Shoutem – Mobile App Creator – Make App http://blog.shoutem.com Making apps should be easy Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:52:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Five reasons why web developers love React Native http://blog.shoutem.com/five-reasons-web-developers-love-react-native/ http://blog.shoutem.com/five-reasons-web-developers-love-react-native/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:43:05 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10688 What makes React Native so special and why web developers are starting to learn React Native?

React Native is the future of modern app development

More and more web developers are getting into the app-building ecosystem. According to stateofjs.com,

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What makes React Native so special and why web developers are starting to learn React Native?

React Native is the future of modern app development

More and more web developers are getting into the app-building ecosystem. According to stateofjs.com, 78% of developers are interested in learning about the new kid on the block: React Native. In addition, React Native has a high 92% interest rating—and for a very good reason.

Graph displaying interest and satisfaction of React Native

As you probably know, there are a few other multi-platform solutions, like Cordova and PhoneGap, but they come with a price: the price of relying only on the phone browser and its built-in JavaScript engine, which is often way slower than running native code, like React Native does.

So what makes React Native so special? Here is a list of the top five things that will primarily interest web developers.

1. You can build native applications.

As you probably guessed from the name itself, React Native lets you build native applications. Cordova and other types of framework, like Sencha Touch or Ionic, are hybrid solutions, and with them, you will never achieve the look and feel of a native app.

It’s the little things that matter: fluent or accelerated scrolling, transitions between screens, totally custom animations, custom navigation, and so on. If you ever worked with React on the web, you’re in for a treat because you’ll feel right at home.

Even though you are writing JavaScript, you’re not using the web view to render components. React Native renders real native components, and you can use platform-specific components, like the activity indicator, that will give every platform a recognizable look and feel.

The main problem with hybrid technology previously was that the embedded browser just didn’t work well enough. It wasn’t optimized, and it provided poor performance.

From a technology standpoint, the biggest competitor for RN is Xamarin, which lets you develop apps for lots of platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, you name it. Native Script also works in the same way.

Xamarin, for example, is great because it has neat IDE (VS), but you have to use C#. Since you’re a web developer, you probably don’t know C# that well, and you’re likely more familiar with JavaScript.

React Native works similar to JavaScript since you’re writing code with JS itself (you can also use Angular.js, for instance). Furthermore, JS was astonishingly upgraded with standards like ES6 and ES7. That’s not to mention how big and powerful the JS community is.

Transition in Shoutem apps

I recommend this talk as an intro to React Native so you can learn how it works.

Or if you’re more of a reader, try read this blog post.

2. It’s easy to learn.

That’s always a good thing, right? It’s also one of React Native’s greatest strengths. It’s readable like a children’s book, so you can just glance at it. With other frameworks, you are usually forced to learn a long list of concepts.

Over time, Facebook significantly improved their official React Native documentation. Recently, they added the basics section, which is a really neat, clever way to learn RN because it explains everything you need to know in a straightforward crash course.

If you know JavaScript, you’re in luck. React Native uses ES6. Still not familiar with ES6? Here’s a tutorial explaining some ES6 specifics that will make your JavaScript development a lot easier.  

It uses JSX, which is basically like HTML. Styles are very similar to CSS, but they are written within components and not in a separate single file. There are pros and cons to that approach, and many articles have been written about it. So really, everything you need to know is React.

React is easy. Imagine a div component named “View” and another text component simply named “Text.” This is essentially the connection between React Native and React.js.

Hello world written in React Native

Hello World message on mockup of iPhones

Styling is very similar to CSS, except it’s included with the component itself and not in a separate file.

Mobile app styling in React Native

That’s really easy, isn’t it?

For starters, you should learn about the React lifecycle, states, and props. Trust me, it’s all downhill from there.

3. It offers a familiar environment.

There are a bunch of tools you can still use that you already know as a web developer. If you’re using DevTool for Chrome, Web Storm, VS Code, or Sublime, you can continue using them or use the editor of your choice. After all, you are still practically writing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Are you used to transpiling the code with Webpack, Grunt, or Gulp? React Native does it for you. ES6 and some of the cool ES7 features, like Object Spread, are available right out of the box because RN uses the Babel transpiler.

Another thing that will make things, if not familiar, then definitely easier to work with is Nuclide, an integrated development environment (IDE) that Facebook is building to give developers a first-class developing environment for React Native.

It’s important to note that the flow you’re used to still works. Just like working on the web, updating index.html updates the whole page. Hot Reloading enables you to easily refresh the code and see changes in your app instantly. Just like on the web. Even better, press CMD+D in the simulator and you’ll get number of options to choose from.

React Native pop up

4. It has an active community.

Since this is all pretty new, uncharted territory, a lot of developers are doing their best to build something useful to others and unveil the true potential of React Native.

Facebook groups will give you a great overview and keep you posted about relevant news, so, there is little chance that you’ll miss something important if you’re following those groups.

The biggest, most active groups is React Native Community, which offers daily posts about toolkits, components, new apps, and answers to questions about React Native, from basic questions to serious developer problems. This makes it a good place to gather information and learn something too.

If you’re more of a reader, Medium is also booming about React Native. There are a few publications, but the best way to dig in is to follow the React Native tag.

