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Activate Design Limited

Embracing Dark Mode: A Design Trend That's Here to Stay in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of web design, certain trends emerge that not only capture our attention but also become enduring elements shaping the digital experience. One such trend that has transitioned from being a novelty to a design staple is Dark Mode. As we step into 2024, the continued prominence of dark mode in web design stands as a testament to its appeal and functionality. In this blog, we'll delve into the reasons behind its enduring popularity, its impact on user experience and accessibility, and showcase websites that have adeptly embraced this sleek and modern aesthetic.

The Dark Mode Resurgence

Dark mode has come a long way from being a niche feature to becoming a mainstream design choice. Its resurgence can be attributed to its aesthetic appeal, which goes beyond being merely trendy. Dark mode offers users a visually immersive and comfortable experience, particularly in low-light conditions. As we investigate its continued prominence, we find that dark mode has become a design language that transcends individual preferences, impacting user engagement and satisfaction across various digital platforms.

Aesthetic Sophistication:

Dark mode isn't just a design preference; it's a statement of aesthetic sophistication. The muted colour palette creates a sense of elegance and modernity, providing a canvas that allows other elements to shine. Websites and applications adopting dark mode often exude a sleek and refined aesthetic that resonates with users seeking a contemporary and visually pleasing experience.

Alignment with Contemporary Design Sensibilities:

The visual appeal of dark mode aligns seamlessly with contemporary design sensibilities. As the digital landscape evolves, users gravitate towards interfaces that not only look good but also offer a harmonious visual experience. Dark mode's inherent allure caters to this preference, making it a design choice that resonates with modern audiences.

Impact on User Experience

1. Visual Comfort and Immersion

Dark mode's primary advantage lies in its ability to reduce eye strain and fatigue, especially during extended periods of screen time. The subdued contrast between text and background in dark mode minimises glare, providing a comfortable reading experience. Users find themselves immersed in content without the harshness associated with traditional light interfaces.

2. Enhancing Focus and Attention

Dark mode has proven effective in drawing attention to specific elements on a webpage. By reducing the prominence of background elements, dark mode directs focus towards the content, making it stand out more prominently. This enhances readability and ensures that users can effortlessly navigate through the interface.

3. Night-time Browsing Delight:

As users increasingly embrace night-time browsing habits, dark mode becomes a key facilitator of a delightful digital experience. The gentle glow of dark backgrounds reduces the overall brightness of screens, making it conducive to relaxed and comfortable browsing, especially in low-light environments.

Impact on Accessibility

1. Inclusivity in Design

The continued integration of dark mode across web platforms is contributing to a more inclusive design ethos. Users with visual impairments, light sensitivity, or certain visual disorders find dark mode to be a friendlier option. It ensures that digital experiences are accessible to a broader audience, fostering a sense of inclusivity in the online space.

2. Customisation for User Preferences

Dark mode isn't just about aesthetics; it's about empowering users with choice. Websites that offer a dark mode option allow users to tailor their experience based on personal preferences and visual comfort. This flexibility enhances accessibility, providing a more personalised interaction with digital content.

Impact on Energy Efficiency

Beyond its impact on the user experience, dark mode has also garnered attention for its potential in contributing to energy efficiency. On devices with OLED or AMOLED screens, dark mode reduces the energy consumption of individual pixels, leading to potential battery savings, which aligns with the growing emphasis on sustainable design practices.

Sustainability in Design:

The environmentally conscious shift towards sustainable design practices is influencing every aspect of the digital realm. Dark mode's potential to reduce energy consumption on devices with specific screen technologies aligns seamlessly with this sustainability drive. As users become more environmentally aware, the adoption of dark mode contributes to a collective effort towards a greener digital footprint.

Showcasing Dark Mode Done Right

1. YouTube: Cinematic Elegance

YouTube's implementation of dark mode adds a touch of cinematic elegance to the platform. The contrast between the dark background and vibrant video thumbnails enhances the overall viewing experience. This design choice not only aligns with user preferences but also contributes to prolonged engagement on the platform.

2. Slack: Seamless Collaboration

Slack's dark mode seamlessly integrates into the platform's collaborative environment. The muted colour palette ensures that messages and interactions take centre stage, creating a distraction-free workspace. This implementation enhances user focus and provides a visually polished interface for effective communication.

3. Reddit: Redefining Community Interaction

Reddit's dark mode goes beyond aesthetics, redefining how users interact with the platform. The subdued background allows the content and conversations to shine, creating a more immersive and focused browsing experience. This design choice reflects Reddit's commitment to user-centric design and enhancing the overall community engagement.


