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Best Practices on How to Design and Develop an App in 2021

More than 218 billion apps were downloaded worldwide last year and the trend shows an increase every year. In fact, just 4 years ago the mobile app revenue was at 285 billion US dollars and is expected to reach almost 700 billion US dollars in 2021.

There’s money to be made if you own an app, but the competition is fierce and it’s important to deploy the optimal strategy for your app, otherwise your time and money will be poorly spent.

If you are interested in building an app and making sure it stands out from the competition, you must have an outstanding app design and utilize senior app development techniques that will leave your competitors in the dust.

Source: pinterest.com

The best apps all have a modern and simple user interface, an easy way to navigate the app and absolutely no, zilch, zero show-stopper bugs. A skilled app development agency can help you get the most out of each of these important attributes.

Before you contact an app development agency or a freelance developer, it’s wise to understand the app development process so you’re not jumping in blind-folded. Our guide will walk you through the process so you know exactly what it takes to be a winner.

Phase 1: The beginnings

1. Brainstorm your app

Having a carefully considered plan is going to build the foundation for everything that is coming later, so you need to do your homework before calling the designers and developers.

Keep these points in mind when you brainstorm:

  1. What are the core features your app should help solve?
  2. What are your competitors currently offering?
  3. Why would users switch to your app? What features will you include to make it stand out?

These 3 points are the fundamental questions you should be answering in the early phase. 

Once you have these written down, you can always refer to them later as your milestones for the following phases.

2. Write down the basics and form a strategy

After thinking about the answers to the questions above, expand and add more detail to each. 

What do you want your app users to focus on, what’s less important and should be put on a sub-page?

Consider how your app is going to make you money. There are pros and cons to each payment structure.

Completely free

Maybe you want the app to be free to the user and paid for by in-app advertising banners. There are several mobile advertising platforms and they each offer their own monetization structure. Check Google AdMob, AdColony, StartApp, UnityAds, and Epom to see which works for you.

You should also consider the type of in-app ad style you want to include. There are:

  • Banners (small rectangular ads embedded on the app screens)
  • Interstitial ads (appear when switching between screens)
  • Native ads (designed to look like part of the app and less intrusive)
  • Video ads (can offer rewards for clicking)
Source: inspirevisual.com

One-time payment

Require a one-time payment for unlimited use of your app. This used to be the only alternative to free apps, but their popularity has dwindled with the introduction of subscription and micro transaction payments.

Ongoing subscription

This is the most popular revenue generating model for apps, especially on the Apple store. In 2020 annual spending on the top 100 subscription apps in the United States, was led by Apple’s App Store at 4.5 billion US dollars followed by Google’s Play Store at 1.4 billion US dollars.

Micro transactional payments

Another very popular payment method and only surpassed by subscription based payments. Micro transactions are small payments within the app that expand the features of the app, either for lifetime or for a limited time. This is an especially popular method used by gaming publishers.

3. Do in-depth analysis of your competition

Research of your competition is a critical step in the process of app development. It’s essential to understand the market niche of your app and to determine the competition. There is a lot of selection and competition in the app world, so you’re going to want to make sure you have a truly unique idea.

It doesn’t matter if there are many apps already available and similar to your app idea, because yours could be the one to beat them all.

By spending some time looking at your competitors’ apps, you’ll be able to find out their weaknesses and if you read the reviews, you’ll also find out what people want that is not already in the app.

Based on your research, add features that they don’t have, because that’s what you are going to emphasize when you promote your app

No one is going to switch to your app if it’s just a carbon copy of an already existing app, but they’ll quickly be on-boarding if you are offering useful extras.

Phase 2: Now it’s time to Design and Develop

4. Visualize the App

Wireframes are simple drafts created to outline the look and feel of your app. They are similar to blueprint drawings for a building, except that they outline every screen, interactive object and the interactions between them.

While wireframes can be put down on paper initially, it’s recommended to use one of the many online tools. Digital wireframes will make it much easier to make changes, especially as your wireframes become more detailed and complex in structure.

Once your wireframes are completed, you can share them with your friends, colleagues and team members for feedback on the navigation and structure of your app. If there are any show stoppers this is the time to find out, before you move onto the design and development of the actual app. Making changes in a wireframe tool is much more costly and time effective than having to do it later.

If you have no idea what tools are available, don’t fret. We’ve got a list of the 3 best coming up.

All the wireframe tools listed are top contenders in their field. They are perfect for laying out an entire app structure and interaction.

These tools are great for beginners with intuitive interfaces and tutorials available for any additional guidance needed.

Axure

Axure is widely popular as a wireframe tool allowing designers and UX gurus to create flowcharts, wireframes and mockups. It can even go a step further by providing the option to build prototypes of apps, meaning functional wireframes that can be navigated by clicking around.

Additionally, it’s possible to add interactive design diagrams and functionality using sitemaps, UIs and HTML.

Another great feature for teams is the option to collaborate with team members and add comments throughout for feedback.

Axure offers templates for setting up wireframes for Android, iOS and web based apps. The blank canvas presented initially can be populated by simple screen layouts and later have animation effects, clickable elements and more added for an impressive visual presentation.

The wireframes can be exported to preview on mobile phones, further improving the app’s functionality and usefulness for testing out concepts.

You can get started with Axure for $300/annually for an individual user or $504/annually per user for a team license with additional features such as co-authoring, revision history and cloud hosting.

Source: axure.com

Moqups

A streamlined visual tool combining diagrams and design in one online solution.

With Moqups it’s possible to wireframe any app you can think of. It also supports mockups, mind maps, diagrams, and prototypes in a small efficient package.

The tool is entirely web based, so it requires an internet connection to build your app project, but most should be able to meet that requirement.

As with the other wireframe tools, it also supports team collaboration. Since it’s all done online there’s no issue working with a remote team placed in different locations in the world.

