The Era of Live Video Streaming Application Post Covid World.

How to Create a Live-Streaming Mobile App?

The live streaming market is projected to reach $78 billion by 2021. Through live streaming, businesses can reach a broader market, engage live audiences, and build brand loyalty.  It’s no wonder that live-streaming apps have flooded the market and overtaken social media and blogs in consumption market share.

And want to know the best part about live streaming apps? They can be developed brands and organizations from most domains, industries, scales, and sizes. As long as you have interesting content to serve and a ready-made audience, you can build a live-streaming mobile app and earn a fortune.

Sounds cool, right?

It is. So let’s learn about the process and tools required to build great live-streaming mobile apps. But first, let us take a look at the basic features every robust live-streaming app needs to possess. 

What Are the Most Important Elements of a Live-Streaming App?

There are numerous live-streaming mobile apps out there, but not all of them are successful. The best apps need to have the following elements/features:

  • An intuitive interface that is easy to use.
  • Native integration with a robust video player so that viewers get uninterrupted video quality. According to research, 90% of Facebook Live viewers rate video quality as the most important factor governing their choice of apps.
  • Adaptive streaming (bitrate) so that your live streams can adjust to each user’s CPU capacity.
  • Scalable cloud hosting so that your app can accommodate mass user volumes with ease.
  • A flexible structure so that the app can handle video-on-demand (VoD) as well as live streaming.
  • Responsive design so that your live streams can be viewed on varied screen sizes and devices, from smartphones to home theatre systems.
  • Download feature so that viewers can watch your content offline as well.
  • Robust security so that your content is protected from hackers and malware.
  • Essential features, such as profile creation, follow users, and account registration.
  • Advanced search and filter options so that users can search for content by location, creator, etc.
  • Monetization features so that content creators can make money from their activities.

If your live-streaming app contains all of the above features and capabilities, it has a better chance of beating the competition and meeting user expectations. Now, let’s talk about how to build your first live-streaming mobile app.

How to Develop a Great Live-Streaming App

There are many platforms to create a live streaming mobile app for first-time creators. But creating an app is not exactly a DIY project. It requires a fair bit of coding and designing experience, which means you should hire professional mobile app development teams for the task.

The process to build a live-streaming mobile app covers these main steps:

1. Validate Your Plan

Before you embark on live streaming, think if you really need to develop a mobile app. Consider the benefits you can derive through an app, and weigh them against risks and investment. The pay-off should be justified.

If you’re unsure about your app’s fate, answer the following questions as objectively as possible:

  • Is your target audience looking for live content? 

In general, live video consumption has increased exponentially in the last few years, especially in the 18-34 age bracket (millennials). So, if your buyer persona is aged as such, you are assured of demand.

  • Do you have products/processes that can benefit from live content? 

Research shows that there is a huge demand for live explainer videos. For industries revolving around complex processes and products, live streaming apps are a great option.

  • Can your business profit from audience engagement?

Live streaming is a great marketing tool since it lets brands build a direct connection with their audience. A recent study proves that 83% of people would rather watch a video than read a blog post from brands while shopping. If you leverage influencers and bloggers to spread your messaging, live streaming apps can widen their reach. 

Once you are convinced that live streaming apps are essential for you, it’s time to proceed with the next steps.

2. Determine the KInd of App Your Need

The kind of app you build determines the tech stack and platform you will use for app development. There are three main kinds of live-streaming apps. Let’s learn about them in detail.

Live Video Broadcasting Apps:  YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Periscope are some of the most popular video broadcasting apps. Through them, users can watch live video content while they are being recorded.

Live Audio Streaming Apps: Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify are a few of the reputable live audio streaming apps. When users want to listen to live audio content or podcasts, they can use these kinds of apps.

Video-on-Demand Apps (VoD): Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix allow viewers to watch TV series and movies on demand via an internet connection. 

3.  Outline the Basic App Features

As explained before, your live streaming app needs to have some essential features, such as:

  • Sign In: Users should be able to register to your app and save their credentials in a safe location. To make onboarding easier, you can allow users to sign up through Facebook and other social networks.
  • Profile and Settings: After signing up, users should be able to check their profile and change the settings as needed. 
  • Notifications: Content creators should be able to notify followers of new uploaded content and live streams. They should be able to organize their notifications.
  • Social Media Sharing: To reach more people, you need to incorporate social sharing handles/buttons in your app. Using those, your followers will be able to share your content or their feedback in their social feeds, which helps attract new followers.
  • In-App Storage: While “in-the-moment” content is the essence of live streaming, your app should offer storage space to content creators as well. This way, they can save pre-recorded content (like tutorials) which can be embedded in live streams later.
  • Auto Quality: For seamless streaming, it’s important to use the adaptive bitrate system that compresses bits according to device and internet bandwidth. 
  • Interactive Elements: To make your live sessions interesting, you need to engage users with comments and interactivities.

