Wow! We are so honoured to have been nominated for such a prestigious award in our home town of Toronto, Canada!
Nominated under the category of “Business Growth,” the team here at Plastic Mobile all have our fingers (and toes) crossed that we hear our name announced on November 15th at the Toronto Congress Centre.
Stay tuned to @plasticmobile to hear if we made the final cut!
Plastic Mobile is on the move again! We’re heading to the The Customer Experience Strategies Summit in just 4 weeks. On November 13th and 14th, Plastic Mobile will be at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto to spread some sweet cheer with our Candy Shop booth, as well as spreading the word that mobile is the quintessential tool for bringing truly extraordinary customer experiences to your audience.
Join us and CX experts from across North America to discuss next-level steps in superior customer experience programs.
Also, attend the Interactive Delegate Workshop: Putting Your Customer Experience Strategies Into Practice to learn about:
· Designing the ideal experience
· Activating your culture
· Building an effective employee journey
And, find out what approaches your peers are taking to deliver their CX programs. Fill the gaps you may not know you had in your own customer experience agenda.
This will be moderated by Michael Mattalo, Managing Director, FifthP.
Register Today! More than 70% of our seats have already been reserved!
WHEN: November 13-14, 2012
WHERE: Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto
Tweet us if you’re going and we’ll make sure to save you a spot in line at the Candy Shop! @plasticmobile.
You probably did not hear it from us first, however, our Technical Director let us all know this morning that the infamous “yep” has been written.
According to one of the greatest sources for clarifying Apple rumours, Jim Darlymple, Apple will reveal the new iPad mini on October 23rd.
We can’t wait to see if this rumour will prove true, and what features this new iPhone 5 / iPad in-between will offer other than being, well, in between in size.
Are you excited for the reveal? Let us know @plasticmobile.
If you’re a fan of Internet memes and entertaining web content, then you’re probably familiar with 9gag.com – a website where users can browse, leave comments, “Upvote” or “Downvote,” and share hilarious content.
Personally, when I have some free time for some web surfing, 9GAG is one of my go-to sites. That is why I was excited when I heard about the release of the official 9GAG app back in July. Until then, my mobile options were limited to a few unofficial 9GAG clients or the 9GAG mobile website.
The 9GAG app is available in the iTunes App Store as a free download, and is supported on multiple devices running IOS 4.2 or later. I use the app on my iPhone 4 running IOS 6.
When users first launch the app, they are presented with a log in/sign up screen that displays alternating image posts, giving the user a good idea of what’s to come. Actual sign up and log in are made very quick and easy when using Facebook to do so.
Users without a Facebook accounts wanting to sign up are directed 9GAG’s mobile website, where they can do so by providing their name, email address and a password.
Once users are logged in, they are presented with a graphical set of instructions to aid them in the app discovery process. However, it should be noted that there is very little need for such instructions, as the app is extremely simple and very easy to use.
A quick tap hides the aforementioned instructions, and allows users to jump right in and start browsing content.
Once browsing, users can swipe to the left to see the next post or swipe to the right to see the previous one. Some posts are larger and require vertical scrolling to view the entire image.
Users also have up and down vote options, as well as the ability to comment or share. As expected, sharing options include Facebook, Twitter, Email and SMS. Users also have a “Save Photo” option, which saves the image to the user’s camera roll.
Aside from the apps setting and users’ ability to browse, comment, vote and share, there isn’t much more to this app as far as functionality. Some other 9GAG clients provide more browsing options, allowing user to view trending, hot or new posts.
Overall, I didn’t mind any lack of functionality others have pointed out. I find it makes for a very simple and easy experience, which allows me to quickly launch the app, pass time with some laughs and then go about my day.
It’s likely that we will see additional functionality in future releases, but until then users who demand more can try a third party solution.
Personally, I’m quite content with the official 9GAG app. I like the simple and clean UI and the smooth operation. I find the app quick and responsive, something I look for in such an app.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys listening to music throughout your day, at all times, while doing, well, just about anything, then you have probably at some point or another used a music streaming app.
These apps offer large selections of music that span many genres. Much more music than any one person can store on their iPhone. Some of these apps require users to cough up monthly or yearly service fees, while others are absolutely free of charge, meaning you just have to put up with ads.
One of these free apps has be around for just about a year and has been building an impressive user base – and, more importantly, has retained more than half of those users!