Moqups offer a Pro plan including 3 users for $192/annually or an Unlimited plan with no limit to the amount of users at $588/annually. They also have a free plan to try it out. It’s limited to 1 project and 200 objects with 5 MB of storage. Each button and graphical representation counts as 1 object, but at least you can try it out.

Source: moqups.com

Mockplus

Introduced in 2018, Mockplus is a relatively new player in the market. It provides wireframing and prototyping on Android, iOS, PC, Mac and Web.

With more than 3000 icons and close to 200 components, there’s plenty of drag and drop elements available to build the interface you are envisioning.

By scanning a QR code, it’s possible to preview wireframes on a real device in real-time. Since it’s all built in HTML the compatibility is pretty much universal and if you are somewhere without an internet connection, wireframes can be downloaded for offline use.

It supports app team collaboration so multiple people can work on it simultaneously.

The price tag is $199/annually for an individual or $1999/annually for a team (10 members max).

Source: mockplus.com

5. Get started on the design

Once you have a sign off on the wireframes starts the fun part: Making your app pretty.

This is a vital step in the success of your app, because you have to make sure your coming app users will really enjoy using your app and not be turned off by an out of date design or just a plain poorly designed app with cut-off content or hard-to-navigate UX design.

Here’s where you decide what color palette you want to be applied to your app and what fonts and icons to use.

If you are a designer yourself you can try sketching up some designs yourself, but you have to know all the limitations of designing for the device(s) you are targeting. You also have to know what the current trends and visual styles are, or even better, what’s soon to come.

Unless you have designed apps before, it’s probably better to hire a professional app designer and work with them. You can suggest your vision and see them bring it to life.

The alternative and probably better option would be to hire an app development company and work with their designer. The advantage of hiring the entire team is that they’ll communicate and be on the same page throughout the project. Hiring people individually can be a recipe for disaster unless you are a pro project manager.

6. Let’s Put the Pieces Together with Development

You’re now at the phase where the design is ready to be handed over to the development team. They will review the technical requirements and choose the best technology stack for the app.

Each developer is assigned a specific module to complete if developing in sprints. Sprints usually are done in two week phases and at the end of each phase the app will be tested by the QA team to be sure no bugs are present for the final release.

During this phase your app is programmed natively for either Android or iOS or as a cross-platform solution for both devices in one source code. Any back-end integration with servers and APIs are also performed in this step.

In addition to the developers another team is also brought in through this phase. They are the Quality Assurance team. More about them in the next phase.

7. Testing, 1-2-3

The Quality Assurance team tests the app throughout development for any bugs, inconsistencies or anything not looking according to the requirements. All issues are logged in a bug tracking tool and sent back to the developer until the issues have been resolved.

Usually app development includes an alpha and beta test phase. The alpha test phase is the test phase described above and is all happening internally.

The beta phase is when your app is almost ready to be launched on the app store. At this point you do a soft launch in a live environment similar to the final environment. The app is hosted on the publisher’s app repository, but in an invite-only status.

A selected group of people are then asked to download the app and give feedback and report any bugs or issues they experience during use.

Once you have gotten feedback from everyone and adjusted the app accordingly, your app is ready for the official launch in the app stores.

8. Launch, it’s time to show the world

All there is left now is getting your app ready for the launch

You have to write descriptions, compile enticing screenshots and videos, figure out what geographic locations your app should be available in and of course the price of your app or payment model.

If you are launching on the Google Play store (for Android devices) there is no review phase before your app is pushed into the store. Apple’s App store does require the app to go through an Apple review first. Fortunately, it’s a quick 1 to 2-day process, so it won’t delay the app release significantly.

Conclusion

Once your app is live, don’t rest on your laurels.

 An app has to be maintained regularly to stay up-to-date and bug-free. Sometimes new programming functions are introduced by Apple or Google and others are removed, so it’s necessary to keep an eye on crash reports coming in and fix any issues immediately.

Developing and maintaining an app is an exciting venture – enjoy your app ride and make it a long lasting one. 

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Michael Frederiksen is a guest blog author and co-founder of Inspire Visual.  

Useful Meditation Apps to Help You Reduce Workplace Anxiety

Life has been quite stressful recently due to the pandemic and anxiety can affect anyone as it has nothing to do with your social or financial status. Negativity and stress at work can be caused by many elements, from tight deadlines to inability to resolve certain issues. 

Prevalence of smartphones has led to an increase in well-being related apps – many of these apps help people deal with ordinary stressors or day-to-day mood issues through anxiety.  

In this post, we will list some modern applications that can help you reduce negative energy and the stress caused by challenges in the workplace. That way you will be able to sooth your mind and restore your productivity.

What are Anti-stress Applications?

Anti-stress apps are online applications that can help you to meditate and reduce stress and negative energy from your mind. Meditation is not a new term – it is an ancient practice that has been around for many centuries. As there are many applications on the market for various purposes, like educational apps or apps to help you improve specific skills, there are also meditation apps helping you to channel your stress and improve your well being. 

Nowadays, in 2021, the practice of meditation has changed. Today you have mobile applications that can provide you with full-on sessions for meditation. These antistress apps are also known as mind relaxing utilities. 

Source: theinfoblog.com

We have listed below some of the top-notch options in this league:

Best Antistress Apps in 2021

There are hundreds of antistress games available on the Internet, but not all of them are as effective as the ones that are mentioned in this section:

Antistress, Relaxing, Anxiety & Stress Relief Game

Today, meditation practices exist in various formats. One of the popular ways of releasing stress is by playing mind relaxing games apps. 

This relaxing game on Android application is very effective and reliable and ranked among the top antistress game apps available on the Playstore. 

Some of the features this relaxing game meditation mobile app offers are:

  • Realistic 3D brain exercises 
  • High quality relaxing sounds to release stress
  • 3D fidget toys
  • Calming Games
  • More than thirty different free games for mind relaxation and more.

If you are a user fond of playing online games, then this mobile app would definitely be a match for you. 

