Why You Shouldn’t Use a Website Builder

There are many, many platforms out there that allow you to build a website using a simple drag and drop interface. Wix, SquareSpace, Weebly are just a few to name. If you are a Facebook or Twitter user chances are that you have seen advertisements for these types of platforms.

While these platforms look seamless to use, and can be built practically for free, in a short amount of time, it may look appealing to a business owner, right? Well, any User experience design agency would argue otherwise. Creating a good website takes more effort and time than just throwing a few sections on a page and slabbing content on it. Here’s why web application development agency, Codal, would argue against it:

Terrible SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Website builder platforms do not contain the correct elements to get your website ranking on the top of Google. A large part of on-page SEO, is the code and structure. When you build your website on a platform like SquareSpace, you don’t have any control over the code, which means that the search engine optimization is completely out of your hands.

Without a good SEO, or a solid SEO strategy plan, how will you get users on your website?

Devalues Your Brand

Using a website builder simply devalues your business and brand. Using a standardized template from Weebly or Wix will make you blend in with other similar companies. A customer that is on your website probably will not trust making a purchase, or filling out a form if they can tell that you spent a total of $30 on your website.

Your digital presence is important, having a nice website design creates a feeling of trust for your users. Cheap web design often equals cheap results. While brands are investing big money in UX design services, and IT strategy consulting, you don’t want to fall behind the curve.

Mobile-Friendliness

Don’t expect a fully responsive website if you are utilizing a platform like Wix or Weebly. While it may look decent on mobile, many businesses are seeking out mobile app design companies just to design a mobile version of their website.

Having a mobile-friendly website should be at the top of your priority list. Recently, it was reported that 52% of eCommerce website visits came from a mobile device. That means that you could be losing almost half of your visitors if your website is not mobile responsive.

No Migration Options

Once you build your website on a self-building platform, you’re stuck with it. Migration is simply not possible when you use a website builder. For example, if you used WordPress to initially build your website, and wanted to switch to a different platform, it can easily be done by any WP design & development company.

If you’re still thinking that a website builder is a good option, you should probably chat with someone who is in the industry, like Codal (Chicago web development agency) who can help you understand the difference.

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Website Builder

Brief Comparison of Python and Other Programming Languages

More often than not, Python gets compared to other languages such as Perl, Javascript or C++. In this article, as a Chicago mobile app development agency, we will very briefly cover some comparisons between Python, and these other languages.

Realistically, the choice of a programming language is often in the hands of your application development agency. However, things like cost, training, timeline, can all be factors in choosing a software engineering language.

Javascript | Python

Python has an “object-based” subset that is very similar to JavaScript. Both of them support a style that uses very simplistic functions without including in class definitions. Anyone that offers Python development services would probably agree that Python supports much larger programs and applications.

Perl | Python

Both Perl and Python come from a similar background, Unix scripting. They also support a decent amount of similar features, but still have a dissimilar philosophy.

Perl highlights the support for typical app-oriented tasks, like file scanning and reporting. Whereas Python highlights support for ordinary coding methods, like data structure design; overall the methodologies involved with Python encourages developers to write clean and maintainable code.

Again, anyone that works for a Python development company would argue that Python and Perl come pretty close to each other, but Python goes way beyond Perl’s niche.

C++ | Python

Often times, Python code is typically 5-10 times shorter than C++ code. It has been stated that only Python developer, or Python development company can finish a project in two months, which is what two C++ engineers could not even complete in one year. Therefor, Python completely shines over the C++ programming language.

Brief Comparison of Python and Other Programming Languages

A Breakdown of UX Design Services

User experience design is a fairly new industry. In fact, there are not many colleges that even offer this as a major. While there are majors for Web Design, or Human-Computer Interaction, “User Experience” is rarely something that is studied in a four year college.

Chances are that you have heard of General Assembly, or “GA.” Many UX designers who work for a UX design company, or are knowledgeable on user experience research services, graduated from one of General Assembly’s programs. GA also has programs for iOS development services, and other programs for mobile app developers.

Since user experience is such a new industry, let’s break down services that are provided by a UX design agency. What types of tasks are conducted? What services do these types of companies offer? We’ll break it down in a few simple categories.

The Research

Most user experience design agencies will offer you UX UI Research.

A large range of UX research services can be conducted, including the following methods:

Ethnographic research, market research, user surveys, user interviews, focus groups,
data analysis, competitive research, heuristic evaluation, observational review.

