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To Sit or Stand, That is the Question: IKEA Sit/Stand Desk Review

July 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

Anyone who has worked in an office in the last 10 years has heard about standing desks and how amazing they are supposed to be for your health.  The core benefits range from reducing the risk of obesity to reducing the risk of cancer, so it’s understandable why a lot of companies are taking notice.  That being said, standing all day can also have some negative effects on one’s body so many desk manufacturers make desks that can move up and down either manually or at the touch of a button. Until this year, most of the standing desks were rather pricey ($1000 to $5000); however, this year, IKEA unveiled the Bekant Sit and Stand Desk for $599 (CDN) As such, we at 14 Oranges decided to get a standing desk and do our own research in the name of science (yeah science!) based on nothing more than our personal user experience.

It's like we are running NASA

It’s like we are running NASA

Our experiment was off to a slow start because the Bekant IKEA desk was backordered for weeks but when it finally arrived we were off to the races.  The first thing that we noticed was that it was surprisingly easy to put together which is rare for anything from the Jenga prison of IKEA. Also, the desk even included a little net underneath so you can stash all your computer cables neatly (finally I won’t rip them out when I cross my legs!). As advertised, the desk moves neatly from a low position of 22” off the ground, all the way to 48” inches ensuring support for even the tallest of people (myself and Iain included). Not sure about LeBron though, he isn’t returning my calls. Raising and lowering the desk is stupidly easy- just a push of a button.  It also has a key so that every time you come back from the bathroom your desk isn’t at a new height. The desk is very sturdy and doesn’t wobble even at its highest position.

Desk Buttons

Buttons to move the desk and the key

One of the issues that we found is that desk in only one size (63” by 31 ½”) compared to the stationary version of the Bekants that come in 3 sizes. Most of our workstations were designed to be 60” so unfortunately we could only get one to start with and share it.

The desk net for cords

The desk net for cords

So far, our usage as varied. We have Iain (shown here) and Sylvain (sometimes) that typically likes to start their day on it but then move back to their stationary desk after lunch. I have tried it but found that standing at the desk for long periods of time wasn’t for me.  Here’s what I officially had to say about it:

“I worked retail for six years and by hour three I’d be hunched over the counter with an aching back.  I definitely felt that ache again, but this time I could just succumb to my sloth and sit down.  I also noticed I tended to shift my weight from one foot to the other which doesn’t seem like the wisest move”

The other use we found with the desk is that it is really easy to collaborate on a task with someone side by side. You don’t have to worry about the chairs bumping against each other.

Our conclusions so far are quite positive. It is not for everyone but for those that want to have the option to stand for some periods of the day, the Bekant Sit and Stand desk is quite a nice solution, especially for the price.

The desk in all its glory

The desk in all its glory

One thing we will try in the next few weeks is to “Frankenstein” a desk using a tabletop from the 55” stationery Bekant desk line with the base assembly from the Sit and Stand line. All that is required is to cut two long metal bars by a few inches and drill two holes in the bar. Then drilling holes in the 55” tabletop so the base can attach properly.

Stay tuned for more on that experiment!

Ping Pong, Getting Locked In Stairwells, and Airplanes: A 14 Oranges Open House

June 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

Moving is one of the nine circles of Hell so when I joined 14 Oranges and learned they had just moved offices and I wouldn’t have to move anything, I was overjoyed.  The old office was small and didn’t fit enough of us since we keep adding new staff so a new office space was in order.

The BCIT aerospace campus that we moved to is beautiful and entertaining since it’s all glass and we can watch the planes fly right over our heads. Though it can be alarming at times when I’m convinced that the planes are too low and won’t clear our building so I duck like I’m driving through a tunnel.

One special part of having a great office like ours is inviting clients and guests to come see it.  It can be a bit of a trek but we promise it’s worth it.  On Wednesday we had our Open House to celebrate our move and guests couldn’t stop commenting on how cool it was to watch the planes. Planes are clearly the best backdrop for any party. Most parties are delightful because of the food and drinks and ours was no exception.  The food from BCIT was a hit with the crowd and the cold beer certainly hit the spot on such a warm day.

Our clients and neighbours had a great time and we’re thrilled everyone enjoyed themselves.

