Our First Look at What Users Around The World Think of Israeli Apps

Israeli AppsWhen getting my new phone last year, I splurged for the extra gigs. Why? Because for the last 6 months I was constantly getting the notification “Storage Almost Full”. There are around 1.5 million apps in the US app store. How am I supposed to limit myself to just a few?

New apps are coming out all the time. When thinking about the apps economy, we often think about the US app store, because American companies developed iOS, Android, and Windows, after all. However, some of the most incredible innovations in the mobile app space are coming from Israel. In fact, you’re probably already using some of these apps on a daily basis without even realizing it, such as Waze, which got its start in Israel before being bought by Google in 2013.

At Applause, we love seeing trends like this emerge.  Israel’s apps economy is booming, and Israeli companies are seeking to appeal to and engage a global marketplace. A new Applause report, out today, took an in-depth look at some of the most popular apps coming from Israeli companies. We wanted to see what made these apps stand out from the competition and how they were able to gain international popularity. What we discovered is that users are drawn to apps with the best satisfaction, usability, and performance:

 When users review these apps they use key trigger words such as “recommend,” “fun,” “favorite,” “enjoy,” and “addictive” to indicate their satisfaction level with the app.  Those that have high usability ratings have reviews with “easy,” “useful,” “simple,” “intuitive,” and “accessible.” Finally, you will see instances of “quick” and “fast” to show delight with performance.

Users’ first preference when discussing app quality is to have a well-functioning, user-friendly application that works quickly.

The report goes on to further highlight the top three apps from Israel, which are the strongest in these three areas. With strong results like this, companies who want to stack up against apps like these must stay vigilant in their design and testing processes to make sure they remain competitive.

To learn more about our Applause Testing Services, click here.

Applause also recently expanded our presence in Israel. Learn more here.

The Applause Roadshow Goes Digital

Applause is continuing to tour the country promoting the importance of application quality, follow along to find out where our next stops are:  

First up, we will be in New York City at the CDO Summit hosted by CDO Club on Wednesday, April 27th. A premier event, it is attended by some of the biggest brands from across the country. If you are going to be there – be sure to see our Digital Experience Analyst, Ben Gray, speak in the Carnegie Room at 2:15 PM. He’ll be discussing the importance of listening to your user’s point of view to create great digital experiences and foster loyal users.

Applause BoothNext up, we’re heading west to attend Digital Travel in Las Vegas, NV from May 2-4th. A premiere conference for eCommerce and digital leaders in the travel industry – please stop by booth #11 and meet our team. Also at Digital Travel,  Applause Digital Analyst Ben Gray will be discussing the importance of understanding what your customers and app users think about your company’s digital presence…and how doing so can help you launch great digital experiences that turn your casual customers into raving fans of your brand. You can catch his talk on May 3rd at 12:20PM.

As always, we hope to see you on the road – if you are going to be at any of these upcoming events or others that are on our calendar – send us a tweet @Applause and we can make sure to connect.

The Applause Roadshow Heads Toward IoT North America

Applause Road ShowOur App Quality Evangelists are packing up their bags once again, this time to the beautiful city of Chicago. Internet of Things North America spans the entire IoT community – specifically focusing on the advanced connectivity and cloud based monitoring of devices, facilities, automobiles, people and enterprise operations.

Ben Gray, Digital Experience Analyst for Applause, will be speaking on the importance of your users point of view, whether you are developing, testing, pre- or post- launch. You can catch his session Wednesday, April 13th at 3:30 PM.

Find yourself wanting to know more? Stop by the Applause booth (#505) to chat with our app quality experts. Discover the importance of app quality and how we’ve helped other companies in the IoT space test devices and their companion apps.

Applause will be raffling off a $200 Amazon Giftcard to one lucky attendee. Be sure to follow us on twitter @Applause for live updates throughout the event!

What’s up next on the Applause Roadshow? Check back next week for updates on upcoming events like CDO Summit and Apps World North America!

Testing Apple’s Newest Devices

Tim CookAt yesterday’s Apple Event in Cupertino, California – everything was scaled down. From the number of press invited to the event to the number of product launches and most notably – the size of the devices that were unveiled.

The 4-inch iPhone SE and the 9.7 inch iPad Pro were announced at the event in addition to updates for iOS 9.3, tvOS 9.2, an increase in health-related offerings with CareKit and an expanded focus Environmental Renewals.

With the release of the iPhone SE, there will be five iPhone models available, on four carriers (and an unlocked version).  This adds to the five iPad models that are also going to be available, with both wi-fi and cellular options and different carriers available. Interestingly enough, Cook noted, that the 4-inch iPhone remains a popular choice with 30 Million 4-inch phones sold in 2015 and that there are now more than 1 billion apple devices in use around the world.

With the increase in number of devices – both currently on the market and as legacy models that remain popular with users- makes it more challenging than ever for app developers to ensure that they deliver positive digital experiences for their users. Having to take into account operating system, device size, carrier and physical location of the device makes it impossible to test in the lab.