4. Design the UI/UX

The user interface of an app should be pleasant and intuitive. Users judge apps based on the kind of interface and experience it provides. With UI/UX so critical to your app’s success. It’s important that you get it right in the first go. Here are the four principles you should follow while designing it:

  • Structure

Your app’s design elements should be placed in a clean and coherent architecture. You can take guidance from Information Architecture to design your app.

  • Simplicity

For new apps, it’s essential that the design is so simple that even first-time users can navigate it with ease. 

  • Visibility

Your app might be having numerous wonderful elements but placing them all together in one screen can overwhelm new users. That’s why you should show only the important elements and leave the rest for later.

  • Reuse

By maintaining consistency in design for both internal and external app elements, users can reuse your app time and again without any hassle.

5. Identify the Right Tech Stack

Once your design is finalized, you need to decide on the framework to be used for app building. When it comes to frameworks, developers are spoilt for choice. But they must select their framework keeping their design, features, and users in mind. 

Regardless of the framework you select, pay special attention to data security and scalability. Since live streaming apps expand their user base rather fast, it’s important that your app storage, streaming, and architecture accommodates the growing user base without a glitch.

7. Use Bonus Features

Since the competition in the app space is very stiff, your app needs standout features like AI integration and serverless architecture. By adding these capabilities to your app, you can make it more appealing to users and stride ahead of the competition. Also, keep an eye on changing trends in your domain and incorporate them in your app as quickly as possible.

Are You Ready to Create Your Live Streaming App?

The live streaming domain is here to stay. So, don’t hesitate before jumping into the fray with a powerful app. At the same time, plan and design your app with a lot of thought since there are too many competitors in the market.

To start with, you can use the above steps as a compass to guide your app development. We have tried to cover all the main processes and principles required to risk-proof your app.

Do you have any questions about the described process? Leave them in the comments below. We will get back to you with the answers soon.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

Steps to Build Your IoT Prototype

The Internet of Things or IoT has taken over every major facet of our lives. From research labs, the path-breaking technology has moved out and found a place in our homes, kitchens, offices, gardens, and roads. 

Shortly, connected devices are poised to become more accessible and affordable than ever before. Needless to say, their demand is going to surpass all limits, and businesses dealing in the niche can literally mint money riding the wave. So, if you haven’t yet jumped on to the IoT bandwagon, now’s a good time to do so and understand how this disruptive technology works.

Just like all software solutions, IoT projects also start with prototyping. Your IoT prototype outlines all the required parameters of your IoT deployment. It binds together all the elements of your project- device, user, cloud, and enterprise. But creating a perfect prototype is easier said than done.

In this post, we will be discussing the main steps involved in IoT prototyping. But first, let’s understand how IoT prototyping is challenging.

How Is IoT Prototyping Unique and Challenging?

Prototyping for an IoT product will be different than for other software. When your team first forays into IoT, here are some things they might find disconcerting:

The prototype will not be production-ready: When you prototype for non-IoT solutions, whatever you include in their prototypes reflect in the final products as well. This is not the same with IoT products. The hardware and software in their prototypes and final products may vary widely. Moreover, there are many third-party integrations that are not included in prototypes.

Few ready-to-use components: Unlike other software prototypes, IoT ones don’t have the advantage of readymade components. Your development team will have to start from scratch, building components one by one. Feedback and testing cycles will be longer and usage instructions will need to be more in-depth since users are not very familiar with connected devices as yet.

Software occupies center-stage: IoT hardware takes time to master. But if your software facilitates user onboarding, the user experience can be seamless and smooth. In order to overcome friction, IoT prototypes need to lay special emphasis on user experience.

Products should be high on usability: Sticking a chip into a device and connecting to the web does not comprise IoT. A real IoT product delivers value from the get-go, even if it doesn’t look too pretty. It is made after tracking consumer behavior and action. It doesn’t overpromise and underdeliver, rather vice versa.

5 Steps to Create Your First IoT Prototype

Building your first IoT prototype can be challenging and exciting at the same time. A typical prototyping process consists of four major stages. Let’s take a deeper look at them.

