Ugly and Clunky Enterprise Apps

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I read a couple of books about application user experiences and I am still amazed to see the user experience is still ignored today. Ease of use and user experience is at the bottom of the list in development practices while deadline and feature list tops the list. This approach results in lengthy, fruitless, never-ending meetings to discuss why “the excellent app” is not gaining traction among the users. Let’s see how enterprise application developers overcome such a result easily.

PS: If you did not read it yet, I strongly recommend the Alan Cooper’s classic “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity”).

To begin with, the application has to fit in the current business environment, the business processes and has to be a solution to a certain business problem(s). .The application needs to have a focus, stick to it and improve upon it, rather than just being a technology showcase/programming wizardry. It also has to take the business into account, each business has its own way of doing things, own workflows and in some cases, their own equipment. The developers have to contact with the users from each department and have an overall understanding of the workflows, devices and the relevant applications. You cannot develop a container terminal operating application without understanding how operations work, the terminal operating system and the specialized tally devices used.

Your users are the ones who will use the application, so why not involve them from the beginning? The bottomline is you are programmer who is focused on solving particular problems and you are very comfortable with pornolar izle porno sikiş porno izle mobil porno hd porno izle complex interfaces. But this is too much to ask from your users. Have two teams that are making the quality assurance of your application: the team that checks the technical points and the team of end-users that checks usability and experience. Remember, something technically elegant does not mean it will be accepted by the users. If it is not easy to use, you will be hitting the refresh button expecting to see one more download.

Next, the application has to be pleasing to use: it is easy to use and it looks good. As I have touched in the last paragraph above, if the users are going three or more levels deep to accomplish a task without any clue or any guidance from the application your app is not in a good shape. Same thing goes for the interface. Application loading time, number of images, density of text, whitespace and the color palette should match today’s standards. Would you accept a 2000’s design standards in year 2016? Don’t do this yourself and match today’s standards in your interface. Your end user team will provide invaluable guidance to you on the use; how you need to present workflows, how to consider placement of certain elements, and the like. If you feel yourself stuck, as about their favorite apps and analyze them. This analysis will open a window to usability – the layout of their favorite apps can be a good point to start.

When you are working with the end users, don’t forget that they will use the application on many different form factors. Desktops with over 20” monitors, 15” laptops, 7-8-10” tablets, 5” Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile phones are just some form factors that I can count. In terms of platforms, we can safely say that the application that runs on the desktop/laptop computer can be fully featured and the mobile one can have a little less features and with a smaller technology footprint. You need to ensure that the application has to perform well and look pleasing in all of the form factors.

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Different form factors also mean different use scenarios. In a desktop/laptop computer you can snap two windows on the screen and make data entry easier. Imagine doing that on a mobile device: it is pain to select text on screen, copy, switch to the other application and paste. Forget all if you mistakenly happen to touch a non-related area on the screen – and heavens forbid the back button. On mobile devices make sure that the usability is not that high compared to desktop/laptops. Therefore try to make the users’ lives as easy as possible. An example? Consider automated form fills. When the user begins to type the customer’s name on the screen, make the query in the background, return the results and present the user with choices that he/she can select with a tap. Don’t ask him/her to enter lengthy strings. And when he/she makes the choice, fill out the form with all the details.

If you followed my advice, during all these steps, you will have one technical and one end-user quality assurance team. And to work closely with them, developers need to make their error messages understandable. A “404 error” means “page not found” to many people but for your specific application it may mean “data inconsistency.” During the development phase make sure that the error messages are in plain English (and/or whatever language is spoken by the users) and they guide the user to a certain action. Following the example “Data inconsistency error – please notify your administrator by clicking on the ‘send error’ button.” does more than “404 error: data inconsistency.” In addition to guiding the user to an action, you also need to inform him/her about how to complete the task that he/she was performing.