The Conceptual Design

The next category, “conceptual design” is when the user experience designer starts putting together a working prototype for your app or web project. Every application development agency might conduct different activities to prototype an app, but most UX designers will typically create sitemaps, conduct card sorting activities, create empathy and journey maps, and perform a content audit prior to creating wireframes.

There are a large range of tools that can be used for wireframing, two popular ones include Sketch and Axure.

The Detailed Design

The detailed design stage is more part of UI design service, rather than UX. UX and UI are different, however, user interface is part of user experience. When it comes to detailed design, or UI design, style guides and mood boards are created, usability testing is conducted, and pixel perfect mockups are designed.

If you are interested in learning more about user experience design services, or working with a UX design agency in Chicago, I would recommend checking out Codal. Their services include technology strategy, UX and UI design, and software engineering.

A Breakdown of UX Design Services

Follow These Steps Before Launching Your App

You’ve spent a lot of time and money on a mobile application development agency to build out your app, and now you’re ready to launch your app into the market! However, before you launch your mobile app, you have to prepare for launch that time and money could go all to waste.

Whether you are launching a brand new mobile app, or just launching a new design, or even a new feature, here are a few steps that we would recommend taking prior to launching.

Understand your target market

You didn’t utilize iOS development services for nothing! Knowing your target audience is a must; or chances are that your application may not be successful. Knowing what your target market wants, what their pain points are, and what is important to them is a solid foundation for the rest of your launch plan.

You need to understand their behaviors and their attitudes towards similar apps, or even similar features that are in different, competing applications. Typically, this is also some of the research that a UX design company will conduct.

Some questions that you should be asking yourself are as follows: who did you build your app for? What solution are you providing? What is the value that you’re providing?

Knowing the answers to these questions will position your app in a way that will deliver the correct messages to the correct group of people.

Set goals for your launch

Here at Codal (Chicago mobile app development), we always recommend defining what your success criteria is before creating a marketing plan. Without this criteria, you may not know if you app is succeeding or not.

Also, every team may have a different idea of what “success” means to them. Your goals do not have to be complicated, keeping it simple also works great. Some metrics you can use are:

  • Number of app downloads
  • Number of reviews
  • Average ratings
  • Amount of in-app purchases

Prepare a marketing plan

There are a lot of things that can go into your marketing plan. Below are just a few.

Content Promotion

Start creating content around your new design, new features, or your entire new app! Create a content calendar with dates of when you will release and promote certain content. With a consistent content calendar and consistent promotion of the content, your app should be in good shape when you launch.

Press Releases + PR

Start contacting PR companies, reporters, or influencers to start your journey with PR. This will get your app attention, and ultimately help you reach your goal. It is best to create a press kit so that it is easy for reporters and journalists to write about your app. Most mobile app design companies should be able to recommend you a good PR firm.

Landing Page + Website

If your app doesn’t already have a website or landing page, it definitely needs one (WordPress is always a good option for a simple marketing website.) If you already have one, than work with your WP design and development company to update your website to reflect the changes you’re making on the mobile application.

What’s next?

Now it’s time to launch your release of your mobile application! Pay attention to your metrics that your team decided to track. All mobile app’s should be updated quite frequently in order to keep your users engaged and interested.

Follow These Steps Before Launching Your App

3 Ways IoT (The Internet of Things) Can Be Utilized on College Campuses

The Internet of Things is a system of interrelated devices that are connected to the internet. This can include your dishwasher, television, or lights. This technology can also be used across a large array of industries; it can almost be applied to anything, including the medical field, eCommerce, and even music festivals and concerts.

IoT is popping up everywhere. As a Chicago mobile app development agency, it is our duty to stay on top of trends, and understand the use cases for such technology.

By the end of 2017, it is predicted that there will be $284.4 billion in spending for IoT in one year alone. That is a lot of money, and simply shows how upcoming this technology is. In this article, we’ll explore how it is being used in college campuses.

Management of Facilities

IoT solutions can assist in the management of college campus facilities, especially in commonplaces, like a residence hall.

For example, IoT could allow students to be aware if a washing machine is available or whether they are all taken. Students could be notified via SMS or email when a machine is open. In resident halls, students can also utilize IoT for locking and unlocking their doors. In a large building with hundreds of students, safety is always a concern, which brings me to the next point.

Safety

The Internet of Things can play a huge role when it comes to campus safety. On college campuses, the security and safety of students is absolutely paramount. With a mix of new technology such as IoT, RFID’s, cameras and connected devices, surveilling an entire building is easier than ever. Instant alerts and notifications would be the result of these technologies, making safety a large priority.