Source: mtv.com

Calm – Free meditation sessions for everyone

Calm is a very popular antistress application on the app store. This app stands out from the crowd because it offers simple and impressive meditation sessions to its users. If you want to get rid of stress in your workplace or increase focus on your work, you can rely on Calm.

There are multiple 10-minute sessions in this app that can help you to focus better at your workplace. Some of these sessions include:

  1. Mindfulness meditation
  2. Spiritual meditation
  3. Movement meditation,
  4. Mantra meditation and more

The basic meditation sessions of calm are free and are considered to be best for a person who is facing minor anxiety.

Source: businessofapps.com

Headspace – The ultimate breathing exercise and antistress app!

Headspace is another antistress mobile app designed to relieve stress both physically and mentally. It provides you with plenty of breathing exercises, meditation sessions, and fun exercises which can help you reduce stress. 

Headspace offers you different kinds of techniques for free, including:

  1. Diaphragmatic breathing
  2. Breath Focus technique 
  3. Lion’s Breath
  4. Equal breathing 
  5. coherent breathing etc. 

Breathing is known to be one of the top keys for dealing with stress and anxiety. If you share the same viewpoint, try out this application and see whether it works for you!

Source: headspace.com

Aura – Emotion, Stress, & Sleep Management expert!

Aura mobile app is best for self-care for people of all ages, improving your sleep cycle and relieving stress. There are many good things about this mind relaxing games app that makes it a popular choice for readers from all across the globe:

  1. The app provides personalization preferences.
  2. You are not bugged with default sounds and sessions.
  3. You can get customized meditations according to your mood
  4. It offers a free version.
  5. It has a very simple and intuitive UI!

Aura allows you to select your preferences and provides you with automatic sessions and activities for relaxation. As a user, you might not be able to select the right session for you but you can surely tell the application what mood you are in. 

In this Covid pandemic, Aura is also providing free sessions for three months which provides users with plenty of time to try it out!

Simple Habit

Simple Habit is another mobile application that is most suitable for busy lifestyles – you can tune in when you wake up, even while driving or going to sleep.  

IT was said to be a number #1 wellness mobile app and was recommended by top psychologists and mental health experts. 

You are given a choice of a 5-minute meditation guided by the world’s best experts, you can track your progress with Mindful Minutes and access your meditations offline with Premium Subscription to be able to meditate at any time. 

The app lists a variety of benefits like improved focus, better sleep, reduction of stress, increased sense of perspective and more. The app also offers both versions, Android and iOS. 

Conclusion 

We’ve provided you with a list of a few top meditation apps that can help you to get rid of stress accumulated at the workplace. 

Maintaining your mental health is important as it can affect your overall health so make sure to try out some of the meditation apps and see if any suits your own needs!

Why is Mobile App Security a Top Priority for Developers

The current pandemic forced us to stay home due to social distancing measures and such shifts in behaviour increased the demand for mobile apps, both Android and iOS.

Such wide usage comes with security risks although not all users understand the importance — such lack of knowledge can be exploited by cyber attackers.

Mobile apps without security protocols put forth extreme risks to both users and developers as unprotected vulnerabilities may become targets to hackers for malware attacks or data breach.

There are over 4.8 billion mobile phone users and if any virus goes viral, it can be harmful to the global digital community.

Mobile app security must be the top concern as any unsecured mobile app is at high risk level.

What is Mobile App Security?

Mobile app security is the measures of defending a mobile app from fraudulent attacks like malware, hacking or other criminal manipulations.

Different technologies used in mobile app protection target different sorts of cyber threats that a mobile device can pose due to the apps installed in them.

Mobile app security represents the amount of protection an app has from malware, phishing and other harmful hacker crimes.

Android is a good example — being an open framework, it is more vulnerable to MITM attacks (man-in-the-middle), data breaches, or malware assaults as opposed to iOS platform which is exclusive to Apple users.

How can developers protect the apps and their users from privacy risks and cyber assaults?

Source: april9.com.au

Reasons to Secure Your Mobile App

Most of the world’s workforce is working remotely nowadays while some companies hire freelance workers that use their own laptop or computer to do the company’s work — such an approach carries risks of attacks.

A single breach is enough to invade the privacy of the company’s system and customers. Hackers’ usual targets are high ranked officers in the company as they hold more valuable data thus it is crucial for developers to inspect the app security — developers have to provide the latest security features to protect user privacy and data.

Mobile app security, if done properly, enables users to protect confidential and private data, protect themselves from data loss, malware and virus attacks as well as from lawsuits of unprotected systems.

Important Steps in Mobile App Security

Important steps in securing a mobile app include:

Secure Database

In order to secure a database, your storage must be fully encrypted and backed up with well defined data access to prevent any data breach.

Developers have to store user databases, credentials and other critical data in a secured place, no matter if it is a device or a cloud-based server.

Source: techdissected.com

Secure Source Code

Developers must provide a high level of security so that hackers cannot access your app’s code or decipher it with diverse methods like obfuscation or conceal code.

For example, Android has a Pro-Guard, a built-in feature making codes into confusing characters. Since Android is an open-source platform, it is more prone to cyber attacks and due to that reason, developers must ensure safe source code to prevent any possibility of alterations by cyber threats.

Secure Data Transmission

Developers must encrypt data in order to secure data transmission as it is extremely important for apps that transfer data like users’ private information or banking details. You should use secure channels via VPN tunnels, SSL, TLS or HTTPS communication.

If you do not encrypt data, the data transmission will be unsafe. If encryption-decryption algorithms are weak, they can be easily decoded by hackers leaving the app data in the open.

You should use strong cryptography to prevent snoopers, packet-sniffers and MITM attacks:

  • Input validation tests — they prevent malformed data from entering the app database. Such validations are already available in most mobile frameworks where you can customize it for an additional security layer to your app.
  • Data portability is the data that can be accessed across different platforms or services like the most popular one being ‘Social Login’ being a process of login to apps or sites with your Google, Facebook, Instagram or other login info.

These actions help developers to complete a thorough data protection and to add user-privacy and authentication from square one.

