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News from AppSpotr

NEW FEATURE: TEMPLATES

With AppSpotr’s new Templates feature, building apps is easier and speedier than ever. Just pick your favorite among our list of templates to start out with a complete structure and design. Now all you have to do is fill your app with content and voilà, it’s ready for publishing!

The idea behind AppSpotr is to make app building more accessible. Not only does the intuitive drag-and-drop UI give noncoders a shot at creating apps, it also speeds up the building process dramatically for programmers out there. And now, with the recently launched Templates feature, building with AppSpotr is simpler and more convenient than ever.

When creating a new app you’ll get to choose a template before you start building. The first option, “Custom”, means you’re building from scratch. The rest of them give you a pre-built template with a complete structure already laid out for you. The templates are divided into different categories, such as Restaurant, Portfolio and Business,  each serving their respective niche particularly well.

 

Bildtext: One of our templates, “Carl”. A restaurant template combing the modules Content, News, Forms and Locations to provide you with all the necessary functions for your business app.

One of our templates, “Carl’s Restaurant”. A restaurant template combing the modules Content, News, Forms and Locations to provide you with all the necessary functions for your restaurant app.

 

The advantage of Templates is completely free of charge. Some of the them come with premium modules, though. The price tag for these modules will be the same as when adding them manually. Obviously you can remove modules and customize your app just as when building from scratch.

Templates will both help you save time putting together your app and provide you with a great layout and design from the get-go. Doesn’t get much smoother than that, does it?

At the moment there are only a limited number of templates available, but that is about to change. Not only will AppSpotr release new ones on a regular basis, in short we’re also opening up for our users to build and add their own templates to the list. In other words, you’ll have no problem finding one that fits hand-in-glove with your app.

WHY BUILD YOUR APP WITH APPSPOTR?

Obviously, an app builder is your go-to tool if you want to build an app but lack the skills to code it. But that doesn’t mean it’s only useful to noncoders. Hell, even a super-saiyan programming freak could make use of our tool to get their apps built and published quicker and more conveniently than ever. App builders are great, yada yada. But out of all the different ones out there, why choose AppSpotr? Here’s why.

 

ENDLESS HIERARCHY

Most app builders today impose limitations on structure, forcing the user to keep all of their ideas and content on a set number of pages and subpages. This means hindered creativity and is something AppSpotr has made sure to steer clear of. Universal restrictions are a bad idea when every app is unique in purpose and content, and it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your app. So fill it with pages and subpages to your heart’s content – no one’s stopping you, certainly not us.

 

UPDATING MADE RIDICULOUSLY EASY

Publishing your app is a good start. Start being the keyword here. Then comes the next essential phase: maintaining it. Updates not only provide your users with better functionality and new content, they also show them you’re dedicated to making your app as good as possible.

Good, feedback-based updates are paramount to your app’s success. Which is why it’s pretty damn important to keep the process as painless as possible. If you’ve published apps to Google Play or App Store in the past you know how much of a hassle it can be. First comes the uploading part where your entire app has to be submitted again. Then the reviewing, which could take several weeks. And this is bad, really bad. ‘Cause if you find a glaring flaw in your app – be it performance issues, information that needs correcting or lack of Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks – it’s crucial to have it fixed as soon as possible.

This restriction to updating can really take its toll on your app’s success both short term and long term. So we got rid of it. With AppSpotr updating is only a click away. Once you’ve gotten your app published to any of the available platforms, you’ll go straight to the VIP line to skip reviewing. Just update your app with the necessary changes and click publish. That’s it.

Instant updates also allow you to use your app in ways that have previously been locked away from the platform. With the ability to convey information to your users in a matter of seconds you have entirely new options at your fingertips.

 

BUILT-IN GFX EDITOR

We’ve all heard it before. “It’s the inside that counts”. But we know that isn’t entirely true. Looks are important, whether we like it or not. A polished design will not only make your app look pretty, it will also help the user navigate its digital landscape. That’s why AppSpotr offers an important tool unique among app builders out there: a built-in GFX editor. Utilizing it properly you can weave the perfect visual presentation of your app with customized icons and images. And since it’s integrated into our system, you can rest assured knowing exactly how the images will look in your app.