When you have a problem, visit Stack Overflow, where you’ll find a ton of advice and solutions to problems. In terms of programming in general, programmers are more or less used to finding stuff that someone has found a solution to. When you have issues with React Native, you can find and instantly reuse code someone else has written.

An example of a great Github community is the React Native community, which is actually very similar to the outstanding ReactJS.

There are also a lot of events happening focusing on React Native. The most popular events are organized through Meetups. These events take place all over the world every few weeks.

The biggest one is definitely React Native San Francisco, but at the time of this writing, the most recent one was in New York. It hosted more than 100 active React Native developers. There are also lots of conferences like React Europe, which had 1000 participants this year!

Overall, React Native has over 40K stars on GitHub and over 9K forks. The Facebook groups dedicated to it have 7K members, and lots of new articles are written about it every day.

5. It offers a cross-platform framework for the future.

The word “cross-platform” used to leave a bad taste in my mouth. But trust me, this is different. With React Native, you aren’t building true native mobile apps; you’re building apps for all platforms.

And when I say all platforms, I don’t mean only iOS and Android; I mean smart TVs, Xbox consoles, Windows devices, all kinds of smart watches, cars, VR headsets, and heck, even refrigerators.

That’s not to mention that smartphones themselves have become powerful machines. The times have really changed since the whole “mobile first” paradigm, and some developers are even talking about “native first.”  

The technology is still pretty new, but there are some excellent React Native apps right now. Still not convinced it’s the framework of the future? Watch this presentation and everything will fall into place.

Give it a go! It’s time to become a mobile developer.

As we’ve explained, this framework really has potential, and not just for web devs. The whole development logic uses modern principles; the workflow is efficient, easy, and quick to learn; more and more platforms are using it; and all of that is just the start.

That’s where you come in: a new React Native developer, resolving problems and bringing new ideas to this fast-rising framework of the future.

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Hall of Fame: Cigar Dojo http://blog.shoutem.com/cigar-dojo/ http://blog.shoutem.com/cigar-dojo/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 15:58:45 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10671 Cigar Dojo became one of the most well-known media brands in the cigar industry with the most robust community because of the mobile app. Here’s how they did it.

What is the main purpose of the Cigar Dojo app and

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Cigar Dojo became one of the most well-known media brands in the cigar industry with the most robust community because of the mobile app. Here’s how they did it.

What is the main purpose of the Cigar Dojo app and who is it for?

Cigar Dojo was created for cigar smokers and those into the hobby of smoking and collecting premium cigars from all over the world. With the Dojo app, cigar smokers can ask each other questions and share their thoughts on the cigars they are smoking.

What kind of impact did the application have on the community?

Cigar Dojo has become the most robust cigar community on earth. The Dojo is known all over the world to smokers.

What was the greatest challenge with the app and how did you solve it?

Our challenge was to introduce the cigar world to a mobile app (at the time none existed). Cigar smoking is typically popular among older folks and, therefore, many of them were not ready for a smartphone app such as the Dojo.

However, the Shoutem platform helped us to create an app that is so simple to use that even older “old-school” folks found it easy and fun to use.

How do you promote your app? Do you invest in paid advertising?

We have done some minor paid advertising but the main way we promote our app is via our website, which is one of the most respected and popular cigar websites on the planet. We also use our other social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, to promote our app.

Young male using a black iPhone 6 running Cigar Dojo app

How did you monetize your app? Do you have any advice for other app owners?

We monetize our app via advertising agreements with cigar companies. We provide a great deal of exposure to a very targeted audience for our advertising partners.

Which feature in the app has the biggest value to your users?

The social timeline is where we have the most impact with our community. Cigar Dojo has become the Facebook or Twitter for cigar smokers all over the world.

From which feature in the app do you benefit the most?

The integration of the MoPub banners is the feature that allows us to have a functioning business. We generate revenue via advertising, our advertising partners gain targeted traffic, and our users get to see advertisements and promotions that are of interest to them. Everyone wins.

White iPhone 6 on a Orange Sofa running Cigar Dojo app

What’s next for Cigar Dojo? What plans and goals do you want to achieve in the near future?

We plan to continue to grow our community and continue to add and integrate new features that are of value to our members.

How easy was it for you to make and maintain the app using Shoutem? 

Starting our app with Shoutem was extremely easy. The updates along the way have provided some bumps but nothing that we could not overcome. Without the Shoutem app, we would not be one of the most well-known media brands in the cigar industry.

You can download Cigar Dojo app from both App Store or Google Play Store.

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Moving in the Right Direction: The Evolution of City Transit Apps http://blog.shoutem.com/evolution-city-transit-apps/ http://blog.shoutem.com/evolution-city-transit-apps/#respond Thu, 10 Nov 2016 16:07:58 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10653 In the dense urban centers of world’s greatest cities mobility is becoming a problem that is difficult to ignore. During peak ‘rush hours’ millions commute to work and back, creating long delays, congestion and environmental problems linked to carbon emissions …

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In the dense urban centers of world’s greatest cities mobility is becoming a problem that is difficult to ignore. During peak ‘rush hours’ millions commute to work and back, creating long delays, congestion and environmental problems linked to carbon emissions and exhaust fumes.

The state of city transit apps

People using metro public transportaion

The Chinese city Beijing is infamous for its stifling smog, but other densely populated cities like Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, are also suffering from severe environmental issues due to excess traffic.