As we navigate the digital realms of 2024, it's evident that dark mode has evolved from a passing trend to a design staple. Its continued prominence can be attributed to its multifaceted impact on user experience, accessibility, and even energy efficiency. Dark mode isn't merely a design choice; it's a commitment to creating digital experiences that are visually engaging, inclusive, and user-friendly. As web designers and users alike embrace this sleek and modern aesthetic, it's safe to say that dark mode is not just a trend – it's here to stay, defining the digital aesthetics of 2024 and beyond. So, as you scroll through your favourite websites, consider the impact of dark mode on your digital journey – a journey that's comfortable, immersive, and visually captivating.

Ready to immerse in the future of web design? Embrace dark mode for a sleek, comfortable, and visually captivating online experience. Get in contact today!

Posted in Mobile Apps, Graphic Design, Web Design Trends, Website Design

Social Commerce: The Future of Online Shopping

person looking at analytics on their laptop

Social commerce has become a powerful tool for businesses to boost customer engagement and sales through social media platforms. 

With the acceleration of online shopping and ecommerce due to the pandemic, it has become essential for businesses to find new and innovative ways to connect with customers. 

Social commerce allows businesses to interact with customers in a more personal way, providing them with the opportunity to browse, research and purchase products without leaving their favourite social media apps. 

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of social commerce, ways to overcome its challenges, and examples of businesses that are using it successfully.

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce refers to the use of social media platforms to boost customer engagement and sales. In simpler terms, social commerce is online shopping through social media. We live in a digital age where social media has become a crucial aspect of your business’s digital marketing strategy, whether you have an e-commerce or a physical store.

But why is it so important to leverage?

  1. We live in a digital age where social media is becoming less of an option and more of a requirement for businesses, whether they are purely ecommerce or with a physical store.
  2. Thanks to the pandemic, the shift toward the number of people online shopping has been accelerated, and it is now crucial for businesses to find new, innovative ways to engage and connect with customers. Social commerce provides the opportunity to do just that.
  3. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are just some of the social media platforms that allow you to interact with customers in a more personal way. Customers can browse, research and purchase products without even leaving an app.
  4. Let’s just say you can consider yourself out of the loop if you’re not leveraging social commerce…

Pros and cons of social commerce


Increased Reach and Customer Engagement

Social media platforms have a massive user base, and using these platforms for social commerce opens your business up to a much wider audience in a more cost-effective way.

Seamless Shopping Experience

Social commerce allows customers to shop without having to leave the platform they are using, creating an easy process from start to finish that they are less likely to abandon.

Effective at Building Trust

Customers are able to see, in real time, the reviews and recommendations from others who use your products, which is fantastic at building trust. 

Reviews are already a fantastic tool to leverage; reviews that come with photo/video, as well as being able to see that a reviewer is a real person by going to their profile, provides the extra reassurance customers look for.


The balancing act of commerce and social media

Social media is a fun platform where people can interact with their friends and family; too much promotion may lead to frustration and a negative pushy perception of your business.

Businesses need to find the balance between having fun and interacting with customers and using social media to promote and push products.

Privacy and Security Concerns

Customers want to feel in control of how their data is being used and can be hesitant to share their personal information.

Therefore, it is important for businesses to be transparent about how customer data is used and that it is protected and secure. For example, using secure payment gateways and consistently monitoring for security threats.

Conquering the Algorithm 

Social media platforms use an algorithm to figure out what content is shown to what users, which means you can put in a lot of work for little traction.

How can I leverage social commerce for my business?

Like all things, social commerce does come with its challenges. The following points will help youovercome the challenges and make the most of all social commerce has to offer.

mobile phone with tiktok

Choose the right social media platforms for the demographic and user behaviours of your target audience. Put in the research. Instagram is great for a younger audience, where Facebook caters to a wider age range.

Integrate your chosen social media channels with ecommerce to streamline the customer journey. Don’t make the customer have to exit the social platform they are on. Use the shoppable post feature so customers can shop in their chosen app.

User generated content (UGC) is your friend, as satisfied customers post about your product in reviews, photos and videos. This content not only means less work for you but provides an authentic way to build trust and credibility with potential customers.

Invest in influencer marketing to reach new audiences and build trust by working with influencers who fit your brand values and have an audience that consists primarily of your target market.

What does the future hold for social commerce?

Although it has already seen so much growth in the past few years, social commerce still has much further to go.

What can we expect?

  1. The number of businesses using social commerce will continue to grow and will quickly become less and less of a choice and more of a requirement to succeed. 
  2. It is predicted that over time social commerce will use data and analytics to refine and personalise marketing campaigns further.
  3. Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) will likely increase in popularity, providing a more interactive and immersive shopping experience than ever seen before.
  4. As technology evolves, it's expected that chatbots will improve and become a key tool in creating a personalised experience for customers.
  5. Artificial intelligence (AI) is also becoming more prevalent and will be able to help businesses in analysing customer data for marketing purposes.