It was exciting to see all our staff in the office since most people work from home. Catching up with co-workers usually happens over the watercooler but that is more difficult for us logistically.  Normal days include me terrorizing Iain by accidentally revealing Game of Thrones spoilers or eating all the gummies and hoping no one noticed (if anyone asks, it was Sasan). In addition, Manu, the pillar of 14 Oranges plays ping pong every lunch break so it was expected he would convince guests at the party to take him on.  Clarence stepped up to the plate and a heated game ensued.  On our way back from the ping pong game Clarence and I got locked in the stairwell and had to call Sylvain to save us (from hero to zero in 10 seconds).

Thank you to everyone who came out to support us, we really appreciate the effort!

18 Jun

By

The 14 Oranges Guide to Planning a Mobile App

June 18, 2015 | By |

Introduction

Working in the App development field for the past 6 years, we have found that many of our customers come to us with an idea but have no idea where to start. We work to help them understand the process for developing their business and their app. App development, as with most businesses, starts with a market and an idea. Taking that idea and turning it into an app can be a daunting task. If you follow some basic steps in the planning process, it can be greatly simplified and much more effective for your audience.

The planning process begins with the Business Model, moves through to establishing app requirements and a minimum viable product and finishes with a phased plan to managing the project.

The words Apps - Where to Begin asking if you need help choosing the best app programs or software to put on your mobile device or smart phone, or how to develop applications

The words Apps – Where to Begin asking if you need help choosing the best app programs or software to put on your mobile device or smart phone, or how to develop applications

Business Model

We have many customers approach us with nothing more than an idea, most people don’t consider a business plan. You certainly do not need to have all the details (pricing, categories, options) sorted out, but when planning an app, you should consider how you intend to make money with it. You are more than welcome to create an app for philanthropic reasons, but we can’t all be Bill Gates so it’s imperative you think about how to make money from your app as one of the planning steps. Is your app going to be a paid for app, free, freemium, or a subscription service? There are multiple options to consider so let’s explore them below.

Apps Available for Purchase

The first and most basic model that was available on the various app stores was to provide apps for purchase. Users pay a one time fee (ranging from $0.99 to $999) to purchase the app with the bulk of apps being at the lower end of the spectrum. Now with that being said, Apple probably didn’t do anyone any favors by pushing the typical price of apps to be in the $0.99 range compared to the more typical $20 to $50 range that is very common for desktop apps. Now in some rare cases like Angry Birds, the $0.99 model worked like magic, but in general, selling apps for $0.99 can be very difficult considering that developing an app for a smartphone can be just as time consuming and costly as a desktop application. Moreover, with Apple and Google taking 30% of your proceeds, it makes getting a decent return on investment quite difficult. In order to make a $0.99 model work, your app idea must be earth shattering or you must be prepared to spend a huge amount of money on advertising to achieve global outreach and market wide penetration. Viral apps exist out there but those are few and far between and should not be counted on.

In App Purchases / Freemium

A variation of the straight purchase model is to offer the app for free (or even a small price) and offer additional features in the app as “In-App purchases”. Perhaps your app is restricted to a few records, a few basic features, and the more elaborate capabilities are offered for purchase. That model allows customers to pay for exactly the features they need and can maximize your revenues (if I recall my Microeconomics 101 course properly). The one factor to consider is that it can make testing the app a bit more involved as you have to test for all the different combinations of features. Once again, with In-App purchases, you are subject to the 30% store taxes.

This model is a very cost effective way to attract potential customers; however, be ready to expect somewhere in the 3% to 5% conversion rate for the paid features.

74_application management

Membership/Subscription Model

With most apps requiring some type of cloud service, one of the most effective revenue models is the membership or subscription model. In this model, users are asked to pay a monthly, yearly, and/or per consumption fee to use your app. With this model, you actually have two choices. You can rely on In-App purchases, allowing users to purchase items using the built in In-App purchase mechanisms provided by Apple or Google to pay for their subscription, but again at a cost of 30% to your bottom line. Another option to curb that “tax” is to create your own subscription service using one of the many payment providers (Stripe, Beanstream, Moneris). Now it does involve more work as you typically would need to include a website / user portal for users to manage their accounts and buy the service but that additional work/cost can quickly be recovered with the improved margins on your sales. One thing that you must be aware of is that in order for an app using your own subscription payment service to be approved by Apple, there must not be a single way for users to learn about and proceed with payment within your app. If there is a way, Apple will find it and your app will be rejected. They are quite good at protecting their revenue sources, which seems obvious given their staggering profits.