Instead, it is important to test In-The-Wild – featuring real-world conditions that provide a better perspective on how your apps work in the hands of your users and give you access to a wide range of devices, operating systems, locations and carriers. If you’d like to learn more about testing across devices with testers that match your user profile, download our free eBook In-The-Wild Testing.

Photo “Apple CEO Tim Cook” by flickr user: Mike Deeroski, Creative Commons.

The Applause Road Show Rolls On

VR sessionIt’s been a full event schedule of late here at Applause. For those of you who want to know where we’ve been (and where we’re going next) here’s a quick rundown of our past 10 days.

First up last week was Enterprise Connect in Orlando, where our event genius Cammie Brunelle led a team of app quality experts as we promoted our experience helping brands launch great digital experiences to a host of telecom and communications companies. We had great conversations with the likes of AT&T, 8×8 and Genband as they showcased their newest technologies and collaboration efforts.

From there, Cammie headed north to New York City to join former Forrester Principal Analyst and current Lead Digital Analyst for Applause, Ben Gray, who was presenting the first day keynote at the Mobile Innovation Summit. Ben spoke about the importance of understanding their users’ points-of-view when it comes to mobile app quality, and many companies in attendance – including Groupon and Estee Lauder – were listening. Those companies were also among the big brands sharing their own best practices when it comes to mobile strategy. We had a fantastic experience at the summit and are already looking to the fall and next year as possible stops on the Applause road show.

Last but certainly never least was the Interactive Portion of SXSW this past weekend in lovely Austin, TX. Yours truly was there to watch the President talk, give away some fun Applause SWAG and, mostly, eat my weight in barbecue and tacos engage some of the world’s biggest brands about how to ensure that they provide their users with high quality digital experiences.  Some highlights of the weekend:

  • The aforementioned insightful discussion with President Obama about how those in the tech community can be part of a strategy to solve our nation’s biggest problems
  • Eric Oliver of The North Face, presenting on the VR that his company is using to provide awe and inspiration to in-store customers
  • Talking with Jason Sylva, Executive Director of Audience Development at the New York Times about how he is driving customers’ digital engagement with the all the news that’s fit to “print”
  • Talking with the Conde Nast and Associate Press teams at the Knight Foundation’s journalism party
  • Hearing about all the exciting things that the team at the Harvard Business Review is up to, and catching an exceptional session by their staffer Scott Berinato on how to make better charts. Yes, charts. Honestly, it was great and as someone who designs presentations for others, I found his reading from his upcoming book on the topic fascinating.
  • Punk Rock Karaoke – judged by Anthony Bourdain (among others)
  • The very best barbecue and taco I have ever had – both courtesy of Valentinas in South Austin (Sorry, Franklin and Torchy’s)
  • A wind-down with important business discussions with select conference-goers, away from the madness of downtown at Nomad Bar

So, what’s up next for the Applause road show? Check out our events page to keep up on all that’s happening with the one company uniquely qualified to help your company understand – and launch – high quality digital experiences as defined by your users.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go back to dreaming about barbecue and tacos.

3 Reasons VR is Worth the Hype

It’s looking like you will be able to make your bucket list a bit longer.

And more elaborate.VR Experience

Trekking up Mount Everest. Base-jumping from the Royal Gorge Bridge. Saving the life of a fellow soldier in a WWII rescue mission.

These are just a few examples of experiences that you will be able to have on any given day in the next few years.

All you will need is a VR headset.

Back in 2014, after Facebook acquired Oculus VR, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page, “We believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.”

Since then, the hype surrounding VR has steadily soared to tremendous heights.

While we have seen many tech busts over the past decade, here are three reasons to believe that VR will live up to the hype:

1) The investment in it has been astronomical.

The investment in VR is entering uncharted territory, especially recently. In his piece “We Have 5 Years Until The Virtual Reality Revolution,” David Bolton of ARC revealed that the total investment in virtual reality has reached $1.1 billion. This is the first time that a tech investment has ever eclipsed the billion-dollar mark in a calendar year.

2) It will expand social media capabilities like never before.

Up to this point, social media interactions have taken place in a series of fragmented interactions. A song posted on a friend’s timeline. A photo of a picturesque sunset shared with Instagram followers. A favorited tweet. With VR, people will now be able to experience all of these things in the virtual presence of others. Rather than posting a song or picture for a friend to eventually come across, friends will be able to enjoy music and pictures together as avatars at the same time from remote locations. And most importantly, instead of waiting for a “Like” or a written response, users can pick up on the body language and nonverbal cues that their friends react with. With studies showing that the majority of all communication is coming from these nonverbal cues, VR is poised to change digital communication permanently.

3) There is a gigantic group that is waiting to adopt it.

It’s rarely the case that when a new technology comes out, there is an enormous and clearly defined group chomping at the bit awaiting its arrival. However, that is exactly the case with VR. The gaming industry, an industry that earned $61 billion in revenue in 2015, is anxiously awaiting the introduction of VR into mainstream retail because of the enhanced experience it will deliver. While VR has so much to offer beyond enhanced gaming experiences, having a visible landing pad bodes well for its eventual universal adoption.