In recent years, apps like Uber, Lyft or BlaBlaCar have taken a step in the right direction in motivating citizens to leave their cars at home, and car-share options like Uber Pool slightly reduce the number of vehicles on the road each day.

However, to make a real change which can dramatically reduce traffic, the local authorities need to make efficient and affordable public transportation options more attractive than services like Uber and Lyft.

A number of forward-thinking local authorities have funded effective apps, like GoLA, that streamline travel on public transport and include social elements and even calculates the carbon footprint of each trip and streamline the whole process.

So what makes an effective city transit app which can motivate change to the benefit of citizens and the environment as a whole?

Learning from Car Share Apps

City Traffic jam

One of the most attractive aspects of car share apps is just how easy they are to use. Riders can make cashless payments via credit cards, call cars to their exact location via GPS and even monitor  their driver’s progress in real time on a map. If transit apps are to going to really compete with other transport options, they have to be as convenient as them.

Creating an effective city transit app is a daunting task, due to the sheer amount of data and factors which an app needs to include such as cashless payments, real-time updates about stoppages, delays, maintenance, problems on the lines, information about detours and alternative route options to name a few.

Forward-thinking transport apps

London's red telephone booth with traffic jam hyperlapsed

In Hong Kong — a bustling city with more than 57,000 inhabitants per square kilometer in its densest district – the local authorities funded the MTR Mobile app, which really offers local commuters a helping hand. More than just a glorified train schedule and map, the app provides bus and train routes, schedules, a reliable trip planner, in-app ticket purchase, stations, accessibility information and navigation tips for popular tourist attractions.

Another great example is GoLA – a transportation app built by Xerox which is probably the most complete city transit app built to date. Los Angeles is the second largest metro area in the U.S. and home to nearly 4 million people. The sheer number of transit options and available routes pose a big challenge when it comes to creating an effective transit app.

Xerox focused on building an app that calculates the cost and time of all possible modes of transportations available on a specific route based on real-time data, but also added a range of extra functions to reel in consumers. The app can calculate how many calories are burned on each trip, and connects users to Uber, Lyft, local taxi companies and is open to new integrations.

What’s more, to limit the amount of user interaction needed, GoLA has integrated deep learning technology, which learns from user input over time.

In this way, the app can offer the most efficient route based on previous behavior and real-time data, instead of just suggesting the shortest way. Customers can also save trips they take often, like from home to work, in their “My Rides” area of the app. Xerox has also developed a similar app for the public transport system in Denver.

An added bonus is that this type of custom-tailored, user-centric solution creates a pool of big data; the most traveled hours, most popular routes, most common changes and transfers, and user behavior–which can be used to improve the overall public transport service too.

Adding extra value

San Francisco traffic jam at sunset

Effective travel apps need to be designed for the real needs and demands of real users. The London Live Route Planner app, offers a ‘wake me up’ function which sets off an alarm when the bus or train is reaching a sleepy traveler’s final destination.

Lessons could be learned from The Citymapper app, which offers additional features like Smart commute, that updates automatically while on the move, sending users notifications such as when they should leave home to be on time at work, on top of  giving  a clear overview of all the types of transportation in the city.

San Francisco’s MuniMobile, allows users to rate and recommend public transport, based on their experiences. Many transit apps, GoLA included, are open to integrations, and are increasingly viewing transport share startups as partners rather than competitors.

A truly effective transit app should offer users the route that fits their needs, and can get them to their destination in the quickest, most painless manner.

A successful city transit app isn’t just the app that tells you how to get from point A to point B, but the one that tells you where the nearest bicycle share stand is, connects you to your friends who are taking the same transport, and tells you how many calories you’ve burned on your journey.

The newest generation of transit apps needs to be developed for the real travelers who will use it in their day to day lives, otherwise they are more likely to choose more convenient, but less environmentally friendly options.

Different people have different lifestyles and prefer different modes of transportation. It’s up to city authorities and transit app developers to recognize that and provide the best experience possible.

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Money-making Machines: Overview of Top App Monetization Strategies http://blog.shoutem.com/top-app-monetization-strategies/ http://blog.shoutem.com/top-app-monetization-strategies/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 19:21:14 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10631 How do you monetize and what mobile app monetization strategy should you add into your app? You have invested a lot of time and resources into creating a powerful mobile app for your business and the mobile app has been

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How do you monetize and what mobile app monetization strategy should you add into your app? You have invested a lot of time and resources into creating a powerful mobile app for your business and the mobile app has been accepted by your customers, which is more than you expected.

Now you have a dedicated business mobile app, which will allow you to connect, learn about, and get to know your customers. You will also be able to test new sales and marketing channels for every campaign, and boost your brand awareness.

However, you can step-up the game and improve your mobile application – you can turn it into an additional revenue stream, with different mobile app monetization models.

Here are top ways to monetize mobile apps and transform them into money-making machines.

Freemium

Mobile games and streaming apps increasingly use the freemium model to introduce their apps to the masses. The apps can be downloaded from the app stores for free, but to access a full set of features, users need to upgrade to the paid app version i.e. they can either spend real money on virtual goods, or they can subscribe.

In order to make progress in games, users constantly need to level-up, in order to acquire new resources, attack other players or train to get rewards. However, the freemium model always includes “timers,” where users get a power-up every few levels, or within a specific time-span.

