Thoughts & Insights
As leaders in our industry, we want to share our insights into all things digital. We add new posts regularly, so be sure to check back in to keep up to date.
Boosting Customer Engagement with Mobile Apps
Apps are more than a standalone product, they’re an extension of your website and your business. They’re a great way for you to boost your customer engagement and gain valuable insight into what your users really want.
Apps give you more freedom to personalise offers and target the audiences that hold the greatest value to your business.
Here are a few ways you can use your app to boost engagement with your customers...
One of the reasons for low app retention is usually poor accessibility. If your app is difficult to navigate or not optimised for people with visual impairments for example, users are likely to leave the app and not return. Improving app accessibility can be daunting but it’s something that will add value to your app, and depending on your industry it may actually be a legal requirement.
Offering personalised content is a great way to engage with your customers, whilst push notifications enable you to boost engagement, if you’re going to use this method you should know that less is more.
Content should be curated based on the user’s habits, it needs to add value and be relevant to keep the audience interested and bring them back to your app.
Push notifications are also a great way to get people using your app again, one important thing to remember is just because your app has been downloaded it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being used, by sending unique offers via push notifications you’re increasing your chances of regaining a user.
Location Based Content
Location based content is essentially an add-on to your push notifications – users are engaged when they’re within a certain proximity of a business. This type of notification is a great way to engage with customers and encourage them to visit your physical store.
Mobile-based loyalty cards have always been a good way to increase customer engagement. Adopting a mobile based rewards system gives you an opportunity to change the way your users are rewarded. Try incentivising your customer to use your app by offering exclusive rewards or discounts such as free upgrades or double points – push notifications and location-based notifications are a great way to market your offers and encourage users to engage with your brand via your app.
If you would like to know more about how Blue Beck can help you create a profitable app for your company, just get in touch.
Say hello to our new website!
Welcome to our new website…it's been a long journey getting to the finished product but we couldn’t be happier, and we hope you like it too!
There’s been a lot of change going on behind the scenes at Blue Beck and we thought it was about time our website reflected that. We’ve taken a step away from games to really focus on creating beautifully designed digital solutions.
Game development is where we started and it will always be in our hearts, but we see this as more of a new chapter, a chance to really showcase what we can do! We’ve expanded the Blue Beck family and created a dedicated design department, who’ve not only created our new website but have been busy creating some amazing products for our clients too.
Built in React using the front-end framework Gatsby, our new site is fast and optimised for the web. It’s been created to reflect the way we work and the products we make - it’s clean, efficient and simple. Managing our content using the headless CMS Strapi and querying all the data we need with GraphQL means our content is always dynamic and relevant.
Anyway, that’s enough of us telling you how good our work is, why not see for yourself?
Check out our latest projects here or contact us and let's see how we can help you!
How to Choose the Right Development Partner for You
Choosing the right development partner for your project can be a difficult task. There are a number of things you need to consider before you even start to approach companies, and then when you do find the right one, how do you know they’re the right partner for you?
To help make the decision making process slightly easier we’ve made a list of a few things worth considering before you start your research…
Define your goals What do you need from a development partner? If you don’t know what support your teams require, your chosen partner won’t know either.
A good place to start is with a project audit, this will give you a clear indication of the areas you require assistance - maybe you discover you need an end-to-end developer, or you just require project management, maybe you need someone for QA purposes, or you might find that you need the complete development package.
Research Now that you have a clearer idea of what you need from a development partner you need to start researching into the companies that are available to you. It’s important that your chosen company is able to meet your requirements - start looking at their past projects and case studies, if they haven’t worked on a project with similar specifications, they might not be suitable for your company.
Buy cheap, buy twice The saying is true, buy cheap, buy twice! Just because someone is offering you the “complete package” at a lower cost doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best deal. It is worth paying a little more to ensure that your product is finished exactly how you want it to be. You should also check what you are getting for your money, it may be that some companies are cheaper because they don’t offer certain services such as QA or project management.
Time zones Following on from the point above, a company may be less expensive because of their location. Offshore companies are often used because of the price difference, and for some people they work well, but before you approach an overseas company consider the time differences. Will working in different time zones impact the project management of your product or could it make communication difficult?
