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

 

3 Reasons Why 2016 Should Be the Year You Finally Invest In a Mobile App

When I worked retail as a university student, one thing we constantly found ourselves saying to customers was “you can wear it with jeans!”  This turned into a running joke because we didn’t realize how often we said it and how often it worked.  Granted, this was between 2003 and 2008 so it really was the jeans-with-everything hay day.  Today, the equivalent of ‘you can wear jeans with it’ is ‘there’s an app for that!’ which has become so mainstream it’s used as a bad joke on TV.  

Our love of jeans is well documented and still hilarious

I laughed along with ‘there’s an app for that,’ but upon further inspection, I would have to strongly disagree.  Now that I’m aware of it, I notice stores and businesses that desperately need an app but don’t have one.  It’s like when you buy a certain car, then you suddenly see it everywhere because now you’re paying attention.  Almost everyday I find myself annoyed that in soon-to-be 2016, there are SO many businesses that haven’t taken an app into consideration.  Don’t get me started on companies like a certain movie chain *cough cough* that has a rage inducingly terrible app that makes me want to burn it to the ground every time I use it.  I have never had a positive experience using their app and that’s a giant fail on their end because I cringe when I open it.  Since I need the internet like I need a heartbeat and I love complaining to corporations, I have deemed myself the unofficial crusader for mobile apps.  Be scared.

Actual portrait of me crusading for mobile apps

Actual portrait of me crusading for mobile apps

You Can Sit With Us

If you own a business, regardless of size, your customers expect to access your products/services every minute of the day.  I don’t care if you sell dry pasta or multi million dollar cloud computing, people must be able to access information about you at all times.  My insurance company’s website does maintenance all night every night so I am unable to submit my claims anytime passed 6pm PST.  I have probably attempted to log in and failed about 20 times because I keep forgetting that their website is from 1999 and has zero functionality.  Does my head explode every single time I attempt to log in and fail?  You bet it does.  Since most people work a 9-5 day, by the time they get home, they won’t be able to submit their claims.  So their ‘client portal’ website is not only useless, but generating negative feelings from members.  In 2016, this is business suicide.

A mobile app can go a long ways toward generating more opportunities from clients (assuming your app works well).  An app is an awesome way to provide value to clients and make their lives easier.  For example, the Starbucks app makes my life easier because I don’t need to carry cash, I get loyalty points and notifications of deals and promos.  Starbucks has given me every reason to continue using their app because it provides value each time I use it.  Every time I flip through my phone I see the Starbucks app.  Having your app in front of your clients’ face every single day when they flip through their smartphone is marketing most business couldn’t afford. For most people their smartphone is the first and last thing they see everyday.  Wouldn’t you want your mobile app to be part of that?

Starbucks, I love you

Starbucks, I love you

Tomorrow Never Dies (So you’d better be ready for it)

Do you remember when you got your first website?  If you’re a small business owner you probably didn’t think you needed a website but got talked into it (“I sell shoes, why do I need a website?”). Today having a website a no brainer and if someone doesn’t have one, people look at you like you’re insane.  Well friends, an app is the new website.  An app is the website of the 21st century because it has more functionality and it supports your specific business infrastructure.  Your website was the workhorse of the 20th century and served you very well, but now it’s time to take the next leap into mobile apps.

Enjoy the Space Jam website that's frozen in time. Did it look like your first website?

Enjoy the Space Jam website that’s frozen in time. Did it look like your first website?

Mobile apps have more functionality than websites because they have useful things like push notifications, cameras and geolocation services etc built in.  An app will support your business tomorrow and next week while your website serves your clients today.  Back in 2011 most people were wondering what on earth Starbucks was doing getting a mobile app.  Now we can see their plan put them ahead of the game and proved their instincts were correct.  Mobile usage continues to climb and has since overtaken desktop, so arguments from companies about it being a fad are clearly wrong.  It may seem like only enterprise or retail companies need a mobile app but that’s not true anymore.  It’s almost 2016 and mobile is mandatory.

Adapt or Die

For example, if I were in the market for yoga pants, would I buy from a store with an outdated website and unchanged product offerings?  Doubtful.  Instead I would consider a company like Lululemon (Woo! Vancouver!) because they were first to market and they heavily invest in new fabrics and technology to continuously improve their products. They even have a mobile app which shows me, the potential customer, that Lululemon is serious about staying ahead of their competition and that they want to optimize the customer experience.  Showing clients that you’re investing in your business, staying on top of the market and ahead of the curve is a huge differentiator.

