Archive for category Android Apps

10 million UK consumers have used mobile commerce, problems? Of course!

iPhone & Intel Mobile Device

Image by Frank Gruber via Flickr

When a survey commisioned by Tealef, showed that 10 million UK consumers have used mobile commerce to order products or services through their mobile device I was impressed. I maybe should have been shocked that up 83% of those surveryed had a problem when using their mobile device to order, but I wasn’t.

Even with the speed of adoption of people using mobile devices to purchase items online, many of the platforms or websites simply don’t take into account the usability issues when using a phone to shop. A lot of the larger retailers who have mobile websites have done a good job at presenting the information in an easy to use format, but fall down when it comes to paying or logging into a website.

One pet hate of mine for a lot of mobile websites or apps is the inability to recover a forgotten password. In most cases, the forgot password option isn’t available on the mobile version of the website. This is clearly a security issue in that you could pick up someones for, log on to any site, run the forgot password tool and have the password emailed directly to the phone and volia, you’re in and have the password to probably everything the poor person uses for his life secrets!

But we all know there are simple ways around this. But it seems to be easier for most to ignore this or build in a mechanism for it. That may well be because they’re not sure if mobile is the way of the future. They’re going through a stage of “let’s suck it and see” before putting too much effort into changing how things work.

The problem with that approach is that we are left with a lot of consumers who will end up becoming dillusioned with the whole concept of mobile commerce. If it becomes too labourious to order something through a mobile device, wouldn’t you just prefer to go back to using your PC to order instead?

And that clearly appears to be what’s happening according to this study. A massive 29% of people surveryed abandon the transaction to complete later on their PC! 16% would more likely prefer to use their PC in future and more worryingly, 13% are likely to abandon the transaction altogether and try somewhere else.

I know personally these statistics are not something that are strange to me. As recently as last Saturday I went to put a bet on the Grand National and decided to try out the Paddy Power website. As someone who doesn’t bet very often, in fact once a year, I had completely forgotten the username and password associated with my Paddy Power account that I had used, well last year! Since there was no option to retrieve my password on the mobile device, I had to take out the laptop and retrieve my information from the main website.

In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have bothered at all because I certainly didn’t win! :)

I really can’t blame retailers for getting things wrong on this front – it’s a brand new medium that hasn’t been fully tested. We can only use our experience on how people interact with a browser on a laptop and try to second guess what people will want on a mobile device. We need much testing to really see what makes people tick on a mobile device.

There is one key point in all of this, a lot of people using a mobile device to access the Internet or online stores have probably never even used the Internet or shopped online. This is a brand new experience for them and we should all take this into account when developing our mobile websites and apps.

 

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BlackBerry overtakes Apple in Mobile Web Browsing Wars

Hot on the heels of my article yesterday – Mobile Website Design – Is it time to offer a mobile version of your website?, StatCounter Global Stats have released a press release with some interesting news.

As expected, Google’s Android platform is seeing a significant growth in it’s usage, with an increase of over 290% on last year. Android is now accounting for 23.8% of the Mobile Web usage market share.

Interestingly, in the US Apple’s iPhone has fallen from a high of 51.9% last year to just 33% this year. This means that Blackberry’s 34.3% share in the US makes them market leaders in terms of mobile Internet usage.

This trend however isn’t replicated worldwide, with the current statistics leading with Symbian OS leads with 31.9% followed by Apple iOS (21.9%), BlackBerry OS (19.3%) and Android (11.6%).

So I guess it’s safe to say that targeting just iPhones in terms of your mobile website, is not a good idea!

You can read the full StatCounter report here : http://gs.statcounter.com/press/blackberry-overtakes-apple-in-mobile-wars

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Android app development debugging

Screenshot of Android Emulator for SDK version...
Image via Wikipedia

In my spare time, I’ve been playing around with learning how to develop native apps for android devices. It’s all brand new to me and my general way of thinking for developing web applications has to change significantly.

One of the most annoying things to date has been debugging. I’ve been using Eclipse as my tool of choice for developing the android apps, which is an excellent piece of software. Before launching your app in the android emulator, it let’s you know if you’ve got syntax errors, missing files or pretty much anything it can spot.

But there are things it doesn’t spot. And when you launch the app in the emulator and get the dreaded “The application …. has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again. Force Close” error message, it’s hard to find information on where to look to find out what has gone wrong.

With a bit of research I was able to find out that there is a logging system that should be built into your environment, if of course you have that set up correctly. Simply open a command prompt and type “adb logcat”, hit return and happy days. You’ll have access to logs that should tell you exactly what is going wrong with your android app.

Now that I know how to do that, I can now move on and find the next hurdle I must overcome! :)

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Garda Safety Camera Locations for your iPhone

Yesterday was a crazy time for this blog, the site had over 8,500 unique visitors to the website all searching for the new Garda Safety Camera Locations. Only for the server came to a crawl, it could have had potentially thousands more. So it’s clear to me that a lot of people want to know where these locations are.

So we’ve put together a little iPhone site that lists the Garda Speed Camera Locations on Google Maps nice and neatly on your iPhone. You can visit it here http://www.tomdoyletalk.com/scl/ – We’re currently working on getting it going as an app on the Android.

If you have an iPhone simple click the link below on your iPhone and add it to your homescreen to make it run like a native iPhone add in full screen!

Garda Safety Camera Locations on the iPhone

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NCT Centre Finder App for Android (iPhone too!)

 

If you have ever worked close to an NCT Centre, you are probably familiar with constantly being asked for directions to the nearest NCT Centre. Our offices are based right next door to one very busy centre, Deansgrange NCT Centre. In fairness, it’s not the most obvious of locations and until a couple of months ago, the estate didn’t even exist on Google Maps.

It became quite frustrating when every day on my way to lunch I would be stopped and asked for directions,  when the person asking was parked literally right in front of it. Maybe it’s just my old age, but I ended up resorting to just pointing a finger in the direction of the centre to anyone that started slowing down as I passed their car – I just knew what they were going to ask.

So when at a meeting with a local client who also works from Deansgrange Business Park, discussed the annoyance of this in, they suggested “wouldn’t it be great if their was an app for directions to NCT centres…”!!

We thought this was a great idea and set out to design and develop it as our first Android App.

So here it is!!

The NCT Centre Finder App is FREE and available on the Android App Market. Just search for “NCT” in the market place and you should be able to find it quite easily.

Currently the app is very simple, it lists NCT Centres by county and A-Z. We’ve built it in such a way that most functions can be run offline without a connection to the Internet. So you can see simple maps and addresses etc. Another simple tool we added was a “Checklist”. The checklist is a simple tool that lists all the items needed in preparation for your NCT test.

We wanted to do so much more with this app, but thought we should let it fly first and see if anyone is interested in using it. Please email us with any suggestions or items you’d like added and we’ll see what we can do!

The App is also available for the iPhone, simply visit www.2bscene.ie/nct on your iPhone Web Browser and it will run from there. You can also add it to your desktop on your iPhone, which will mean you will have a lovely glossy icon on your desktop.

And of course – if you’d like an iPhone or Android app for your business – why not call us and see what we can do for you!

P.S. For those who just want to have a nosey look, you can visit www.2bscene.ie/nct in Safari Browser to get an idea of what the App does.

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