Development teams praise the method for multiple reasons, which tickle our interest to learn more about it.
What stands behind the practices of Agile ALM? Let’s find out.
What is Agile Application Lifecycle
The environment in which application lifecycle management develops is getting more complex. The increasing number of technologies, shortcuts to release apps quicker, the increasing amount of customization, continuous change, etc. can lead us to a big tangled mess.
Agile’s first principle – “people over tools” – is exactly what ALM needed to perfect the practices. When we combine Agile development techniques within ALM, we get a process of software development where communication borders are removed, and shorter iteration of review and development are introduced at the same time. Agile frameworks, strategies, and values are integrated within ALM for the best result.
Agile ALM isn’t restricted to specific phases of software development. As the name suggests, it encompasses the whole lifecycle of application management. That includes design, deployment, development, testing, release, etc. The focus is to spread the agile principles across all areas.
Agile ALM accepts the necessary changes all in favor of creating healthy and productive relationships between people and organizations. Teams are able to react more promptly to changes and reorganize accordingly.
It is clear that Agile ALM’s primary focus isn’t the tools but the people. They are trusted to lead their portion of the work and therefore have to deliver high accountability. The flexibility of the open framework of Agile ALM allows adding more functions if necessary. All of this transforms the company into a holistic value delivery system.
For a better understanding of how Agile helps with ALM and why this unification came into existence, we should revise its main principles. Agile Manifesto states four principles of Agile Software Development:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Agile ALM aims to respect and follow these principles through the application lifecycle management. That combination of emphasized human element and communication with technological development is what makes this method successful.
The ways in which Agile ALM adopted the principles within the traditional ALM are the following:
1st principle of Agile in ALM – Instead of solely focusing on steps that will lead to finishing the software, Agile ALM prefers cross-functional team collaboration.
2nd principle of Agile in ALM – Traditional ALM includes extensive documentation while Agile adds the component that prioritizes fast and quality release.
3rd principle of Agile in ALM – Requirement free request for bug fixes is replaced with focusing on customer feedback and getting to know the exact features that need adaptation.
4th principle of Agile in ALM – ALM is traditionally led by an initially composed plan while Agile ALM responds to change and therefore makes the team more productive and attentive to delivering the right functionality.
By implementing the main principles in ALM, companies get a streamlined lifecycle of application management. The flexibility that comes with Agile development techniques allows the company, for example, to check the writing services reviews if they need additional help for content creation and not to struggle while trying to keep up with the plan.
Benefits of Implementing Agile ALM
Agile ALM has many advantages. It is a somewhat new concept, and it is adapted to modern application management practices. Some of the benefits you can expect from implementing Agile ALM are:
Quicker releases along with delivering quality
Organized team collaboration
Improved communication across teams
Increase in productivity
Prioritized customer needs
Making application development fun
A practical approach to coding and deployment
It is obvious that Agile ALM will speed up and perfect the process of software development. This way, teams can get more work done in less time and establish a steady communication flow that will benefit every member.
In addition, the cost reduction will allow developers to invest more in quality equipment and tools, instead of the lengthy process of finishing the task.
How Do Teams Benefit from Agile ALM?
Another major advantage of implementing Agile ALM is that every member of the team benefits by following this approach.
Agile ALM allows team members to:
be creative and come up with their own solution and ideas, instead of following a plan blindly
socialize and collaborate more, learning how to be a part of a high-functioning team
learn how to listen to their customers and use their feedback to improve the final product
Agile ALM will benefit the team members, making them more efficient, creative, and thus beneficial for the company.
Why Do Agile ALM Principles need
to be Internalized?
Agile ALM principles need to be internally embedded and accepted – they have to be effectively established through manpower, tools, processes, and culture. This is the only way in which you can gain consistency across the whole development process.
The releases will be technically and functionally consistent only if engineering processes that comprise development cycles are aligned with Agile ALM. You will be able to track the development progress by linking, organizing, and referencing activities. With the internalization of Agile ALM principles, you can overcome functional and technological barriers and implement a consistent development process.
Agile ALM can bring some notable transformation in the development of the software project. The principles need to be respected, and the Agile ALM needs to be properly implemented to achieve the desired result and reap all the benefits of this development technique.
Developing good design can be done firstly by gathering relevant information as much as possible. The UX design must be perfectly implemented and aligned with existing user requirements to represent an amazing UI/UX.