Having the error messages in plain language also bring us to the thorough testing issue. When you have the two teams (technical and end-user), you will have a lot of feedback. From the missing features to error messages from connectivity to usability, you will have a flood of information. You will be analyzing the information, prioritizing and fixing it. Never assume that rushing tests and taking away from quality assurance’s time will help you meet your deadlines. You will meet them, no doubt about it. But prepare yourself for the aftermath; to defend yourself against the high helpdesk calls, increased maintenance/fixing costs and ultimately less-than-desired usage levels, when asked by the executives.

Finally, in this Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) era, make sure that the application can be updated and wiped remotely. That is, the application could be updated in the field, could be tracked from the IT headquarters and if necessary, the data could be remotely wiped.

That’s my take on developing beautiful, easy to use, pleasing enterprise apps. What do you recommend for our IT fellows? Hit the comments below!

References

  • Featured image: www.slideshare.net

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Top 5 mobile apps that convert voice to text

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Wouldn’t it be nice if while waiting in line, you could jot down a few notes? Get your thoughts down for future reference? Write out that grocery list?

Actually you can. Tablets and smart phones now have apps available that let you dictate and convert the information to written form. In other words, you can say your thoughts  into your smartphone and it writes the information down. This is great technology for business people, teachers, Moms and just about anyone.

So what apps work best? Well, below you’ll find a list of the 5 best mobile apps that covert your voice to text for documents, emails or notes (a great feature for those who are slow typers.)

  1. Dragon Dictation

Dragon has always been an outstanding voice to text converter. This is what  they do. They have several programs for laptops, computers and mobile technology but this is their first free version. Dragon Dictation Free is great for the mobile industry. It is a free voice recognition app that lets users speak and instantly be recognized, the information automatically turning into text or email messages. Best of all this is about 5 times faster than typing on the keyboard.

  1. Speech Notes

This is a special app that works at taking notes and allows you to turn speech into text using the internet. Just click your mike and start speaking.

  1. TalkBox Voice Messenger

This is a very cool app as it allows you to send a combination of text and voice messages through email.

  1. Vlingo Voice App

This is like having a secretarial assistant at your beck and call. Just tell your phone what to do and it does it. It even integrates with social media accounts.

  1. Google Voice Search

This is a Google Search app. So if you are tired of typing in every search you make look for Google Voice.  This has another cool feature in that you can also get quick access to other cool apps like Gmail, Docs and Calendar.

 Bottom Line

The computer, the smart phone and the tablet are tools that make our life convenient. With these devices we are able to do things faster than we ever have before. However, typing can be one of those tasks that slows us down. This new speech to text application allows us to move at lightning fast speed. It allows us to capture our thoughts and ideas as fast as we can think of them. There is just one problem there isn’t one voice to text app that really does it all. Sometimes you can need more than one app that does a similar task. For instance when you write documents you might use Dragon Dictation, but when you want to search for something on Google then you’ll want to make the switch to Google Voice Search. So have fun and try any of these apps out.

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5 of the Wierdest Apps on iTunes

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Go to iTunes and you’ll find an app for just about anything. In fact there are some pretty weird apps out there. These are just a few of the ones I have come across. They are so strange they are interesting, at least worth trying out once.

  1. The Cat Selfie

Yes, believe it or not this is an app that helps you get pics of your cat. It gets those unexpected shots. It also works well with babies and toddlers. It works like this; you put your iPhone, iPod or iPad  on the app and a bouncing laser will appear. Your cat will start to chase the laser and when the cat touches the screen it will take a picture.  What a wonderful use for technology don’t you thing.

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  1. Melon Meter

One of the hardest things we find doing is finding a ripe watermelon don’t you think? Well, now there is an app for that. Just put your device next to the watermelon, knock on the melon and the app will tell you whether it’s ripe or not. This app team says they’ve used “real science” to get this app to work. No longer do you have to put up with green or too mushy watermelon.

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  1. Hello Cow

This is a cool app. It destresses you. Just touch the shaggy cow  and watch her Moo. That’s it. What more could you want from an app.