To progress more quickly, users can exchange real money, to boost and speed up their progress. The amount of revenue is astonishing: In order of popularity, Clash of Clans earned $1.5 million a day and Pokémon Go was the first app to generate over $600 million since their launch.

Graph of the top mobile apps to reach $600M in consumer spend since launch

Spotify and Evernote offer a free version of their apps, but one needs to subscribe to get access to its full features, such as high-quality audio, ad-free version, offline mode, sync across multiple devices, and a lot more.

Premium (paid) Apps

Premium apps require users to pay for an app before downloading, or even trying it. The general rule for adding the paid app to the app stores is to have unique features, or, if it is a high specialized app, to target a specific niche audience.

The majority of users will be able to download the app; however, due to its specific features and complex functionality, they might have a poor experience, which may result in a bad review.

According to the Gartner forecast, and based on a number of free and paid mobile app store downloads worldwide between 2011 to 2016 (in billions), download figures for paid mobile apps are projected to reach 14.78 billion by 2017, while free apps are projected to reach 253.91 billion.

The graph showing the forecast of free and paid downloads of mobile apps

In-app Purchase

In-app purchases are usually used with the freemium business model. Apps are freely available for download, however, users do have the ability to buy virtual or physical goods in exchange for real money.

While this method has been implemented in the majority of game apps, shopping and e-commerce apps have also implemented an in-app purchase. This gives the users the opportunity to buy directly from the app, which not only reduces the sales cycle, but gives an opportunity for businesses to implement and track their sales campaigns faster.

In addition, buying directly from the app creates a unique shopping experience and shops like ASOS, or marketplaces like Etsy, are perfect examples of well-implemented in-app purchases. Statista projects that the total global sales from in-app purchases will reach approximately $37 billion by 2017.

The graph displaying forecast of worldwide in-app purchase revenue

Subscription

In the past, the subscription business model was established and mastered by newspapers and magazines. In recent years, different types of businesses have introduced their own subscription business models. These models are not limited to the industry or to the products and solutions that businesses offer. The online learning platform Lynda and Dollar Shave Club are perfect examples of this.

In the mobile app world, this model presents a hybrid of premium and freemium. As we have already mentioned, newspapers are the pioneers of this type of business model, even in the mobile app world, and The Economist has applied this model perfectly.

The business model behind it is to offer the app for free, but in order to access its full content, users need to have an active subscription. Once the app is installed on a user’s device, it offers a glimpse of the available content, in order to “hook” users and encourage them to subscribe.

Marvel Unlimited is another example. The app offers dozens of comics that are selected free-of-charge by editors, but the majority of content users without the subscription, can only view a sample of them.

Non-newspaper apps have also applied this business model, and an excellent example is Lumosity, a brain training app. Lumosity offers two types of subscription, with either a monthly subscription of $11,99, or an annual subscription of $59,99.

The key to the subscription monetization strategy is to provide new and fresh content to users on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. If the app does not provide value by means of new content and features, there is no reason for them to keep the subscription active. According to the

According to the Branchfire mobile study, 49% of app users are willing to pay a monthly subscription, while  39% of them are willing to pay for streaming TV/movies apps.

The graph showing the percentage of smartphone owners willing to pay for subscription apps

Advertising

Mobile in-app advertising is one of the most used ways for app monetization and it is usually used by free or freemium apps. The most common way of mobile advertising in the app is via the ads banner, although users usually despise this type of advertising.

However, if the app is receiving a lot of traction in the app stores, ad banners can be a real money-making machine. Remember Flappy Bird? The game earned $50,000 a day from in-app advertisements.

Ad banners can be a great way for monetizing mobile apps; however, there are few conditions. Firstly, they must not be intrusive to users and may not, in any way, disrupt the user experience. Secondly, the type of ads you want to display to users must be chosen wisely.

All non-relevant ads should be ditched, as the risk of a poor experience is almost instantly guaranteed. Different ad networks, like MoPub, AdMob, and DFP, collect user data and, based on this data, claim that one should display only relevant ads, to improve the overall app experience and to deliver good campaign results.

If you do not want to risk using ad banners and bad UX, rather switch to native advertising. The format of the native ads allows for ads to perfectly blend in with the content of the rest of the app, as well as other design elements, which provides a non-intrusive way of displaying ads.

Different type of mobile ad banners used for app monetization

According to data from Polar and BI Intelligence, the average CTR rates for premium native ads on mobile devices were more than 4X higher than the average CTR of traditional, non-native display ads in the United States.

The graph displaying average global CTR rates for premium native ads

Sponsorship and Partnership

While they are not used on a large scale, sponsorship and partnership app monetization models are the right way to monetize your app. This model requires the partners to have a similar target audience or complementary service that could initially spark the interest of a partner’s audience.

This model works in the same way as when advertisers buy ad space on websites. Instead of serving random ads to your users, you can offer ad space and top listings in different categories to advertisers, which will potentially interest your users in the goods and services that they provide.

Example of sponsorship and partnership in mobile app advertising

This type of promotion uses multiple formats, from an ad banner, native advertising, special sales promotions, discounts, etc. Epicurious, a gourmet recipe and shopping list app, partnered with Campbell’s, to focus on branded recipe collections and search listings.

Another successful example of two services joining forces, to provide new insights and data for customers, is the partnership of Localytics and Optimizely Integration, which has delivered winning app experiences.

