Typical stages of the mobile application development

A simple guide for communications managers | 6 minutes read

 

mobile app planning

 

The development of a mobile application can seem like a daunting task for communications managers as for most it is something new that has not been undertaken in the past. Fear not, as we will present the process to you in simple stages to help you with the process and hopefully alleviate your fears.

 

First of all, everything starts with an idea; however, understanding the implementation process is crucial to make sure you succeed with your project. Any brilliant idea can collapse with poor execution while, by contrast, a simpler idea can lead to brilliant results with good execution and a good implementation process. This rule works for any project but is especially true for software development and specifically – mobile application development.

 

In real life, the best results are achieved when the client’s side, usually a communications manager, and development team achieve full understanding and fruitful cooperation.

 

Before even starting to work on a mobile application, it is very important for communications managers to understand the development cycle and its stages.

So, here are our essential stages of how to manage this process:

 

1. Define your idea and create a brief

Literally, put on paper your idea by answering the following questions:

  1. Who is your future mobile app?
  2. What are the challenges faced by your community?
  3. What can a mobile app be helpful with?
  4. What are your organization challenges?

Ideally, we also recommend having all your brand standards and guides already prepared as it will help with development steps; however, it is not essential to get started.

 

2. Choose a supplier.

Here different options can be considered such as an in-house developer, a freelance developer, or a reputable development company. We will not dive into this topic much further in this discussion (more on this later) but what is important here is to make sure your supplier has experience in your area and understands the business processes of your organization.

 

Here you can download our Mobile Application Planning Guide 

 

mobile application

 

3. Arrange a kick-off meeting.

In this meeting, the communications manager and the development team discuss the mobile application requirements, the organization “wants” and “cans”, the technical implementation and feasibility, the timing, the challenges, and what should be done at each stage from both sides.

Here are some technical questions that usually are discussed with the development team:

  • What platforms will be supported? (iOS, Android, other.)
  • What devices types will be supported? (Phone, Tablets, Phablets)
  • Will users need to log in?
  • 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 administration panel?
  • What kind of features do you require?

 

4. Create a mobile application plan.

At this stage, the structure of the mobile app needs to be considered as well as the logic, features, content, and how the app should work. While in this stage, any changes can be reviewed and altered quite easily so it is important to finalize all issues to avoid any mistakes at the later stages.

 

5. Implement a prototype and design.

A prototype – is the clickable draft of your future mobile app. Here you can have the complete visualization of how your mobile app will look like including the design. Recall, we also recommended having your brand guides prepared? Having these guides will allow the development team to incorporate them inside the prototype so you get an almost complete visualization of your mobile app.

 

6. Start mobile app development.

This stage is the development stage of the project and should be entirely handled by the selected development team. Just make sure you have approved all necessary materials for the team and they have everything they need (according to previous stages) to develop the app.

 

7. Test the mobile app and launch.

At this stage, you have received your completely finished dream mobile app. So now you and your organization need to test it. We would recommend having a few reliable team members to test the app so that you will receive relevant comments that can be adjusted before the app is launched.

After approving the app, it will be ready to submit to the respective app stores. Once the apps are public, the project is completed.

Following these basic steps will allow you to simplify and improve the cooperation between your organization and the supplier to get a mobile app that can start to resolve your organization challenges and improve engagement with your members. It wasn’t too bad, was it?

 

Don’t forget to order a Free Demo of your future Mobile Application. Click here.

Know your community better: interact, gather feedback, and improve your services.

Info Grove Voting / Survey Module by 14 Oranges

 

Providing services to the community and building a meaningful medium around them is very important. It’s not an easy job, especially when we speak about quality. Sometimes you never know for sure if the job was successful until you ask your community: What are they thinking about?

 

Analyze the success of the event you hosted, the satisfaction of the new improvement you have launched, or in contrast, ask the community. Ask them to support your new ideas, innovations, or to help choose new members and executives – this creates two-way communication that increases the satisfaction and loyalty of your community members.  Consequently maximizing the quality of the job you provide as an organization.

 

14 Oranges understands these needs. We are happy to announce the launch of a new feature in the Info Grove mobile application platform – The Voting / Survey Module.

 

Info Grove’s Voting / Survey Module is a very simple and friendly module which can be used for both voting and survey purposes.

 

Order free demo now Click here.

 

Info Grove framework mob app

 

The integrated Voting / Survey module allows your organization to create, send, collect feedback, and analyze information to improve your services. While enabling your community to vote for their favorite ideas, new members, and executives directly in the mobile application.