Current UI/UX Design Trends
In order to stay on top and make your design alluring for users along with a great user experience (UX), here is the list of some latest UI design trends:
Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)
Voice UI and AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Minimalism is already a known trend in UI – the term minimal refers to anything that is stripped to its essentials.
Minimalism in design provides an intuitive and meaningful journey with core elements of the interface for users.
Uncluttered design makes the entire design sophisticated and easy to use plus it brings the aesthetic satisfaction to the user creating a desirable UI. Additionally minimal design is connected with a buttonless tendency which is the base for simplified design.
Minimalism includes some of the following features:
Simplicity and clarity
Attention to proportions and composition
Enhanced attention ratio to core details
Elimination of non-functional elements
Large volume of spare space
Illustrations are important elements of UI design – they enable users to interact in an easier and clearer way.
Custom illustrations establish artistic harmony, add creativity to user interface (UI) and make your design stand out among the competitors.
Hand-drawn illustrations are usually used to leave an organic impression on users connecting them to its usage.
Some illustration methods for UI images are:
Ignite emotions with illustrations like facial expressions, lines, shapes colors and curves.
Design visual stimuli for sending the right message.
Illustration are to be used as main images for landing pages, reviews etc. while they must be balanced well with the business goals
Build brand recognizability with informative illustrations created as per your target audience.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)
Augmented (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have been present as a design trend for some time now and it will definitely be a long lasting trend for the future.
The AR-driven features make the understanding of the features easier, more accurate and better. Augmented Reality (AR) allows users to get real-time feedback about the app and for the design purposes, the best is to study users’ habits like time spent on the app or possible expectations. A great example is within the medical sector – AR can be integrated into telemedicine or online medical consultation purposes.
Virtual Reality (VR) is considered by designers for more than just basic aspects (photography, motions design etc.) but for other elements like interactions, sound design, curved design and surroundings/environment.
Some trends for AR used in UI:
AR avatar representing the user
Real-time face filters (Snapchat like)
Real-time animations when the user interacts with the app
Curved design to make it easier for the users to read the text or images
Display the same depth of all UI elements, menu or text etc.
4. Voice UI And Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We live in the age of Alexa, Siri etc. where voice is used and as per certain studies it will get used in more than 50% of searches by 2021.
If you want to inject some innovation in your applications, app developers should think about a voice user interface. The voice-based UI can be implemented into your UI/UX design process – it provides missing information allowing users to interact with a system through speech commands.
It can help the visitors of your business website to search for information or services with the help of the voice assistant. As people have got accustomed to voice chatbots and virtual assistants, it would be wise for UX designers to incorporate VUI within their apps to make them more interesting for the users.
Tips on creating UX with voice interaction:
Lead the users through the used functionalities
Implement different design guidelines for voice interface
Understand the natural communication of people with their voice
Provide users with options as opposed to graphical UI
The latest of UI trends is a simple monochrome choice when it comes to colours – as simplicity is the key, such choice makes the apps more meaningful. Thus, usage of bold colours should be limited and designers should make the colour gradients and contrasts more enticing for the users.
Some benefits of bright UI and gradients are:
Clear navigation and an intuitive interactive system – highlighting and contrasting of important elements
Increased readability – usage of high contrasting colours should be applied only for highlighting elements
One colour to applied to several elements to show the connection between them
Applying the same of similar colours within logos, websites and mobile apps to increase brand awareness
Trendy colours catch users’ attention even within high competition
Animation is enticing to people of all ages – as a result, there has been an increase in usage of animated illustrations to attract masses.
Using animations in illustrations within web or mobile apps etc. brings a natural feel to the entire UX design – it can perfectly narrate a story that would otherwise be tedious to read if in text.
Using animated illustrations is a wise approach to convey messages to the users in a more effective way.
Benefits of animated illustrations are:
Effective way to narrate a story on the product, service or a brand
Increased user engagement with your product or a service
Increasingly grabs user attention
Neomorphism will become one of the biggest design trends as of 2020.
Its name is coined from NEO + skeuomorphism = neomorphism. Neomorphism is a method of creating an image of extruded shapes by combining shadows to match the real life objects.
Both lower and raised shapes are made of exactly the same material as the background which is easily created by playing with two shadows (at positive and negative values). However, if you want it to work out, the background cannot be completely black or completely white. It requires a bit of hue so both dark and light shadows to be visible.