Conclusion

Multiple app monetization options are available, from which app owners can choose. The decision of which one to implement should depend on the company’s business model. While the ROI on your app investment should be positive, it is very important that you do not become captive to short-term app monetization goals.

The first thing on your mind should be to provide value, to give the best possible user experience and to keep users engaged; if you are able to achieve all these, app monetization will be your newest and latest concern.

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http://blog.shoutem.com/top-app-monetization-strategies/feed/ 0 Graph of the top mobile apps to reach $600M in consumer spend since launch The graph showing the forecast of free and paid downloads of mobile apps The graph displaying forecast of worldwide in-app purchase revenue The graph showing the percentage of smartphone owners willing to pay for subscription apps Different type of mobile ad banners used for app monetization The graph displaying average global CTR rates for premium native ads Example of sponsorship and partnership in mobile app advertising
Hall of Fame: Dona Jo http://blog.shoutem.com/hall-fame-dona-jo/ http://blog.shoutem.com/hall-fame-dona-jo/#respond Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:19:16 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10621 Dona Jo, a women’s athletic apparel brand, created a new sales channel and improved shopping experience with a dedicated e-commerce mobile app.

What is the Dona Jo app, who is it for, and what is its main purpose?

The

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Dona Jo, a women’s athletic apparel brand, created a new sales channel and improved shopping experience with a dedicated e-commerce mobile app.

What is the Dona Jo app, who is it for, and what is its main purpose?

The Dona Jo app is a very important tool for engaging with our most loyal customers. The app is for customers who want to have priority access to new products, offers, and content. The other purpose of the app is to make the shopping experience quick and easy!

What kind of impact did the app have on the business?

The app has been amazing when we want to communicate new products and offers to our customers. We have seen a great number of customers downloading the app, which means they want to connect with our brand and see the new content we create every day.

What are main advantages of a mobile app as a sales channel? Has the app created a new revenue channel?

The app has definitely become a new revenue channel. We believe that as we grow our business, the number of downloads will also increase, and the ability to connect with our customers in this way will set us apart from our competition.

 Black Android and white iPhone smartphones on the wooden table running Dona Jo app made with Shoutem app builder

Why did you decide to create a mobile app?

At Dona Jo we always think about improvements we can make to our sales channels. We ask ourselves how to help our customers make a purchase and have a great experience while shopping. A mobile app is one great solution.

Describe the onboarding process of new app users in a few words.

We currently include the link to download our app in our email marketing campaigns. That way our customers have the opportunity to download the app and also share it with friends and family.

How easy was to make the app using Shoutem?

Shoutem provides a very easy platform to create the app and update its content. We were able to link our website platform to the app so that collections and products can be updated seamlessly.

Which feature in the app will add the biggest value to your users? 

Push notification is the best feature of the app. It allows us to communicate with our customers whenever we want!

You can download Dona Jo app from both App Store or Google Play Store.

P.S. Follow the example of Dona Jo app and build an amazing e-commerce app for your store!

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5 apps to ride out 2016 presidential election http://blog.shoutem.com/5-apps-2016-presidential-election/ http://blog.shoutem.com/5-apps-2016-presidential-election/#respond Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:07:03 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10594 The presidential election race is entering its final phase. The next few weeks will be crucial for candidates as they battle to occupy the Oval Office and obtain one of the most powerful positions in the world.

While about nine

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The presidential election race is entering its final phase. The next few weeks will be crucial for candidates as they battle to occupy the Oval Office and obtain one of the most powerful positions in the world.

While about nine in ten Americans obtain information about the election in a given week, staying on top of all the news, scandals, debates, and other cunning strategies can be very hard for voters.

However, it’s important to have a general overview of the elections: to understand the most important problems the US is facing, where the candidates stand, and how they plan to resolve these problems, so you can make the best possible decision for your country.

These five amazing apps will keep voters up-to-date with presidential election news and political developments and, hopefully, help them decide whom to vote for as the 45th U.S. president.

Voter

If you still aren’t sure whom your vote go will go to, Voter is a perfect app for you. There are five different levels of yes-or-no questions (on topics such as National Security Agency regulations, the war on drugs, taxes, etc.); after completing them, the app shows you which candidate is your closest match. Voter is easy and fun to use as its Tinder-style user interface makes swiping through questions quickly.

If you’re unsure about any of the topics or not familiar enough with them, simply tap on the card and the app will provide more information about the topic with a bullet list of arguments for and against. Voter is available on both App Store and Google Play Store.

iPhone device running Voter app that can help you decide whom to vote for at 2016 presidential election

Settle It!

Regardless of the type of election, we’ve all been in situations where a harmless political discussion quickly escalates into an unpleasant situation around the dinner table, with a cross fire of arguable statements flying all over.

Thanks to the Settle It! PolitiFact’s Argument Ender, you can get true facts in a matter of  seconds. With just a few clicks, you can end almost endless debates and enjoy that delicious pie while it’s still hot. Settle It! is available on both App Store and Google Play Store.

iPhone device running Settle It! app that can help you decide whom to vote for at 2016 presidential election

VoterPal

Only 57.5 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2012 presidential elections and 6 percent of nonvoters said registration problems were their the top reason.