Songza is special because it not only removes the work of creating playlists, but it also makes browsing and deciding what to listen to surprisingly quick and easy. This is especially so for those times when you have no idea which artist or song you want to listen to.
To get started, Songza users need to sign up for the service, but the Facebook login makes the process very quick and easy. Once signed in, users are presented with the app’s core feature, dubbed “Concierge.” This is where all the magic happens.
Based on the time and day, Songza offers users six possible categories to choose from. Users then select the category that best matches what they are doing or how the feel at that moment. Some of these categories are very specific, while others are fairly generic, making it very likely that you will find an option that works for you.
After selecting a category, users are then presented with a list of six recommended genres to choose from. Once they select a genre, users must then choose one of three curated playlists matching their previous selections.
That’s it! In three easy steps users have a whole playlist to listen to. You can also browse playlists through featured, trending and all-time best lists, or by categories such as genres, activities, moods, decades and a few others. There is even a section called “My Playlists,” which users can see a list of playlists that they have listened to in the past.
I really like the Songza’s way of browsing, as I find it often introduces me to new songs I haven’t heard before, or re-introduces me to songs I haven’t heard in a while.
I found Songza to be simple and easy to use for the most part, but I feel the navigation could be better. I’m not sure exactly why, but I found that navigating between the player, and the rest of the app didn’t feel intuitive at first.
Overall, Songza is worth checking out. It’s not the best looking app or the most intuitive to use, but the functionality of the Concierge alone makes the app quite special.
It also, doesn’t hurt that the app is free to download and also free of service fees. You will have to put up with some ads, but luckily they are not those overly obtrusive audio ads that interrupt the music.
Have you used Songza? Love it? Hate it? Totally ambivalent? Tell us! @plasticmobile.
While many mobile players are racing to come out with a mobile payment solution, the launch of iOS 6 and Apple’s new Passbook mobile application is giving retailers, airline carriers and others looking to best leverage their mobile marketing efforts a new way to engage mobile users via location-based offers, time-sensitive offers and upgrade the traditional paper based coupon.
Passbook works to enhance the mobile shopping experience, but does not (at this point) include a mobile payment aspect to it. Passbook provides Apple a means to get digital wallets in the hands of consumers now while it waits to see which mobile payments solution rises above in the growing competition.
The expectation is that Apple will eventually enhance Passbook to include mobile payments. The initial interest and partnership from some consumer brands (Fandango, United Airlines, Target and Starbucks) suggests Passbook is shaping up to be a significant new mobile service with a solution that provides utility, and that could potentially see some uptake. The basic benefit here is the ability to enhance the paper coupon for many brick and mortar retailers. Consumers will be able to store (did you catch our pun?) all their coupons, offers, boarding passes, vouchers, movie tickets, etc. in one convenient location, slimming down wallets everywhere!
With Apple’s new mapping features and GPS functionality, retailers can easily offer in-store and location-based rewards to shoppers. Passbook offers a location/time based element where consumers can be reminded when a coupon is about to expire, or if they walk past a store, they can be notified they have a coupon available to be used. Any offers or coupons stored on the app are tagged by location/time, so retailers can create coupons that are time-sensitive in order to engage and entice their customers to redeem these coupons in a certain time frame and increase in-store traffic.
Ultimately, Passbook is an interesting step forward in mobile coupons, and here at Plastic Mobile, we are really excited to see which retailers will be the next to jump on board with passbook.
Any retailers looking to connect with Apple’s ever-expanding base of smartphone and tablet users should consider developing Passbook solutions. The opportunities at this point are significant as wherever paper coupons, loyalty cards or vouchers once existed, Passbook now applies.
Are you excited about passbook? Let us know what you think of Apple’s latest endeavour to push the space forward by tweeting us @plasticmobile.
Unless you’ve been in outer space exploring Mars for the past month, you have probably heard the news about the latest iPhone 5.
While all the hype was going on around the new iPhone 5, sneaky Samsung was in the wings, preparing a very special ad comparing the specs of its Samsung Galaxy 3 with the iPhone 5 specs. While we acknowledge that this is not really objective advertising, we can’t say that we blame them for the dig since it’s technically accurate and, well, everyone else is doing it.