Examples of businesses using social commerce today


Most people have heard of Instagram as it is one of the most powerful social media platforms today. Instagram has millions of businesses using the platform to promote and sell products using the integrated in app shopping feature.


Shopify is a super popular ecommerce platform that uses social commerce well, integrating with platforms such as Instagram and Facebook for a seamless customer experience. They allow businesses that use Shopify to sell directly on social media.


Users of Poshmark are able to buy and sell their new and used clothing and accessories. This is all done through customer profiles so they can follow each other and shop for relevant products.

In conclusion, social commerce is becoming a crucial aspect of digital marketing, whether your business is purely ecommerce or has a physical store. However, as with any new technology, it also comes with its challenges, such as the need to balance commerce with social media, privacy and security concerns, and the challenge of conquering the algorithm. By choosing the right social media platform, integrating with ecommerce, leveraging user-generated content, and investing in influencer marketing, businesses can overcome these challenges and make the most of all that social commerce has to offer. The future of social commerce looks bright, with the increasing popularity of augmented and virtual reality and the potential of artificial intelligence to analyse customer data for marketing purposes.

Posted in Marketing, Mobile Apps, Social Media

10 Reasons to invest In a mobile app

man checks his phone at work

Mobile apps are taking over; and not just TikTok, but also in business, shopping, and commerce. 

Investing in mobile app development for your NZ business is essential for its growth. Here are ten reasons why.

1. Most users' time is spent on mobile apps

Users spend 90% of their daily screen time on apps and just the remaining 10% searching the internet. If you're struggling to get users to visit your website, building an app might be your next move.

2. Reach a global audience

Nearly everyone has internet access, and most internet traffic comes from mobile devices.

Mobile application development enables you to reach a global audience and connect with customers all over the world, promoting market expansion and increasing opportunities for business growth.

3. Increase users' accessibility 

Having a website for your business is great, giving customers a place to learn about your business, make purchases, and more.

However, investing in mobile app development will let you virtually put your business in their pocket. Mobile apps allow customers to access all they need about your business in one tap, anywhere and anytime.

4. Millions of people download apps every single day

In 2021, there were over 600 million daily app downloads. Make yours one of them.

4. Increase customer retention

New customers are difficult to acquire, existing customers not so much. Build an app for customers and offer exclusive content in the app to keep customers coming back time and time again. 

5. Build trust 

Having a mobile app makes businesses’ products or services more trustworthy for customers. 

96% of the top 50 online retailers in the UK and 94% of top 50 retailers in the US had at least one mobile app.

It also makes businesses more professional, as most companies nowadays have mobile applications.

6. Build a community

Building a community is one of the greatest ways to strengthen your brand image, improve customer retention, and increase average lifetime value.

Add features like posts, forums, and in-app messaging that allowing customers to interact with each other, discuss & review products, and help build an active community centered around your product or service.

These community members will then become ambassadors for your business in their own social circles, increasing your presence even further.

7. Increase customer engagement

Mobile apps give consumers a seamless, all-in-one experience with your business, putting your business right in the palm of their hand.

Rather than them continuing to visit your same website, create new, engaging content in the app to make them active daily users. 

8. Offer a better customer experience

A good mobile app should provide customers with everything they need to know about your products, and an easy way to learn more if necessary (customer service, FAQs, etc.).

Consumers will be able to make mobile transactions, get notified about offers and announcements, view product reviews, and so much more, all without entering a single store.

9. Increase sales & mobile conversions

Thanks to services like Amazon, eCommerce is growing faster than ever.

According to an Internet Retailer case study, adopting a mobile-focused marketing approach for 500 companies resulted in an 80% increase in sales, with 42% of mobile sales coming from applications. 

If you’re looking to grow your business, developing a mobile app is essential.

why do people use e-commerce apps

image source

10. See what users like

Market research is essential to good business.

Mobile apps can quickly and effectively collect consumer data and consumer preferences. Learning what content users most interact with will help determine the future types of content to develop, using data to drive content strategy for your app and other channels.


Activate Design has a firm understanding of the application design and development process and can help you maximise the opportunities this new exciting media has to offer your business.

If you're looking to build an app for your business, get in touch with us today.

Posted in Mobile Apps

The Best Tools for Mobile App Development

person using a mobile phone and a laptop at the same time


Smartphones and tablets have quickly become the device of choice for accessing the internet and online services. The dominance of mobile is equally true of consumers shopping for goods and business users in the B2B space.

App development costs have dropped, so it makes sense for even small to medium businesses to offer a mobile solution for their clients. A mobile app can provide many functions, including access to your products and services, customer support, FAQ and mobile e-commerce. There are three distinct approaches to mobile app development:

  • Native (Where the app is coded specifically for the platform, e.g. iOS or Android)
  • Hybrid or Progressive web apps (a combination of local and web-based code)
  • Web apps (run from a mobile browser only)


Native Apps

Native apps tend to deliver the best user experience. They are optimised for the platform and can access the phone’s features such as the camera, microphone, GPS etc. However, they require more work to develop and need to be submitted, approved and hosted by the relevant app store.