Stage 1: Identify the Goals of Your IoT Prototype

When prototyping an IoT product, it’s essential to drill down into its objectives first. 

For instance, if you anticipate glitches in how your device will interact with real users, tackle that first. Keep it at the focal point of your development process and plan your hardware, software, and other requirements around it.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What will the IoT prototype achieve?
  • What kinds of data do you need to capture for the prototype?
  • Where will the captured data be logged?
  • Where will you put all the UI elements (wireframing)?
  • What kind of discussions do you want to have with your developer teams?

By keeping your end goals in sight, your project will get direction and momentum. Plus, it makes sense to work on these assumptions right away rather than when you’re well into the process and down thousands of dollars already.

Stage 2: Research on IoT Hardware and Components

Once you have identified the pain points that your product will address, it’s time to dig into the hardware components and technologies that will help you achieve the end goal. 

Hardware for prototyping will be very different from production hardware. 

How, you wonder?

Prototyping hardware will be:

  • Flexible: It will be breadboard-friendly.
  • Affordable: It will be low-cost.
  • Modular: It will be compatible with multiple hardware ecosystems.
  • Usable: It can be set up in a short time and comes with built-in tools.
  • Simplistic: It can easily be used by beginners.

As against this, production hardware is more reliable, manufacture-ready, and advanced.

While deciding on your IoT prototype’s hardware, find answers to questions like:

  • Does the hardware have a consistent firmware, platform, infrastructure, and development tools?
  • Is there sufficient resources and domain support around your chosen hardware?
  • How easy are the components to deploy? Can you get your prototype up and running with the components or do you have to go hunting for installation guides and experts?

Be aware that there is a lot of experimentation involved in this step of hardware selection. 

It’s likely that you will create a solution, test it, and end up scrapping it multiple times. Sometimes, it might seem akin to searching for a needle in a haystack, but pursue till you zero into the perfect strategies for your product.

For example, if your IoT product is Bluetooth-based and requires many connections to transfer data simultaneously, you may need to experiment with different Bluetooth devices to find the best connection. 

Front-end and backend functionalities may need to be synced over and over again through different technologies until everything works in tandem. If you give up after a few fails in the initial stages, you may never find your ideal technology and solution.

Stage 3: Design and Acquire the IoT Components

And now, we come to the most exciting stage of prototyping – product creation. We recommend that you start building early so as to spot discrepancies and fix bugs without affecting your delivery schedule. 

There are four basic components of an IoT prototype:

  1. Devices/Sensors 

Sensors and devices collect data from the product’s surroundings. These sensors come in varying degrees of complexity- from basic temperature monitors to complicated video feeds. You need to either acquire or design your own sensors for your IoT product.

  1. Connectivity

There needs to be a channel for the senor-collected data to be transported to the cloud infrastructure of IoT devices. These networks can be cellular, satellite, Bluetooth, WiFi, Wide Area Networks (WAN), or any other type. Whatever be your network choice, ensure that it is leakproof and secure.

  1. Data Processor

Once data reaches the cloud, it needs to be processed to generate some output. The data processing can range from simple (checking temperature range on your smart AC) to complex (scanning the area for unknown intruders). 

Sometimes, the user’s intervention is required for the data processing to complete. That’s where the next IoT component, user interface, comes into the picture.

  1. User Interface

There needs to be an interface through which users can interact with the IoT system. The user interface, users can check into their devices, provide inputs, and extract output. The UI can be a simple touch screen or a complex video feed, depending on the device and requirements.

While designing/acquiring IoT components, keep your end goals in sight. Ensure that the hardware and software components are compatible with each other. During the prototyping, it’s okay to encounter some glitches and failed iterations. Don’t lose heart and keep persevering until you have a full, working prototype in your hands.

Stage 4: Define Data Streams

To take advantage of the massive volumes of live data collected by your IoT device, you need to set up secure data streams. 

There are a number of caveats to defying data streams:

  1.  They should be secure and tamper-proof.
  2. They should be able to collect and tramt millions of data points simultaneously.
  3. They should be equipped to acquire, manipulate, collate, combine, and discard data as programmed.

One of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face is the distributed nature of data. Your data streams will have to collect and assimilate data from varied data sources – sensors, cloud, user interface, and others. 

If your data streams don’t configure data lineage accurately, data processing will take a hit. To do so, you can define data clusters using Apache frameworks. If your data streams are more complex, I recommend you use Kafka or Spark Streaming. 