Basically, your customers will need to learn about your service outside of the app. The one exception to this rule is if the content they are subscribing to is consumed outside of your app. For example, maybe you are selling a gym membership within your app. The app acts as a point of sale but in the end, you are not using your app to consume your membership.

Advertising

The last form of generating money from your app is advertising. Advertisers will pay to show their ads to your user base and there are a few ways to approach this scenario. One option that is quite popular with start up apps is to have a one or more ‘app sponsors’. When the app is being developed some of the costs can be offset by selling sponsorship opportunities. Often this will result in a banner type ad being placed in a prominent place within the app. These sponsors can be transitioned into long term advertisers once the app is live. A second approach to generating advertising revenue is to incorporate a third party advertising network into your app. These ad networks will automate the display of ads within your app, paying you for clicks or views of the ad depending on the arrangement. If your app is likely to generate lots of users and frequent use, this may be the optimal solution for you.

Some key factors when exploring Advertising Revenue Models are:

  • App traffic – how many users and how often will they use your app
  • Demographics – the more focused the demographics of your audience the more targeted the ads resulting in higher click through rates

Ad revenue can be a very effective method of generating money from your app, the rates for clicks or impressions are very low, all things considered, so the traffic needs to be there for it to make sense.

Requirements

After putting together your thoughts on the business model, the next thing to consider when planning out the app itself is the apps functionality. Creating a list of these requirements will be very helpful in scoping the work involved in completing the app. Software development can be extremely complicated and what might appear to be small features could actually involve hours of R&D.

One simple example of this would be time based triggers on iOS. For example if you want your app to perform a task every 15 minutes this would logically seem like a simple task. In reality, this is quite challenging to complete.

Here are some questions to ask when putting together your requirements list:

  • What platforms will be supported? (iOS, Android etc..)
  • What devices types will be support? (Phone, Tablets, Phablets)
  • Will the user need to login?
  • Will the app need to know the user’s location?
    • If so, how precise and how often
  • Will push notifications be required?
  • Will payments be accepted inside the app?
  • Will the project require a website?
  • Will the project require an admin panel?

If you are finding it difficult to write requirements, try sketching things out on paper, screen by screen or use a software tool like Balsalmiq to help you design this. This will help you visualize the pieces of the app from which the requirements will be derived.

flatUI_4_2

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Once you have created the requirements list for all the possible features to complete your dream app, it is important to be pragmatic and break out the Minimum Requirements to take your app to market. Time and money are the key factors at play. First Mover Advantage can be a huge factor in app rollout and defining an MVP allows you to get to market quickly while managing your costs.

Phased Approach

Most apps, once distilled, focus on a single concept surrounded by nice to have features that help manage and utilize the concept. Approaching app development using a phased approach has a slew of advantages.

Budget management is the obvious first advantage to a phased approach. If you develop the MVP and take the app to the market, you can often begin generating revenue which can then be reinvested to the features development.

Another advantage of a phased approach is the ability to build to your customers wishes. You can poll your user base, look at comments in the app store and build in the features your customers are asking for. Sometimes this will line up with your original concepts but often times the users will ask for things your team had not even thought of which is a fantastic way to connect with your customer base.

Adding features in a phased approach can also help with user engagement. Users can be notified of new features and that can bring them back into the app on a more steady basis. Many apps struggle to get users to come back to their apps on a regular basis so new features and updates can give users a reason to return.

Summary

Once you have worked your way through the planning process outlined above, you are ready to get started. Think about the business model, define your requirements, decide on an MVP and put a plan in place.  Don’t forget to reach out to your targeted customer base and ask them what features and ideas they want to see implemented in an app.  Most app users are tech savvy and would have some brilliant insight into your plan.  If you follow this simple process you will be ready to sit down with your development team and get the project underway.
If you need help or have questions during your app planning process, contact 14 Oranges.

 

08 Jun

By

WWDC 2015 Day One: Beatlemania for Developers

June 8, 2015 | By |

My first day at WWDC 2015 is over and now is a good time to reflect on a crazy day.