Hybrid Apps & PWA’s

Hybrid apps and PWA’s combine local and web-based code, allowing them to be developed using standard web technologies. Cross-platform means clients can use them on both iOS and Android platforms.

Web Apps

Web apps are the easiest to develop, as they just run in the mobile browser using standard web technologies such as HTML5 and Javascript. These apps can’t be hosted on app stores, which means they may be less discoverable by clients. The upside is they are easier to maintain and modify, as there is no need for app store approvals. 

Choosing the right mobile application development platform

Choosing the right mobile application development platforms will depend on the type of app you wish to develop. For example, developers usually build native iOS apps in Xcode or AppCode. Android Studio is a mobile app development tool provided by Google for the Android platform. There are many cross-platform mobile app dev tools that allow you to create a single app that works across both iOS and Android, including many low-code or no-code solutions.

What are mobile app development tools?

Once you’ve decided on the platform and the type of mobile app you want to develop, it’s time to choose the best mobile app development tool. Luckily, there is no shortage of options, but generally, these tools are either native or cross-platform in nature. As mentioned, Xcode and Android Studio are the primary tools for native mobile app development. There are many popular options for cross-platform development tools—some require coding experience, others offer a low or no-code approach. As many are subscription-based, it pays to research the tool and whether it will meet your needs.

Cross-platform app creation - the pros and cons

While these cross-platform app creation tools may appeal to businesses looking for a low-cost entry into the mobile space, there are some potential drawbacks to consider, including:

  • Greater chance of compatibility issues
  • Slower performance
  • Inconsistent user experience

Here at Activate Design, we have a dedicated software development team that can help you develop a professional app solution that performs well and delivers results for you and your clients. We’re also website developers, so we can build mobile apps with tight integration to your website infrastructure.


No/low code app development - the DIY approach

Many mobile application development platforms offer solutions that don’t require coding expertise—you start with a template and simply drag and drop components into place. An app built this way may be suitable as a basic interface for your clients, but generally, these platforms don’t offer much scope for customisation. Many are subscription-based, and the finished app can only be hosted on their platform. The risk with this approach is that all your development work is locked into a proprietary system that can’t be easily ported to other applications.

At Activate Design, we believe good design is more than just a pretty interface. We develop mobile app solutions for our clients that fully integrate with their internal systems—offering cohesive solutions designed to work together seamlessly.

Contact the team at Activate to learn more about our mobile app development services. 

Posted in Mobile Apps

Top 4 Considerations When Making an App

using a website on a laptop and a mobile phone

Creating a successful app is a dream for brands everywhere. With more users depending on their smartphones to accomplish daily tasks, the apps market has become an increasingly competitive arena. 

To rise above the competition, invest time in the planning stage. After all, behind every successful app is a tremendous amount of research, prototyping, and consideration.

To ensure the app’s functionality and polish, hire software development experts. In addition, make sure to consider the key points below to make the process easier for both you and your chosen developer:  

Concept Proofing

Before anything else, you need to explore the idea behind your app. A concrete concept will serve as a guide when you make decisions later on in the app’s development. 

For a clearer concept, ask the following questions:

1. What challenges does your app want to solve? And how does your app address them?

People seek solutions to overcome a particular challenge (e.g., budgeting, connecting with friends, avoiding traffic). Once you zero in on that challenge, ask yourself if your app is a viable and smart solution for it.

2. Are there any other apps similar to yours?

As mentioned earlier, the apps market is highly competitive. Check the market for similar apps and think of how you can differentiate yours. This can help you in your marketing strategies and may help attract more users.

3. What are your main goals for the app?

Do you want to be seen as an innovator? Do you wish to build customer loyalty to an existing business? Are you looking for other platforms to drive revenue? Knowing your goals will help you set priorities in decision-making. Consequently, these will guide the app’s overall design. 


Just like any other product or service, you need to consider marketing when making an app. In the planning and development stages, this includes identifying your target audience, creating a focus group to test the app’s viability, and setting up quantifiable markers of success. 

Accomplishing all of the above requires a lot of research on the latest trends in gadget use, internet usage, and several other factors to help predict user response upon release.

Aside from app development, marketing is vital in attracting users and driving revenue as well. After all, customers won’t use an app that they’re not aware of.

Thus, marketing strategies pre- and post-release are crucial in ensuring the app’s long-term success and growth. 

User Technology

The app is bound by the technology a customer uses. This means that you need to design an app to work within the limits of a gadget’s software and hardware. Consider the three things below:


Modern gadgets in the market have varying operating systems. For example, Android and iOS remain as two of the most popularly used platforms among mobile phones. As for desktops and laptops, Windows, macOS, and Linux are widely used.