Stage 5: Integrate with App

Integrating IoT with mobile apps is the last but most critical step of prototype development. Mobile IoT solutions can have unidirectional or bi-directional data transmission/communication between users and the device in question. Whatever be your development model, ensure that the integration is smooth and seamless.

IoT-powered smartphone apps can be of many kinds, ranging from wearable devices (like smartwatches and heat rate monitors), industrial plant monitors (to keep tabs on plant vitals), agro apps (to regulate irrigation rates, etc.) or traffic moderators (for decongesting traffic, assisted parking, etc.).

After you’ve got your IoT product up and running, the next step is to fix the bugs. These errors might be software-related like broken features or code issues, or hardware-related like patchy connectivity or skewed interface. 

Whatever the issues are, take the time to recode, retest, and eliminate each and every bug. Ensure the product holds up to scrutiny by experts and real users alike. If there is a flaw in the core design and coding, you may need to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. 

Sounds overwhelming?

It can be. Coders and developers often like to share a joke that this stage typically called “the last 20%” ends up consuming 80% of the entire bandwidth. 

It’s fair to assume that unexpected twists will crop up during this troubleshooting stage. But since you’re so close to the final prototype, you need to keep the momentum going even if there are a few roadblocks. At the end, you should have a bug-free, full-featured prototype that meets its objectives.

IoT based temperature monitoring prototype

Ready to Build Your IoT Prototype?

Prototyping is non-negotiable when it comes to IoT products. Clearly-defined goals, robust technologies, and rigorous testing can ease prototyping to a great degree. The approach described above can be your compass through the entire process.

Do you have any questions about IoT or prototyping? Leave them in the comments below. For more helpful and insightful information in this space, stay tuned in.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

What Are the Key Digitization & Automation Practices in Financial Services?

As the world gets used to the “new normal” induced by COVID-19, most consumer services have taken the digital route. Among them, financial services have been the top adopters of digitization. With people relying more and more on online banking apps and portals, financial institutions have no choice but to digitize their processes end to end.

While changed consumer behaviour presents a huge business opportunity to the financial sector, it is not devoid of challenges. In an ideal state, the growing demand for digital products, applications, and services would mean increased revenue and market share for the traditional finance industry. 

But the truth is far from it. 

While core financial services have been digitized, there are many back- and mid-end services that are still stuck in a rut. From account opening to loan approval, there are many processes that start off at digital touchpoints but culminate with manual, pen-and-paper processing.

This way, the digital chain in financial services gets disrupted. The “right here, right now” advantage of digitization loses significance when consumers have to wait for facetime with financial advisors. 

To be fair, banks and FIs are working overtime to meet evolved customer demands and needs. In this post, we will talk about financial services that have been the focus area of digitization and automation.

Let’s get started.

1. Commercial and Small-Scale Business Lending

All over the world, governments are offering stimulus packages to businesses affected by the economic slowdown. Many businesses have had to revamp their infrastructure and systems to make way for the changing ecosystem. They need funds promptly without too much paperwork. That’s where digitized financial institutions can expedite the lending process.

For instance, the Office of Management and Budget in the US has allowed e-signatures in the loan application step. They have, in fact, taken out official orders to encourage staff to use e-signatures as much as possible to simplify processes.

At the same time, there is a spurt in the number of financial frauds where miscreants assume fake identities and siphon funds as loans. To avoid these pitfalls, a double line of defence is recommended.  Double authentication in the form of facial recognition with document verification can fail-proof your systems.

2. Consumer Lending

There is a global recession in the making. Household budgets are in the red after layoffs and pay cuts. That’s why global banks like Goldman Sachs have allowed their consumer borrowers to delay their loan instalments.

According to American Banker, “Many banks are also working to identify emergency borrowing needs – and using digital platforms to provide advice and process loan applications.” Despite all these empathetic steps, financial pressure on solopreneurs, workers, and small businesses is going to mount. The number of personal loans, debt consolidation loans, and bridge loans are multiplying.

Digital-savvy lenders and financiers are reprioritizing their processes by focusing on mobile channels. In this area, two new developments are visible on the horizon – mobile e-signatures and mobile shielding. Since many consumers have started banking and borrowing through phones and tablets, mobile-first lending can make their transactions seamless and painless.

Mobile e-signature, as the name implies, creates a digital trail for tracking signatures while maintaining compliance. Mobile shielding covers due diligence to protect banking applications from tampering, instructions, and breaches. By these two advancements, banks and FIs can ensure data security and compliance without disrupting the user experience.