Yoga pant shopping made easier

Yoga pant shopping made easier

As a consumer, I appreciate a company that takes my buying habits and desires into consideration and that will make me more loyal in the long run (my ultimate consumer loyalty is to J Crew because of their amazing customer service).  If I had a choice, I would never give my insurance company a dime of my money and I will remember how much I despise them forever.  Every time I visit their website they are pushing me closer and closer to their competitors.  

Round Up

At first glance it would seem mobile apps are taking over the world but after careful, empirical research (ha!) conducted by me, I can assure you this is false.  Apps are a glorious, interactive technology that provides value to the user.  When built correctly, a mobile app will make your business and customer experience more efficient and streamlined which will build loyalty and allow more client touch points.  With an app you have a direct line of communication with your clients via push notifications and updates that they see everyday on their smartphone.  Since no one can put their phone down, your app will be visible all day everyday.  People are more tech savvy than ever before so your business must be visible and accessible 24 hours a day.  I want the ability to check out your products at 4am if that’s when I decide to look at your menu or yoga pants.  By allowing me the freedom to browse your products or services on my schedule, you’ll generate more opportunities and stay ahead of your competition.  A website served you well for over a decade, now it’s time to reinvest in your business by taking the leap to a mobile app (don’t worry, we’ll catch you).
Why would your clients spend their time and money on your business if you don’t?

Even cats are addicted to smartphones and mobile apps

Even cats are addicted to smartphones and mobile apps

Nearshoring: The Best Alternative to Offshoring for North American Companies

The digital business environment is incredibly competitive, so organizations rely heavily on cost cutting measures to affect their bottom lines. With engineering costs of application development ever increasing, offshoring technical work can look like an attractive option for many corporations in Seattle and Portland.  However, offshoring presents many challenges such as language barriers, time zones and cultural differences that can easily cost a business more in the long run.  Instead of spending money offshore, companies in Portland and Seattle should be taking advantage of the nearshoring opportunities and knowledge capital just across the border in Vancouver, BC.  

Overall Cost Savings

The value of the Canadian Dollar is great news for American companies providing a real opportunity.  The talent pool north of the border is world class and currently deeply discounted at upwards of 25%. Analysts are predicting that the Canadian dollar will remain low for the rest of the year and into 2016.

Agility Through Proximity

For a company located in Seattle or Portland, nearshoring to Vancouver is a logical way to maximize value and efficiency.  Vancouver, BC shares the same time zone which allows for very easy collaboration and rapid response times.  For example, if there’s a bug, it’s easy to simply pick up the phone and call the Vancouver team instead of waiting for a response from a developer many time zones away in India or China.  

At first it may appear that the per hour rate for offshore developers is cheaper, but the turnover rates are incredibly high and quality issues stemming from miscommunication regularly push this hourly rate higher and higher.

Here’s what one of our clients had to say about nearshoring:

“We initially went overseas for our app development needs in order to save costs. The savings were quickly overshadowed with wasted time, missed meetings, buggy software, and lost code. After meeting face-to-face with 14 Oranges, we decided to make the switch and they were able to pick up where the previous developer left off without a hitch. They are highly responsive and have been able to mentor us throughout the app development project. It has been a pleasure working with 14 Oranges and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for app development projects.” 

WholeLife Holistic Nutrition

Also, if onsite work or collaboration is required, travel from Vancouver to Portland or Seattle is incredibly fast, simple and cost effective.  For example, our Seattle based client Arris scheduled an in-person meeting at their office.  Sylvain was able to drop his children off at school in the morning, drive to Seattle for the meeting and make it back home in time for dinner.  Proximity allows both parties to operate in real time and communicate face to face whenever it’s necessary.   

Cultural Identity

The cultural business landscape along the US-Canadian border is virtually identical; therefore, communication and understanding between organizations will not be impeded by language differences, learning curves or growing pains.  Speaking the same language may seem like an insignificant detail, but when phone and email are the primary methods of communication, language is critical. Existing expectations for how business is conducted will lead to better working relationships and a similar understanding of issues because Vancouver is aware of the political, cultural and social landscape of the West Coast. This understanding is intangible and cannot be taught to companies overseas because it is implicit.

Business Regulations

It bears reminding that with NAFTA, US companies nearshoring to Canada can rest easy knowing their intellectual property is respected and will remain private.  For some companies that have engaged in offshoring, once they have paid their bill, they had no idea the fate of their documents and proprietary information.  As such, nearshoring to Vancouver reduces risk and will save you money on legal fees and the hassle of determining where your intellectual property has ended up.  