These operating systems use different programming languages. If you want an app to work in a particular platform, you need to use the language native to it. Thus, it’s not uncommon to create multiple versions of the same app to properly work in different gadgets. 

To increase efficiency, tech experts came up with cross-platform frameworks that allow developers to create only one app for different operating systems. Keep in mind that each language has its pros and cons. 

Consult the developer to help weigh your options and decide which language suits your app’s purposes and design best.

Software Limits

Newer software is often incompatible with older tech. At the same time, you can’t assume that all of your audience have the latest phones and computers. 

It’s always best to consider how far back you want your app to be compatible. Make sure to discuss with your development team and consider flexible features. 


A crucial factor in an app’s success is a seamless and professional-looking design. A great design always considers its target audience and finds ways to make the app easier to use. 

Aside from the app’s overall look, make sure to consider the following: 

User Interface

An app’s design is more than the colours and visual graphics it employs. It also refers to its elements, its layout, and how it interacts with the user. 

In a user-friendly interface, a customer should have no trouble looking for specific functions and elements to accomplish their task. If navigating the app is difficult or if there are too many elements to look at, users may simply find it too hard to use and uninstall your app.

Device Orientation

Some apps automatically stick to one orientation. Others, however, can freely change orientation depending on the user. 

The device’s orientation—that is, landscape or portrait—can affect how a user interacts with the app. Whether an app’s orientation is flexible or not should be weighed in carefully to make sure that it aligns with the app’s overall purpose and goals.

Keep in mind that these are only some of the things you need to consider when developing an app. Take the time to research, plan, and consult with other professionals. With the right help, you can surely develop a successful app.

Posted in Mobile Apps

2018 Best Practices for IOS App Development

ios app developmet nz

Last month we looked at best practices for Android app development. Do the same rules apply to develop iOS apps in 2018?

IOS 11 has brought some significant new features to the platform, including Apple Pay, which allows you to make and receive payments in selected apps.

For users this means frictionless e-commerce transactions on their iPhone or iPad; for iOS app developers, it’s a rich opportunity to monetise their apps and create true e-commerce solutions in the mobile space.

So if you work in iOS app development, what can you do to ensure your users get a ‘best in class’ app experience?

Bring The New

One of iOS 11’s compelling new features is augmented reality (AR) and users will increasingly be looking for apps that use AR in new and novel ways. The Pokemon craze may have cooled off but there are great opportunities to apply AR to vertical markets. A good local example is Augview, who use the technology to visualise underground services.

Machine Learning

Less talked about but equally exciting, is the ability to add machine learning to your app via Apple’s Core ML. This is the feature that makes facial recognition work so well on the new iPhones and will have huge implications for app development, adding the ability to quickly recognise every-day objects, using built-in libraries.

UI Design

Apple has always put design at the forefront of their products and users expect the same high standard in their apps. Apple even provides a useful 'Do’s and Don'ts' page for iOS developers, with tips on how to format your app to make it readable and optimised for touch control.


As of IOS 11, older 32-bit apps will no longer work, so ensuring your app is 64-bit is more than best practise—it's essential to your survival in the app store. It's estimated that over 500,000 apps became obsolete due to this 64-bit requirement. Keeping your app up-to-date and compatible with major iOS releases is ongoing work but equally, it allows you to add new features and keep your users engaged.

App Marketing

The iOS App Store received a major upgrade this year, providing a fresh interface and more tools for developers to promote their apps. The ‘Today’ page highlights new and interesting apps and provides more editorial content than before. Developers with a good ‘story’ should take advantage of this where possible. Search has also been improved and includes the ability to search for developers, in-app purchases, categories, stories, and collections.

Regardless of the platform, best practise app development should include thorough research and rigorous testing, for UX and security issues. In 2018, iOS app development is getting a technological boost with iOS 11’s new features, with mobile payments through Apple Pay set to be the driving force for many new app projects.

Are you an iOS app developer or looking for an app development partner? Activate Design is a design and software development agency. We welcome any opportunities to collaborate on app product design and development. Click here to find out more about what we do, or contact us for more information.

Posted in Mobile Apps

Android App Dev: 2018 Best Practices

Android App Development Best Practices for 2018

The release of Android 8.0 (Oreo) is a game changer that is destined to have a huge influence on Android app development in 2018 and beyond.

The Android platform has become fragmented, with many devices running on outdated OS versions. Over 50% of devices accessing the Google Play store in August 2017 were still on 5.x. Oreo aims to solve this by making it a lot easier for device manufacturers to deliver ongoing OS updates.

The benefits for mobile app developers are clear—access to a much larger audience of Android users and the promise of a standardised OS platform to ensure a better and more consistent app experience.

