This week’s app is…Play To Cure: Genes In Space

This app/game, as a piece of innovation, is amazing! It was developed with Cancer Research UK and it’s goal is to help cure cancer and it’s no gimmick.

Play To Cure: Genes In Space Game Battles Cancer

Cancer Research UK got together with Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Google developers, indie devs and scientists for Game Jam to fight cancer using tech. Check the video. It will explain it way better than I could!

Watch this video on YouTube.

Gaming To Cure Cancer? Can’t Be True.

Well, it is. Take that school teachers of the past! It turns out that gamer are excellent at killing baddies and spotting patterns. So if cancer is the baddy and spotting patterns helps kill it that would make gamers superheros, right? Right.

Play To Cure - Genes In Space

Play To Cure – Genes In Space

IMG_0118

So How Does It Work?

It’s not magic. When playing the game the gamer is asked to pick a route through the game. This is is where all the work is done. Looking for the pattern in the route is what helps scientists with cancer research. If you want to understand how it helps check out their science behind the game article. It’s a pretty fun game and the more complex the pattern the harder it gets. Not to mention it’s super-duper techno-trance music!

Mapping Genes in Play To Cure

Mapping Genes in Play To Cure

Planned route

Game Play In Play To Cure

Game Play In Play To Cure

…looking to do your bit to fight cancer? You can download the game on android and iOS.

This week’s app is…Aviate Launcher App

This weeks app review is a little different from the others. Why? Because it’s not exactly a recommendation to go download. It’s more a suck it and see, then tell me what you think.

A few weeks ago we discussed in The App Times about an app called Aviate. Aviate was acquired by Yahoo last month for an undisclosed fee and is being touted as a revolution in the way you use your phone.

Aviating Your Mobile OS

Aviate is a launcher for Android. Basically it re-skins your Android OS and displays your apps in a different format. But it doesn’t stop there. Aviate uses your location and app use to reorder your screen to make you more productive. That’s right, it’s another productivity app 😀 Told y’all last week that I love productivity apps when I reviewed Any.do Task List.

Aviate Home Pages from tested.com

Aviate Home Pages from tested.com

It sounded awesome and I couldn’t wait to use it. But Aviate is still in beta so you must wait to get an activation code. I’m not a patient man so I took it to twitter to see if anyone could hook me up with an activation code.

Cheers Twitter and thanks to Ricardo Gouveia!

Twitter Activation Code

Twitter Activation Code

Mixed Feelings About Aviate

I was super excited about Aviate when I heard about it. Any of you that follow me on Twitter or linkedIn would’ve seen my posts. The aspect I was most interested in was the changing homepage apps based on usage. It’s not that I don’t think the location stuff is cool it’s just I’m a little paranoid about the data aspect of it. As well as that, GPS being on all the time would run down my battery and I need battery more than being told there’s a Gregs bakery in my location.

It Didn’t Do What I Needed It Too

So after about 1 month of using Aviate I’ve stopped using it. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly I had to factory rest my phone and decided that Aviate wasn’t worth installing again, I didn’t actively uninstall it. As you can see in the photo above, the screen is busy. Mines never looked like that. The one function I wanted to use i.e. change the homepage based on the app usage didn’t really deliver.

The app did understand that the first app I use in the morning is Gmail but I also use Any.do. It didn’t learn that. I also use twitter and chrome first thing in the morning.

Another thing I noticed. I think it may have messed with my power management features. I usually get about 24 hours on a battery. While using Aviate I was getting 9 hours which was causing havoc with my work as I need my phone to call clients.

What Did You Think?

I’d like to hear of others experience with Aviate. I’ve got a feeling that my experience isn’t typical and that others who leave their GPS on get a better experience.

If you guy’s let me know your experience I might try it again. I love the concept and hope I can get it to work for me.

If you need any Aviate activation code I’ve got a bunch I can give out. Tweet or email me.

This week’s app is…Any.do To-do List

I’m a crack pot when it comes to productivity. I like to know where I’m spending my time and how I can do more with my time. Also, if I don’t have some sort of list I tend to forget the odd thing here and there. Sue me, I’m human.

Because of my passion for productivity you’ll probably see a fair amount of productivity apps pop up in ‘This week’s App‘.

Accidentally More Productive

Honestly. I stumbled upon the Any.do To-do List app through it’s sister app, by Any.do, Cal. Cal, if you hadn’t guessed, is a calendar app which is suppose to integrate with other calendar apps and make you more productive. So far not so good, but that’s another post.

Because Any.do are clever cookies they’ve did their cross app marketing correctly and pushed me Any.do To-do List while setting up Cal. In the end I’ve gravitated towards and starting using Any.do To-do List more often than Cal.

