How to Make a Reliable App

reliable app

 Making a Reliable App

What’s one of the most important qualifications for a reliable app? Stability. Nobody wants to deal with a buggy app that causes a frustration overload. A mobile application with poor stability quickly leads to abandonment. According to research from TechCrunch, mobile application crashes and freezes are the leading types of problems encountered by users who experienced a problem with their mobile app.

Plan for all Possible Outcomes

In reality, there are so many factors that go into developing a mobile app, that it is hard to plan for all possible outcomes. Our friends at Pronq by HP outline a few popular approaches to avoid development crashes, such as surrounding your code with a Try/Catch Block, and implementing an exception handling strategy. Both methods possess potential temporary solutions but fail to eliminate the exception on a long-term basis. Bottom line: neither approach can ensure 100% coverage, so the work does not stop there.

There are several digital libraries for reporting application crashes. Application Crash Report for Android (ACRA) is a popular crash report library among Android users.  It allows the application to catch and report an error and its details moments before the application crashes, even if a user doesn’t proactively report the error. While ACRA is an effective tool, it contains potential drawbacks and considerations.

HP AppPulse Mobile is another tool that provides application crash tracking. AppPulse Mobile reports a crash and directly correlate the crash to the root cause user action.

At MobileDay we use Crittercism for app performance monitoring. The tool performs root cause analysis of problems, and prioritizes business critical issues. It is absolutely essential for our app to perform reliably, and without this tool we wouldn’t get a real-time view of app diagnostics and crashes. We’re able to act quickly and prevent issues from arising rather than reacting quickly when they do arise!

Other Reliable App Strategies

We know that practice makes perfect. We’re constantly improving, undergoing application-testing every day to make sure our users’ work lives run smoother. MobileDay offers consistent application functionality, optimal security protection, and lightning fast customer response times so we can make our user experience as ideal as possible.

Our testing procedures to ensure stability are extensive. Every employee in our company is involved with testing the application – we go through training to learn how to effectively test and how to report problems with our conference calling app. One favorite test is adding an email account to the phone and syncing 4,000 contacts with meetings every few minutes – we use this test to find out how the app acts when the phone is bogged down with tons of information, simulating a busy business professional’s experience. If the app is anything but flawless, it’s reported and addressed right away.

Simple Conferencing

One touch conference calling

Stability is an essential component of an effective app. No matter how awesome the app features are, if it experiences frequent crashes or slows down with too much information, it cannot possibly be relied upon. MobileDay works hard to make sure that our users can steadfastly depend on dialing into their conference calls with one touch, because otherwise they’d have to *shudder* dial all the numbers themselves (now that would just be silly)!

 

Deploying Simple Enterprise Apps

Standing-Desk-01

The terms “Simple” and “Enterprise” are rarely spoken in the same breath, but at MobileDay we’ve learned how to bridge the gaps with our simple enterprise apps and infrastructure. We know first-hand that many enterprise apps can be a headache for users and even worse for IT, so from the beginning we set our sights on building simple enterprise apps that are easy on the end user, trivial for our customers’ IT departments to manage, and cost effective for us to maintain while making changes rapidly.

It’s not always easy being free

At the core of MobileDay’s app strategy is that it’s a free app available for iOS and Android. It syncs with the phone’s existing calendar, and enables the user to start dialing into conference calls within seconds. With no purchase required, no separate enterprise version, no registration process or complex configurations, the simplicity of MobileDay probably seems straightforward, but in reality it has taken us a lot of work to accomplish this. In addition to the free app, we have created MobileDay Advantage, an enhanced version that unlocks Dynamic Dialing seamlessly for everyone in an organization.

To make this possible, it’s necessary to build intelligence into the cloud. We host everything with top-tier vendors like Amazon, MongoLab, and Redis Labs so that our infrastructure “just works” and we can focus on building features and deploying them quickly on a daily or weekly basis. We’re obsessed with data so that we learn quickly and accurately from our mistakes as well as successes, capturing real-time app metrics with Localytics and Crittercism, and monitoring our cloud with New Relic, Pingdom, and JumpCloud. Dialing rules are pushed on the fly so that customers can take advantage of them without requiring an app update.