So what are the best practices for Android App development in 2018?

The Need

What need does your app serve? Does it offer something new or improved? Doing market research and workshopping your idea rigorously is definitely best practice and something all mobile app developers should invest in before you invest money and resources. This includes studying your competitors and deciding where your app will sit in the marketplace.

Good Design

A successful app needs a fully developed design before any code is written. Google provides a helpful guide to their Material Design visual language. Working with these style guidelines will make your app feel like a natural part of the wider Android UI. Compelling design is the key to standing out in this highly competitive app marketplace. Poor design is often cited as the main reason why users stop using an app.

User Security

Creating secure apps that protect user information is paramount – nothing defines ‘fail’ more than a serious security breach. The good news? Oreo makes it much easier to push out security updates, but until it’s installed on more devices, developers will still need to ensure their apps work safely on previous versions of Android.


The Android develop community offers many useful tools for optimising your app, including Proguard, which will remove unused code and reduce your APK file size. The Android Debug Database is another great tool for debugging databases and shared preferences in Android applications.


It’s important to test your app for issues such as faulty code and memory leaks but also from a functional, UI perspective. Get users to test your app before its release using real devices, not just emulators.


Keep your code up to date and be sure to act quickly on any user feedback you receive through the Google Play Store. Users expect to get updates that not only fix issues but provide improvements. In fact, the key to ongoing user engagement is to connecting with your users, meeting their needs and delighting them with unexpected new features.

Prepare For Success

Unless your app targets a specific niche, it has the potential to attract huge numbers of users—so be prepared! You need to factor scalability into your design and development, so your app continues to grow and caters to the needs of its users.

As Android 8.0 Oreo takes hold in 2018, Android app development will have a unified and cohesive platform that will provide increasing opportunities to reach a larger user audience with apps that work better, are more secure and provide longer-term revenue for developers.

Are you an app developer? Activate Design is a design and software development agency. We welcome any opportunities to collaborate on app development projects. Click here to find out more about what we do, or contact us for more information.

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Posted in Mobile Apps

7 things to know about app development

business man in suit at desk with computer

The smartphone is essentially a digital Swiss army knife, enabling people to do so many things. And mobile apps are the “blades” and “tools”. Millions of apps are already available today, and the numbers keep growing.

Your business may be in the process of developing an app right now, which is good. It’s an excellent way to keep pace and cash in on a growing trend. But since you’re still in that process, it helps to know these seven tips for better mobile app development.

1. Program “Native” Apps

There are many fraudsters out there claiming that what they have are “apps”, but in truth are just launchers for mobile sites. If this is the case, then it’s no better than using your phone’s built-in web browser to browse the site. In short, an “app” that’s just a launcher for a mobile site is a complete waste of resources. It also tells people that the developer has no idea of the proper methods of application development.

Instead, develop what’s known as a “native” mobile app – one that works offline for most functions, while only requiring internet access to access data from the servers. Take the Twitter app, for example. When you’re offline, you can still read recent tweets, and you can even compose your own tweets. But you can’t get new tweets or send out the tweet you just composed. That’s the hallmark of a native app – it can still work offline, albeit in a limited way.

With this setup, the app can work even in areas with weak or spotty internet connections. And this is the idea because when people are mobile, internet connections are not always consistent.

2. Mind The Ads

Advertising within an app is indeed a good way to keep it free. But too much of anything is a bad thing. Therefore, a good rule to follow in mobile app development is to never let ads interrupt the user when he’s doing something important. Intrusive adverts are among the most annoying things that people complain about many apps. So if you are to put advertising within your apps, keep them within reasonable boundaries.

3. It’s Not Just About The UI, but the UX

UI means user interface, while UX is user experience. Certainly, good UI is important, but that isn’t everything in application development. The UI and everything else a user interacts with is called the frontend. Equally important is what the user doesn’t see, which is known as the backend. This includes online payment portals, file servers, account management, cyber security features, booking modules, and other such components. Both the frontend and the backend contribute to a good user experience, and UX is often the better quality used to describe how well an app was developed. If the UI is great, but many backend components fail, a very bad UX is the result. Mobile app developers should always aim for good UX.

4. Push Moderately

Push notifications are a staple in mobile apps. They usually remind the user to perform certain actions, important or otherwise. The latter is where it becomes problematic – if the notification informs the user of something not important to him, it becomes annoying. For this reason, many apps give users the choice to disable certain notifications or to disable them entirely. Part of good application development is letting the user decide what’s important to them, and the notifications area is usually where this decision is made.