 

THE FUTURE

In a sense, AppSpotr is still in its cradle. While we can already offer a powerful, user-friendly app builder, what excites us the most is the potential to our platform. AppSpotr is made with the future in mind. Since the very first building block was laid, we’ve been paving the way for an app builder with the ability to grow above and beyond the competition.

For one, we have an ever-growing marketplace. And among all of the juicy modules you have to look forward to from us, the biggest bang will actually come from you, the users. Soon enough code-savvy developers will be able to build and publish their own modules. Not only will this widen the palette of features available on our platform, it will also give coders an opportunity to make the big bucks off of their skills.

And this goes for templates as well. On top of getting a bunch of new ones from us, you’ll be able to unleash your gdlk design skills upon the world by building and sharing your own templates.

We’re also working on a new API that lets you transfer data to your app. Lots of you have been requesting this powerful feature, so we’re making sure to get it out there as soon as possible.

These are just some of the sweet stuff you have to look forward to. We’re building for the future, and so are you. Let’s make it appic!

APP OF THE MONTH: YOUNGSTOWN DESIGN WORKS

Our previous and first-ever App of the Month was awarded to an app filled to the brim with the wise hairstyling words of a true guru (or just your everyday ridiculously fashionable gay guy). The guru spree continues with May’s App of the Month, Youngstown Design Works – a pocket-size portfolio for the student-run graphic and interactive design agency with the same name.

Youngstown Design Works is a graphic and interactive design agency run by Youngstown State University. The initiative was launched to provide the students with practical experience while simultaneously working towards giving graphic and interactive design a bigger role in the local business community. The agency specifically collaborates with small businesses, non-profit organizations and startup companies. Every buck YDW makes on these projects goes straight into funding it.

 

IMG_2804

The menu gives a good overview of what information you should stuff your business app with. You’ve got the general information, services, portfolio, contact, social media, etc.

 

The app gives us a rundown of the business. It explains the YDW program, what services they provide and where we can find them. It also boasts a voluminous portfolio of previous work assuring us that they’re bringing delicious design to the table. Whether you’re a startup looking to hook up with these guys for some sweet design making or just interested in what good app design looks like, it’s definitely worth checking out.

 

ALTERATIVT/ Whoa. That’s quite the extensive list. Do they walk my dog or embark on a dangerous quest to destroy the one ring to rule them all, too? If yes, they should list that as well. Anyway, If you’re in the Ohio area and in need of a helping hand with any of these things, count yourself lucky!

Quite the extensive list. Do they walk my dog or embark on a dangerous quest to destroy the One Ring to rule them all, too? Anyway, If you’re in the Ohio area and in need of a helping hand with any of these things, count yourself lucky!

 

Behind the app is 
YDW’s director, graphic-design professor / entrepreneur / insert fancy title, RJ Thompson. Thompson uses AppSpotr to build apps relating to his classes, and it’s also his tool-of-choice when assigning the students to build their own apps. Thompson reached out to AppSpotr a while back suggesting he’d build templates for us, so now we have that to look forward to as well. We’re excited to see what him and his students can come up with on our platform.

 

The Gallery module showcases the agency’s previous design projects, with a total of 69 (different less-explicit-than-the-number-would-imply) logos to draw inspiration from at the moment. And no, not that kind of “inspiration” – the number is completely incidental. Sorry.

The Gallery module showcases the agency’s previous design projects, with a total of 69 logos to draw inspiration from at the moment. And no, not that kind of “inspiration” – the number is completely incidental. Sorry.

 

The app utilizes the Locations module to help clients and prospects find their way to Youngstown Design Work’s studio.

The app utilizes the Directions module to help clients and prospects find their way to Youngstown Design Works’s studio.