Sign-up procedures also become more user-friendly while improving user experience and satisfaction.

Source: accellion.com

Perform Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is a process where a malware is imitated on your device to be able to search for any defects that can be exploited. Such testing is commonly used to improve web application firewalls (WAF).

Make sure to test your code for any sensitivity to injection attacks. Adapt and modify your WAF security policies and patch the bugs before launching your mobile app. Pen testing is independent from standard software testing but both of those are crucial to boost your app’s security.

Make it a custom to review and test the previously written code to test flaws and implement improvements.

Source: mkcybersecurity.com

Use Tokens for High-level Authentication

A token is a unit that securely transmits information about a user identity between the applications and websites. A security token authenticates a person’s identity electronically by storing some sort of personal information.

Mobile apps developers use tokens to monitor their user sessions efficiently and the same tokens can be either approved or withdrawn.

Usage of complex passwords should be applied — apps should be designed to accept only medium to strong passwords with alphanumeric characters and it must be renewed regularly, e.g. on each six months or so.

OTP (one-time PIN/password) is valid only for one login session on a computer or other devices. You can add it to make sign-ups more secure while adding a two-factor verifications also adds an additional layer or encryption making your app even more secure.

Other authentication methods can include fingerprint or retina scan — in the future, biometric access systems will probably get introduced to level up the security measures. Biometric testing can also be used for other purposes, like in workplace wellness system to set a standard of reference for employee health.

Source: beroeinc.com

Tips for a Better Mobile App Security

Here are some of the common ways to build a safe and secure mobile app:

Write a Secure Code

The code is the most susceptible element of any mobile application and it can be exploited by hackers. Developers should write highly secured code for the apps and also perform code hardening and signing as a practice for developing the best quality code.

Encrypt the Data

Encryption is a process of taking plain text (message or email) and translating it into an unreadable format called ‘cipher text’. Encryption helps to protect confidentiality of digital data which is either stored on the computer or transmitted through the Internet. Once the intended recipient accesses the message, the information is translated back to its original format.

Encryption is said to be one of the most effective ways to save your data from being exploited in a malicious way. Even if your data gets stolen, the hackers will not be able to decipher it and will be useless to them, too.

Source: thesslstore.com

Be Careful with Libraries

Usually, mobile apps need third-party libraries for code building. You should not trust the library your app is using as most of those are not so safe.

If you use diverse libraries, you should ALWAYS test the code as the flaws existing in the library can affect your code and allow hackers to use malicious code and crash the system.

Source: http://zesium.com/top-10-libraries-for-android-developers-in-2021/

Use Authorized API

You should ALWAYS use authorized API in your app code as it is recommended to have central authorization for the entire API to obtain maximum security in a mobile app development system.

API calls are usually protected by a simple API key and user credentials (often as an access token). Mobile apps are often less secure and since installed on a device, hackers can also install an app on a device they control in order to manipulate the app and find weaknesses.

That is why each API should require app-level authentication.

Use High-Level Authentication

Authentication mechanism is the most important part of mobile app security. Weak authentication processes are the top vulnerability in mobile apps.

User authentication must be considered as highly important from a security point of view. The common way of authentication is via passwords (medium to strong) which cannot be broken by hackers easily.

Conclusion

Having a mobile phone is a large part of our everyday lives and many underestimate the value a phone holds when it comes to the information it stores. Your phone contains much data from social media data to banking information.

When developing a mobile app, ensure that the app does not leave users susceptible to malicious attacks or privacy breaches.

Mobile app security protects the app and the data within — although users may install antivirus or anti malware software and use VPNs, if the app gets invaded by hackers or infected, users will still be open to cyber threats.

As a mobile app developer, always prioritize a robust level of protection and data privacy in the app for your users.

Originally published on Medium on 11 June 2021

https://medium.com/dataseries/why-is-mobile-app-security-a-top-priority-for-developers-28f5cc80c072

The Best Mobile Apps to Help You Learn Programming

Programming is a category of computer science where you study how to build desktop, mobile or web apps. 

There are many programming languages today but as the IT industry is constantly changing, you must learn and practice on your own if you want to become a successful programmer. 

If you are new to programming, you should start with basics and once you master basic concepts, you can move to more advanced topics. After you pass those topics, you can continue to design and write programs on your own. 

In case you do not have a PC or a laptop, you can learn to develop apps or websites via your mobile phone with some of these free Android and iOS applications.

The Best mobile apps to learn programming

SoloLearn

SoloLearn is one of the most popular apps to learn C++, Java, Python, SQL, CSS, HTML, C# etc. and has a largest collection of FREE code learning content.

Each part is divided into ‘chapters’ – after each chapter, you need to pass the knowledge quiz to move onto the next chapter. SoloLearn follows the best practice of a college online course where you can participate in forums or ask questions. 

You can write and run real code in the mobile code editor, get ideas through real-life code samples, and engage in interactive community conversations throughout the way. 

SoloLearn app gives an opportunity to users to leave their comments on each chapter and awards you with a certificate once you complete the course. 

IT hosts a forum where you can discuss diverse topics with your fellow colleagues plus it provides a code play area where you can discover several programming quizzes enabling users to compile and run the quiz code.  

SoloLearn has launched apps on the Google Play Store and Apple Store

Source: play.google.com

Programming Hub

Programming Hub is a top-rated app for learning programming languages and as per its developers, you can learn up to 18 different languages. 

Its main interface displays a list of languages where you can select the preferred language to learn – it offers complete courses with over 1800 programs and you can choose to learn at your own pace with the access to course materials no matter where you are, even offline. 

Programming Hub helps you to build your programming skills with a game-like experience with interactive coding lessons for many languages like HTML, Javascript, C, C++, C#, Swift, Python, R Programming, Java, Artificial Intelligence, CSS, etc. for free.

Besides programming courses, coding examples and compilers, some other features include concept based illustrations and regular updates of course content. 

Programming Hub was released in both versions Android and iOS but if you would like advanced features, you will have to pay and subscribe.