I woke up at 4:45am in order to save a good place in the keynote lineup. I arrived at 6am and the lineup was almost around the block of the Moscone Convention centre. The line started to move on and off throughout the morning and I was inside the convention centre by 7:30am. Apple had breakfast available for the people in line inside the convention centre so I did not have to starve waiting in line before the keynote started.

I managed to get a good seat at the keynote and the atmosphere was electric. The cheers coming from the audience were genuine and developers were very excited that Swift is going to be open sourced later this year. They were also thrilled that newer tools will be introduced to make their lives easier. Apple Music and the news app are not geared towards developers so these features generated the least amount of cheers.

Some people will find WWDC boring because no splashy new feature was announced. The new versions of OS X, iOS, and watchOS are evolutions, not revolutions. The features introduced today will improve user experience, help users keep their old phones longer, and make it easier for developers to produce great apps.  Overall I’d consider that a huge success!

I also attended the Platforms State of the Union event. The event is geared towards developers and it provided more technical information about some of the iOS and watchOS features announced in the keynote. Their session also included live code demonstrations

I am looking forward to the start of the sessions, labs, and events that start tomorrow.

Follow us on Twitter for live updates

04 Jun

By

Apple WatchKit: Disappointment or Foundation for the Future?

June 4, 2015 | By |

After adding the Apple Watch support to our infamous Radio Apps, I would like to share some of my experiences developing on this new platform and the hurdles I encountered.

Adding WatchKit App to Your Project

In order to add Apple Watch support to your app, you will need to learn the new framework called WatchKit. Essentially, the watch interface is built off the WatchKit SDK. Adding the Watch target is pretty straight forward in Xcode.

1) From the Xcode menu, select File > New > New Target

2) In the template chooser, pick iOS >  and navigate to the Apple Watch section

3) Select WatchKit App

4) If you plan to implement a glance or custom notification interface, select the appropriate checkboxes.

Xcode configures the targets for your WatchKit app and WatchKit extension and adds the needed files to your iOS project. The bundle IDs for both new targets are configured automatically, based on the bundle ID of your iOS app. The base IDs for all three bundles must match.

Here is the official link from Apple to get you started

Mobile vs Wearable

The Apple watch is referred to as a wearable device where the operational aspect of its apps should be inherently different from applications designed for mobile devices like the iPhone. Apple watch apps shouldn’t merely copy all functionalities from its parent app. The watch app should complement its parent app rather than replicate all functionalities just so they are available in a smaller form factor.

iOS Simulator Screen Shot - Apple Watch Jun 3, 2015, 1.48.33 PM

Limitations

– Storyboards only. The watch user interface can only be built via storyboards. All the xib lovers will need to suck it up and go this route.

– WatchKit apps require an iPhone to function. When implementing Apple watch applications, all storyboard files for the watch app are copied to the watch device; however, the code to update the Watch ui is loaded to the phone as an extension (similar to the Extensions feature introduced in iOS 8). Stand alone native watch application is coming this fall according to rumours, but we will see soon enough at WWDC 2015.

– Limited API access. Since the WatchKit app mainly works along the iPhone, there is no API to access the hardware sensors on the device.

– Lack of certain controls. All the watch UI elements are new and some of those traditional iOS controls are not available. This problem is understandable as we are dealing with a totally new paradigm with very limited real estate. However, there are certain controls like the Audio Volume (especially important for a radio app) that have not been added to the SDK, making the app less useful in some cases.

– Layout. Unfortunately, there is no AutoLayout support. The WatchKit Storyboard does the on-screen layout automatically for you. I was hoping I could move some controls and overlay them on top of an album art image but it didn’t work. Also, there are several layout rules that we need to get accustomed to. For example, Apple introduced a new layout component called Group where controls can be placed within the group.

– Navigation. There are two ways to navigate between views within a watch application. Hierarchical (like navigation on iOS device) vs Page (navigate between pages by swiping left and right) base model. Unfortunately, there is no way to combine the two models. Developers will need to make a decision ahead of time and stick with it for the entire app.

Round Up

In conclusion, I was disappointed by many limitations imposed by the Apple Watch SDK and its features; however, there is no reason why developers shouldn’t add the watch support to their app now and get excited for the opportunity this new platform will bring us in the future. Despite the lack of features, the watch app implementation cycle isn’t too long and developing on WatchKit is relatively straight forward. Because Apple is launching the WatchKit framework in a very conservative fashion, there is no doubt that things will drastically evolve in future releases when Apple has more time to flush out the platform.