VoterPal makes the registration process as painless and straightforward as it can get. All you have to do is open the app and scan a QR code on the back of any state-issued driver’s license—the app will auto-populate the registration form. From there, the form is sent to your email address, with your state’s specific voter eligibility requirements.

While you still need to print, sign, and mail it, we hope this is the beginning of full online voter registration. VoterPal is available on both App Store and Google Play Store.

iPhone device running VoterPal app that can help you decide whom to vote for at 2016 presidential election

FrontRunner

Before the official election results are published, both the media and the general public follow the latest trends and rely on poll results. FrontRunner delivers the most up-to-date polling results, using the Huffington Post’s Pollster API to track how are candidates performing in the polls over the time.

FrontRunner allows you filter and exclude candidates and track only those you wish to follow or have an affinity for. FrontRunner is available on App Store.

iPhone device running FrontRunner app that can help you decide whom to vote for at 2016 presidential election

Pollenize

Pollenize is another brilliant app that excellently breaks down where each of the candidates stands on specific subjects, such as immigration, taxes, economy, and foreign policy.

The app is developed by a “nonpartisan, apolitical organization,” so the chances of encountering biased reviews of beliefs or questionable information sources are eliminated. Pollenize is available on both App Store and Google Play Store.

iPhone device running Pollenize app that can help you decide whom to vote for at 2016 presidential election

Bonus item

Trump’s Wall

With social media feeds crowded with political posts and TV channels buzzing with propaganda, it’s understandable to want to wander off and take a break from the presidential election. Trump’s Wall is a perfect getaway. You play the role of Donald Trump, and your mission is to build a huge wall to keep the ducks from pooping on Trump’s lawn while he motivates you with his famous quotes.

Just be careful while building the wall: if you knock it down, you’re fired. Trump’s Wall is available on both App Store and Google Play Store.

iPhone device running Trump's Wall app

Think we missed some brilliant apps that can help you survive presidential election? Let us know in the comments.

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Hall of Fame: The Home Shoppe http://blog.shoutem.com/hall-of-fame-home-shoppe/ http://blog.shoutem.com/hall-of-fame-home-shoppe/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 16:43:47 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10578 The Home Shoppe used the power of mobile to capture leads, boost sales, acquire new customers and gain more exposure with a dedicated shopping mobile app.

What is the main purpose of The Home Shoppe app, and who is it

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The Home Shoppe used the power of mobile to capture leads, boost sales, acquire new customers and gain more exposure with a dedicated shopping mobile app.

What is the main purpose of The Home Shoppe app, and who is it for?

The main purpose of the Home Shoppe app is to give existing and potential customers an easier, more fluid shopping experience. Since more people are making purchases on their mobile devices instead of their desktop computers, we can also send customers sales notifications and make it easier for them to browse our full collection in the mobile app.

What kind of effect did the application have on the business?

The app led to more sales and more exposure, especially in categories and products that used to see much slower revenue generation.

Why did you decide to create a mobile app?

Mobile and online shopping has become a vital part of retail sales. With the mobile app, it is easier to capture sales and display our full collection to our customers so they can shop with ease.

Male user shopping with Home Shoppe mobile app

What are the main advantages of a mobile app?

The main advantage of our app is that we can now connect with our customers 24/7. The app is also a great tool for attracting new customers. I think the majority of us can agree that when we engage with a new shop, restaurant, or business in the offline world, we almost immediately check their presence in the digital world, including their apps and social media profiles.

What kind of effect did the app have on your sales and revenue stream?

Due to the easy browsing and good categorization, customers can find and view products easily from their phones. All the images and details for our products are included, which makes shopping and decision-making easier for our customers.

Which feature in the app will your business benefit from the most?

We will benefit the most from the product collections and push notifications. The ability to execute sales and promotional strategies in real time and to get instant feedback and statistics so we know right away what we need to optimize is of great value to us.

Different screens of Home Shoppe app in on white iPhone 6 mockups

How easy was it to make the app using Shoutem?

It was relatively easy for us to make the app with the Shoutem app builder. The interface is user-friendly and super easy, so we didn’t encounter any problems. In addition, the entire publishing process is automated, so we had more time to focus on the app and leave everything else to the Shoutem team.

Which feature in the app will provide the most value to your users?

Users will get the most value from the Shopify integration. With just a few clicks, they can add multiple products to their carts and complete the checkout process. Our users can also contact us directly from the app, get instant results from our product promotions, and get the latest updates from our social media accounts, such as Instagram.

You can download The Home Shoppe app from both App Store or Google Play Store.

P.S. Follow the example of The Home Shoppe team and build an amazing app for your store, attract new customers with a dedicated mobile app, you are just one click away from success!

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Building apps with tab bar layout http://blog.shoutem.com/building-apps-tab-bar-layout/ http://blog.shoutem.com/building-apps-tab-bar-layout/#respond Tue, 04 Oct 2016 13:28:57 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10566 Tab bar layout is the newest addition to the series of platform improvements. This time, our focus was to bring a new design layout to app owners so they can add a brand new look to their apps.

Beginning

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Tab bar layout is the newest addition to the series of platform improvements. This time, our focus was to bring a new design layout to app owners so they can add a brand new look to their apps.

Beginning this week, there’s an additional home screen layout available to choose in the Shoutem app maker. Until now, 11 different layouts were available in the app maker and with tab bar layout, you can now pick from dozen.