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  1. iNap@Work

Need a nap at work without letting the employees or the boss on to what you are doing? This app is perfect for that. While you sleep it plays random office noises. You’ll get sounds like typing, mouse clicks and paper shuffling. Everyone will think you are working very hard when all you are doing is taking a nap.  You can even adjust the sound to suit your environment and task. There are even human sounds such as throat clearing and sniffing.

  1. Harmonica App

This is an app that teaches you to play the lowly harmonica. You can play the harmonica by blowing and drawing on your iPhone device. Learn to play the blues but now instead of a real harmonica just get your iPhone out and start playing.

 

There you have it that is 5 of the weirdest apps on iTunes. These are fun but really have no particular use. Well, maybe that’s not true, the watermelon meter can certainly come in handily when at the super market. And the Hello Cow app can certainly keep you entertained for a few minutes. Just the thing you need when you lock the keys in your house, have a fender bender or just need some away time.

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5 Unusual Android Apps To Try

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The first thing that anyone who buys a new Android phone or tablet does, is to head straight to the Play store and start loading up on apps. After all, what is the use of a brand new device if you don’t have anything on it to show off its capabilities? Apart from the mandatory Facebook, Twitter and Skype installations you might be wondering what else is lurking undiscovered in the Play store. There are plenty of unusual apps to try out, but it requires you to look beyond the myriad of floppy, flippy and flashy clones that have sprung up in the wake of Flappy Bird.

Carrr Matey

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Don’t you just hate it if you park your car at a busy mall and then promptly forget where it is located? Trying to find your vehicle while lugging around groceries and dodging other cars is nobody’s idea of fun, this is where Carrr Matey comes in handy. Sure, you could use one of the car locator apps available, but Carrr Matey ups the ante with a pirate flavored theme. Use the “Drop Anchor” button to mark the location of your car on the map and then when it is time to hit the road again you use the “Find Vessel” feature. You can even set a docking timer to ensure that you get back to your ship, er car, before your parking meter expires.  You might look a bit strange walking around with what amounts to a compass guiding you back to your car, but that is part of the fun.

Censor Bleep

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 Everyone knows that familiar bleep sound that emanates from the television whenever someone utters something that is deemed to foul for the ears of the public. Thanks to the censor bleep applications you can do it yourself for amusing or annoying your friends. This app features a big red button which produces the censoring bleep for as long as you hold it down. Just words of advice, if you plan on actually censoring your language using this app make sure that you have the volume turned up high!

Scientific Sci-fi Scanner Lite

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This one is for all the science-fiction buffs that want to turn their Android device into an interactive multi-sensor and data visualization scanner. The best part is that this app actually works! You can opt for a paid version with more functionality, but there is already some very interesting thing available in the free “Lite” version. The “Device” module displays data about your Android device while the “Gyro” module displays the attitude of your device on a 3-axis bubble level. For non-geeks this means the “Up” position of your device is marked on a 3-D sphere which rotates as you move the device. The program also plays some suitably sci-fi sounding background sounds while you operate it to impress (or confuse) bystanders even more.

Puzzle Alarm Clock

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There is no shortage of alarm clocks for Android, but how many of them actually ensure that they have done their job and woken you up? Puzzle Alarm Clock ensures that you don’t simply hit the snooze button and head back to dreamland by requiring you to work a little in order to turn it off. For example, it is able to email you a QR code sheet which you must print and hang away from your bed. When the alarm goes off it can only be de-activated by hoofing it over to the print out and scanning one of the codes. Of course, this can still be cheated by hanging the printout close to the bed, so how about solving a mini-game involving colors, shapes, memory cards or even mat equations? You can even set the amount of puzzles that you have to solve in a row to turn the alarm off if you are feeling extra masochistic.