I hope you found this article useful. If you are looking to develop your own Apple Watch app but don’t have the time or expertise, contact our sales team at sales@14oranges.com and I will be glad to talk to you more about it

03 Jun

By

Apple’s WWDC 2015: Expect the Unexpected

June 3, 2015 | By |

As a newer 14 Oranges employee, I didn’t expect to be invited to the Apple WWDC this year, especially since I am more adept at Android than iOS.  However, it’s like being chosen by the ghost of Steve Jobs and you don’t say no to that! Employee training is a cornerstone for successful tech firms so being encouraged by 14 Oranges to attend felt like they are invested in my continuous learning.

I am thrilled to attend the WWDC in San Francisco because I am looking forward to attending the famous opening keynote. I am sure there will be at least one surprise in the keynote that the rumours have not mentioned and the atmosphere is going to be electric.

I am hoping to learn more about the upcoming versions of iOS and the Watch OS. I am curious to find out which new features will be added to the operating systems, how the interaction between the iPhone and Apple Watch will evolve, and the performance of the new operating systems in older devices.

I am also excited to learn more about Apple’s plans for Swift programming language. Swift was introduced last year out of the blue and the language has improved throughout the year. Will this be the year Apple makes the move to replace Objective-C with Swift as the development language for iOS apps?

Finally, I am looking forward to attending the workshops and exchanging ideas with fellow developers. I am hoping to bring back knowledge that will make our current and future iOS and Apple Watch apps better.

WWDC may not be as exciting to the general public as the events where new iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches are unveiled, but the developer tools and features unveiled will shape the apps that will be coming in the next few years. Thus, as a developer, WWDC is the most important Apple event of the year.

01 Jun

By

The CHEK News Mobile App Has Landed

June 1, 2015 | By |

14 Oranges is on TV! Download the CHEK News mobile app and stay connected with breaking news stories.

To learn more about developing a mobile app, contact 14 Oranges.

29 May

By

Forget Tool Belts and Buzzsaws; Levy Watt is the Perfect Accessory for Contractors and Homeowners

May 29, 2015 | By |

Raise The Roof

The construction industry can be rather daunting for most people because it’s difficult to find a good, trustworthy contractor since a friend of a friend of a friend always has a horror story about getting ripped off that makes you run screaming from the whole idea.  These stories are so prevalent that there’s even a reality TV show appropriately called To Catch a Contractor about people getting ripped off for their home renovations, then being forced to hunt the contractor down in order to get the work fixed.  I even Googled ‘home renovation TV shows’ and there was a list of about 25 reality programs that focus on home repair and renovation, so it seems the fix-your-home market is booming.  But given the risk of the construction industry, what could a contractor or homeowner do to mitigate the possibility of things going south?

What's scarier, Adam Carolla or bad home renovations?

What’s scarier, Adam Carolla or bad home renovations?

 

The Levy Watt website is the solution for contractors and homeowners because it offers accountability and transparency for both parties. The website is a clever blend of a project management tool like Trello, and a secure third party bank like Paypal, but it’s tailored to meet the specific needs of the construction industry.  The entirely web based application allows both parties to communicate, manage and resolve issues as well as request, approve, and make payments as required.  Clients aren’t just handing large cheques over to contractors and contractors get payment as agreed upon steps are completed.  There is a channel for dispute resolution so if either party is unsatisfied there is a fair outlet to resolve issues.  All information is recorded on the website and both parties have access at all times to promote complete transparency.

Contractor Recommendations

Contractor Recommendations

The 14 Oranges Solution

14 Oranges decided to divide the project into three parts: a brochure website, a webapp, and an administration portal.  The Levy Watt website is used as a marketing and selling tool in order to promote their image and service.  The Webapp is the second part of the solution because it’s the tool used by the contractors and clients for project management.  The admin portal is the last part of the solution because it’s the backend that’s used, by Levy Watt staff, to manage projects, users, payment and much more.