Creating an app with tab bar layout

Bottom tab bar layout brings a few benefits to both users and app owners. To users, it allows a quick way to navigate easier between the main views in the app. App owners, on the other hand, have the opportunity to better organize content in the app.

A ‘one thumb’ app navigation

App’s navigation should be one of your major app design priorities. It doesn’t matter how many valuable and good features your have in your app; if users cannot find their way around it, they will abandon it.

In the research conducted by Steven Hoober on mobile device usage, the data shows that 49% of users rely only on one thumb to get things done on their smartphones. From the images below, it’s clear why the navigation should be easy and comfortably reachable for users.

Tab bar layout_Thumb-zone mapping for left and right handed usersThumb-zone mapping for left- and right-handed users. The “combined” zone shows the best possible placement areas for most users. Source: smashingmagazine.com

Bottom bar becomes a standard

The importance of the bottom navigation, on UX side, is even higher as it has been officially added to Google’s Material Design guidelines, making it one of the design standards that Android developers should follow and implement. More and more apps are switching to bottom bar layout, ditching the hamburger menu controversial design.

Spotify, one of the most popular music streaming apps, ditched the hamburger menu in iOS app redesign and the reason is simple – users with the tab bar ended up clicking 9% more in general and 30% more on actual menu items.

With Google, Spotify and other major app developers embracing bottom tab bar layout, the rest should follow and easy navigation in the application should be a high priority. Apps are designed and built for users, and the easier the app is to use, it’s more likely they’ll want to return to it.

“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.” Brian Reed

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Best React Native apps to date [Infographic] http://blog.shoutem.com/best-react-native-apps/ http://blog.shoutem.com/best-react-native-apps/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2016 11:10:13 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10503 With its rise in popularity, it was only a matter of time before apps built with React Native emerged in app stores. React Native is used on a wide scale, from Fortune 500 companies to hot startups, on both

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With its rise in popularity, it was only a matter of time before apps built with React Native emerged in app stores. React Native is used on a wide scale, from Fortune 500 companies to hot startups, on both iOS and Android platforms. Here’s the list of the best React Native apps to date.

In the first part of React Native blog post series we covered the history of React Native, so be sure to check it if you still haven’t.

fb-ads-manager

Ads Manager app is the first full React Native cross-platform app. Creating and managing Facebook campaigns can be a horror story for your marketing team, as it sometimes requires a lot of time, nerves, and patience working with the desktop version of Ads Manager, and results in a temporary “mental breakdown.” On the other hand, Facebook Ads Manager app is a completely different experience.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the app is lightning fast, regardless of the actions you want to perform; from checking the status of a current campaign to creating a new one, all it takes is a second or two at most to navigate to the next step or access the data. The same goes for more complicated actions, like account switching: the completely different set of data is loaded instantly.

From a design standpoint, the interface is clean with intuitive UX and simple navigation. The animations and transitions are flawless; they do not feel unnatural or buggy at any point. The overall experience is magnificent, and if your marketing team isn’t using the app, we strongly advise them to start.

discovery-vr

If you never experienced the power of VR, Discovery VR will fill that gap perfectly. The app brings heart-pounding adventures in a way that you’ve never experienced before, either via VR or 360 videos. Complete UI in the app has been written in React Native, which allows the developers to embed gyroscope and player using the native APIs, demonstrating the true power of React Native.

discord

Discord is another brilliant example of the power of React Native and the type of performance the app can achieve, while sharing 98% of the code in iOS and web app. The app’s performances are incredible; switching between teams and loading channels with a long history of conversations is done in a blink of an eye. Switching from direct calls to voice channels and vice versa is as smooth as it should be.

cbs

If you have always dreamt of being an NFL coach, CBS Sport Franchise Football is the perfect app for you. The app brilliantly simulates the real life experience of NFL coaches: you need to demonstrate your coaching skills throughout the season, manage the player rosters, create new playbooks for your team, analyze your team performances, assign bonuses, and much more.

We loved the onboarding process, and the app guides you through Season 1 to familiarize you with the game and teach you everything you can, and must, do as a coach. But it doesn’t stop there; once you unlock the new options, the app highlights them to minimize your chances of missing them.

gyroscope

Gyroscope allows you to see the complete story of your life; it’s the health app on steroids. Not only can you track steps, your workout, or your heart rate, but with the dozens of integrations you can also track activities like productivity on the computer, or use sleep tracker and automatic Ai to make sure you get enough sleep.

All the data is displayed in two lovely, well-designed views: Simple or Cards mode. All tracked data is aggregated in daily/weekly/monthly reports, and you can easily deep-dive into it and decide on which things you want to focus next.

myntra

Myntra is a perfect example of how a shopping app should look and feel in order to make shopping from your smartphone as easy as possible. Once the app is opened, you just need to pick your interest and the app will populate the Home tab with similar categories or products. It’s a nice way to keep users engaged if they want to discover something new.