Being able to iterate quickly also enables quick reactions to customer and user feedback. We have a close-knit agile scrum team operating strict two week sprints with the option of multiple cloud and app deployments limited only by the Apple review cycle on the iOS side (typically around a week), and this means that an idea we get on a Wednesday can be planned that Friday, built the following week, tested, submitted, and released the week after. Doing this for a mobile app is great, but doing it for a widely deployed enterprise app is even better and is a welcome (if sometimes surprising!) relief to our customers who’re used to cumbersome processes and lengthy turnaround times for the features from their typical “enterprise” apps and vendors.

Security & Privacy, our two best friends

Finally, security and privacy are both crucial for an enterprise app that both the user and IT can trust. Plenty of apps start out scraping and syncing every piece of data they can get their hands on and either bury it in legalese or then scale back with tricky configuration options in response to bad press. We took the opposite approach,  taking a hard look at how much work we could accomplish on the device, the bare minimum data we could sync to our cloud to achieve the functionality we need, and then constantly refine and limit it further as our features evolve. We only send very basic dial-in number and aggregate usage metadata to our cloud to enable syncing the proper dialing configuration to a device and all the in-depth parsing of calendar events and contacts, use of location information, and any information about the actual calls made by a user remain securely in memory, in the app, on the device. This usually requires more work  to build, but we know how critical  it is to our customers.

Internal security is another top priority when developing an enterprise-ready app.  We may do many things like a startup, but we put the jokes aside when it comes to privacy and customer data. We use strong two-factor authentication for all systems that touch customer information, perform regular audits and security scans of both our mobile apps and cloud. We run a very closed-loop DevOps program where the same engineers who build and test code also deploy it to production, maintain it, support it, participate in our on-call rotation, and see any issues through to resolution and future process improvement. For us DevOps is total synergy of development and operations under one team with the exact same priorities and ownership of the outcome.

We’ve done something pretty special by making simple apps with enterprise clout that users actually WANT to use and IT departments actually WANT to deploy. We’re constantly learning and if you’re a MobileDay user we’d love to hear what you think!

Three Tools to Decrease Customer Response Times

Customer response time is one of the most underestimated strategies to grow your tech business to the next level.  When customers only have to put forth a minuscule amount of effort to talk to a support team, their loyalty increases and impression of the company improves drastically.  Whether the interaction is one on social media or an inquiry that takes some concentration to deal with, it is important to maintain a response that will meet or, preferably, exceed expectations of the customer.

Adam Toporek, author of Customers That Stick, found that 96% of customers who reported a high effort customer service experience were disloyal to the company in the future, and that 2/3 said they will not spend money with companies that require a high amount of effort to reach.  Accoring to the article “Consumers rarely get the two-way dialog with brands they want on social media” in TechJournal, studies from the Lithium Network Conference found that Leading-edge technology and a mature, strategic approach to measurement can help companies realize the full potential of responding and interacting with customers. 

There are a variety of tools businesses can use to organize and execute their specific response time goals. MobileDay’s use of VictorOps, FreshDesk, and Pivotal Tracker enable us to be as efficient as possible.

 

Freshdesk

FreshDesk helps organize and prioritize email inquiries from customers and creates the ability to forward certain emails to certain employees, as well as canned responses to respond quickly to common questions.

 

victorops

VictorOps has given MobileDay the ability to page specific employees based on the knowledge and expertise needed to answer a customer.  With certain tools and an emphasis on getting back to customers, MobileDay has achieved an average response time of 3.5 hours and that increases with paying customers, executives, and social media responses.

 

PivotalTracker provides a way for MobileDay to implement agile methods to craft the roadmap of the product.  We have several touch points with the customer including: Facebook, independent blogs, Twitter, Google Play Store reviews, Apple App store reviews, and customer support tickets. Different people handle these touch points, and Pivotal Tracker is the centralized location for us to submit requests internally. These requests are then received by the engineering team, and the priorities are laid out. This creates an organized system of internal communication that ensures delivery of the most desired features for our customers.

 

The use of these tools is critical to MobileDay’s short response time. We work hard to make sure all of our team members are fluent in the tools, and that they use them consistently.  Prioritizing inquiries, the right person being notified of a problem, and seamless internal communication are our keys to success.

MobileDay Advantage ensures that our clients have a Dedicated Success Team that is available 24/7. This requires us to have systems and procedures in place to make sure that if something comes up, not only will somebody be there to react, but it will be a person who has the skills to address the issue immediately.