 

Using the modules Content, Gallery, Web Page and Directions, Thompson has managed to create an app that serves as an example for other businesses out there looking to showcase their services on the biggest platform for communication. It’s pretty rad that he chooses AppSpotr to help turn his students into full-fledged digital designers, and we’re looking forward to their upcoming contributions. A great download if you want to know more about the Youngstown Design Works agency or learn how to make a fantastic app-based portfolio.

PRETTY MUCH THE UPDATE OF THE CENTURY

Brace yourselves, appic news are coming. Firstly, we’re done implementing the changes to Google Play publishing. Not only does this mean the platform is once again available – you now have the option to publish paid apps with AppSpotr. But there’s more to it. Since we love spoiling you we’re also launching the damn useful new feature Templates. Hooray!


GOOGLE PLAY PUBLISHING

You’ve probably noticed that publishing for Google Play has been down for some time. Well, it was for a good cause. Starting today, your Android apps will be published to your own account. Huge news since it opens up for something many of you have been waiting for. Paid apps. Just in case you didn’t catch that leprechaun yet. To get your hands on your masterpiece, simply download the APK from AppSpotr – for free, of course – and publish to your own Google Play Developer account. If you don’t have an account yet, check out how to get one here.

We’re also introducing a new way of publishing called Android Automatic, where we upload, publish and update your apps 100 percent automatically. With this option you don’t need to concern yourself with menial tasks surrounding uploading and maintaining apps – everything is served from AppSpotr’s CMS. You still need a Google Play Developer account, though. Android Automatic is a premium feature available for $5/month.

Since there is a huge queue with apps in line for publishing on Google Play, your APK may not be ready for download until next week or later. Be sure to publish as early as possible to claim your spot in the queue.


TEMPLATES

With this update we’ll also launch our Templates feature. As the name suggests, this gives you the ability to build apps using pre-built templates. At launch there will only be a few ones available, but we’ll be adding new templates regularly. Keep an eye out for more on this here on our blog.

tips for app building appspotr

THREE MORE TIPS FOR YOUR APP-TO-BE

Last post we bestowed upon you some of the ancient wisdom of the dev team. Here are three more tenets from our holy scripture of app building. Read it all in a posh British accent. Everyone knows that’s the most authentic way of conveying ancientness.


REWARD YOUR USERS

Lots of people are obsessed with the number of times their apps have been downloaded. While it can give you a rough idea of how you’re doing, a download doesn’t necessarily equate to an active user. In fact, a lot of downloaded apps are abandoned after a single visit. To keep your users around, you need to reward them.

If you provide your first-time users with an obvious reward from the get-go, the chances of seeing them return will skyrocket. Rewards could mean special offers for your store, a level system where every new level offers additional bonuses, competitions with nice prices or a good … no wait, that’s illegal. You’ll think of something.

Don’t underestimate the power of making the user feel special. When you acknowledge the user and their needs, they will return the favor many times over.


PAY ATTENTION TO DESIGN

Putting plenty of thought and time into design is important for a number of reasons. Apart from making the app look pretty, it will also improve functionality and set the tone for your brand.

Other than pure stylishness, a consistent and clear design helps the user navigate the app. Graphical elements should highlight your content rather than obscure it. This rule of thumb is has become increasingly important with the huge growth in mobile traffic we’ve seen the last couple of years. Nowadays borderline everything is designed with the small screen in mind, and obviously your work should go all-in in that department. So make sure your icons, buttons, menus, texts and pictures are both good looking, consistent with the visual theme and easy to distinguish on the phone.

Be careful about what colors you choose. Depending on the color you will invoke different reactions. Setting up a quiz with the correct answer in red and the wrong one in green wouldn’t be original in a good sense. It would just be plain retarded. Color can also be used to create visual hierarchy, where the color that stands out the most will catch the user’s attention. Lastly, if you’re making an app for your business, it’s obviously essential that you use the colors associated with your brand through logo and the like.

Interaction is another aspect to take into account when designing your app. Obviously a pocket size touch-screen calls for somewhat different interaction than a desktop computer does. Precise tapping is hard on a mobile screen, so make sure your buttons are big enough.