Benefits of neomorphism are:
Lifeless representations are moved into reality offering a new feel
Represents a detailed design with highlights and shadows
Using Neomorphic cards as a raised shape provides the depth within design
There’s nothing wrong with working under the umbrella of traditional UI principles, but making your design stand out means that you must break the rules sometimes.
Instead of complying to the traditional grid system, you should challenge the basic principles and push the boundaries with asymmetrical grids and layouts.
It creates positive emotions between the brand and the user as you can convey your message within one (or more) image or in a 20-seconds video. The storytelling conveys the story to the users in a more creative and easily digestible way.
Educate your users through your product or a service with storytelling consisting of images and short text – it will help users to quickly understand your message much easier than reading a list of tedious tech specs. Another plus is that storytelling can solidify your brand first impression with the users.
Modifying information to a catchy story will help users to remember your brand in the future.
Benefits of storytelling in UI design are:
Enables easier user journey
Creates effective design for customer touchpoints allowing them to get back again
Make use of a plot and a conflict for more captivating story of your brand
10. 3D Graphics
3D design elements are still on the top of the list of UI design trends – it gained popularity by using the underlying principles of photorealism which increases user engagement.
They are being integrated with the latest technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) allowing UX designers to create hyper-realistic 3D visuals. This way, you can keep the users engaged but be careful as these elements may reduce the speed of your website and always make sure they’re properly optimized.
3D visuals look more appealing to users which trigger their long time engagement.
3D graphics include the following:
360-degree presentation for improved UX design
3D graphics for mobile and user interfaces
Use background elements in order to balance readability and effective user navigation
11. Passwordless Login
With the advancement in technology, people always seek ways to save time. The urgency of skipping the typing of passwords leads us to another important element for users – login without passwords.
In order to solve the issue, the latest UI design trend refers exactly to this issue – designers have begun to utilise various other options for a user login to his/her account.
With biometrics (fingerprints or facial recognition), One Time Passwords (OTP) or a PIN code, users no longer have to worry about remembering all their 50 passwords.
Mobile app designers can keep this UI/UX design trend in mind when they are designing the login page of the web or mobile apps.
Benefits of such passwordless login:
Enables easier and long term user engagement
Creates easy accessibility to your website or app providing user-friendly service
Effective passwordless method with protected user data
Keep this method in mind when designing your login page on your app
12. Dark Mode
The option of ‘Dark Mode’ is already gaining popularity among the latest UI/UX design trends. A dark theme is a low light that displays a dark surface. Users prefer such dark themes mostly because it saves battery life and reduces eye strain (it has been proven that exposure to bright light can affect your eyesight.
Dark Mode has been in use in the new Android 10 and iOS 13 and with the new operating systems, users can toggle between dark and light themes at their own choice and will. If you wish to follow the trends and retain your users, this feature is a must for a future-ready UI design.
Benefits of Dark Mode within your app:
Highlights the design elements
Saves battery usage to a greater extent
Looks attractive and more appealing to most of the users
The trends listed are only some of the most popular which have a tendency to stay for the coming decade as they satisfy the aesthetics of user requirements.
Primary benefits provided by these trends relate to the accessibility and usability of the UI design providing higher user engagement along with the enriched user experience.
Today, social media is the centerpoint of most people’s lives and impacts the way we live, work and recently, the way we learn.
As per the research from Center for Lifelong Learning (C3L), Universitat Oldenburg, Germany more and more teachers incorporate social media into their classrooms not only to engage students but also to support their educational development. No matter if we like it, social media forms the way how students learn and interact nowadays.
Social media is here to stay for a long time so instead of complaining, it would be wise to leverage it as a learning tool.
The Role of Social Media as a Learning Tool
Although some people have negative opinions about social media, using social media for learning purposes is NOT about how many likes your post has.
Social media, used in a classroom, can be guided and cultivated to provide better learning results and critical awareness. It can also allow students more freedom to connect and collaborate outside of the classroom and experience the globally connected world before they enter the workforce.
Social media platforms can be active learning tools where students take place in learning in their own specific way rather than assimilating information. Social media can shape and present information in a meaningful way and since students are mainly accustomed to social media, it makes the process even more exciting than learning by traditional tools.