If a college campus partnered with a mobile app design company, they would have a secure solution that would ensure the safety of all students.

Sustainability

With IoT, there are many more options in terms of energy conservation and ecosystem regulation. If you walk around a college campus today, most schools are encouraging students to live a “green lifestyle.” While this can work, implementing an IoT solution will only boost this even more.

In the long run, implementing an IoT solution to monitor environmental conservations can ultimately save the school money, and in time build their budgets for more learning opportunities for students.

Now What?

While the safety of students, energy conservation, and management of facilities are all priorities, you may not know where to start. How do you begin implementing such a technology?

There are digital agencies all across the country that offer these kinds of services. When you implement IoT, you’ll likely need to utilize the services from a UX design company, as well as an app development agency.

Codal is a UX design and development agency based out of Chicago, implementing IoT solutions for an array of industries across the country.

3 Ways IoT (The Internet of Things) Can Be Utilized on College Campuses

Minimalism in Mobile App Design: Part 1

As a mobile app development company, we always have to stay on top of industry trends, and consider what users and consumers actually want while they are using their mobile applications on their smartphone.

In a recent survey that we conducted (part of our ux services), we found that users want minimalism. They want a simple, easy-to-use interface that doesn’t include anything besides what it needs to. Of course the design always needs to be usable, but being consistent and clear is sometimes just as important.

Below are a few simple ways that you can design your mobile application taking a minimalistic approach.

Typography

I great rule of thumb when designing a mobile application, is to stick with one font. Using different fonts can make the application’s interface look confusing and sloppy. Just from a quick glance at the two screens below, it is obvious that the screen to the right looks cleaner and more usable.

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Instead of playing around with the different fonts, play with the weight of the font. This can add more detail to the design, while not completely ruining it. The size of the font can also be changed to make certain text appear more important (or less) than other content.

Apple and Google both do this on their platforms, which also means it is a proven method that works, and all mobile app design companies should follow.

Whitespace

Many people assume that too much whitespace is a bad thing; it get’s criticized quite often. However, what people don’t understand is that whitespace is actually a powerful tool that can control what a user looks at on a website or app.

It can bring focus to a certain element on a screen, and can even organize a screen into different sections or elements. If you need to empasize something on a screen, you can use whitespace to do so.

Using whitespace also means you can take a minimal approach to the design on your app; and it is not a bad strategy.

Conclusion

When seeking out UI design services, you should keep some of these factors in mind while going through the UX design agency’s portfolio.

The fonts should stay consistent throughout the entire interface of an application, while you should utilize more white space than you may think. In part 2 of this article, we will explore different factors of minimalism in mobile app design.

Minimalism in Mobile App Design: Part 1

Introducing Innovation Days to Your Project

The mobile app development agency that I work for, Codal, recently introduced a new project exercise called iDays (or Innovation Days).

An Innovation Day is an extremely collaboaration ideation session that takes place in the discovery phase of a project. However, it is different than just any brainstorming session mostly because of who is involved. Typically, we will involve our ux ui research team, chicago app developers, visual designers, and even the clients.

The ideas that come from these Innovation Days are diverse in a sense, the approaches that a developer, versus the end user or the designer may take could all be different. However, it’s good to receive perspectives of all parties in order to come up with the best, most usable ideas.

How do you run an iDay?

Once the team that is participating has been assembles, it’s time to collect your materials. You’ll need post it’s (as a UX design company, we go through tons of post it’s per week), questions, prompts, and a timer.

The prompts are usually kept general and open ended. An example prompt could be “what do you think about the menu?”

On the other hand, some prompts can be much more detailed. When an iDay is conducted after a research phase, questions will be much more specific. For example, in a dating app project at Codal, research found that user’s may sometimes feel unsafe while using any type of dating app. A great prompt after this research could be “how can we make the user feel safe while using the app?”

Once a prompt is posed, everyone has “X” amount of seconds to write down as many ideas as they can on post it notes. Once the timer is up, each iDay participant goes around and discusses their ideas. Typically these ideas spark a meaningful conversation about their ideas and solutions.

The leader of the iDay then takes the post it note and places it in a category on the whiteboard. Once everyone has shared their ideas,another prompt is given, and the cycle starts again.

Once an iDay is completed, the room is completely filled with sticky notes.

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It is then the UX designers job to break down the data that was received from the iDay. Both qualitative and quantitative data are usually collected.

Introducing iDays into our Software Development Lifecycle has allowed Codal to come up with very scalable and innovative solutions.

Introducing Innovation Days to Your Project