Source: programminghub.com

Enki

Enki is an award-winning app useful for both beginners and more skilled developers providing you with 20+ programming languages. 

It acts as your personalized learning coach where you need to choose at least 2 topics to get started with the app – Enki organizes lessons into different levels: from beginners to experts giving you an opportunity to learn the parts you want.  

With Enki, you can bookmark your lessons, leave comments/questions plus you can set a reminder for your learning lessons thus facilitating the entire learning process for you. 

Enki supports a strong community and you can engage in discussions, team up with your friends or colleagues and track each other’s progress or share your favourite lessons with your preferred contacts. 

Enki has versions in Android and iOS

TechCrunch

Compared to free reading options this is structured, personalized content. Enki creates a 5-minute “workout” for software developers to learn important concepts in their spare time.”
Source: play.google.com

PluralSight

Pluralsight is a learning platform for you to build your tech skills where you can access 7000+ courses with ample of expert videos, downloadable content, certificate preparations and more. 

Pluralsight covers many tech topics from software development (C++, C#, Java, Python, React etc.), Cloud Computing, AI and Machine Learning, IT Ops, Information Security and more.  

You can bookmark the courses you like and come back to them later, even offline – no matter the device, your courses and progress are synced across devices. (Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, TV etc.) Users can organize, curate and share the content you find the most important or useful to you. 

A great thing about the platform is that you can learn the right skill in the right order, as our colleague explains: 

Ivan Skrobot, Zesium iOS Lead Engineer

Pluralsight has a great concept as it maintains structure of a learning path, meaning course chapters follow the previous ones thus structuring your knowledge

They feature some of today’s most in-demand conferences from Microsoft Ignite, THAT Conference, PluralSight LIVE and many others plus you can obtain a certificate where certification paths include: AWS, Azure, Office 365, CompTIA, VMware etc. 

Pluralsight has both versions of mobile Android and iOS

Source: play.google.com

CodeHub

CodeHub is a great way to browse and manage your GitHub repositories on any iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad). 

You can keep an eye on your projects with an opportunity to view everything – from drawn requests to commenting on individual files in the most recent changeset. 

Every course contains 50 lessons in total but you can always learn the course at your own pace. 

Lessons are categorized into 4 levels and you can choose a category of your expertise if you have prior coding knowledge, giving you an option to skip the basics. 

CodeHub is an open source platform striving to have all features of GitHub where you can create, update and filter your issues, repositories, source code and more in any way that suits you the best. 

Repository and code allow you to view branches, and source code – you can star and pin the repositories to your menu for quick navigation or explore new repositories to add to your growing collection of great code. 

You can use the app for free only for public repositories, yet if you wish access to private repositories, you will have to subscribe to CodeHub Pro. 

Codehub is available in the iOS version and brings GitHub to your fingertips.

Source: apps.apple.com

Learn Programming

The Learn Programming app offers more than 70 programming languages however, it is different from PH and SL as it displays a list of functions, data types, keywords and definitions where on the top of the list is a search box. 

When you enter the search keyword or choose an item from the list, the app provides the best results of the usage. 

LP provides a sandbox section where you can test programs online and customize the appearance in its editor. You can also save programs after providing LP permission to save the same data in your phone due to privacy policy guidelines. 

LP’s great feature is being an offline app, meaning you don’t have to go online to use it. 

LP is a fully customizable Android app providing skills quizzes, simple statistics, interview questions, support etc. with an awarding system where you can earn points and more. 

Source: play.google.com

Mimo 

Mimo can provide an effective way to learn coding of programming languages like Python, JavaScript, HTML, SQL, and more, even if you have no prior coding experience. 

At Mimo has an interactive curriculum where you can learn code at your own pace – you can access coding lessons, coding tutorials, solve coding challenges, write a real code in Mimo’s code editor (works like an IDE and helps you to run code), compete with Mimo’s coding community and more. 

Mimo is a well structured app that takes complex topics and divides them into smaller parts which are easier to use. Additionally, Mimo is motivating you to learn more as the ads are not too annoying. 

Mimo also has Android and iOS versions available in the Stores. 

Source: apps.apple.com

Codecademy Go

CodeAcademy Go is a mobile version of Codeacademy online courses and although it does not have quite the same features as the web platform, it is a great place to practice coding while away from your computer. 

It provides you with lessons to practice coding syntax, apply your skills in your day-to-day operations as well as to maintain your streaks and track your own progress. 

You can learn web development, data science, HTML & CSS, Python, SQL and more with CodeAcademy mobile app.  

CodeAcademy Go has versions on both platforms, Android and iOS

Source: apps.apple.com

Udemy 

Udemy is one of the largest platforms of online courses which you can use to grow professionally. 

Udemy has an extensive library with more than 3400 topics from Coding, Development, Business, Marketing, SEO, Design and more. 

You can attend their courses in over 65 languages and download courses so you can learn offline as well; you can set reminders for your learning schedule or make notes to maximize your learning path. 

There is a possibility to get more interactive with knowledge check up through quizzes or just contact the instructions for your difficult questions for extra help. 

Udemy is also a very robust platform for learning programming and they also have both mobile versions Android and iOS

Source: play.google.com

Coursera

Coursera is a learning platform but not solely focused on computer science but multiple skills across different industries like business (accounting, finance etc.), computer or data sciences (Java, mobile, AI, Machine Learning etc.), art (design, music etc.) or personal development (negotiation, public speaking etc.).

Coursera gives you the opportunity to learn from experts from world-class universities and companies like The Yale, University of Michigan, Google, IBM and more. You can attend free courses, obtain job skills or earn a university degree online with Coursera. 

The Coursera app is free to download where you can enroll single or multi courses from $39 to $79 per month depending on your needs. 

You can also access the lectures and downloadable videos in offline mode for maximizing your learning path. 

Coursera also has both versions Android and iOS

Source: apps.apple.com

Linkedin Learning (Lynda)

Linkedin Learning (formerly Lynda) is a Linkedin platform for learning for you to build your tech or creative skills with personalized recommendations and courses. 