3. Account Opening

Even in this crisis period, banks have reported a 300% increase in account-opening numbers. The increment is primarily because of increased loan applicants. 

To accommodate the heightened demand for new accounts, banks and FIs have transitioned to online mechanisms. According to American Banker, Citi’s commercial clients have “strongly gravitated toward digital onboarding.” 

While techno-savvy banks and FIs are making hay while the sun shines, their technically-challenged peers are in for serious troubles. According to a Litico survey from mid-March 2020, 82% of people are hesitant to visit bank branches during the outbreak. However, the same survey reveals that 63% are more inclined to try an app. 

This is good news for FIs that already own mobile apps or are in the process of building one. They are poised to earn a competitive advantage and increase their market share. 

In a recent ISMG banking industry survey, 68% of FI respondents have identified digital account opening as a priority initiative for their institution this year. To make room for greater customer volumes, they have expanded budgets for tech stacks like ID verification, machine learning, and digital signature.

To prevent fraudsters from intercepting security, banks and FIs are exploring safeguards like two-factor authentication and biometric scanning. Using these next-generation methods of identity verification, these institutions are able to offer mobile banking to customers without compromising on their security.

4. Account Maintenance

Customers need to maintain or update their account from time to time. Priorly, they would have to visit their bank to create fixed deposits or add nominees to their accounts. Most procedures were incomplete without hard copy documents and signatures.

But with banks opening for limited hours and people hesitant to visit banks for health concerns or restrictions, digital services have come in handy. With e-forms and digital ID verifications, banks and FIs are well-equipped to serve customers in the comfort of their homes.

Fraud prevention in the form of account takeovers has emerged as the biggest threat during this time. In this kind of cyber attack, unauthorized users permeate bank security and infiltrate accounts. Once there, they can easily siphon funds, change account settings, and block payments, much like the real owner. 

Fraud prevention platforms have cropped up to safeguard FIs against such threats. They closely monitor suspicious account activities and take necessary preventive action timely. 

Ready to Go Digital?

Apart from the above use cases, digitization is also being abundantly applied to employee-facing processes. From payroll to attendance, everything is recorded and tracked without human intervention. 

The best part is that these systems can be tailored to suit your organization’s specific needs. Another great thing is that they can be scaled up with ease to accommodate more data and user volume. This can help you save a lot of time, effort, and resources, keeping the quality and output intact.

Still, there’s a lot that needs to be done with regards to personalization of financial services. Currently, only 52% of banks offer personalized services in digital formats. This is a huge turn-off for discerning customers with high standards of customer service and support.

Another area where digitized services are falling short is the speed of transactions. Presently, too many regulatory stipulations are  bogging down the speed at which financial transactions come through. For click-happy customers, slow speed is a reason enough to abandon the transaction altogether.

However, there’s a lot going on in digitization and financial services are bound to catch up with other more digital-savvy business areas soon.

Can you think of other applications of digitization in financial services? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And state tuned for more cutting-edge information.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

4 Benefits of Using Blazor Framework for Full-Stack Web Apps

JavaScript has disrupted the world of web apps. Using the language, developers can replicate beautiful, user-friendly interfaces on browsers. But what about .NET developers? They don’t really have this advantage.

But that’s about to change with the entry of Blazor by Microsoft. Just imagine, .NET  web apps running on a browser, without any plugins or coding wizardry. Unbelievable, right? 

Let’s learn more about Blazor, the fantastic .NET web framework that has taken the app world by storm. 

What Exactly is Blazor?

Blazor is a markup syntax, using which you can embed server-based code into your web pages. It is comparable to Angular or React, the only difference being that it is powered by C#. Based on the latest web standards, Blazor doesn’t require any add-ons or plugins to work. 

As a result, Blazor bundles full-stack app development with the same consistency, stability, and productivity that .NET provides. Moreover, Blazor is completely open-source since it is implemented through WebAssembly. 

WebAssembly is the secret sauce that makes this magic possible. It is a web standard that converts high-level languages to a simplified form that runs at the speed of native machine codes. Thanks to this groundbreaking platform, code based on sophisticated languages like C# and F# can be run on web browsers. 

Now, let’s read about all of Blazor’s benefits below.

Advantages of Creating Full-Stack Web Apps Using Blazor

Blazor has the same benefits that a modern-age single page application (SPA) like Vue or React offers. Plus, both the client-side and server-side coding can be done using the same .NET technology. This means you can reuse the same classes on both sides.