Download MobileDay for iPhone or Android, or contact sales for more information on MobileDay Advantage

 

Google I/O Boulder

google i:o

Google held it’s annual developers conference, Google I/O, this week in San Francisco. There was a lot of great information and features announced and uncovered over the course of the two days of sessions. I was not lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend the conference so no I am not typing this while wearing Google Cardboard to alter my reality. I did however get to attend the Google I/O Extended at the local Boulder, CO offices. Many thanks to those individuals for the invite and putting on a great event.

The overall takeaway that I had from the event is that the future as Google sees it is your information displayed on the most convenient device for the moment. Whether that is the way we all use our phones every day, quick notifications on a wearable device like a watch, a more holistic TV experience or in our cars while we are in transit, having access to our data is supremely important to the Android platform going forward.

I am really excited to start playing with the SDK for Android Wear. If you’re not familiar with the MobileDay application, our primary goal is to get you in your meetings as quickly as possible. Our idea is that we’ll be able to alert you to an upcoming meeting. You’ll easily launch your call or online meeting without taking your phone out of your pocket. This is the next step in making conference calls easier, and I know that our customers are going to love it.

As far as the impact on development goes, it’s going to be minimal. We already use notifications to keep you abreast of upcoming appointments, now it’s just a matter of making sure those standard notifications will still look good on your watch. There will be the potential challenges of having to design for both a square and a circle form factor, but in the end it should be very easy for us to present our users their events in time for them to join their calls. From there we can grow our integration into giving the users the ability to scroll forward to future events as well as to take advantage of our Quick Call functionality – host immediate conferences between multiple people, organized by text and in only a few quick clicks. Plus, for those of us who will be late to our own funerals, the ability to tap one button on our watch to let everyone know we’ll be a few minutes late to our daily standup will be a great timesaver.

Believe me when I tell you that MobileDay is not going to stop at Android Wear. Android Auto and possibly even Android TV will hold new features and functionality for us to grow our app in the future. But in the short term I can’t wait to get a watch to play with.

Download MobileDay from the Google Play Store.

 

One-Touch Dialing – make life a little bit simpler

The guardian

One-touch dialing is all about productivity and making life a bit easier.

Previous to joining MobileDay, I recall a time when I was at my house getting ready for work and suddenly realized that I was already 1 minute late to a conference call. Panicking, I had to open my email and furiously search for the conference number. It was some obscure number coupled with a pin number AND a password. And I couldn’t find a pen to write it down. I finally found some lipstick and wrote the information on the mirror, and by the time I finally got into the call, I was about 5 minutes late and half crazed. Not the most productive conference call I’ve ever been part of.

MobileDay enables people to calmly dial into conference calls in the shortest time possible, without the use of lipstick as a writing instrument.

I found an article titled “How mobile enterprise apps allow micro-moments of productivity at work,” and it immediately brought to mind the effortless simplicity of MobileDay.

As the article says, what may at first seem like an insignificant micro improvement in productivity may in the long run add up and make a big difference. Not to mention that sometimes the improvement takes you from frantically scrambling for something, ANYTHING, to write with, to being reminded of your call and effortlessly and joining by pressing one big green button. Micro improvements may often times be overlooked because they seem so straightforward or obvious. In reality, if an application provides a micro improvement, it is likely an incredibly elegant application that has been very carefully developed to seem effortless.

A study cited in the article from Salesforce.com relates the three most important considerations when developers are building apps for “micro-moments.” They include: the user experience, design, and concept. The idea behind “concept” is that it’s called “micro” moment for a reason. A simple app should not overwhelm the user with all of its features, but should solve one problem, and do it well.  The concept of the app should be clean and uncluttered so that the user can understand in a heartbeat what the app is intended to help them with.

I find apps to be helpful not because they drastically revolutionize my life. I have a singular need, and my favorite apps solve the precise need in the shortest time possible, without trying to push other functionality that I’m not seeking. I happen to know that lots of people have the same pain that I experienced in the lipstick incident.

Gotta love apps that make life a little bit simpler!

 

Boulder Startup Week 2014

bsw-logo

This week marks the fifth annual Startup Week here in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. The event is a five-day celebration of the city’s thriving startup community, featuring networking events, coffee shop pow-wows, and a variety of parties, presentations and activities. There is a palpable buzz in the air, people get excited for this event!