No matter if you want to strengthen your leadership skills, build a mobile app or software, Linkedin Learning provides expert-courses in programming, IT, leadership, marketing and much more. 

You can access more than 4000 courses in business, tech or creative expertise, get personalized recommendations, download courses for offline viewing or save them for later time so you can learn at your own pace. 

Linkedin Learning enables users to share courses or certificates with your network or add them to your Linkedin profile plus you will get access to Linkedin Premium networking tools and more. 

The Linkedin Learning mobile app is free to download and comes in both versions, Android and iOS

Source: androidauthority.com

Final Word

Apps for learning programming are a great learning source and there are many options for both, beginners and more advanced programmers. 

There are many more apps for programming that focus more on specific languages and you should check each of them to see which one suits your learning habits. 

Do not rely solely on the apps for learning programming, but include them into your learning path as such apps can be an invaluable tool in the long run. 

8 Tips on How to Use User Feedback Data Effectively

Mobile is the new battleground. 

Mobile is the place where users go for convenience and speed, so make your mobile experience count. 

Developing a product and growing a business is hard yet it’s even more difficult when users start to complain. Although nobody likes to get negative comments, such feedback is actually a good thing as it can help you to improve your business and take it to the next level. 

The trick is to know how to use such feedback data to make real changes in your company. 

The best method to understand your users’ needs and to respond to those needs in your app or a website is to collect user feedback. You should gather feedback on mobile to optimize user experience and gain an advantage over competition by giving your users what they want. 

Many companies are abundant with feedback data yet stay unsure how to leverage such data for their consistent growth. 

What are Users Insights?

User insights are interpretations of the data gathered from user feedback and other sources, compiled and analyzed to support business decisions better. 

The main goal is to identify behavioral trends to improve your product/services and to make your sales and marketing more effective. 

Getting insights from user feedback gives you a chance to understand your users better, to improve their digital experience and at the same time, to increase your revenue. 

Analysis of such feedback involves identifying the needs or issues of your users so that you can improve user satisfaction and reduce churn rates. 

Source: blog.desk360.com

How to Utilize User Feedback?

Before analyzing, make sure you have gathered all the feedback in one place.

There are some common ways on how to act on user feedback and turn it into your biggest strength. 

Here’s how you can turn user feedback into an advantage for your business:

Collect and Consolidate Your Data

Firstly, sort all user feedback that you want to analyze into a spreadsheet and add key metadata about each user (you can include how long a person has been a user, how much they spent, the date and source of the feedback etc.). 

Your table could look similar to this: 

Collate your feedback data
Source: intercom.com

After you collect the feedback, such systematization will consolidate incomplete or inconsistent data. There are many different segments of users and grouping them per different aspects (frequency etc.) will be helpful as each user has their own expectations from your company. 

Upon carefully examining the data, discover common themes as well as repetition of the feedback. For example, if many users from different segments complain about the same thing (e.g. onboarding process etc.), then you should act on it. 

Categorize Feedback

If you take your time to review the comments and try to uncover patterns within responses by categorizing them, you will get even more valuable insights. 

Once you start reviewing the comments, you will notice categories which can contain elements like speed, availability, registration, price and so on. 

Create categories and review the comments again to mark them with an appropriate category. If a single comment refers to more than one category, you can divide it into parts and mark each part of the comment. 

Expect that comments will be both positive and negative and you can start dividing them into matching columns in your table (e.g. Excel) with proper sections. 

Source: hubspot.com

Some common rule to help you to understand the feedback is to group it by:

Feedback type

Categorizing feedback into different types is helpful if dealing with inconsistent feedback from your customer support or customers who wrote anything they wanted in your survey field. 

Some common categories that can be useful are:

  • usability issues
  • new feature requests
  • bugs
  • pricing 
  • generic positive or 
  • generic negative comments
  • junk (nonsense feedback) or 
  • other (for feedback hard to categorize where you can later come back and re categorize if any patterns appear within the rest of the data)

Feedback theme

Sorting out feedback per theme can be useful if you’re trying to make sense of the high volume of different feedback. If you have a small data set (around 50 pieces of feedback), you may not need it. 

The themes you create will be unique to the feedback you get and will relate to the aspects of your product. 

For example, if you received a lot of user feedback, your themes can look like a list of product features such as: 

Such categorization can help you even more when you have to provide your insights to more than one team (if one team works on mentions and another on your profile etc.). 

You can also create team-related themes (marketing, sales, customer support etc.) for better efficiency – try to create some themes and see if such category types can be useful to your teams. 

Feedback code

Feedback code is necessary to clarify unsorted feedback from users and to rephrase it in a more actionable way. 

Create the feedback code detailed enough so that even an inexperienced person can understand the subject of the feedback. 

The feedback code should be concise and matching user feedback as possible – you must refine the feedback whether you like it or not. 

An example can be:

Code your Feedback
Source: producthabits.com

In order to uncover such details, you should segregate your feedback data. Common practice is to create a table with Excel or Google Sheets or any other tool you find suitable and import all your feedback data. 

Your feedback will come in both structured (ratings or ranking indicators) and unstructured form (comments, complaints etc.), so you can also add a category to help you consolidate your data more efficiently. 

You can make a list of all complaints or praises in one place. 

Source: pinterest.com

After you fix it and test it, update the app and request more feedback again. 

When new feedback arrives, assess the situation again for better insights – if there’s no improvement then the issue might be elsewhere, and if the problem is resolved, it’s a win for you. 

This process is repetitive – analyze the data, fix specific issues, and repeat the feedback loop until everything is working properly. 

The better you are at gathering and analyzing feedback data on a regular basis, the more effective the entire process will be. 

Get a quick overview

Before you start coding your feedback data, you should review the feedback to understand the variety in responses.

If you review feedback and end up with almost each customer giving different feedback, you will most likely have to analyze a higher volume of data to discover the patterns. 