In short, web apps built on the Blazor framework are fast and native-like. Their code is customizable, secured, and shareable. Let’s take a look at all the advantages of Blazor-based development.

1. You Can Run .NET Code in Browsers 

Until Blazor came out, JavaScript was the gold standard for full-stack web apps. This means back-end .NET developers had no option than to learn JavaScript if they wanted to ace full-stack development. 

With the advent of WebAssembly, the monopoly that NodeJS enjoyed in app development comes to an end. Via client-side Blazor, the same validation code can be used for all in-browser logic.

2. It Is Faster than JavaScript

If you use the client-side Blazor framework, you can develop performance-intensive apps like video gaming and augmented reality easily. Plus, Blazor is pre-compiled into WebAssembly so your server-side code is deployed and run faster than in languages like JS. As the full-stack cycle progresses, the deployment completes and code execution becomes even faster. 

You may not notice the speed difference in simple codes, but the difference is palpable in sophisticated programs.

3. Codesharing Is Possible on Server and Client Sides

Often, the same validation code that is run on the client-side needs to be executed on the server-side. 

For instance, you can tell users that they have entered a non-existent username as soon as they enter it, to save them a round trip to the server. Then, the same validation code is implemented on the server-side just to double-check the user input for the pre-fed username logic.

When you use Balzor, you create a class library with the validation algorithm and add the library as a reference to your user-facing Balzor app and the server-side app. This way, the same bit of code is deployed but without writing the class twice. Naturally, you save a lot of effort and development time.

4. Blazor-Powered Apps Can Run Offline

Blazor-run apps don’t consume too much network bandwidth since the server-side Blazor doesn’t pass data to the server time and again. Once users download the app from the internet, they can use the app completely without web support, with no impact on speed or performance.

Does this mean that Blazor is flawless? To answer this question, let’s look at its drawbacks.

Is Blazor Just Hype?

With a recent roll-out in May 2020, Blazor is still in the infantile stage. It has, thus, quite a few disadvantages that the team hopes to iron out as the framework matures.

1. Huge Payload

As of now, a fresh Blazor project weighs around 2.4MB. Since the entire server-side code needs to be shipped onto the client-side, the payload inflates. This means that even if your code contains a few lines only, the app size can run into megabytes. 

2. Long Initial Load Time

If your users have poor internet connectivity or are working on non-standard browsers, they can get frustrated with long load times. They have to wait out the period when the WebAssembly is downloading and static files on the server-side are being created.

3. Restricted Runtime

Blazor apps are subject to the same browser sandbox restrictions as JavaScript apps. If you’re working with thin clients, you may have to install polyfills to boost runtime. This is not recommended as you can lose many performance benefits of Blazor in the process.

4. Limited Debugging Capability

Client-side Blazor apps have their own custom debugging tab, but it has limited options. So, if your app has complex logic with hard-to-track bugs, you may have to write an initial code for debugging or place a huge amount of code into logging. To an extent, this nullifies the time-saving benefit of Blazor apps.

What is the Future of Blazor?

We wouldn’t be over-optimistic if we forecast a bright future for Blazor. Currently, there is a huge barrier to entry of .NET apps in the webspace. Blazor can help full-stack developers in this area. 

By poising itself as a single UI framework, Blazor demonstrates great potential. We see it growing in this direction and becoming a direct competition to JavaScript. As for the size and speed issues, the Blazor team is working overtime to streamline the programming kinks. We can hope for good news soon.

Do you need more in-the-moment updates on software development? Then, stay hooked to this blog. Also, let us know the topics you would like to read about. Till then, stay safe and software-smart!

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

How to Simplify User Onboarding for Product Development?

Imagine you are thrust into a new work environment, with no instructions or orientation. Everything, from colleagues to equipment, is unfamiliar. How will you feel? Lost in the woods, disoriented, overwhelmed? 

That’s exactly how a new user feels when he opens a new app or digital product for the first time and finds it bereft of proper onboarding. It’s no wonder that 25% of people abandon an app after the first use itself.

Source: Localytics

Now, envisage this situation: 

You enter an app, you are greeted by a warm welcome. Then you are explained how to set up the app’s features and hand-held through the registration process. You tend to feel confident at having hit the ground running. You are eager to explore the app and you may come back to it again and again. That’s how user onboarding helps in boosting user retention.

In this article, you will learn:

  1. What is user onboarding
  2. Why is it essential
  3. How to simplify it

Let’s get started.

What is User Onboarding?