It’s Actually Making Me More Productive

This app is pretty bossy. It keeps telling me to setup my day and asking me if I’ve completed my tasks yet, and if not when will I do them. Honestly, it’s like your mum chasing you to do chores. I think it’s amazing!
One thing I like is that when the app pushes you to respond to a task it gives you reasonable snooze options. It recommends mins, hours then times of day and finally next day. This is a much more realistic option set than just giving you a few option, e.g. minutes, then nothing after that. Some tasks may need to be moved to the evening or the next day. That’s real life.

Some screen shots
Usually I like to use my own screenshots but because I’m using the Any.do To-do List for work, I can’t. It’s got business sensitive tasks in it.




As you can see it’s very iOS’y. Which is fine. The interface is very useful and intuitive you really shouldn’t have a problem getting started. Also it’s traffic light system (are you all beging to see a theme of how I like to categories things Red, Amber, Green – see clueful post :D) allows you to quickly pick what to do with the task.

It’s Not All Easy!

I will admit I don’t find it the simplest app to use. The reason I’m saying this is because I think it has much more functionality than I’m using it for but I’ve not figured out how to use it, yet. I’ll need to dedicate a bit of time to learning the functionality so that I can quickly and comprehensively setup my key tasks for the days and weeks. Right now I’m sporadically setting it up mid-morning. Despite being requested to set it up early morning…this is what I mean by bossy. Bossy is good! Once I learn the functionality I’ll be doing it early morning to avoid being told what to do.

But Yes, Download It
If you are into productivity and like to make sure that your on top of things, but don’t have time to remember to keep on top of things, this app is definitely for you.

You can get the app on Google Play and the App Store.

Got An App I should check out? Tweet me @nickduddy.

This week’s app is…Clueful

As you can imagine I download and play around with a lot of apps. More apps than you can shake a stick at. This is how the Blippar post came about. Since then I’ve been thinking, ‘Maybe I should tell people when I find a good app’ and that’s what I’m going to do from now on.

Worried About App’s Permissions?

If you’re like me you will check the permissions apps requested before installing. If you don’t do this, start right now!
A good example was an LED torch app that wanted my location and access to my contacts. No mi gusta! As you can imagine that didn’t get installed. The problem is that sometimes you forget to check or are in a rush and don’t. It’d be nice to have something that checks permissions for you and keeps you up to date on any apps permission changes.

…there’s an app for that

That’s right. There is an app to help you keep track of permissions, fight the bad guys if you will, and the one I’ve been using is called Clueful. It’s simple, easy to use and has an absolute gentleman of an icon. How couldn’t I trust these guys to keep me on the straight and narrow and defend me from the darker side of the app stores?

Gentlemen Fighting!

How Does Clueful Work

I don’t know the technicalities, all I know is that Clueful categorises apps into three tiers: High Risk Apps, Moderate Risk Apps and Low Risk Apps. They use a traffic-light colour code to warn you. It couldn’t be simpler.

Clueful Settings

Clueful individual report

Clueful dashboard

And There’s More
Not only does Clueful ‘traffic light’ your apps but it also scans new apps and updates itself to categorise them. It pushes to tell you that there has been a change as well as what category a new app fits into. It’s simplicity made so simple it’s simple enough for simpletons like me. I recommend downloading and testing this app out. Prepare to be surprised with the result.

Gentlemen Handshake

*In an English Victorian accent* Clueful, we at miratrix extend our hand in respect to you. Keep up the good work, Sir!

Clueful Android

iOS

Blippar: It Just Isn’t Clear What It Does.

I don't know this coke!

I don’t know this coke!

This post came to me because of an actual app experience I had and couldn’t stop thinking ‘that could’ve been a much better experience’. I’ll go over what happened and how I think app marketers and indie developers can avoid making these mistakes.

I came across Blippar after I saw a advertisement, for Watch Dogs, on the front cover on the free magazine Short List last week. In the advert was a promo for Blippar which stated interactive advert. My thoughts were this could be cool!

As soon as I got a good internet connection (it amazes me that, still!, some cafes don’t offer free wi-fi) I downloaded it. Then I didn’t look at it again for over a week. On Sunday I was standing on Platform B at St Pancreas and saw another Blippar ad advertising Coca-Cola. It didn’t really explain what the app did just that you could Blippar a can of coke. I assumed something cool would happen. I decided to scan a can of Coca-Cola that I had back at the house.

Right after I got home I went for the can of Coke. After about 20 seconds of 70’s Star Trek transporter style graphics on the screen, which I thought was pretty cool, I got the following image.

Blippar Coke Ad

Blippar Coke Ad

You Lied. You Said Scan The Coke and Something Would Happen.