UPDATE YOUR APP OFTEN

So you’ve published your app? ‘Grats, it’s a good start! Now comes the maintenance part. Don’t neglect it! Updating is actually one of the strongest marketing tools around. Considering the amount of apps people have installed on their phones nowadays, reminding them that your app exists can make all the difference. You can achieve this by updating your app to have it appear in the update list in the app store.

Releasing relevant and user-requested updates also shows that you’re devoted to making your app as good as possible. This builds a loyal following, people that help spreading it. Some of these folks might even suggest your app to their friends using competing apps. It’s a commitment that you just won’t get through conventional marketing alone.

Generally, try to update your app at least once a month, and make sure that your updates are in line with user feedback. If you continuously pamper your customers with a smoother UX and new features, they’ll be sure to hang around.

app building tips

THREE GREAT TIPS FOR YOUR APP-TO-BE

Excited to skip past the coding ordeal and build a bunch of fantastic apps? Hang on just a second. Before you start doing your magic, here are three useful pointers to guide you on your quest for appicness. And when you’ve taken these little nuggets of gold to heart, here are some more.

 

1. ONE THING AT A TIME

Right, so you have all these kick-ass app ideas that you just have to get out there. Great! Can’t wait to get them published. Just … take it one idea at a time. Think about the purpose of your app. What does it do? Why? And for whom? It’s easy to get tempted by a far-too-wide concept (more is more, right?), but actually, a clearly defined and easily graspable idea has a stronger appeal on almost anyone. By focusing on one thing you’re able to optimize your app around it. Obviously, it also saves you a great deal of time and provides a more consistent user experience.

Instagram is a great example of how streamlining your concept can make all the difference. At the time of Instagram’s release there was already the unstoppable social media behemoth that is Facebook. Facebook let you upload your photos for your friends and family to see. But it also had a bunch of other features. Instant messaging, groups, pages, status updates, and so on. Instagram offered none of this. It focused entirely on the ability to upload your smartphone photos, unleash their beauty with filters and share it with the world using hashtags. And thanks to its simplicity and enhanced photo features, Instagram garnered huge success.

Now, we’re not saying your app should only do one thing. Obviously a number of functions can be a great thing. Just make sure they make sense and fit within your concept. So, by all means, stuff that app you’re making for your restaurant with menus, table-booking, recipes, famous food quotes and even your staff’s birthdays, but save the trivia about your local basketball team for your next app. Not everyone wants a three-pointer served with their three-course meal.

 

2. AWW, SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE

If there are already 20 alarm-clock apps out there, the demand for number 21 most likely isn’t that high – unless 21 wakes you up on a tropical island with the body of a Greek god, a drink in your hand and a bombshell on either side (actually, just one of these would probably do). You have to make sure your app offers something others don’t.

The obvious thing to start with is asking yourself if there are other apps or websites out there doing what you’re doing. If yes, what can you bring to the table? Find an opening. New content or features – something that sets you apart from the competition.

Unique, relevant content can make you stand out in the competition or even make sure there is none. If you can get this part right you’re halfway there.

 

3. MAKE GOOD USE OF PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

One of the unique selling-points of apps is push notifications. Too many and pointless ones are a great way to have users uninstall your app and submit a review involving your mother’s supposed line of work. With relevant content at a reasonable pace, however, push notifications turn into a marketing force to be reckoned with.

Push notifications can be used to great effect by all kind of businesses. Like, say you build an app for your store. If you happen to have a particularly awesome special offer, your customers want to know about it. Send them a notification at a convenient time and they just might drop by your shop on their way home from work to indulge in your goodies.

The feature can be used for a range of things: reminders of all sorts, promoting sales, promoting extra content for purchase within the app or even other apps you’ve built, IM communication and so on. Some apps, such as Viber, WhatsApp and other communication centered tools, even rely on them entirely to function properly.

Push notifications can extend the lifespan of an app considerably, so as time goes we’ll most likely be seeing even more innovative applications of this tool.

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