 

So, with the Info Grove Voting / Survey Module, you have one simple tool for different feedback purposes which includes (but is not limited to):

  • A survey, referendum, plebiscite voting
    Receive feedback with binding results or not
  • Executive voting

    Simple voting = 1 vote for 1 candidate
  • Group voting 

    Vote for more than 1 candidate for a position, for example, board members or city council representatives
  • Resolution voting
    
Have your community give their approval on your resolutions, either to your full membership base or for board members and executives only
  • Write-in voting
    Allow members to write-in the name of a candidate on the spot

 

Aside from the opportunity to improve your community membership engagement, Info Grove Voting / Survey Module allows your organization to save money by reducing costs on the old form of paper printing, mailing, and manually counting feedbacks.

14 Oranges provides a high-security level of data protection with Info Grove Voting / Survey Module. All information is safe during and after the voting/survey process.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

Info Grove Beacons: Mobile Engagement

Info Grove Beacons

 

As part of the 3.3 release for Info Grove, 14 Oranges added a simple way to install hardware beacons and send location-based notifications or content offerings. In this article, we outline what a beacon is, how it’s different from a geo-fence, and how to set up beacons with Info Grove.

 

What is a Beacon?

 

Definition from Tech Target: “A beacon, in the context of location-based services, is a small hardware device that enables data transmission to mobile devices within a specific range of the device. For most applications, recipients must have Bluetooth turned on, have the associated mobile app installed with location services enabled and must have opted in to accept the sender’s transmissions.”

 

A beacon differentiates itself from geo-fences as geo-fences use GPS technology and not Bluetooth to activate the location-based notifications or content.

 

Photo from: https://estimote.com/press-kit/

 

How does a Beacon work?

 

A beacon is a small physical device that’s often hidden from sight. Beacons take the shape of a rock or a small plastic chip. There are several beacon providers to choose from and all integrate with Info Grove, but for simplicity, we recommend Estimote Beacons.

 

Photo from: https://estimote.com/press-kit/

 

After the beacon is purchased it must be synced with the backend of a mobile app, usually the content management system. Once configured in the backend, the beacon uses Bluetooth to link to the user’s device. When the app gets close to the beacon, a pre-programmed notification will appear or you can unhide location-specific content.

 

Beacons vs. Geo-Fences

 

While beacons and geo-fences may appear to complete the same function, the way they differ is important when deciding which feature to use for location-driven content. Location accuracy is generally better with beacons than geo-fences. Beacons, using Bluetooth, provide location accuracy within a few metres or feet. Geo-fences leverage global positioning technology with longitude and latitude, so they are not equipped to handle multiple location services within close proximity and are better for large areas, such as public parks or large festivals.

 

Beacons provide accuracy within extremely close ranges. A museum, for example, could have multiple beacons in one small room. A geo-fence would only be able to provide one perimeter for the entire museum, while a beacon can provide unique notifications for multiple artifacts or objects in the same room. Also, beacons can be placed on multiple floors of a single building while a geo-fence cannot accommodate multiple heights as it only uses latitude and longitude.

 

Photo: Example of a geo-fence.

 

Photo: Example of beacons.

 

How to set up beacons with Info Grove

 

To set up a beacon with Info Grove you will first need to purchase your beacon(s) from a provider, such as Estimote Beacons. After you have your beacon in hand you can start to create your location-based content.

You will need to define a few important fields in the Info Grove backend, including the UUID, Major, Minor, and Range.  

 

UUID: 

Universally Unique Identifier is a unique long number attached to a single beacon.

Major/Minor: 

Are numbers assigned to your beacons in order to identify them with greater accuracy than using a UUID alone. These are also provided by the beacon provider.

Range: 

Immediate, near, and far. Immediate means within a few feet, near is approximately 5-10 metres, and far being greater than 10 metres. We recommend testing near and immediate to determine the optimal location distance for notifications.

 

The beacons you’ve purchased should come equipped with these numbers. We recommend you follow the instructions from the beacon provider, as each may be slightly different. After you’ve entered the numbers above, place your beacon at your desired location. 

 

 

Next, you will need to decide whether you want to unhide location-based content or provide a notification that links somewhere in your app.

 

 

When choosing your location link, keep in mind that you have two options. Either to unhide content (Access Type) or to send a pre-programmed notification.

 

For access type, you can choose between Normal, Locked, or Hidden. Normal changes nothing and does not make the content location-determined, “Locked” shows the content button but does not make it clickable/accessible until the mobile device is within range. “Hidden” does not show the content button at all until the device is within range. If you choose “Locked”, you can add a locked message, such as “This content is only available for app users located in our museum.”