However, if you scan through the first batch of feedback and the majority relate to a particular issue within your app, you will have to review less. 

Code the feedback

There are different ways to code your feedback but the usual manual procedure is to create two spreadsheets – one to keep your code frame and the other for coding each piece of feedback per specific code frame.  

You can structure your feedback by code frame to separate positive from negative comments or you can code each piece of feedback per several codes from the code frame. 

Another method of manual coding is to use Feedback Types as one of hierarchy levels such as usability issues, bugs, new feature requests etc. 

ab
Source: reviewmonitoring.com

When you go through the entire feedback and carefully code each row, your exact feedback codes will be specific to the product/service that the feedback relates to. 

For example, a few analysis codes you can use to a new feature request can be: 

  • The ability to send emojis 
  • Assigning tasks to multiple clients 
  • Onboarding process 

If any piece of feedback talks about multiple points (two different feature requests etc.), it is useful to capture these two separate points in separate columns.

Whether positive or negative feedback, if you spot certain words that appear frequently (e.g. negative: bad experience or positive: easy to use etc.) it will instantly indicate widespread use. 

It can also help to color your spreadsheet to easily see the emerging patterns or to run a sentiment analysis and get an overview whether customers are mainly satisfied, neutral or dissatisfied.

Refine Your Coding 

You can start with higher level codes and break them down later.

A good thing is to focus on the exact language people use as sometimes, similar issues can turn out to be quite different issues after all. As you go through more feedback, you can realize that you have to break a single popular code into several pieces of more specific code. 

For example, you realize you have a lot of user feedback related to Email Issues, but as you read more, you realize that these can be divided into separate issues like: ‘Email delivery bug’ or similar which are quite different. 

Always remember to go back and recode the earlier codes if necessary. 

Analyze the Popularity of Each Code

Once you’ve finished coding your feedback, the next step can be to determine the total amount of feedback per a single code – it will help you to see what kind of feedback is the most common and which patterns exist in your user feedback. 

A great way to do this is to sort the data into ‘feedback type’, ‘feedback topic’ and ‘feedback code’ columns and group similar items together. After that, you can highlight all items with the same feedback code and a total count will appear – create a summary table to record all total counts for each feedback code.  

If you have a large data set (more than 500 pieces of feedback), you can create a pivot table for these calculations – it is valuable to analyze the other user attributes that you collected. For example, put your user attributes (user type, etc.) into a spreadsheet and look for other correlations you received e.g. what is the monthly spend of users demanding a new feature?, and similar. 

Source: isportsanalysis.com

Summarize and Share 

You’ve coded your data and now you can create a summary of user feedback data based on the popularity and discuss it with your team. 

If you have little feedback (less than 50 pieces), you can summarize actionable feedback in a simple table or a document. 

A large set of feedback can be broken down by other variables like ‘feedback type’ or ‘feedback topic’ etc. 

Such practice will make it much easier for you to identify different groups of feedback and channel them to different people in your team who should act on it. 

Keep in mind that the most powerful thing you can do with feedback is to prioritize. 

You can create a top 10 user issues that you can then use to adjust your product roadmap

Take Action

Implementing feedback successfully is a significant part of product development. 

If poorly managed, user feedback can divert you from the real problems and you can end up wasting time and resources. 

However, if you manage your feedback properly, you can come up with new ideas and plan your improvements more effectively. 

Summarize previously reviewed feedback into a short document and share it with your team for further planning. 

An effective method is to try to incorporate user feedback at each stage of the development process leading to the final ‘thank you’ email. Never forget to thank your users no matter if the feedback is positive or negative. 

Source: pinterest.com

Unstructured insight is the one that will help you to build a better product but other data can help as well, like product purchase history, lifetime value and more. 

Automate User Feedback Analysis with 3rd party Software

There are many specialized solutions for automating user feedback analysis where some are more DIY than others. 

Some of these solutions are: 

You should check each solution and confirm its features and if they correspond to your needs for analyzing the feedback. For example, some tools have both manual and automatic methods for coding feedback, while others can unify user data no matter the feedback channel etc. 

Check each of the solutions and decide which one suits your needs best. 

Final Word

Without a feedback process in place, your company might overlook some apparent mistakes which can prevent you from achieving the revenue you want. When it comes to feedback, the more details you have, the better. 

Start with consolidating the data for a preliminary analysis, look for patterns and correlations and then tackle the issues – afterwards, test until you notice the improvement in feedback. 

In case you get stuck, you can always use some tools that can give you further insight. 

Keep in mind that the feedback process is a never ending process. You should ensure that your feedback process is a loop – listen to your users, make improvements and continue to collect feedback. 

Top 10 Libraries for Android Developers in 2021

When talking about Android, libraries and frameworks are the ones helping developers to build apps more easily where several aspects (UI elements, debugging etc.) are well defined. 

Such libraries offer detailed documentation, configuration data, templates, pre-built code and much more – all the developers need to get creative. 

These are the libraries you should keep an eye on in the coming years. 

Android Jetpack

Android Jetpack is a selection of software components which helps building reliable Android apps. 

It provides a clear path for developers to build an Android app making it easier to support configuration changes and reduce boilerplate code and complexity with libraries that work across all devices and versions. 

Problems like managing activity lifecycles or preventing memory leaks have been solved by AJ software components. 

Jetpack consists of the androidx.*  package libraries, unfolded from platform APIs, meaning it offers backward compatibility. 

Since it gets updated frequently, you will always have the latest version. 

Source: xda-developers.com

Square/Moshi

Moshi JSON library, created by Square, converts JSON into Java and Kotlin models where converting JSON to Java model (and vice versa) is straightforward. 

It’s a great choice for parsing JSON API responses in Android as it targets the Android platform, uses Kotlin features, it’s faster , it is lightweight with codegen and has a simpler API. 

Moshi is better for you to handle any issues at the boundary of the data layer in your model, rather than reproducing them into the app and tracking them. 