Even more, sharing information with other students promotes deeper engagement between students plus it can be a strong motivator as students can put more effort to their work knowing that it will be interacted through social media.
Types of Social Media Tools
There are various social media platforms yet here are some of the most popular ones:
Google Docs and other collaborative document tools to store and edit data
Blogs with a comment features to share and discuss details
Skype to engage more with each other as well as materials
Facebook to create groups and share information internally
Twitter and hashtags to encourage open forum and debates
Linkedin and other social networks to build connection
Ways to Implement Social Media to Classroom Activities
Google Apps – stay connected anywhere
Google offers a wide variety of helpful tools from Google Docs to Google Classroom which has been extensively used for lectures and classes during the Corona pandemic.
Teachers can create your own Google Classroom where you can have video meetings, create and manage your classes, assignments and grades as well. You can add materials to your Google Drive and create surveys with help of Google Forms for a direct and real-time feedback.
Students can track their classwork and submit assignments online while sharing resources and interact in class stream via email. Google Docs is a great tool as students can learn to utilise various features it offers from formatting options up to share, comment and tag option among many others. Students can also use Google Slides to make presentations or Google Sheets to create data tables or make charts.
The students research different topics and share their findings with the class via Google Hangouts or other tools and further engage in a collaborative learning process.
Blog – leverage the power of blogging
Writing blog posts gives students an opportunity to use and produce digital content – there are different blog platforms such as WordPress, Wix, Tumblr or Medium where teachers can create a class blog.
Then, explain the elements of research and writing authentic, plagiarism free blogs. It does not have to be always curricular stuff but you can also encourage their creative writing abilities. Give them to actively read and comment on each other’s blogs.
By giving the writing assignments as blogs, you can create an environment around it – you can give points for comments and discussions, giving feedback and more.
Such blogging practice encourages research and develops creative abilities with students. The subject syllabus and any tasks and resources can also be shared on a blog as a central location where blog as a semester assignment can improve students’ writing and critical thinking.
Skype – use video conferencing to teach your students
Skype is the most known tool for people of all ages but it is not just for use with friends or work mates. Teachers have been using Skype to connect with their students as well as to connect the students with others around the globe, aka ‘pen pals’ in the digital age.
You can also use Skype for larger group projects – for example, matching students that attend the same subject can bring a whole new dimension when studying history or science. The teacher can hold a lesson over Skype and share their screen for students to understand better. Since connection sometimes can be unstable, use the screen recorder apps to record the lesson and watch it on-demand for better results.
As social platforms make the world a smaller place, you can contribute by inviting a guest lecturer who would provide a real life perspective on their own field of expertise – that way, students can ask questions they’re interested in and catch a glimpse of some processes related to the guest’s knowledge.
Even more, you can try connecting with other classrooms from across the world and enable students to experience how it looks like to have a class outside your country.
Another good idea is video messaging – it increased in popularity due to recent remote and hybrid school and work, but kids would find it fun and exchange video messaging. In order not to outgrow the educational moment, teachers should create rules for this type of lecture.
Facebook – create a classroom group
Facebook is another social media platform which can be used in your classroom.
Teachers can create a Facebook group for your class as groups have privacy settings and are a safe place to share information online. Be careful before you take this step; you have to make sure that every single student in your class has access to a smartphone, tablet, or a computer. It is mandatory for teachers to also talk to the parents since some of them might not approve their children to have Facebook profiles.
As younger generations love to document every part of their lives, the teacher can take an advantage of this and share photos of class activities or field trips.
There are many more options to try out like Facebook polls where you can easily create polls, class materials for students or post events like field trips with all the relevant details while students can sync their calendars with Facebook.
You can also share educational content, videos and articles from reliable sources related to the topic studied in class. The great thing is that those documents or links are only accessible to the Facebook group.
Twitter can be great as a learning tool – if all yoru students have phones with Internet access, it would be great to organize a Twitter discussion during the class – you can come up with a hashtag together which will be related to the discussion and students can do an online research and tweet a post within 15 minutes.
Twitter can help teachers with reminders for assignments or sharing helpful resources for students who can later create discussions around a certain hashtag they’ve created themselves. There are so many education hashtags that students can use and analyze what has been trending lately.
The teacher can ask students to tweet a summary of a book or just set a question for students to answer via this platform.
Another interesting idea is to get celebrities’ tweets and check them for grammar or spelling errors and have them retweet the celebs’ message minus the errors.