Contractors and Homeowners Unite

The Levy Watt website allows clients to request specific contractors or ask for recommendations for a contractor.  Additionally, contractors can create projects and assign clients so it works for both parties.
Once the project is created it is still in draft mode. Contractors can add milestones and files so they can communicate with clients by private messages. When a project is ready for approval, the contractor sends an approval request to the client, who can approve or decline the request. Once the client approves the project, the funds get deposited to the project.

Levy Watt will then approve the funds and notify the contractor, who will initiate the first milestone.
Once the project is in progress, the client can request a change order (another milestone or a change to any of the existing milestones) and the contractor will create them. Any change order must be approved by both parties and will allow them to upload new files and send private messages.

Once a milestone is completed, the contractor will send a completion request to the client, who can easily approve or decline with just a message.  The client can approve the completion, or open a dispute.

Disputes are the tool Levy Watt provides for both parties to reach an easy solution to any possible problems that may arise during the course of a project. Both parties must agree to the resolution in order to close the dispute.

If both parties are subsequently unable to reach a solution, Levy Watt will suggest one and if they both still don’t agree, the dispute goes into external legal remediation which will usually lead to arbitration and the project will be placed on hold.

Levy Watt Infographic

The Levy Watt System

A Solid Foundation

Scoping and planning for the Levy Watt project was intense because of the intricate relationships between each section and how they worked together.  After mapping out the wireframes and determining the flow of interactions, 14 Oranges decided to use a custom WP theme which was designed by Zboya Design, that allows Levy Watt to update and control their website content. Providing a superior customer experience on any device was a crucial requirement for Levy Watt, so the entire website is responsive and mobile friendly, thanks to Twitter Bootstrap.
For the webapp, 14 Oranges used bsAdmin which is a bootstrap theme for admin tools and it helped make the contractor and client interface responsive. Since most Levy Watt users will be using phones or tablets, the webapp tools had to be responsive. They are able to upload files and validations with the respective bootstrap uploader and validator. In summary, jQuery, php and a MySQL database are the engine for the Levy Watt portal and webapp.

The Road to Success Is Under Construction with Levy Watt

Taking the risk out of home renovation and restoring peace of mind to homeowners was the goal behind the entire Levy Watt concept.  Having your living space exactly the way you want is every homeowner’s dream but that can be held back for fear of dealing with contractors.  With the Levy Watt webapp, both contractor and homeowner have transparency, clear communication and payment assurance to ensure a smooth transaction process.  Now it’s time to get renovating!

To learn more about how 14 Oranges can assist with making your ideas a reality by creating a web solution or a mobile app, contact sales@14oranges.com

20 May

By

The Working Mom at 14 Oranges

May 20, 2015 | By |

I have my dream job!

No, I am not an astronaut (sorry six year old me – that one didn’t pan out). Instead I am a Working Mom who doesn’t have to feel guilty about the “Mom” part of that title.

Ever since I became a Mom my kids have been my first priority. As everyone with kids will tell you “they grow up too fast” and given that my son is soon going to be a teenager and my daughter is now a 10 year old tween, I can attest to that statement being very true.

I had a lot of fun going to baby singing classes, toddler soccer lessons, Mommy and Me ballet and many other kids’ activities. I always knew however that I wanted to get back to work so my brain would be challenged with something a little more than just remembering the words to “Row, row, row your boat.”

Many companies love to advertise that they offer work-life balance. On further inquiry this generally means the option to work from home once a month or a couple of extra days of “personal time off”. The reality is that won’t cut it if you want to be involved in the lives of your busy kids on a day to day basis.

14 Oranges is different. This company truly understands work-life balance and should be a model to all organizations. I work from home full time – going into the office once or twice a month. Many of my coworkers have young kids, so meetings don’t get scheduled between 2.45 and 3.15pm as everyone knows this is the school run time.  I have time each morning to get my kids breakfast, pack their lunches and send them off to school. With a one minute commute time to my desk I am still easily able to start work before 9am – something that would be completely impossible if I had to drive to an office.

After school the kids make their own way home and understand that they need to let me finish off my work day. We are a sports mad family – hockey and soccer in the winter and baseball in the spring. On game days I’ll finish work early enough to get to the rink or park, and then put in a few more hours later in the evening. When the kids are sick they can stay snuggled up in bed knowing I am working just down the hall. I never have to use a vacation day to look after a sick child – something that is the norm for many working Moms.