The best part of this is whole debacle is seeing people’s reaction online as they hear about the ad. The first was obviously from some reactive Apple fanboys with their response to Samsung. Then some Nokia users with a Lumia 920 comparison to the new iPhone came out, and from there it snowballed into a gloves-off online specs war!
Since most of these mobile devices share basically the same hardware, it is really all about the firmware.
Thanks to savvy marketing, we are all very aware of what’s going in the iOS and Android worlds. However, there’s another mobile player who may upset the status quo. Nokia and Windows Phone 8 now have the chance to make a dramatic change to the space when both the new device and Windows 8 are released in late October of this year.
Only time will tell. What are your thoughts? Apple vs. Android? Or will Nokia change the game with Windows 8? Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know!
Yesterday, Twitter unveiled its new app for the iPad. A Twitter redesign should be about helping users post hilarious status updates or share what they had for dinner. But in reality, Twitter’s new app is all business.
At our weekly Bagel Wednesday meeting, there were a number of comments made on this latest design effort.
Well, the app is very different than its earlier iPad versions, it is very similar to its sister iPhone app. Twitter’s iPad update features additions like a header on profile pages and a live-stream feed layout. While these designs are new for Twitter, they seem a little familiar. In fact, you might have seen them on Facebook Timeline.
Another added feature is Photostream, which allows users to browse photos easily by tapping on a photo and swiping left or right through the rest of their posted photos. While it’s a breeze to tap through photos, tapping through the rest of the interface is labourious and overcomplicated. Pinching gestures have been eliminated and the user has to tap through to open and close a number of windows. Just one tap won’t get you to a profile anymore – expand the tweet and tap again. The app has also eliminated the ability to browse the web while looking at the Twitter timeline and lists are hard to access.
Although the platform update does share UI with the rest of the Twitter app family, it seems like Twitter has taken away a lot of functions from the user. So what is improved by this update? Twitter’s autonomy.
In recent months the social media giant has been cutting ties with third party image uploaders and information sharing or support sites like Twitpic, Facebook and Tweetbot. Developing apps for and sharing information with Twitter has almost all been completely shut out. Amidst these moves, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was quoted calling Facebook an “enemy,” referring to the fact that they are pitted against each other as top dog in the social media playground. But Twitter isn’t being a bully – it’s just being smart.
This year Twitter earned $132m in mobile ads, beating out Facebook who raked in only $73.9m. For both companies, survival is based on ad sales and working with small screens presents challenges on that front. By creating an app that is similar to other social media sites, it helps to prevent Tweeters from using competing apps and Twitter can declare social-media sovereignty, advertising space and the revenue.
This redesign isn’t about the user as much as it’s about Twitter. While the update is not so great for us it may be worth compromising for. Eliminating the competition and gaining revenue will allow Twitter to improve for us in the long run. Let the battle begin.
What do you think of the new app? Let us know @plasticmobile.
IKEA has made it possible to unlock extra content in the catalogue, separate from the app, by scanning selected pages in the printed version of the catalog where you are able to access additional images, videos and 3D models.
We thought that the effort that went into this feature could have perhaps been directed at something more integrated or innovative into the app itself. For example, it’s a shame that there were no mobile purchasing opportunities utilized, or social media features included to engage with users or hint to your friends what you’re eyeballing for Christmas.
However, the app is ultimately just an extension of the full printed 2013 catalogue – with little else in terms of thought or creativity put into it. Also, at times the user interface becomes quite cluttered with different navigation menus popping up, and icons appearing when the screen is touched. There is a bit of a learning curve with the app which we think affects the overall user experience.
We got a book in the mail! And not just any book, one that we’re in!
Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Centre of your Business, published by global research firm, Forrester, exemplifies our work with Pizza Pizza on pages 110-112 of the design chapter. Go plastic!
The book, authored by two of Forretser’s leading researchers, talks about how putting the customer (or user) first, can have a tremendously positive impact on your business model.
This user first perspective is something that Plastic holds near and dear to its heart – it’s basically our mantra. We not only adhere to it with our internal work, but try to spread the good word about the importance of creating with the user or customer in mind.
Plastic’s President and COO, Melody Adhami, is our most passionate ambassador of UX, and frequently speaks about its importance. For example, at the Mobile Shopping Spring Summit, she talked to a riveted audience about how the ost important stakeholder in any mobile initiative is the user, as noted in this Mobile Marketer article.
Have you read the book? Let us know what you think @plasticmobile.com