User onboarding is a process where new users are instructed or guided through the product experience. It can be as simple as a greeting pop-up or as complex as configuration workflows.  The aim is to deliver value to users from the get-go and reduce drop-offs.

For instance, take a look at Hopper’s onboarding interface. Through a series of clean screens, the flight-booking app conveys its value proposition to first-time users.

Image via Hopper

A super-smooth onboarding experience sets up users for success. Users understand how to apply a product in order to extract maximum value. Let’s understand the other benefits of user onboarding.

Why Is Onboarding Your Users Necessary?

With countless apps available for every possible use case, it’s imperative that your app proves its worth from the outset. Seamless onboarding is one factor that keeps users hooked to your product lest they abandon you in favor of competitors.

Plus, it renders a favorable first impression. It’s likely that users considered your product useful when they first installed it. The onus to prove them right lies on you. If your product’s orientation is rough, customers feel disappointed and dejected. They pre-empt that the future journey will also be bumpy. In anticipation, they leave prematurely, even if your product holds promise.

Last, modern customers like to share their reviews on social media, which has become a conversation driver of sorts. Don’t be surprised if you find your app’s ratings falling and sign-ups dwindling. It’s quite possible customers frustrated by your onboarding ran on aggregator websites. And don’t count on word-of-mouth publicity or referrals at all.

To save yourself from all that trouble, follow the best practices of designing a pleasant onboarding experience.

Tips to Simplify the User OnBoarding Process

The right onboarding experience can boost your revenue, referrals, and customer lifetime value in the long-term. Take a look at some hacks that can simplify your onboarding strategy.

1. Design with a Customer-First Mindset

Getting a user to sign-up doesn’t qualify as a success from a business point of view. What good is earning a sign-up if the user doesn’t eventually convert? For converting people, keep an eye on the right metrics.

Don’t obsess over counting conversions or subscriptions. Focus on nurturing customer relationships. Equip users with tools and knowledge they would need to use your product efficiently. Make everything so simple and painless that they naturally glide towards check-out.

Some onboarding processes end with feedback, which serves no real purpose. The users have barely started using your product. It’s advisable to ask for a product review after they complete one whole app session. This way, they can provide more actionable perspectives.

2. Minimize User Fatigue

The drop-off rate among new users is almost directly proportional to user fatigue that cumbersome onboardings induce. If you ask too much personal data from new customers, they are bound to leave in a huff. You will naturally inject friction into their journeys. 

At the same time, gathering customer data is unavoidable to set up processes and preferences. To overcome the hurdle, track usage metrics and collate the findings to draw pertinent insights. Metrics like NPS (net promoter score) can be calibrated later, during product reviews. 

To keep onboarding seamless, don’t overwhelm new users with too many questions. Complying with regulatory protocols like GDPR can be attributed to complicated orientation. So, minimize data collection and let users in on the action as soon as possible.

3. Keep Onboarding Flexible

Some users are impatient to start their product journeys right after installation. For them, allow a “skip intro” option. But if your onboarding covers vital product features that all users should be aware of, keep popping reminders to get users to resume the intro.

Break user journeys into small, manageable sprints and guide users to where they are headed. Keep user resources and tools handy in plain sight. Nothing frustrates new users more than if they have to dig through an incomprehensible UX for transactional information. 

4. Optimize the Process Consistently

Onboarding should not be an afterthought. You need to plan for it during the product-ideation stage itself. Also, it is not a one-time deal. Depending on the user response to your onboarding mechanism, keep optimizing the process for the best results.

Once customers start using your product regularly, ask them for feedback through email or in-app surveys. You should also solicit improvement suggestions and try to incorporate them into your process on priority. Don’t forget: your products are successful only if they satisfy user intent and expectations. 

Ready to Nail Your User Onboarding?

User onboarding is critical to foster customer loyalty, conversions, and retention. Your onboarding needs to be simple and anchored around customer needs. Keep your mantra straightforward: sign up users easily, deliver value quickly. 

Are you looking for more tidbits on product development and strategy? Stay tuned to this blog.

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

Top 8 Best Practices to Architect a serverless web application

Serverless computing has been gaining momentum ever since it came into limelight in 2015. It’s a native architecture of the cloud which enables users to create, deploy and run an application without thinking of its server. Serverless, in fact, allows users and developers to shift more the operational capacity, increase agility and innovation.  In short, you get limitless computational power with no infrastructure management tasks such as zero maintenance, cluster provisioning, capacity provisioning, etc. 

