’ve got your characters plotted out, you can turn to the conversation and creating a realistic and interesting dialogue between your characters

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How to write convincing dialogue

Writing fabulous dialogue takes practice as well as observation. People tend to over-dramatise or understate, in each case, leaving the reader with a sense of disbelief. Conversations play a great role in bringing narratives to life and, if handled correctly, can assist with creating a beautiful piece of art.

You can make your writing seem genuine and colourful by following these tips:

  • Listen to how people talk – You’ll seldom find a priest swearing, or an English Professor making use of slang. Look at the way people speak and note down any interesting figures of speech that they might use. Good writers are often good eavesdroppers too.
  • Cut down on extraneous words and phrases – Real speech doesn’t flow as smoothly as it seems to on paper, but most readers don’t care to read unnecessary words like “err…” “uh…” and “oh,” between dialogues.
  • Use action to highlight your dialogues – Remind the reader that the characters they are reading about are as physical (theoretically) as they are. ‘He said’ ‘she said’ dialogues get monotonous if they aren’t broken up with movement.
  • Don’t cram in too much information – It should not be obvious that you are using dialogue to communicate information. In general, apply the three-sentence rule: give no character more than three uninterrupted sentences at once. Let the story unfold naturally.
  • Avoid stereotyping your characters through dialect – this is not only offensive, but it also challenges the reader’s intelligence. Just as all Irish do not have red hair, similarly not all English says, “I say, old chap.”

No matter how much tension you pack into the pages of your creative writing, readers won’t care about your story if they don’t first care about your characters. After all, there’s nothing page-turning about a predictable protagonist playing out a predictable plot. If you would like readers to invest in your characters and their journeys, then you must craft characters that readers can believe in — characters so well-developed and realistic that they seem to spring to life on the page. But crafting a cast that moves beyond caricatures and cardboard cutouts can be difficult.

Divide and Conquer Approach to Quality Assurance

Quality analyst is a high risk, low rewards role of any project. Nobody says that product is of top quality due to QA. On the other hand everybody pounces upon the QA team when the issues are found while using the application.

The waterfall model had given an advantage to QA team to ensure that the product would not launch before it was well tested and gets their approval. This power of right to reject given to QA team empowered the management in delivering well tested products. It ensured that the builds shared with stakeholders meet minimum expectations. It ensured that app is developed thoroughly and provided the scope for the maneuvering of analysts within application to harden sections of the applications.

Quality

However, the agile approach removes this biggest cushion from QA team. During the development phase, the team is at the mercy of the dev team to get the build. The sprints can’t be altered frequently. Even when the build is shared with the team on time, if there are issues which must be fixed, then the build with those fixes needs to be tested THOROUGHLY.

As a delivery manager, I saw this conversation happening frequently within my team.

There are no specifics, because, frankly, that’s what manager wants. But how do we get from this point to a point where we could share a build with confidence?

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Divide and Conquer

The traditional approach of testing has a test case document where each test case is associated with a module and submodule.

However the problem arises when some the basic functionality of the application does not work after making the last minute changes. The traditional approach of testing fails to handle it as it carries too much baggage of test cases. There are just too many test cases to care.

Can we reduce the test cases? Yes, but that would be compromising thoroughness of the testing. Our unique solution helps us to age old method of limiting the battles by dividing the things to be tested on multiple parameters and using them effectively for assuring quality in the ever changing requirements and continuous modifications in code.

Modules and submodules

In the new approach, we continue to write the test cases according to modules and submodules. Modules or components are the major building blocks of applications where the functionalities can be demarcated.

The good testers have great intuition of where to look for in every situation, whether they are given a very small amount of time or enough time to test the entire application. A manager can ensure that the test cases are written to cover the entire application and to capture minutest details. The manager also breaks the application into modules and submodules to help every team member to prepare the plans centered around the modules.

Agility can’t be achieved with strong and heavy armors!

We prepare the test case documents to ensure the quality. However, when it comes to sharing a build in agile model, the test case document becomes a heavy armor which you have to throw away. The sheer number of test cases enforces the manager to take a step back and evaluate the strategy of using it during agile process.