5. Watch Those Permissions

This usually is visible to Android users, where the Google Play Store gives the user what an app needs access to before letting the user download the app. In iOS, it’s a lot more subtle, but users can see that as well in the Settings. Users are very cautious about permissions because they don’t want apps to steal personal data behind their backs. So if your app doesn’t require them, don’t ask for permissions to location, call logs, SMS messages, camera, microphone, and other unnecessary things. Remember that users are wary of downloading apps with dodgy permissions. If you want their trust, this part is very important.

6. Listen to Feedback

Users usually leave reviews in the App Store / Play Store for others to see. More often than not, you’ll find things they don’t like about your app. Constructive or not, this feedback is actually a goldmine to improve your application development. If you take a good look at those comments, most likely there are valid concerns raised, such as a laggy UI, slow login process, payments not being processed properly, lack of confirmation of user actions, and other such things. These things are important to the user, and therefore you must take action. Fix the problem, or find a way around it that will not inconvenience the user. Then push out an update for your app once done. The users will thank you for it later on.

7. Develop for both iOS and Android

Last, but certainly not the least, you have to consider both types of users. Not everyone has an iPhone, but not everyone has an Android phone either. Staying exclusive to one mobile OS severely limits your user base. A good principle of mobile app development is making your apps available to both types of users. That way, you are truly democratizing your apps, allowing anyone to use them regardless of the kind of phone they have.

Now that you have these application development best practices in mind, it’s time to start creating. If you need a few more hands to help you out, Activate Design would be glad to do so. Get in touch with us to know more about how we can help.


Posted in Mobile Apps

10 things to learn about app marketing

Ten Thing Competitors Can Teach You About Mobile App Marketing

Nearly everyone uses a smartphone these days. And people use them to do nearly everything, from reading the news to booking hotel rooms. In fact, before 2015, a study by Smart Insights revealed that the mobile user base surpassed that of the desktop by about 400,000 users. That was two years ago; most likely that number is much bigger today.

At the core of the smartphone software industry are apps. Ever heard of the old saying “there’s an app for that”? Yes, that already is an old saying; it’s been around for a really long while now. Which means apps have also been around for a while. In actuality, apps are now everyday parts of life as much as coffee is for most people. Our modern world runs on apps and will continue to for a long time.

Because of this, competition in the marketplace of apps is also quite tight. Cyberspace is the new ad space, with millions of apps aiming for attention left and right. For the new guys in this space, you might be asking what the best app marketing strategy is. How can you get people to notice your apps? How can you put a smile on their face each time they use your apps?

Well, here are ten things you should consider for your app marketing strategy. These are what the most successful app marketers do, so you’re learning from the best.

1. Advertise on Mobile

Of course, you want to reach your potential clients using platforms they’re already using. And since people are on their phones most of the time, it makes perfect sense to reach them through their phones. Focus most of your advertising efforts on mobile – in other apps, mobile web, YouTube, Facebook, etc. That way, you’ll reach your intended customers a lot easier than in any other advertising platform.

2. Leverage the Power of Social Media

Most of the apps people use are social media apps. Therefore, you can take advantage of that in your app marketing strategy. Advertise your apps on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and people will surely find out. With the amount of time most people spend checking social media apps on their phones, it’s nearly impossible for them to not notice.

Speaking of social, it’s also a great idea to allow people to spread the word themselves. Once they’ve used your app and found it good, give them the opportunity to tell others about it. That way, you get free advertising from your very own clients.

3. Cash in on Trends

The digital world is full of hashtag hype. Anything, once enough people post about it, can become a trend. In mobile app marketing, taking advantage of trends is itself, a trend. All you have to do is find a popular topic that relates with your app and, in a way, makes a fuss about it. Build hype around that trend, and drop your app right into it. That way, you’re making your app more #relatable and #relevant.

4. Get Feedback

If you want to win in the app game, you’ll also have to eat feedback for breakfast. After all, there’s a saying that goes “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” And who better to give you feedback than your apps’ users? Ask them to give reviews of the app and/or a rating in the App Store / Google Play store. The more positive ratings your apps get, the more people will likely download them. Apps that lack good reviews and ratings cause people to be cautious, and they might even think those apps are dodgy.

5. “Try Before You Buy”

Many paid apps these days have a sort of “free trial” option, where you can use the app but with limited functionality. This is an excellent method of app marketing because users get to experience the app firsthand. Once they’re convinced that the app does its job well, they’ll soon want to unlock its full functionality – of course, by purchasing the full version. You too can do this by offering two separate versions of your apps – a free “lite” version and a paid “pro” version, for example.

6. Take Advantage of Push Notifications

Because people do so many things on their phones, they tend to forget quite easily. That’s where push notifications come in. You can slide in special offers, discounts, and gentle reminders to your users through those push notifications. Yes, some of those reminders could be to purchase the full version of your apps. Talk about a way to push your app marketing strategy forward, eh?

