All Posts in Mobile

May 23, 2013 - No Comments!

Top 5 Ways to Annoy Your App Users

Mobile apps are all the rage these days, but it's easy to create something that just leaves your customers raging. Make sure your app isn't guilty of these sins that drive users nuts:

1. Forced registration. Unless you’re a service I trust and I’m accustomed to using, why do you make me register before I know what I’m getting into? Getting a download is hard enough. Don’t raise the bar even higher by forcing another action before a user can interact with—and find value in—your app.

2. Complicated navigation. Part of the advantage of using an app (versus a mobile site) is the ability to deliver targeted content at the touch of an icon. While we recommend everyone adhere to the “Three Click Rule” of usability, it’s even better if you can deliver in one or two. And it’s just as important to give your users an easy way to navigate back to previous pages—no one likes getting lost three pages deep.

3. Preference amnesia. Now that we’re a population of app-savvy users, our expectations have changed. If I’ve entered information about myself and my preferences, I expect my app to be “smart” about it. Leverage the data I’ve provided before to serve up relevant recommendations or information.

4. Long forms. Nothing is more annoying than trying to pick through registration forms with your thumbs. Limit forms to the minimum fields required, and use shorter alternatives where possible, such as a ZIP code instead of city and state. Wherever possible display default values, like today’s date or nearby locations.

5. Ratings prompts. Once is understandable (if tastefully done), twice is annoying, three times is desperate. Don’t constantly ask me to rate your app—it’s getting in the way of enjoying your app.

For more on mobile app best practices, check out Mashable for my 5 Mistakes to Avoid when Creating Branded Apps.

March 21, 2013 - No Comments!

Tech Tip: Make Your Mobile App POP

900We’re always on the hunt for new technologies that will improve the process of developing and designing mobile apps for our clients. Recently we stumbled upon a great little app called POP—short for “Prototyping on Paper”—that animates your wireframes.

Normally, during our inception process with a client, we (the client included) break apart into groups to hash out what we think each chunk of the product will do, as well as what it will look like. Typically we use giant, 2 x 2.5 ft. sticky notes and a Sharpie to draw up basic wireframes. This serves us well since it allows us to brainstorm separately and then reconvene to talk through our thought process and ideas. But sometimes it can get complicated to try to show the flow of an app—i.e., where buttons will link to—using only pen and paper.


POP solves this. Take photos of your wireframes, then link your sketches together with “link spots” to create an interactive, automated storyboard. Designers and clients alike can then get a more accurate simulation of your app prototype’s user interface and flow. You can do this directly on your iPhone, or use Airplay and an Apple TV to project the prototype for a group.

As a bonus, POP also lets you share your prototype—it’s viewable on iPhones, iPads, and web browsers—so it’s easy to send off to others who may need to weigh in on your design.

This app is obviously helpful for developers, but we encourage our clients and other non-devs to check it out, too. If you’re looking to build a mobile app for your business and have thoughts about what it could look like or how it might work, POP is a great, user-friendly way to convey your ideas.

Plus, the kids love it.

March 20, 2013 - 1 comment.

Prepare for Baby with Sprout San Francisco Mobile App

After months of planning and anticipation, we're proud to announce the arrival of the free Sprout SF Baby Planner mobile app, designed to reduce some of the guesswork and stress associated with becoming a first-time parent.

Preparing for a new child can be an information-overload. No one knows this better than Sprout San Francisco, a natural and organic children’s boutique and online resource for parents. We worked closely with their team to develop and design an app that helps parents get in-depth information about all of Sprout’s products, find the items they want, then quickly and easily create a baby registry straight from their iPhones.

The Sprout app functions both as a mobile registry and a checklist, so parents can ensure they have everything they need for a new baby. The app is easy to use: Simply add products to a registry by selecting them directly in the app, or, if you’re shopping in the Sprout store, use the Scan feature by taking a photo of the product’s barcode.

Just like the Sprout website, every listing in the mobile app displays detailed product information so parents can make informed choices, and a “Get Educated” section lets parents learn more about organic products and access healthy baby guides.

Want to know more about the Sprout app? Watch the demo video below, then head to the App Store and download it for free!

November 9, 2012 - 1 comment.

Do it for drivers. Do it for startups.

Uber figured out a better way to do private car service by using your smartphone to call a car, calculate distance, and pay. Chicago's about to pass a law to say "Yeah, you can't do that here."

You can read more about it on Uber's Blog. If you're an Uber customer, or if you're interested in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation in Chicago, you'll probably want to sign the petition, email the BACP email Commissioner Krimbel of the BACP and email Mayor Emanuel. And you'll want to hurry - the comment period for these proposed regulations ends today at 3pm.

Here's what I sent them:

I am troubled by the Measured Rates Provision (PPV Sec. 1.10) that would restrict Uber Black from operating in the Chicago market.

This provision is not written to benefit consumers, or the economy, but to protect the established limo driver industry. And yet, they may not see it, but Uber's innovation is beneficial for them too.

Uber has introduced private car service to tens of thousands of young consumers who previously considered it to be the proclivity of rich white bankers. Uber puts limo drivers to work and boosts demand for a dying industry.

Chicago is fighting to foster a community of innovation and entrepreneurship - to prove that we are just as good of a place to start a technology company as San Francisco, Boston, or New York. Uber is a prime example of the kind of company we are trying to attract - one using technology to disrupt an industry that has not innovated in decades.

This provision reinforces the stigma that Chicago's political system is more interested in protecting the status quo than fostering innovation, while at the same time, harming the industry it's trying to protect.

Uber's innovation is better for consumers, better for private car drivers, and better for a city struggling to attract startups. Don't let myopic protectionism hinder it.

Greg Baugues

June 20, 2012 - 4 comments

KID Mobile Gives Parents Peace of Mind

We’re proud to announce the new mobile site for our nonprofit partner, Kids In Danger (KID) an organization dedicated to improving children’s product safety. KID was founded in 1998 by the parents of sixteen-month-old Danny Keysar, who died when a portable crib collapsed around his neck. Though the crib had been recalled, many people weren’t aware and it and similar recalled products were still widely used.

To help put an end to tragedies like this, KID wanted to give parents an easy way to search the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) database of recalled products. We advised building a mobile website, and we joined forces with WeMakeItSafer to employ their Recalled Product Search application.

Now, with a fully functional site that’s accessible across all mobile devices, parents can quickly and easily search for recalled items wherever they are, whether it be a store, garage sale, or friend’s basement, and make informed decisions before acquiring new products for their kids.

At their recent annual Best Friend Awards presentation, KID highlighted this mobile site as one of their biggest triumphs of the year. “Working with Table XI put life saving tools in the hands of parents and caregivers,” said KID Executive Director Nancy Cowles. “They were able to take KID’s vision of the kinds of tools we wanted and add their own creative and technical skills to put out a valuable mobile site.”