 

If you want to send a notification instead, you can ignore the “Access type” section and add a notification. The location link you choose will be opened when app users click on the notification. Leave the location link blank if you want to open to the homepage of your app.

 

Conclusion

 

 

There are many ways to use beacons for mobile engagement. Cities can provide tours and place beacons on monuments and landmarks. Associations can place beacons within a conference to remind users to fill out a survey or provide resources, such as a schedule or speaker list. Or museums can provide a mobile tour and easily change beacons when new exhibitions are added. Creating a new mobile engagement campaign is easy with Info Grove. Click here to learn more about Info Grove and schedule a demo today.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

Info Grove: Accept In-App Payments

 

New to Info Grove is our “Payments” feature for offering in-app purchases with a credit card. Currently, Info Grove payments integrate with Bambora and Stripe accounts.

 

After you’ve created your Bambora/Stripe account and 14 Oranges has enabled the integration for your application, you can begin to add products/services for sale.

 

 

Payment Terminology

Active: Toggle on and off to remove products from your store but keep product information in the backend.

Label: Label is the title of your product.

Description: Describe any relevant details about your product, such as the size of clothing, info about an event, and etc.

Category: If needed, add categories to organize your items on sale, such as events, clothing, or memberships.

Currency: Switch between Canadian and U.S. dollars.

Total Amount: Total amount after all tax and/or shipping costs.

Base Amount: The amount before tax.

Notes: Any additional notes for your sale item.

Transactional Emails: Receive email notifications for completed purchases.

 

 

 

Example: Event tickets

 

Example: Products

 

 

Example: Membership Sign Up

 

 

 

How to add products for sale in Info Grove

 

1) Enable the Bambora, Stripe, integrations for your entity
2) Enable data sources (v3) and enhanced form (v3) on the backend modules and for your app version
3) On the tenant entity, go to Products and create your products
3) Create a data source with a products list. Select the products that you want on this list from the “Values” button.
4) Create an enhanced form (v3)
5) On your enhanced form, select the data source that you created earlier
6) Go to Payment Providers, add your payment provider. Add in the provider specific configuration fields (API key etc – retrieve these from your test payment provider account)

How to display products for sale in Info Grove

 

Displaying products (as shown in the photos above) works well with a “Plain List.” The first step is to create the plain list for what you want to sell.

After filling your products in the plain list your sales page will look something like this:

 

 

 

After finalizing your products, product descriptions, and price information, you will need to create “module links” that create the “purchase button.” The module link will take app users from the product to the purchase page (which you’ve already created with the enhanced form.)

 

When creating your module links, select the product you want to sell (From module) and redirect to the purchase page for the same product (To module).

 

Lastly, create the name of the button, such as “Purchase” or “Buy Now”

 

If you are just selling one product you will need to “add a single record” on the menu management section. If you are selling the entire list of products (the plain list) you need to add the plain list view to the menu and all your products will be displayed.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

Click here to learn more about Info Grove mobile apps. 

Info Grove: Improving In-App Navigation

 

 

Info Grove has many different ways to provide content in your mobile app. With over 20 modules to choose from, content can be configured in a variety of formats depending on the specific needs of the user.

 

Here we demonstrate a simple way to provide content in a mobile-first format by adding a “clickable” button on an individual page. By using this simple navigation trick, you will provide a better user experience to app users and keep them coming back for more.

 

How to Create Improved In-App Navigation with Plain Lists

 

Step One: Create a “Plain List” for your starting page.

 

 

Step Two: Add a single record to the plain list, such as a report, guide, or any relevant information. For this example, we’ve created a “2018 Annual Report.” From here you can add information, photos, videos, and relevant links.

 

 

Step Three: Create a new view, or, the landing page content. This will become the destination after the button is clicked. The second page can be a PDF list, an event schedule, a content HTML, or any other view in Info Grove. For this example, we created a “PDF List” view. After you created the second view, add the content (we uploaded PDFs to our list).

 

 

Step Four: Go to “Module Links” and create a new module link. The module link is the button that will take you from the plain list to your new landing page. Define your “from module” as the plain list item you’ve just created. Define your “to module” as the view and item you’ve just uploaded (for us, the PDF). Finish by defining your button title (the text the user will read when clicking on the button.)

 

 

Note: If you want to put the button on the bottom of the page, change the “group” to 9 or higher.

 

Step Five: Add the new content to your menu. From here you can either direct users to the entire plain list you just created, or, the single item in the list (ex: 2018 Annual Report.) If you want to add the single item, on menu management click “Add a record” and find the item you created.

 

 

Step Six: Drag and drop your item to the desired place and add an icon to complete the item.