7. Avoid Intrusive Advertising

We did mention using in-app advertising in #1, but let’s be real: Too much of anything is a bad thing. One thing that users hate the most is advertising that interferes with what the app is supposed to do. That’s a big no-no in app marketing. Never ever interrupt the user in the middle of something important. Instead, move the ads to the bottom, or let the ads wait until the user is done with the important stuff.

8. Sell them on the Experience

Selling the app is a good thing, but selling the experience of using the app is better. Sure, you may have the app, but what does it mean for the user? If it means accomplishing more work in less time, for example, then integrate that idea into your app marketing strategy. People can relate better to experiences than just computer code or interface design. Thus, tell them about the things the app can do for them and how it can improve their lives.

9. Use Content Marketing

In today’s internet, content is king. There’s so much information available online, but not all of it is reliable. Put yourself on the “reliable” end by producing useful content. Write about why people need your apps. Use social media to post snippets of what your apps can do. For extra credibility, you can even contact bloggers, tech reviewers, and tech journalists to feature your apps. Having these influential people on board will certainly be the big boon to your mobile app marketing.

10. Be Adaptable

The digital world changes as fast as trends come and go, and it’s also unpredictable. With this in mind, your app marketing strategy must always be ready to adjust. What works today may no longer work next week, but what works tomorrow may still work next month. Therefore, it’s useful to track your analytics – conversion rates, number of positive reviews, and such – and adjust your strategy accordingly. Keep what works, and throw out what doesn’t.

Apps will continue to dominate the online world. Your business will certainly benefit from the power of mobile apps, so best get started right away. And if you don’t know how to make an app, we have you covered. Activate Design offers app development services at reasonable prices to help your business cash in on the mobile trend. Contact us if you’d like to know more.


Posted in Mobile Apps

13 Facts About Mobile App Development (2022)

A stack of smartphones & tablets.

Since the advent of the smartphone, mobile apps have quickly taken over areas of life such as communication, entertainment, shopping, and more. For businesses, mobile app development is becoming a necessity to keep up with consumers’ needs. And with the current state of mobile apps, there’s no telling what the future may hold. But, here’s an idea of where things are at now:

1. Almost 100% of screen time is spent in apps.

Users are spending almost 90% of their time in apps, not browsing the internet. If you're looking to give your business an edge this year, consider building an app.

2. The average user has more than 80 apps on their phone.

But they use just 9 per day and 30 per month on average. 

3. Mobile gaming has seen a huge rise in users

Mobile games account for over 40% of smartphone users, ~80% of which are Android users. If you're looking to build the next great mobile game, Android users are a great place to start. 

4. Android has almost 1.5x more apps than the App Store.

As of July 2022 , Android users can choose from over 3.57 million apps by while Apple/iOS users could choose from just 1.85 million apps.

facts about mobile app customers

                                        image source

5. Half of the applications available on the App Store have never been downloaded.

It is estimated that roughly 1 million of the apps available to iOS users have never once been downloaded. But in a sea of over 2 million, it's easy to see why.

6. Thousands of apps are released daily.

Over 100,000 apps are released monthly between the two major app stores, with the Google Play store adding about 70,000 per month and the Apple App Store adding just over 30,000 per month for iOS users. That's over 3,000 apps per day!

7. Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world.

Android controls the mobile OS market with a 73% market share. Combined with Apple's iOS, the two control 99% of the global market share.

8. Ad spending is out of control.

In 2019, just under $60 billion USD was spent driving app downloads. By 2023, that number is expected to be over $935 billion USD.

And though Facebook used to be the dominant marketplace for advertisers, TikTok is closing that gap quickly. Advertisers are projected to spend more than $11 billion on TikTok ads in 2022 alone.

9. Mobile shopping apps are the future.

Over 50% of shoppers prefer shopping on mobile apps rather than mobile or desktop websites. If you own an eCommerce or DTC brand, consider adding an app this year. 

10. Most people only use a handful of apps. 

Despite there being over 5 million apps to choose from, most people use just 10 per day on average.  

11. Move over Facebook, TikTok is winning the app race.

For the past several years, Facebook had the most popular apps both by daily download (Facebook Messenger) and daily active users (WhatsApp), as well as 3 of the other top 5 most popular apps. But now, TikTok is the most downloaded app in the world with over 176 million downloads in Q1 2022 alone and over 1 billion monthly active users. 

12. There were over 200 billion app downloads last year.

With roughly 218 billion downloads last year, that's almost 28 per person!

13.  Apps have a short lifespan.

Nearly 80% of users never use an app  again after 72 hours of installation. 

Good app design for NZ businesses is more important than ever to deal with multiple platforms, differentiate a business from the competitors, and give users a great experience.


Activate Design has a firm understanding of the application design and development process and can help you maximise the opportunities this new exciting media has to offer your business. To know more, visit our smartphone app development page, or contact us now.

Posted in Mobile Apps

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