Twitter can definitely implement a fun aspect within learning and it is also excellent to stay in touch with both your students and parents via sharing about your class updates.
You can create a class-specific Pinterest board and save pins relevant to lessons – you can create boards as per a subject and sub-topic boards for weekly lessons. Pinterest can also be useful for students to pin websites, books or videos to a board that will later help them when it’s time to write.
Your students can divide boards as per related topics and follow each other’s collections and later, you can choose together the best resources and make a presentation for the class. For example, you can ask students to choose the most inspiring historical buildings or monuments within your city, collect the facts and create Pinterest boards where they will present as projects for history class.
Another great use of Pinterest is for career tips – you can create a board full of career resources, job statistics or resume tips which will help them to get ready to tackle the future job hunt.
Youtube – create your channel
Teachers can use YouTube to create a channel for their class, publish their own educational videos, Vlogs and podcasts.
You can get your students to watch educational videos on a certain topic or listen to informative discussions in class related to the subject topic. YouTube can revive the idea for students to engage with each other and learn something new or pick up knowledge throughout the whole process.
One of the examples is TED Talks – it offers a plethora of lectures from experts as well as educational organizations like BBC’s Open University which has its own YouTube channel containing high quality content.
If you don’t have time to maintain a YouTube channel or a podcast, you can find some interesting and relevant content and share it regularly with students and keep the knowledge flow – you can even play it in class and afterwards organize a discussion about it.
Linkedin – build networks
Linkedin is today’s number 1 business network but it can be used in class as well. Many companies, including schools and universities, are present on Linkedin and there is a large number of official Linkedin groups focused toward smaller niches like colleges, degree programs, etc. which can align with some of your students’ interests.
It is much better to teach your students how to start networking before their job hunt – if they participate in Linkedin now while students, they will have a solid network by the time they graduate or start a job search.
This way, they will learn basic principles of conduct on Linkedin, have access to a network of other students, graduates or faculties all over the country and get introduced to other benefits like webinars, lectures or events dedicated to a certain topic which is of interest to the students.
You can never know when a fellow colleague or a former professor may be able to help you with your life and career so it’s important to learn the process of networking to be ready for later challenges.
Instagram or Flickr – make projects more fun with photos
It has always been easier to remember when seeing photos or graphics. When it comes to images, Instagram or Flickr can be a great source for a photo-based lesson or a project.
Students can use Instagram for a photo essay or to present a series of photos while storytelling. Instagram is different from other social media as it can allow students to practice digital storytelling.
Ideas on how to use Instagram are many – for example, if you organize a school trip, assign your students with random hashtags (#nature, #sightseeing, #beach etc.) and ask them to take photos. The hashtags will motivate them to take specific types of photos which you can review later and choose the best ones. Students can create class related Instagram accounts and make their photo essays which will be posted on the Instagram or Flickr profile.
Such projects will make your students realize the potential of social media and how to use them in a meaningful way. If you notice that a certain method does not give proper results, try something different.
Social media has a huge potential, just make sure to use it properly for educational purposes.
Benefits of Social Media in Classroom
Social media and technology are integral parts of our daily lives and implementing these into the classroom feels more natural than ever before.
None of social media is the same – all platforms have their own different ways to be used in a classroom and it can represent a more direct communication tool for students, teachers and parents.
Social media enables more e-learning opportunities as well since online classes have become ‘a new normal’ today – it can train and prepare students to work remotely which is an important lesson where social media can help.
Social media triggers more collaboration in students’ work and helps students to recognize real-world applications of social media.
Replacing traditional learning methods with social media in your classes can broaden students’ creative expression and engage them to work more in the class.
As we live in the technology world, it would be wise to introduce the students to proper usage of social media and prepare them for later when they grow to join the workforce.
First of all, monitor how students use social media during class as these platforms can easily become a distraction. Also, check with your school about the policy regarding the usage of social media in class. Educate your students and explain how important social media can be as an educational tool.
Students already use social media on their own and they usually try to mimic the things they see, many of which are not the best examples.
As a teacher, your duty is to set a responsible example for your students. Educate them on risks of social media and guide them to use it to learn new things and build their good reputation.
It is crucial to understand the impact of social media in education prior to using it and if used with care, social media can positively influence the way each person learns in the classroom.