With the expansion of VR  – user expectation is also climbing. To ensure that your VR application works for your users, it needs to be put through the paces with professional testers. Visit our testing services page to learn how Applause can help.

Image “Samsung Gear VR Experience” by flickr user Maurizio Pesce, Creative Commons.

The Growth of IoT and the Increased Need for Security Standards

When you hear about the connected world of the Internet of Things (IoT), what pops into mind first? For me, it’s making my life easier, having more control, and customizing the world around me.

Security Testing Connected DevicesI can’t wait for the Samsung’s new smart fridge or the Sleep Number’s new IT bed, and I’m not really concerned about someone hacking those devices to find out that I’m out of milk, or like to sleep with a certain number. However, as we start adding more functionality to seeming harmless devices, we need to consider the security of the information being shared. I start to get concerned when you add in video monitoring or links from financial institutions to IoT devices.

I thought about this recently with the announcement of Amazon’s Alexa and Capital One partnering. To clarify, I think this is a brilliant idea, but Amazon and Capital One need to be able to ensure that my information is secure.

At Applause, we already work with some of the top IoT providers in the industry, testing their devices and ensuring the quality and security the customer expects. Applause will have white hat hackers (the good guys), go through and test every security flaw you have and have not already thought of. Security issues are very preventable. The amount of investment put in pales in comparison to the bad press and monetary payouts you may deal with after a hack has already occurred. In many cases an attack can mean the end to your company.

With new IoT product announcements becoming a regular occurrence in an industry that is estimated to grow 30% in 2016, there is great excitement. With a bigger demand, and an increasing growth rate, let’s make sure the security standards continue to meet the expectations of the users.

Image: “Sitting near an @Amazon Echo,” by Flickr user Rick Turoczy, Creative Commons

Earn Applause – And More – At SXSW!

Applause cupsHello there, fans of high-quality apps!

Today’s post is a quick one regarding this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival.

Yours truly will be in attendance starting tomorrow, March 11th. Now why should you care? Well, first of all, I’ll be talking with some major companies about how to ensure they are best accounting for their users’ point-of-view when it comes to the quality of their digital experiences. (Those digital experiences are the gateway to your brand for your customers, and accounting for user POV when measuring digital quality is now an imperative).

I’ll also be armed with giveaways – including an Apple Watch. All you have to do is follow @applause and @nicklorenzen on Twitter over the weekend to see where I’ll be and if you come up and say hi, you could win something awesome and learn a little bit about why companies like Google, Runkeeper, Concur and Amazon all use Applause to make sure their digital experiences are delighting their customers.

So keep an eye out for me as I explore Austin this weekend to talk app quality….and taco quality too, likely.


Making Accessibility a Top Priority

Accessibility Desktop TestingIn an on-going ARC series, Accessibility: Inclusion Is Not An Illusion, ARC writer David Bolton highlights the importance of web and mobile app accessibility along with tips and best practices.

To set the stage for the series, Bolton shares, “making an app accessible to all is a sensible business decision. Accessibility is not only about the end user but also the tools that make our lives easier and everyone wants those tools. For any app developers who want an insight into how their app will perform in the real world, appealing to the differently-abled end user would be a good place to start.”

Accessible web and mobile applications make them more convenient and available to everyone – including users with disabilities. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 was developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative as a set of guidelines that help designers and developers to make their properties as accessible as possible to all users. The guidelines include four pillars that should be considered throughout the development lifecycle, including being perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.

I encourage you to take a look at the ARC series and to test to ensure that your applications are accessible for all users.

Image: “Computers,” by Flickr User San José Library, Creative Commons

How Mobile App Testing Differs from Desktop and Web Testing

I was looking over the most popular posts from our uTest community and came across a post that I wanted to share, it has been popular for years and is still really relevant.

In the article, Why Mobile Apps Testing is Different from Desktop and Web, uTest guest author Anand Ramdeo shares ten ways testing mobile apps is different than testing desktop or web apps. I encourage you to check out the full article, here are just a few of his tips:

Mobile applications take complexity of supported platforms to the next level by adding devices. Ensuring that mobile apps are working on all type of devices (smartphone, tablets, and phablets) supplied by major brands (various models from Samsung, Sony, Nokia, HTC, Apple, etc.) and on all the platforms (iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, etc.) is challenging. On top of that, new devices are hitting market so often that it becomes impossible to cover all the major devices.

Mobile apps are installed, removed, or updated more frequently than desktop applications. Also, underlying OS and platform is updated more frequently as well. As an app developer and tester in the mobile world, you have to be on top of what changes are coming in the next revision of OS / Platform and how it might affect the application.

Apps and users are constantly interrupted by calls, SMS, push notifications, and so on. How applications handle these interruptions and how they maintain their state are important, but it is also important to see how many interruptions the application is generating and what triggers those interruptions.

Thanks Anand for sharing – understanding the difference between mobile app testing and testing for desktop or web is critical, both for the tester and the testing organization.