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Adapt to the changes

Instead of going with an approach of All or None (of the test cases), we find a middle ground by putting things in perspective. We create a test case document which must be adaptive. Which means, the test case document should perform the following things:

  1. It should be up-to-date for the use cases
  2. If the time to test and code changes are known, it should be able to give a set of test cases.

Keeping these things in mind, we started setting priorities to each test case:

  1. Highest: no matter when you share the app, this must be tested. These are the core features of the app at their highest level.
  2. High: For a module to be called functional, these test cases must work for that module. It ensures the module level compliance
  3. Medium: these are the usual test cases which we often come across. Validations, special requirements, must have things etc.
  4. Low: These are the lowest priority items and may not be checked often. Basically, regression to these issues may not be visible until we perform the complete run of the test case document.

How does this change anything?

The first thing a QA has to do in the morning is to update the test-case document and update the issues fixed from previous day. This ensures that the document is always up-to-date.

We at Mobisoft, use these parameters to ensure that the app is being tested thoroughly. During the weekly builds, on the day of the build, QA might test only the high priority items from recent changes and highest priority of the application. During the rest of the week, everyday, QA plans some module+sub module+priority combination by collaborating with the Manager and Developers. It ensures that all the testing being done is well planned and documented.

Tags

We have also introduced tags column in test case document to ensure cross module dependency. It is often seen that the changes in one module affect the changes in other module but they do not get captured at all in the test case document. Having tags to link dependency between modules helps capture that information. The tags can be SYNC, NFC, Push Notifications, chat, image upload etc… This helps the QA to test all the modules with similar functionality when the code is copied to multiple places leading to issues at multiple locations.

Summary

Using the priority fields, tags and daily updation of test cases, we ensure that the builds are tested to the specification and overall build quality is maintained throughout the duration of the project.
It helps us restrict the changes, testing to limited areas, and effectively perform bug control operations consistently.
Engagement Managers from the client team being in possession of these documents and reports, can also feel confident about their apps and report to their authorities with better accuracy.

5 Steps for an Awesome Team Building Weekend

We strive for immaculate work – cool mobile products that really make a difference in people’s lives. And let me tell you, building mobile apps with attitude is not an easy job. Hence we introduced a number of benefits to life at tapptitude, making our everyday even more appealing: team breakfasts, vitamin days, rooftop parties and all the must-haves of a relaxing environment to name a few. And as of this year, we decided two team buildings would go well in the mix.

Building

Team building number one was a success, thanks to our colleague Simona, who planned the whole thing and she couldn’t have done it better. We had a lot of fun. And we thought: why not share our awesome experience with everyone else? So here you have it folks – our 5 essential steps for having a tremendously fun team building weekend:

1. Arrive in style

An hour long car ride is usually not something to look forward to, but it was in this case. It was a bumpy ride until we reached our destination – a village called Stana, located in Salaj, Romania – but as much as it was bumpy, it was fun. Once we got to see our home for the next couple of days, we all agreed that it was well worth it. Pensiunea Orgona is a beautiful bed-and-breakfast, spacious and wonderfully decorated, with a substantially big backyard. We made sure to use every inch of it for sporty activities. We made ourselves cozy right away: traditional romanian drinks and strawberries are a yummy way to start off the weekend, especially for little gourmet lovers as we are.

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2. Games – connecting people

We at tapptitude like to keep things fun and creative. So we got the party going by engaging everyone in some fun board games. We put our drawing, explaining, mimicking and most of all, our guessing abilities to the test and played a few rounds of Activity. Any other guessing games you can think of will do the job just as well. Point is to get the entire team involved and for the team members to witness each other in a rather silly and funny manner – less of the office vibes everyone’s used to.

3. Light it up and have a bonfire

If you find yourself in a beautiful outdoor setting like we did, make sure you have all the necessary tools for a bonfire at nightfall: some wood and good mood. When there was nothing more to see of the delightful sunset of the first night we spent over there, we got down to business and built ourselves a high and mighty bonfire. Just big enough for all of us to have a seat somewhere around it, in the grass, and keep ourselves warm. There were stories to tell and jokes to laugh at; we also did some stargazing. It was the perfect way to end the night.