Consider the future Before you make any commitments you should ask yourself if you can see a future working with that company. A good development partner should feel like an extension of your existing team and if you can’t see a future with them, maybe they’re not right for you. It’s also important at this stage to think about your team and make sure they’re also happy with the pending partnership, after all your existing team of people are what makes your business, well, your business.
If you have any questions about finding the right development partner, or would like to talk about an upcoming project, get in touch with us, we’re always happy to help.
App Accessibility: What is it and why is it important?
What is App Accessibility?
App accessibility refers to making a mobile or web app accessible to people with disabilities by using features such as larger texts, consistent layout and colour contrast, amongst other things.
Many apps on the market are not fully optimised to be accessible, but the need for inclusive apps is becoming crucial.
Why does my app need to be accessibility optimised?
Optimising the accessibility of your app offers several benefits, not only does it allow people living with disabilities to use your app but it also increases your audience reach.
Whilst making your app more accessible is always a positive thing, depending on your industry it may be a requirement. In 2018 the UK Government implemented new regulations regarding the accessibility of mobile apps and websites in the public sector. This meant that if organisations such as local councils or publicly-funded education institutions weren’t meeting these requirements they could be found to be breaking the law.
Is my app accessible?
If accessibility isn’t something you’ve given too much thought about before then you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start, here’s a few simple things you can do:
Keep it simple
When it comes to accessibility, simplicity is key. Crowded designs make apps difficult to navigate and can put users off, keep in mind the areas that will be used the most such as call to action buttons and menus. It’s also good to think about how people with visual impairments will need to use your app - your app needs to work when zoomed in as well as on a variety of screen sizes.
Consistency is key
An easy to follow design is great at helping users to navigate your app, but you need to ensure that the same design is used throughout the app. Keeping things like menu bars, contact forms and call to action buttons in the same place will help to improve the accessibility of your app.
Focus on touch points
Touch points are one of the most crucial things to think about when it comes to accessibility. If your app is going to be used on different platforms you need to ensure you have a thorough testing process and your app can be easily optimised. The placement of things such as images, call to action buttons and menus needs to be carefully considered at this point.
Test, test and test some more
You’re never really going to know how accessible your app is until it’s live and being used. Thoroughly testing your app will help you determine if you’ve successfully implemented the right, or enough accessibility features.
There are many ways you can test your app, one of the best ways of testing is through focus groups. This way is particularly helpful for testing accessibility. Try using individual groups of people to test single elements of your app.
How to improve app accessibility
Ensuring your app is accessible is a group effort. It requires buy in from the whole team, stakeholders and organisations. If accessibility is not seen as a priority it will fall by the wayside.
Below we have outlined some of the methods and tools you can incorporate into your workflow to ensure that your app becomes accessible.
Utilise frameworks and tools when designing accessible interfaces. If you use Figma or XD you can use a handy tool called STARK to check the contrast ratio of designs. If you want to see how colour-blind users will view your product, you can use the Colour Blind plugin.
Copy is also important when designing your product. We like the guideline from Invision on writing accessible microcopy, which outlines how designers should craft copy around screen readers.
iOS developers can use the Accessibility Inspector in XCode to audit and flag UI elements.
There isn’t an Accessibility Inspector equivalent for Android developers, but you can run accessibility checks to your existing Espresso tests. Here is a link on how to do that: Accessibility Checking
Tools such as TalkBack and VoiceOver allow you to test how screen readers read out content. You will have to get familiar with the gestural navigation when you use these tools - Android has an on-device tutorial for you to follow which is very handy.
You can also check how accessible font sizes look in your app. All you have to do is go into your device settings and make sure that the font sizes are scaled up.
Below we have provided you with a list of tools and frameworks that you and your team can use:
- TalkBack - Screen reader for Android
- VoiceOver - Screen reader for iOS
- STARK - Contrast checker plugin
- Colour Blind - Colour blind visualiser plugin
- Accessibility Inspector - An accessibility audit tool for iOS developers
- Human Interface Guidelines
- Material Guidelines
- Government Digital Services