Metal Detector

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Let’s face it, real metal detectors are expensive and the chances of finding treasures very slim. With the metal detector app you can enjoy all the benefits of a real detector, but without the associated costs. You have to hold your phone or tablet pretty close to the metal for it to be detected, so it is probably more useful for finding loose change in the back of the sofa than using out in public. It might be a gimmick, but it is a gimmick that actually seems to work. When using this app, the magnetic field is displayed on the screen and if you bring it close to any metal, the strength of the field will increase. According to the developer this app is also popular with ghost hunters, so be careful that you encounter any vengeful spirits when searching for buried treasure…

These are only a small selection of the weird and wonderful apps that are available on the Play store. Some are genuinely useful in their own strange ways while others are purely for entertainment purposes. Be careful when you get hooked on finding more strange apps though a there is no telling how deep the rabbit hole goes!

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Mobile Apps Being Used in DDoS Attacks: Prolexic Report

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Downloadable mobile apps are being used in Distributed Denial of Service attacks against enterprises, according to the latest quarterly report from DDoS protection provider Prolexic Technologies.


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iTech Review: Apps for Better Marketing, is Facebook Dead?

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What’s new in tech news? We round it all up for you!

China Unveils its First 3-D Bio Printer

3D printing and its leaps and bounds in technological advancements is taking the market by storm, but how much is too much? Will the medical advances outweigh the ethical questions some people will have about bio printing body parts?

Seeing is Believing?

The newest networking site, is an app that promises everything in visual form. Wonderloop, which bills itself as “the world’s first video profile platform,” goes by their “vision” for a unique way of connecting with others — “creating a search engine of what life is all about: people.”

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You can search out people by name, location, industry, and skills, make connections, and introduce others to your connections, all through a 20-second video. The ultimate “face” book!

A Think, Feel, Share App

Thinkr, an innovative, beta phase, new social network for the iPhone, just launched and is already being featured by Apple on the homepage of the App Store internationally.

The app works as a social network for hashtags. Users post one-word status updates that are geo-localized and are associated with an emotion. For each of the 12 available emotions users can have a different profile picture, or selfie. These status updates are visible to others in augmented reality, or can be overlaid on photos as clickable hashtags.

Users can “like” their friends content with feelings such as a “wow”, “envious”, or even a “funny”. The goal is to create a global mood graph through fun and innovative user experiences. The iPhone app is available for free on the App Store.

Invisible Bike Helmet

For people who think a bike helmet is clunky, ruins your hairdo, and just looks douchey, the solution was to look at the technology you find in your car.

Curbing Employee Social Media Blunders

A big brand-killing problem is employees who post inappropriate social media comments. PostBeyond has a unique solution to curbing what gets out on social media platforms by approving those comments and posts.

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WHO?

Rather HOW to make a touch-enabled jQuery plugin that lets you create beautiful responsive carousel slider for your website.

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Is Facebook Dead?

What are the top 5 sites preferred by teen users? Facebook isn’t one of them. See which sites deserve your social media attention!

Call-to-Action Videos

Video is the new content for driving sales, leads, and connections. Viewbix has created a handy platform to help your marketing in a society that reads less, but watches more.

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Charge!

Thingcharger is one of those, “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” devices that simplifies your life, and cleans up your cord clutter. Another piece of the future you can buy today!

Goodbye Laptops?

Technology marches on, and the tablet moves forward to push the laptop into the stone age. The Crux 360 is the newest keyboard attachment for the iPad Air. Billed as, “the lightest and smallest keyboard case ever! Inserting and removing the iPad® is faster and easier than ever! In addition, we’d completely redesigned the hinge. The hinge automatically shuts and keeps the case closed with its “self-locking” feature. It also features an upgraded Apple-style keyboard which makes typing on the Crux360™ comparable to typing on a Macbook,” it promises to launch a host of other models from competitors for other brands of tablets.

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The Crux360™ features four modes:
Laptop Mode: which allows use of the keyboard.
Movie Mode: great for watching movies and videos.
Tablet Mode: great for reading books or magazines.
Carry Mode: when not in use the Crux360™ closes up and protects your iPad’s® screen from nicks and scratches.

In other news, iTech writer has a MacBook Pro laptop for sale. All offers welcomed!

Top image ©GL Stock Images

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