 

Other Examples

 

Example: Training Material

 

 

Example: Voting (add multiple buttons if needed)

 

 

Example: Advocacy Action

 

 

Example: View/purchase event tickets

 

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

Interested in learning more about Info Grove mobile apps? Click here to learn more and schedule a demo today.

 

 

Info Grove: Advocacy Campaigns for Associations

mobile advocacy campaigns

 

Info Grove Campaigns

 

The latest feature for Info Grove is our “Campaigns” tool for associations and organizations.

 

Campaigns allow organizations to pre-configure an advocacy email for members to send in the mobile app. Emails can be sent to political representatives to encourage action in government.

 

The feature is designed to make grassroots advocacy campaigns as simple as possible in a mobile-first format. Associations can create multiple campaigns to run simultaneously while addressing different issues of need.

 

How to Create a Campaign

 

Step One: Create a new view under “Campaign”

Step One: Configure the campaign details (name, info, videos, photos, etc.) and at the bottom click “campaign action” and create the pre-configured email information. After you’ve created the email, edit the campaign link (this creates the button to click) and define your button title.

 

CMS

 

Step Three: Add the view to your menu and add a new icon (if needed)

Step Four: Send push notifications and take users directly to the campaign button.

Step Five: Members launch the campaign and can send an email in just a few minutes.

 

 

Tips for running a successful campaign:

1. Schedule a series of notifications over several days or weeks to maximize engagement.

2. After you create a new campaign, add it to the top of your menu to emphasize the call-to-action.

3. CC yourself or your organization’s email to see how many emails are sent by your members.

 

 

Info Grove mobile apps

 

 

Interested in learning more about campaigns for grassroots advocacy? Click here to learn more about Info Grove and schedule an online demo today. 

Geo-Fencing: Location-Based Mobile Engagement

geo-fence mobile app

 

What is a geo-fence?

A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. The virtual area is set up using global positioning system (GPS) technology. The majority of geo-fences work together with a mobile device and a downloaded mobile app. In most cases, as a mobile device enters a geo-fence, it triggers a pre-programmed action on the device.

 

 

How does a geo-fence work?

We will explain the process as if your geo-fence is working in conjunction with a mobile app.

First, the virtual area must be configured by an administrator in the backend of your mobile app. For many applications, this involves accessing a content management system and setting a longitude and latitude for the desired area. The administrator then determines how large the geographic boundary will be, in meters. The size of your geo-fence is set drawing a radius from the latitude and longitude and creates a virtual circle around your defined area. The final step is to determine what type of location-timed service you are going to provide, either a local notification or location-specific content.

Second, the user must have your app installed and they’ll require location services turned on for your app. It’s important to ensure the app users have location services turned on in order for your geo-fence to function.

 

How to use geo-fences

Geo-fencing is most commonly performed with local notifications. As a mobile device enters the pre-defined area, the device will become “activated” within the geo-fence. At 14 Oranges, we provide you two options for using geo-fences:

 

1. Automatically send a local notification to the user within seconds of the app user entering your defined perimeter. The notification can provide information, link them to other pages within the app, external URLs, and mobile resources.

2. Activate content that is only accessible when the app user is physically inside of the pre-defined area. When a user enters the area, they “unlock” new pieces of content in the app that would otherwise be inaccessible when they’re outside of the area.

 

Real-World Example: Snapchat

Snapchat uses geo-fence technology to enable specific filters as mobile devices enter new areas; this an example of “unlocking” location-based content. If you’ve used apps like Snapchat in the past, you’ve probably noticed this location-based service. Location-based filters and stickers are widely used with Snapchat. Most major cities in North America have their own unique Snapchat filter made with a geo-fence which covers city limits.

 

snapchat geo-fence

 

Benefits of geo-fences

There are countless benefits of geo-fence technology working with a mobile app, the most significant being improved mobile engagement. Geo-fencing allows you to notify your app users at the most relevant time or provide more relevant content. Businesses, governments, organizations, and events have a powerful toolkit for reaching their target audience in a timely fashion with geo-fences.

 

Geo-fences for Cities

 

geo-fence cities

 

Cities have a unique opportunity with geo-fence technology. Cities have a guaranteed user base for location-enabled services, as the citizens move around the city every day. Cities can set up geo-fences in the downtown shopping areas, parks and recreation facilities, and relevant boundaries.

Cities can use geo-fences to set up notifications to connect citizens to local deals, discounts, or events, and provide useful information about the physical area they’ve just entered. For example, as a user approaches a trailhead for a hike, they could be greeted with information about rules and safety in the outdoors.