After taking the time to remember to, then go get a can of coke to watch this awesome augmented reality advertising stuff unfold and ultimately improve my life, it didn’t work. I felt exactly like every person that takes the time to use the Blippar app feels.

Using Blipper is something you need consciously do. You need to stop doing something else to use it. It’s interruptive. So when a user takes that time to engage with a brand that they like you need to make it work, first time or gives a good reason to why it hasn’t worked.
Seeing an ad for a brand that Blippar supports 30 minutes prior to testing the app and then being told ‘it’s not a Blippable item’is pretty frustrating and not follow with a good reason or another action to compensate. The experience ends sharply at that point.

Honestly. It’s Not Just Me.

Looking at the app reviews and ratings it would seem that I’m not the only one having problems with Blippar.
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Blippar Adroid Page

Blippar Adroid Page


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Blippar Reviews

Blippar Reviews


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On Google Play Blippar have around 100K+ downloads and 900ish reviews here’s the Breakdown as a percentage:

  • 5 Stars          29%
  • 4 Stars          7.5%
  • 3 Stars          5.7%
  • 2 Stars          5.7%
  • 1 Star            51%

Depending on how you look at it this is good user feedback or at least useful. It may not be as easy to hear as ‘this app is awesome’ but it’s definitely giving Blipper qualitative feedback to work with. Blipper are doing their best to manage the complaints by responding to each negative review, enquiring for more info or explaining how it works. That in itself must be a full time job.

So Where Has Blippar Went Wrong?

This is an outside view and based on the users responses so I maybe wrong. It looks as if they’ve sold the service to users before fully on-boarding the brands.

They have extensive marketing campaign across the UK (I saw one ad in Glasgow and the other in London) across print and other out of home advertising (not cheap!) which I’m sure will have pushed them to the 100+K downloads that they have. In realising the app too soon they’ve angered almost 60% of early adopters and provoked a ‘meh’ response from the rest.

Take Away’s For Your App Marketing

Below are a few points that I think you can use to try defend agains the problems that Blippar are having.

Beta Testing

Hire, yes, as in pay someone. Hire testers to use the app for an entire day. Get 200-300 people from across your target market to test your app. 24 hrs of high volume use from a varied demographic will create a fantastic bug list.

Out Reach To Brand-Crazies

Using social media it’s pretty easy to find brand-crazies (I think they are also called ambassadors, ha!) as I like to call them. These are people that are always posting picks of the latest branded item they’ve bought.
Speaking to brand ambassadors (brand-crazies) will help you, as either a developer or marketer, understand the motivation and process of someone actually engaging with the app. If a person who is addicted to brands and engages with brands, sharing, posting, etc. finds it a hassle to use your app you might need to rethink things.

Soft Launch

Some people hate soft launches. I can’t think why. They allow you time to debug with, generally, a more patient user. I’m not saying a less vocal user but certainly one that’s willing to perceiver with you.

Soft launches also allow you to test that your in-app analytics are working correctly and gives you time to make any last minute adjustments.

You could argue that beta testing is like a soft launch but you need to assume that once someone has got their pay cheque that the app will be removed from their phone and never looked at again.

Is Your Launch Messaging Clear Enough?

Assuming you’ve worked out all the kinks in the app and the UX is perfect you are now ready to launch.

Your big task is now to ensure that when someone sees your ads that they know exactly what to do, what the app does and how it will benefit them. I’m not saying that if you don’t do this that you campaign is unlikely to be successful at all. I’m saying that if you don’t do this your campaign won’t be as effective as it could be.

Blippar didn’t communicate what their app actually does. I took leap of faith and used my intuition and it didn’t work out. The experience caused me to write this blog post. Which could be perceived as good or bad.

The app isn’t user focused and indeed Blippar the business isn’t user focus. I came to this conclusion after looking at their website. The sites tone talks to potential brands first and has very little to say to the user.

My thought on this are: App’s don’t exist without users. Keeping the user happy will ensure that you have prime real estate for advertising partners in the future.

Going To Stick With Blippar?

Augmented reality advertising still interests me. I found the process of figuring out what it is that Blippar does then it failing to work very frustrating.

For the time being I will be uninstalling Blippar. If I were them I’d pull back in pushing to users until they’ve got a lot more brands on board or fix the technical problems they are having. Then I’d start talking to my users and build a community around the app. Not just push via their clients.

In saying that all of that. Blippar are certainly doing something right to get the clients and exposure they have had. Keep Going and Good luck Blippar!

p.s. This is a blog. Which means if you disagree (or agree) you can post below and tell me why. Unless it’s offensive or totally off topic I won’t be censoring comments.