Oh – and did I mention the cool points? As the Quality Assurance lead for an app/web development company I need a lot of devices for testing. At last count I had 11 different devices on my desk. Believe me if you are a 10 or 12 year old kid – having your Mom get the latest Apple or Android device as soon as it comes out is WAY cooler than her being an astronaut!

15 May

By

Review: Integra Adhesives App Takes the Guesswork Out of Colour Matching

May 15, 2015 | By |

Name:  Integra Adhesives

Version: 1.1.1

Developer: 14 Oranges

Platform: iOS and Android

Price:  Free

Available at the App store and Google Play

Why Integra Adhesives Chose 14 Oranges

14 Oranges was approached by Integra Adhesives to create an application to enable their customers to best match the colour of a countertop with the adhesives sold by Integra. Integra Adhesives has an extensive selection of colours with over 300 colour options matching over 6000 countertop sheets from more than 300 manufacturers, and they were looking to create an app to help simplify the colour match process.  When 14 Oranges was approached by Integra Adhesives, they had an existing website with similar functionality, back end systems, and databases but were looking to produce an app with as far a reach as possible, but were limited by budget constraints.  Additionally, Integra’s lone technical staff member did not have time or the precise expertise to begin the process of creating an app.  This situation is a common stumbling block for many organizations with small IT departments and firms looking to cut costs, so they look to start outsourcing specialized technological work.

The 14 Oranges Process

The 14 Oranges work process for Integra Adhesives started with an onsite kick-off meeting involving the 14 Oranges project manager and technical lead as well as key stakeholders from Integra Adhesives  in order to establish an internal review of requirements and scope. Once the review was completed, there was an initial ramp up phase and creation of sprints and milestones followed by multiple implementation and quality assurance cycles.  When the first deliverable was ready, it was reviewed by Integra Adhesives and adjustments were made based on their feedback.  The last step involved was device specific quality assurance and once that was successful, 14 Oranges submitted the final release to the respective App stores.  As with all our clients, 14 Oranges performed a final follow up to ensure that all loose ends were tied up and completed.

Functionality

The Integra Adhesives app takes the guesswork out adhesive colours for an installer.  The app features colour matching, products, fabricator tools and contact information to make life easier for installers.

Integra App

Colour Matching

The colour matching section of the app includes colour charts, a natural stone gallery and colour swatches.  These sections allow installers to access all the surface brands so you can match your adhesive to the product line.  No more guess and check then going back to the store to return the item that didn’t work.  The natural stone gallery is really interesting because you can compare the photos of your stone with the options on the app so you can get an idea of how a seam would look together.  The colour swatches are probably my favorite part of the app because the variety of colours is fantastic and fun.  With the Integra colour palette at your fingertips you can mix and match until you see a colour combination that is right.

Integra Colour Swatches

Integra Colour Swatches

Products

The product section of the Integra app includes adhesives, caulk, dispensers and accessories information.  The overview and spec information included in the app is so detailed that it makes it simple to understand.  There are instruction manuals for the adhesives and accessories so the app is also a teaching tool that provides instruction and knowledge.

Tools

There is an adhesive calculator in the tool section of the app that is very easy to use because it is clear and includes imperial and metric systems.  There is also a library of YouTube videos on the app so installers can get a better understanding of the adhesive selections that are offered by Integra.

Integra Search Function

Integra Search Function

Audience

The best part of the Integra Adhesives app is how clear and easy the information is to understand for any installer.  They can mix and match colours to see which combination they like, they can watch videos to learn about which adhesives are right for their job and see a whole array of products that will make their clients’ homes functional and beautiful.

Granite Matching

Granite Matching

Ease of Use

The Integra Adhesive app is incredibly straightforward to use and functional.  It was fun to navigate and play around with different colour combinations and stone options.  The product information is simple to understand and is arranged in a logical order.  The videos are a useful tool for pulling the instruction manuals together and getting a visual understanding.

Design

App design can be challenging for a manufacturing or industrial field since it’s not conventionally fun or engaging for consumers.  This app is designed well and has a lot of valuable information for someone in the home renovation field.

14 Oranges built the Integra Adhesives app with Adobe PhoneGap, a multi-platform framework, allowing deployment on a limited budget and meeting a tight timeline.

Round Up

The Integra Adhesive app is a valuable tool for installers but it also sets the benchmark for manufacturing and industrial firms.