In Summary

The allure of offshoring can be tempting to organizations looking for a quick fix to cost savings; however, it is a short term solution.  Offshoring saddles companies with long term risks and headaches which could be easily avoided by choosing nearshoring to Vancouver.  For a fraction of the price, American companies can take advantage of the incredible technical talent pool available in Vancouver.  Our talent understands the West Coast culture and professional expectations that will eliminate miscommunications and allow you to get down to business.  When it comes to technical work, proximity is key.  If business travel is required, Vancouver is just a one hour plane ride to Portland and the same time zone which makes conference calls and emails easy to execute in real time.  As the digital transformation continues, more and more American companies will nearshore development work to Vancouver to capitalize on the cost savings and operational efficiencies.  

Learn more about how nearshoring can help your business

Contact 14 Oranges now at 604-304-0020

Web: www.14oranges.com

Email: sales@14oranges.com

 

Review: Apple Watch Akin to Owning the First Fax Machine

Friday April 24th

6.46pm- I walk in the door at the BBQ and Clarence the social media kingpin demanded to see the watch immediately.  This didn’t surprise me since the three screamy texts I got during the day were to remind me to bring the watch over.

6.47pm- Commit to living the full Apple watch experience by leaving my phone in my bag.

7.09pm- Regret decision to leave my phone in my bag because when I dictate replies to my wrist everyone stops talking and looks at me.  Awkward.

8.48pm-  Some people say that the ding noise when I get a text sounds like ‘a microwave or oven timer.’  Each time the watch makes a noise people laugh and tell me that my cooking is done.  Laugh all you want, rejection from society is what created X-Men!

9.19pm-  While losing miserably at Settlers of Catan, the watch tells me to stand up and walk around.  This is going to get old fast.

10.18pm- Verdict on my first day with the Apple Watch:  I feel like a caveman trying to learn about gravity.

Saturday April 25th

9.07am- Apple watch, I will best you!

9.40am- Fine Apple, I shall watch your instructional video but I won’t be happy about it.

9.42am- Ohhhhhhhhhh, now it makes sense.  As much as I hate to admit it, I think learning all this would have taken me a long time without the video.

11.04am- Commence stalking my brother to see if he got his Apple watch yet.

11.05am- Colin tells me that he got his watch and has been sending me taps but I haven’t responded.

11.06am- Fumble around with the watch and locate said taps.  Huzzah!  I win this round!

11.06am- ?? Slip into black hole of time sending taps, heartbeats and crudely drawn pictures to each other while laughing at our own hilarity.  Since Colin is the only one I know with an Apple watch, he’s the sole victim of these special watch features.

3.09pm-  Try to use my Starbucks reward card on my watch but fail horribly.  The barista shares in my disappointment because she said she wanted to see the watch in action too.

3.10pm- While waiting for my drink I conclude that I have no artistic skill and the Digital Touch drawings make me look like an escaped mental patient. Tweens stare at my watch while I put a lid on my latte.  The world feels right again.

7.00pm- At dinner I keep checking my watch because I fear I missed a tap or notification.

7.01pm- No missed communication; I’m just unpopular.

Triage

One thing I have to keep reminding myself about the Apple watch is that its main purpose is for notifications, like a pager from back in the day.  Initially I got annoyed that I saw an email or whatsapp then had to get my phone out to reply to it, but now I’ve trained myself to think of it more as triage: decide which ones are worthy of getting my phone out and which ones aren’t.

Can You Hear Me Now?

When I have phoned people they have unanimously agreed that the call quality on their end is great; even better than the handsfree set I use in the car. It can be hard to hear on my end if I’m on the street or somewhere noisy, but overall I’ve been quite happy with it.  In addition to the call quality, the watch is fantastic when you’re driving.  You can switch songs and answer calls without having to touch your phone.

Size Matters

I am used to a very heavy Nixon watch so switching to the Apple watch has been a shocking adjustment.  I didn’t think it would make a difference but it does since I’ve worn my Nixon for I’d say 10 years and I feel naked without it.  The Apple watch I’m wearing is the 38mm Stainless Steel model and there’s a 42mm option available for those like me who prefer a larger face.  I don’t find the watch small to use, it just feels so light compared to what I am used to.

The apps on the watch appear super tiny and I had no idea how my giant paws were going to access any of them.  In a true testament to the glory of Apple, they are so precise!  I can stab my finger at the screen and accurately hit any app I want. It must be witchcraft!  Most third party apps aren’t supported on the watch but that will change very soon.  The Digital Crown on the side is fantastic because it helps you zip through long lists of emails or texts so you don’t block the screen with your finger.  I keep accidentally taking screenshots though, so I guess my finger accuracy still needs some fine tuning.

 

How’s the Weather Up There?

Since Vancouver is notorious for rain, I thought pulling my wrist out to check messages would be a recipe for a waterlogged disaster but the watch has been great.  We’ve had a strange assortment of weather (rain! wind! sun!) each day so it’s been wonderful for my testing.  Even in the blazing sun, the watch is easy to read.  It still doesn’t have a scratch on it but I’ve been guarding it with my life.