From the Boulder Startup Week website:
“Boulder Startup Week is a fun event celebrating entrepreneurship. Our all volunteer team and countless community members have worked hard to create an event that helps build the fabric of what makes Boulder what it is: the people. All the events are listed below, please RSVP and be an amazing participant!  

Something that makes the week special is the surprise acts of kindness that happen. See someone that is new to the room or community? Invite them to meet your friends. See someone looking for a job? Help them out. Getting out of an event? Take some new friends to dinner.”

Tomorrow, May 12th, Startup Week is featuring the popular Startup Crawl. Participants will get the opportunity to check out the offices of 10+ local startups including MobileDay! The event is free, and starts at 5:00pm. Each location is going to have drinks, snacks, and fun activities. More information and a complete list of participating companies can be found here: Boulder Startup Crawl

MD

Download MobileDay in the App StoreDownload MobileDay in the Google Play Store

 

Don’t Dial and Drive

Be Safe behind the Wheel: Use MobileDay!

Facebook-Ad-connery-01

As we approach our one millionth call, we encourage all of our users to be safe and avoid dialing behind the wheel. The National Safety Council estimates at least 1.6 million crashes each year involve drivers using cellphones and texting. Take a look at what some of our users are saying about MobileDay:

Eliminates all the hassle to join conf calls while driving” – John

Wow. This dialing app just keeps improving! Don’t know how many car accidents MobileDay has saved too.” – Google User

Great App. We call the app the “don’t run your car off the bridge app” – Beth

So on behalf of our whole team, please don’t dial and drive, and as always: Have a good MobileDay!

MD Google PlayMD App Store

MobileDay Approaches ’1 Million Call’ Milestone

MobileDay is rapidly approaching our ‘One Millionth Call’ milestone, just one year after being named a VentureBeat 2012 MobileBeat finalist. While maintaining focus on our One-Touch access into ANY conference call capability for iOS and Android devices, we’ve recently introduced a few capabilities for the iPhone that have accelerated our growth. As a quick recap, these new capabilities include:

  • Launching the MobileDay app in India
  • Enabling auto-updates of meetings into Salesforce right from the app
  • Introducing Least Cost Dialing for companies to ensure employees dial the lowest cost phone number based on their location when joining a conference call

We’re really excited about what we’ve accomplished here at MobileDay, and even more excited about what our end-users are saying since they are the drivers behind our success!

Once you use this app you instantly realize how much simpler and easier calls are supposed to be. Home screen App!” – Sarah

This is made with unicorn blood, ‘cause it’s magic.” -Roger

Wow. This dialing app just keeps improving! Don’t know how many car accidents mobile day has saved too.” – Google User

Awesome app, no more having to dig around and look for conference call numbers. They should charge $$ for this, but it’s awesomely free!” – Brien

We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to all our users, and thank them for all the feedback that has helped shape the MobileDay app.

What’s New: MobileDay Now Available in India and More

MobileDay Now Available in India

hero-mobileday-in-india

MobileDay now provides in-country support for dialing within India! Tell your colleagues in India to download the MobileDay app from the iTunes App Store or give it a try the next time you are in India. We’re just getting started and would love feedback.

What’s The Scoop On Location Services?

hero-location-services

The MobileDay app checks your location to make sure we use the proper dialing sequence based on where you are. Location Services only runs at the time when you open the app and when you are traveling (triggered by cell tower changes). This form of update, called “Significant Change” by Apple, minimizes the impact on your battery. And by the way, your location information never leaves the phone.

Apps We Love

hero-fullcontact hero-yesware

Periodically, we like to tell the world about apps we love here at MobileDay. Take a moment to check out these two brilliant apps.

MobileDay Provides VoIP Access to Conference Calls on iOS

MobileDay now provides VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) access to your conference calls on iPhone and other iOS enabled devices via Talkatone, a free VoIP dialer enhancing Google Voice. Founded in 2010, Talkatone utilizes WiFi or 3G connection to provide its users with unlimited free calls on their iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Once the Talkatone app is installed on your iOS device, you can use MobileDay for One-Touch, convenient conference calling for no cost via Google Voice.

To configure your Talkatone settings in the MobileDay app, tap VoIP Settings in Menu.

Menu VoIP Talkatone MobileDay Free Conference Calling Fee Call iPhone Conference Call Mobile VoIP dialing conferencing

Download MobileDay now and experience true One-Touch dialing for all your VoIP Conference Calls! 

MD App Store