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4. Sporty activities

Well rested and well fed, we started our second day at full speed. We had a mighty breakfast to give us strength for the big challenge ahead: paintball. It was a first for most of us, which only made it more fun. And really people, there’s no better way of bonding than painting each other from head to toe, while running around in the woods.

We kept things entertaining and active by getting everyone involved in some sporty activities: football, badminton, ping-pong, have your pick. We even gave petanque a try. Being the ambitious bunch that we are, we took things a step further and organized a competition with cool prizes. We gave archery a shot and the more skilled of us won vouchers to spa’s or other adventurous activities.

5. Build a cart – tapptitude style

Besides companies treating their employees to a great time, team building activities are designed to improve interpersonal relationships. Chances are, there will be some sort of workshop on the menu, destined to improve teamwork and communication within the team members. Luckily for us, our colleague Simona picked out a really cool one. We were divided in teams of 4 people and we had to build a cart with only a few essentials on hand: 4 wooden tires, some wood sticks, a ball of rope and some tape. The cart had to be reliable enough to have a passenger on, and easy to maneuver for the two people pushing it to the finish line, as fast as possible. When teams manage to compete against each other in a friendly manner, you know you’ve done your job right. Without further ado, here’s what we came up with. Voilà!

How to Navigate Growth as a Product Manager

When business is booming, new challenges arise for getting features to market faster, scaling quickly, and differentiating your product from competitors. So how do you navigate growth as a Product Manager?

Product

As part of their webinar series, ProductPlan organized an online panel to tackle this exact question. I was very excited to join the webinar, along with ProductPlan co-founder Jim Semick and my friend and mentor Rich Mironov.

How to Navigate Growth – Key Questions

One of the great things about this webinar is that the questions came directly from the audience. After receiving hundreds of questions in advance, it was a challenge to choose between them—but we tried our best!

I had the opportunity to answer many of my favorite questions during the webinar, but for others we ran out of time. Here’s my take on some of those standout or unanswered questions:

What is growth?

When thinking about how to navigate growth, we need to start by defining what we mean by “growth.” This term is often overused, and it usually creates more confusion due to a lack of clarity.

The first step is to define what type of growth we are referring to. Only then will we be able to start talking about goals, strategy, and metrics.

In the webinar, we discuss different areas of growth. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Revenue
  • Profit
  • Users
  • Market expansion
  • Adoption

The key is to have a clear understanding of what type of growth you’ll be focusing on next and how to measure your success so you can work with your team on a product strategy to meet your goals.

Whether you are aiming for a 10% or 1000% increase in revenue, the first step is to define that goal, a metric, and a plan to get there.

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Hardware and software have different development timelines. What challenges and approaches have you seen IoT vendors come across when experiencing rapid growth?

Managing software and hardware timelines is a very common problem facing IoT companies. The challenge is that you can only be as fast as the slowest item in your value chain, and that’s usually the hardware.

Not only does hardware take longer to design and build, but it also takes longer to manufacture and deploy in the field. Product teams need to plan, so the hardware development lifecycle doesn’t become the bottleneck of the end-to-end product.

Here are two possible approaches to avoid hardware bottlenecks.

Focus on a robust build-vs-buy strategy:

In the early stages of your product, it might be more important to validate your concept with as many customers as possible, than to have a finalized and perfectly polished piece of hardware.

In this scenario, you could benefit from having a solid build-vs-buy strategy so you can launch and test with as much off-the-shelf as possible. Once you find market-fit and start navigating growth, you can switch your focus to building your proprietary hardware to reduce size or cost.

Incorporate hardware features now that you’ll use in the future:

From the start, plan and build additional capabilities in the hardware that you can leverage in the future. That way, you “take the hit” of the hardware just once. Then, when the business is ready to launch any new functionality, you can do that by updating only the software.

You can see an example of this approach in Tesla’s cars. They understood that building the hardware would take the longest and that once the vehicles were in the field, it would be tough to retrofit them with new functionality. They added additional functionality such as auto-pilot capabilities in all their models, even if those features were not yet enabled because the software was not ready.

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What is the best way to justify the addition of more Product Managers, as product lines grow within a company?

It’s easy for companies to understand that to build more, you need a bigger engineering team, but sometimes it’s harder for them to understand that to support that growth the PM team needs to grow as well.