Kotlin’s native language features are supported by Moshi to ensure the type safety of a Kotlin class used with adapters to parse JSON responses. 

Source: dribble.com

Dagger

Dependency injection is a technique where an object receives other objects that it depends on. 

When it comes to a good library for dependency injection, Dagger is a great choice. 

It is a framework allowing developers to generate plain Java code. Its compile-time estimation proved very useful with challenges of large applications maintaining dependency injections. 

Its advantage is that it uses compile-time for evaluating all the dependencies but you will have to tackle a demanding learning curve. 

Nonetheless, Dagger flexibility will pay off in the long run. 

Source: youtube.com

Glide

Dealing with images on Android platform can get very difficult as its API is not optimised for smooth performance. 

That is where Glide comes in – it is a fast image loading library for Android focusing on smooth scrolling. It’s an open source library which includes a flexible API with extensive decoding pipelines and automatic resource pooling. 

Glide helps with fetching, decoding and displaying video stills, images or animated GIFs. (media and image files

Glide uses HttpUrlConnection based stack that includes a versatile API to help developers to connect to almost any network stack.

Source: nigeapptuts.com

Retrofit

Retrofit is the most used in Android development and it represents a type-safe HTTP client for Android and Java.

The library allows developers to define the REST API to incorporate different types of API calls. 

You can easily manage API’s request body, endpoints and headers, add a query parameters and more via annotations, which makes everything clean and simple. 

Retrofit is easy-to-use and offers a separate Rx module so it can work well with RxJava as well – such Rx module returns your API call like an Observable so you can chain it with the rest of your app. 

Source: innovationm.co

Android DataBinding

Data Binding library is a support library allowing you to bind UI elements in your layout to data sources in your app via declarative format rather than using programs. 

Android Databinding library is a view-binding library that achieves its results without use of annotations. 

Code is shorter and easier to read while data and views are clearly separated. You get type safety for accessing views meaning that the compiler validates types while compiling and reports an error if you try to assign the wrong type to a variable. 

It significantly reduces the amount of code written to access views, easy to set up and offers more functionalities.

RxJava

The best library in Android for reactive programming is RxJava. RxJava is an open source implementation of ReactiveX library for Java Virtual Machine (JVM). 

Reactive programming is a huge help to developers so that the app can manage the changes automatically – it refers to event driven programming where data streams come in asynchronous way and get processed as they arrive. 

RxJava enables developers to efficiently coordinate multiple actions simultaneously without using call backs or different actions triggered due to specific events in the system. 

Besides simplifying Android app development, RxJava supports several JVM-based programming languages, implements stream abstracts through Three Core Constructs, simplifies multithreading through Schedulers and is compatible with several third-party libraries. 

Source: blog.novatec-gmbh.de

Room

Room is an official Android ORM – it relies a lot on annotations and standard SQL syntax while its APi is similar to Retrofit API. 

The main benefit of Room over other ORMs is simplicity. While other ORMs come with more complex APIs, Room is incredibly easy to understand thanks to its standard SQL syntax. 

Room also supports the Rx library and both of those libraries work together well. 

Room is a good choice as it can be used without too much effort or time on your side in understanding its documentation.  

Source: pinterest.com

Espresso

Mobile automation testing is a challenging task – Google developed Espresso framework to make this process easier. 

Espresso is a testing framework library allowing you to create and develop UI tests for Android mobile apps. 

Espresso provides a consistent and flexible API for automation of UI tests in an Android mobile app and the tests can be written in both Java and Kotlin. 

You can easily conduct Android UI tests without the ramification of multithreaded testing.  

Features supported by Espresso are simple API, providing separate modules to test and validate Android WebView elements as well as mock Android Intents – providing automatic synchronization between your apps and tests. 

Advantages of Espresso are backward compatibility, it is easy to set up and has a highly stable test cycle while supporting testing activities outside the app as well. 

The testing framework runs on Android devices and testing emulators creating a similar testing experience like end users have. If you want to use this library, you have to add dependencies to the app module. 

Source: blogs.quovantis.com

Robolectric

Robolectric is a great library for unit testing and handling several aspects of Android apps including views, resource loading and more. 

It can debug the Android mobile app against inflation or resource loading, view and other elements – it provides a way to run tests inside Android Studio without launching an app on device or Emulator. 

You can grasp its capacity when reproducing a resilient testing environment where real devices can be tested for Android framework dependency performances. 

It comes with robust scripts for thorough testing of the app functions via real devices and at the same time, other Android framework dependencies continue to work in the background. 

Robolectric provides simulation of the Android SDK for carrying tests and it helps in preventing the need to use separate mocking frameworks. 

How to Choose the Right Library?

No matter if you need an image library, a unit testing library or any other library, you should assess the information to make the choice easier for you. 

Consider the following when choosing the right library:

Popularity 

Check the ratings of the candidate library and how many or how severe are the issues reported for that library – usually, if the majority of developers like it, it can be a good indicator of quality. 

Source Reliability

Do a check up on the author to minimize the risks to get a low-quality library. Check if they are active on Github or if released multiple libraries and try to verify your findings. 

Well-structured Code

Go through the code to check if it’s well-structured – ensure that README files within are comprehensive and up-to-date for smoother and easier integrations. 

Valid Licence

Licence is another factor to impact your decision because the usage of libraries can be limited. Make sure to follow all the terms of a specific library that you want to integrate into your app. 

Open Source Quality

Access the library’s code to review its quality or performance – if you notice lack of transparency, it could signal a security risk. 

Library Recommendations

Most platforms have several existing libraries and the best thing about it is that they are well-maintained and documented. Such libraries ensure low-risk but do your own research to understand their features, limitations and benefits.

Check Core Features

Do not strive to have full control over the code – libraries can cover a wide aspect of use cases. You cannot compromise on the performance, so rely on the actual tested libraries. 

Conclusion 

We chose all described libraries on the basis of their popularity among the Android community and the way our Android experts recommend them for different development needs. 

These libraries in many ways represent the best of choices for every functional need in an Android project.