 

Geo-fences for Associations

 

association geo-fence

 

Associations are able to use geo-fences in a few creative ways to enhance member engagement and the overall member (mobile) experience.

 

EVENTS:

Events are a great way to leverage geo-fence technology for associations and organizations. As attendees enter the venue, you’re able to greet them with an automated notification. A geo-fence could remind them about the day’s activities, schedule, or direct them to more content in the app. Add a new geo-fence for every day of the event, or set up a few smaller perimeters for larger events.

Also, associations can enable content that is only accessible when the app user is physically inside of the pre-defined radius. When a user enters the event, they “unlock” new content for the event that would otherwise be inaccessible when they’re outside of the area.

 

ADVOCACY:

Associations are routinely engaging members with grassroots advocacy campaigns. Try setting up a geo-fence around your state legislature or political building and remind users as they cross the radius to contact his or her representative. The notification will likely be viewed as relevant and less obstructive than usual push notifications, as the user is physically located near the building you’ve chosen.

If your mobile app integrates with KnowWho, an online government directory for advocacy, the geo-fence can link users to send an email or phone his or her representative regarding the advocacy issue.

 

MEMBER BENEFITS:

Many associations provide members with a variety of benefits. So many in fact, that members often forget what’s available to them. Enable geo-fence locations around physical storefronts for member benefits.

For example, an association may offer a bank or credit union account or car rental services with membership, so a geo-fence could be set up around those locations to send reminder notifications to members.

You will most likely require members to possess his or her membership card (QR Code) within the mobile app if they wish to redeem their benefits at the locations.

 

Geo-fences for Businesses

 

business geo-fence

 

Businesses with a physical storefront have a competitive advantage with geo-fencing, especially if the business has people returning often, like a restaurant or clothing store. If your business has multiple locations, you can configure separate location-timed notifications.

Sending a local notification to users who already have your app installed will go a long way for increased customer loyalty. For example, configure a geo-fence so when an app user gets within 2km of your storefront, they receive a push notification with a code for 10% off their next purchase. Within the notification, you can list the details of the promo, such as “valid only at our downtown location” or “expires within 24h”.

 

Potential Limitations

 

HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS

 

high rise building

 

It’s important to remember that geo-fences leverage longitude and latitude when generating a perimeter, so a geo-fence can only measure the width of a certain space and not the height.

Why is this important? High rise buildings present a few obstacles for geo-fences.

Example: For a 12 story building, only one geo-fence can be enabled for the entire building. You are not able to add a geo-fence for each floor as the user is passing through the same radius for each floor. If you are attempting to integrate location-based services for this type of scenario, a beacon would be a better fit.

Also, many high rise buildings may interfere with the connectivity of cellular devices to global positioning systems, meaning the geo-fence may not detect the device has entered the area.

 

LOCATION SERVICES

 

location services

We have already touched on location services, but it’s important to discuss again. At the end of the day, if the user does not have location services and data/wifi enabled, they will not receive the geo-fence content.

We recommend reminding users to turn on the feature in their settings, especially for city apps or events. Make sure you explain to the user the benefit of turning these services on and what type of information they will receive.

 

How to set up geo-fences with Info Grove

 

In Info Grove, we define geo-fences as “Location Links.” The reason for this is because geo-fences leverage user locations and often link users to a new location in the mobile app.

 

info grove mobile apps

 

Step 1: Define your geo-fence

The “Name” you choose is only for internal purposes and will not be seen by app users.

 

setting up a geo-fence

 


Step 2: Set your geo-fence

We recommend opening Google Maps and clicking on the centre of your desired location. After you click on the centre, Google Maps will automatically generate a longitude and latitude (example: 49.185974, -123.144002)

 

google maps geo-fence

 

Enter the longitude and latitude in the Info Grove backend. Then, determine how large you want your geo-fence to be. Info Grove recommends making the radius no smaller than 100m to improve accuracy of location services.

setting up a geo-fence

 


Step 3: Set your location-link (if necessary)

Info Grove gives you the option to redirect people when they click on the geo-fence. If you’re providing additional information, you can use this section to define the landing page in the app. You’re able to send users to any of the modules you’ve created in Info Grove. Setting a location is optional; however, if you leave the space blank it will launch the home page of the app when clicked on.

 

setting up a geo-fence

 


 

Step 4: Set local notification (if applicable)

 

 

 


End Result!

As app users enter your geo-fence they will be greeted with a timely local notification!

 

 

If you’re having trouble with your geo-fence, contact us at support@14oranges.com. Or, if you want to learn more about our geo-fence technology and Info Grove, contact us as sales@14oranges.com.

 

Info Grove Mobile Apps