The best way to justify more PMs is to articulate it in terms that the Executive Team will understand. That means making the business case that the only way to sustain growth is to invest in a PM team that can tackle the additional “product work” needed to keep up with that growth. Otherwise, the Product team will become the bottleneck!

For example, as your product grows, you’ll need support for internal tools, a bigger sales team, a more significant ecosystem of partners and vendors, etc. Not to mention that growth usually comes with expanding to new verticals and geographies, which requires significant product work to be successful.

As Rich mentioned in the webinar, a Scrum team costs the company around $1MM per year. With that level of investment, it makes sense to arm Scrum teams with Product Management support to ensure the development work is grounded in strategy and customer insights.

What is the biggest challenge in driving growth, especially in a startup environment?

The biggest challenge for a startup navigating growth is maintaining focus. As the company works on finding market-fit, it’s very tempting to chase the next shiny object that promises to bring that next level of growth.

As Jim mentioned in the webinar, companies need to maintain focus and keep all teams aligned on the current strategy. If promising opportunities arise and they don’t align with the strategy, then the Product Manager should raise a flag and advocate for not pursuing that path.

This can be hard to do when influential executives (such as the VP of Sales) are adamant about this new opportunity, but this discipline is necessary for companies to navigate growth.

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring and responding to conversations about your brand and product. Online, these conversations can happen anywhere and between many different kinds of people and the sentiment won’t always be positive. To successfully manage your online reputation, you must both monitor your brand and handle what is being said.

reputation

Monitoring your online reputation involves gathering data from a wide variety of channels, sources and types of media. Monitoring involves gathering both quantitative data (data that can be bounced, like the number of comments, page views and Likes) and qualitative data (data that is uncountable and subjective, like the sentiment in a comment or the tone of a question). There are many excellent online tools that help you to manage this process.

Naturally, you should monitor the conversations on your own platforms, including social media interactions, comments on your articles and emails. You should also keep an eye on influential people in your industry and network. Beyond that, you will need to use specialised tools to find and evaluate mentions of your brand, product and industry, further afield, online. The by-product of this process is that you can find new marketing opportunities in your field because you will be aware of relevant discussions.

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Online reputation management tools

The tool you use for online reputation management will depend on:

  • The size of your company
  • How much you are prepared to spend
  • How much media attention your brand gets

Most small businesses can comfortably manage their online reputations with free Google, Twitter and Facebook tools. Larger companies with a strong online presence need to consider a paid-for alternative.

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Google Alerts

Google is an incredibly powerful search engine and an excellent tool for keeping track of your brand. Even a simple Google search for your company name will reveal a lot of useful information, but it can take a lot of time if you perform the same searches every day.

Google Alerts is an easy-to-use tool that automates this process: you set up Alerts for as many keywords as you want and Google sends you an email whenever a new mention of that keyword appears online along with a link to that location.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your own Alerts:

  1. You need to have a Google account to create Alerts. If you are already using Gmail, Google Docs or any other Google application, you already have an account.
  2. Once you have an account, go to google.com/alerts.
  3. To create an Alert, type a word into the “Search terms” box. If you click “Preview Results” you will see a Google search page for the keyword that you entered.
  4. You can see the properties of your Alert to customise how you receive notifications:
  • “Type” refers to the type of media content you want Google to check; it is recommended that you stick with “Everything” to get the broadest spectrum of results.
  • “How often” determines how frequently you receive notifications from Google.
  • “Email length” determines how frequently you receive notifications from Google.
  • “Email length” determines how many individual search results you will be sent.
  • Finally, “Delivery to” specifies the email address the Alert will be sent to and is by default your Gmail address.

Tweak these settings to suit your needs and remember that you can always edit them later.

  1. Click “Create Alert” when you’re done.
  2. Google will keep track of your Alert and will send you an email when something new is posted online.

Here are some of the suggested Google Alerts which you should look at setting up:

  1. Your company name
  2. The names of your products
  3. The name of your CEO and prominent company personnel
  4. Your industry
  5. Your location, where relevant
  6. Your URL
  7. Your biggest competitors
  8. Your most essential SEO keywords

Online Reputation Management is an essential part of brand management.