Leopard Print, Polka Dots, Oh My!

I adore my Nixon watch- it goes with everything because its band is made from real bamboo.  10 years ago (I still can’t believe that) I couldn’t decide which timepiece would be best for my long term watch dreams and needs.  When I was assigned the Apple watch, I wasn’t sure about the white band because white ceramic watches have been trendy with hipsters and I wanted to stay far away from that nightmare.  Since I’ve been wearing the Apple watch, I don’t feel restricted in my outfits whether they are casual or more formal.

I think the Apple watch is the most fashion forward of all the smart watches because it’s sleek, sophisticated and minimalist.  It works for both men and women and has enough colour options to suit everyone’s tastes.

Accessorize that watch!

Accessorize that watch!

I’ve Got the World on my Wrist

Since the workplace is now anywhere that has internet access, the Apple watch nicely complements any member of the mobile workforce.  I can be sitting at Starbucks and see work Google chats, emails and any other notification and decide if they are urgent or not.  Usually when I’m walking on the street, I don’t hear my phone in my handbag so having a gentle tap on my wrist is the perfect alert.  The Taptic Engine isn’t intrusive but it’s still noticeable.  I would argue that the tap is the most impressive part of the watch;  the technology is truly brilliant.

The battery life of the Apple Watch has been great.  I read several reviews where readers complained about the battery on their phone or watch dying in the afternoon.  I am not a techie but I’ve been pleased with the battery life of the watch.  It hasn’t died, nor has it needed to be charged in the middle of the day. I normally charge my phone in the late afternoon because I fear living life with less than 50% battery.  The watch has not accelerated my need to charge my phone so I generally don’t even think about it.  I can see if some people are constantly using the watch that that would drain their battery, but for normal users I can’t imagine it will be an issue.

I’ll Fax Ya!

Since many of the features and fun aspects are only available to other Apple watch users, it feels like I own the first fax machine.  I have this amazing piece of technology but it’s not terribly useful for some features until it hits critical mass and everyone is walking around talking into their wrists and sending drawings of cowboy hats to each other.

Not a cowboy hat

Not a cowboy hat

The Beginning of An Icon?

It’s too soon to tell if the Apple watch will be iconic the way that the first iPhone and coloured iMacs redefined their brand and place in the market.  After I got the first iPhone, people actually followed me around campus and on the street just to get a glimpse of it.  Strangers requested demos and couldn’t believe they were seeing it in person.  From the first day I had the iPhone, it was a showstopper and it was clear Apple would change the way we communicate.

The watch doesn’t have the iconic feel of the first iPhone but its technology will have a lasting effect on us.  In less than a year I’m certain everyone will be talking into their wrists and it will become as normalized as everyone at a dinner table, heads bowed, staring into a dimly lit screen.  Only time will tell but now we have a watch to keep track of our progress.

Stay tuned for my next Apple watch review where I stop being so lazy and finally give the activity apps a whirl!

Forever Yours Lingerie: Staying Ahead of the Mobile-Friendly Wave

Google Analytics is a great way to keep in touch with the online habits of your customers.  After watching their analytics, Forever Yours Lingerie noticed that each month, the number of mobile visitors to their website steadily increased.  This is a very common client request for 14 Oranges since 60% of web traffic comes from mobile and just yesterday, Google has started factoring mobile capabilities into its search rankings.

Forever Yours wanted to stay on top of the trends and optimize their website to be mobile-friendly in order to better serve their customers.  Our team adapted the Forever Yours websites theme by adding breakpoints where the site’s elements are changed dynamically to make the content easy to read and navigate on any mobile device.

Try loading the Forever Yours website on your tablet or smartphone.  Savvy shoppers will be thrilled with the site responsiveness, clear menu, easy scroll, product photos, selection and checkout.  There are lots of high resolution photos for each product on Forever Yours, which is much appreciated because many online stores choose aesthetics over customer experience and only include one or two small photos.

For many, the checkout process can make or break an online shopping experience.  According to the Baymard Institute, 68% of shopping carts are abandoned online. If users have to jump through hoops of fire to buy something, they will abandon the purchase and vow never to return.  Forever Yours has a fast and easy checkout page so your head doesn’t explode and force you to quit.  They also offer in-store pickup which is an underrated feature that is so useful for people who live in the area.

Forever Yours has women of all sizes and ethnicities represented on both their website and mobile site which is refreshing and really positive to see from a women’s clothing retailer.

For an easy, mobile-friendly shopping experience, head over to Forever Yours to check out the selection of lingerie, swimsuits and even men’s boxers (see guys, they didn’t forget about you!). For a fantastic mobile website, come talk to 14 Oranges.