We loved the incredible speed of collection loading, the smooth interface, and intuitive UX. For example, if your bag is empty, the app will display a button “Go to wish list,” and if your wish list is also empty, a “Start shopping” button will be displayed – a nice way to lead users towards engagement.

refinery29

Refinery29 provides a unique way to consume the latest news and top stories. The app will serve just 8 short, fun-to-read cards on a daily basis. We loved the whole concept of the app: it requires minimal engagement on the user side; you can stay updated with the latest news within 2 or 20 minutes; and it’s designed in a completely different way than any other news app.

sneat

Sneat takes restaurant apps to the next level for all foodies. Not only does the app provide a unique and simple one-click booking system for restaurants, but its navigation, maps, and payment form are elegantly designed. We hope the app will either extend its restaurant list from Paris-only to other locations, or that similar apps will emerge.

townske

Townske aims to be your travel inspiration city guide on your next trip. The app connects you with locals to get a list of their favorite places and creates a curated list of places to explore and experience as locals do. It’s not mandatory for users to have an account, which is great, as it allows you to quickly find the next location you want to visit.

Imagine that you have low Wi-Fi connectivity, or that your battery is running low – in these cases, it’s a neat feature to have. We loved the design transitions and animations from a list view to a specific guide, as well as the “Save to a list” feature.

aiga

AIGA Design Conference 2015 app is a brilliant example of a conference app; not only does it aggregate a detailed schedule of all events, it also offers an expert local guide to New Orleans. We are amazed by the app’s design: including slick animations (sticky section titles), a minimalist map with expandable items, and nice view transitions. The combination of great design and speed results in a perfect conference app.

Infographic of the best React Native apps to date.

Think we missed some brilliant React Native apps? Let us know and add some of your favorite React Native apps in the comments.

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A brief history of React Native http://blog.shoutem.com/brief-history-react-native/ http://blog.shoutem.com/brief-history-react-native/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:06:53 +0000 http://blog.shoutem.com/?p=10480 The story of React Native is quite fascinating: what started as Facebook’s internal hackathon project, in the summer of 2013, has since become one of the most popular frameworks. The first public preview was in January of 2015

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The story of React Native is quite fascinating: what started as Facebook’s internal hackathon project, in the summer of 2013, has since become one of the most popular frameworks. The first public preview was in January of 2015 at React.js Con. In March of 2015, Facebook announced at F8 that React Native is open and available on GitHub

The story behind React Native

After a little over a year, React Native’s growth and adoption rate doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The statistics on Github repository are impressive: 991 contributors committed 7,903 times in 45 branches with 123 releases, and it’s 14th most starred repository on GitHub. Plus, it’s constantly updated; React Native is following a two-week train release, where a Release Candidate branch is created every two weeks.

Graph displaying number of React Native contibutions to master, excluding merge commits Graph displaying number of pull requests opened for React Native

React Native was backed up by two tech behemoths at this year’s F8 conference: both Microsoft and Samsung committed to bringing React Native to Windows and Tizen. In the near future, we can expect more Universal Windows Platform and Smart TV apps to be built with React Native.

With the support of both community and tech giants, it’s not a surprise that React Native is a trending topic and framework. For the first time in the past 12 months, search terms for React Native surpassed iOS and Android development according to Google Trends.

Google Trends graph displaying framework interest over time where React Native surpassed iOS and Android Development

Falling in love with React Native

Sometime in November 2015, we started to think about the future of Shoutem platform. After 5 years on the market, supporting thousands of individuals, SMBs and big enterprises building their apps, we knew we needed to take our app creator platform to another level. We faced two major problems: technology limitations and customer demand.

With our current platform technology – based on HTML5, Javascript, Cordova, and other solutions – we knew cross-platform could never achieve the level of performance of native apps

On the other hand, customers wanted greater customization freedom and more powerful apps. If you add the rise of SDKs, frameworks for web developers, high global competition, and automated app maintenance that will drive mobile app development prices down, it was the perfect time for a change.

React Native was an obvious choice for multiple reasons. It solved our current architectural problems while allowing us to achieve a level of performance that is indistinguishable from native apps built with Java or Objective-C

Another reason is that React Native is a cross-platform solution: we’re planning to open our platform to other developers in order to supercharge  development and build beautiful native apps for iOS and Android. Furthermore, React Native is super web developer friendly and doesn’t require learning native iOS and Android languages, or native APIs – learn once, write anywhere.

In the end, we also want to open Shoutem platform to other developers and give them the opportunity to extend platform functionalities with new extensions.

Once the new version of Shoutem is officially launched, customization of the apps will be almost endless. Think of it as a WordPress for mobile apps, where extensions behave in the same way as WordPress plugins.

Infographic displaying history of React Native seen by Shoutem

Shoutem UI Toolkit

React Native still isn’t at its peak, and in the near future we expect to see more amazing apps and community contributions that will blow our minds. Remember when we said we fell in love with React Native?

After months of intensive work, last week we finally went official and introduced the first part of the new Shoutem platform, open-source UI toolkit for React Native – an exhaustive UI component set with beautiful themes and animations.

The amount of positive reactions and feedback from the community was astonishing – acknowledgment from Christopher Chedeau, a test restaurant example with Exponent by Brent Vatne, and many others, as well as more than 900 on GitHub means we are on the right track. 

We cannot wait to show you a new version of Shoutem, but until we’re ready to officially launch it, we’d like to hear your feedback on our open-source UI toolkit.

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http://blog.shoutem.com/brief-history-react-native/feed/ 1 Graph displaying number of React Native contibutions to master, excluding merge commits Graph displaying number of pull requests opened for React Native Google Trends graph displaying framework interest over time where React Native surpassed iOS and Android Development Infographic displaying history of React Native seen by Shoutem