Top 8 Best Practices to Architect a serverless web app

Why Serverless

Serverless is the need of time. As technology advances, you need to come up with more enhanced web applications with more power and agility which may not be possible traditionally. And, even if it is possible, you need to spend a lot of effort such as building perfect infrastructure, human resources, time and cost. Serverless helps you remain focused on your core products while leaving all other responsibilities upon the serverless provider. All you need a serverless web application and you pay no heed towards its maintenance, scaling up, agility or anything else. You have immense benefits from having a serverless application. 

So, in this article, we shall be discussing the best practices of a serverless web application that every Serverless Architect should know.

Even though there are plenty of tech giants offering serverless services including AWS Lambda, Microsoft Azure, and Alphabet’s Google Cloud Platform, but we have taken the example of AWS to make it more comprehensive. So, here we go;

1. The Serverless Function Requires VPC-Enable for Better Security

We have taken an example of Lambda as most of us use AWS Lambdas as an event-driven, serverless computing platform. So, it is important to have VPC-enable functions of Lambda operate from VPC which is owned by AWS. Enabling this, you get complete ability to have your function make a network request to any address.

Lambda is not directly accessible to the public, but with the support of AWS APIs Getaway, we can make accessible for the public. So, be it accessing AWS APIs or interacting with AWS DyanamoDB APIs, you can easily do it after enabling the function for VPC access. So, having have your function VPC-enabled, the Subnet will manage all your traffic using its routing rules. 

2. Creating Event-Driven Architectures

When it comes to creating event-driven architectures, it is important to know the mechanisms and how to enable asynchronous messaging pattern. It applies in both creating a simple queuing and message buffering and choreography pattern that is more intricate even-based. To enable this, you need to use queues or streams.

Queuing is also used for intrapersonal communication. That means when you want to initiate communication between one Lambda function another, then Queuing can be the best for you.

3. How to Implement and Orchestrate in a Distributed, Microservices Environment

You need to implement coordinated transactions using coordinated sequenced invocations across services in distributed architectures. The implementation also allows rollback and retry mechanisms put in place. That is quite different from the traditional database-based ACID transactions. 

When you need significant orchestration logic and looking to utilize more of the orchestrator pattern, not the choreography pattern, then the serverless technology lie AWS Step Functions enables you to create highly qualified and complex workflows with its various AWS services that also includes AWS Lambda. 

4. Understanding AWS Lambda Computing Environment

It is important to understand AWS Lambda and programming model. You need to learn how to utilize Lambda in terms of performance and cost optimization. You learn this using the tutorial provided for AWS Lambda as “Lambda Under the Hood”, “Lambda Layers, the Runtime API, and Nested Applications” and “Optimizing Serverless Applications”. 

5. Serverless Deployment Automation

When it comes to a larger number of microservices and smaller components, integrating automation and code management into your application is critical. Given the fact that early integration will efficiently create, deploy and implement the serverless architectures. Importantly, when you use AWS, you get a wide range of first-party deployment tools and frameworks to properly architect your serverless web application. The tools and frameworks you can utilize from AWS include the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK), AWS Amplify, and AWS Chalice.

Besides, there are various third-party tools and frameworks available to make the deployment of serverless web application easy, they include, Serverless Framework, Claudia.js, Sparta, or Zappa. You are free to create your custom-built framework, though you need to ensure that things such as automation strategy works as per use case, team and workflows. 

6. Identity Management, Authentication, and Authorization 

When it comes to creating a serverless web application, a developer requires planning things such as integrating identity management, building enhanced authorization and authentication functionalities in advance. The utilization of Amazon Cognito enables a developer to deploy these things directly into the serverless web applications. At the same time, when using Amazon API Gateway, the developers can manage things like authorization logic and permit requests straightforwardly. That means you manage the authorization logic at the gateway layer which protects your native authorization being exposed. 

7. Learning End-to-End Security Techniques 

Apart from knowing identity management, authorization and authentication, there are some more important security measures you can learn to create a highly secure serverless web application. Here are some of the top list of things you can consider;

  • Concerns regarding regulatory compliance
  • Ways to validate input and request
  • Metering & Throttling Access to tracking bandwidth and accessing use control based on rules
  • Securing storage and retrieving data as needed
  • IAM execution roles and implementing invocation policies 
  • And, others

You can learn all these things from the AWS tutorial page while creating the application. 

8. Considering Packages Size and Dependencies 

You must take care of package size as having a larger deployment package will slow down the function of the application. Therefore, you are advised to remove all the unnecessary items including documentation and libraries. You can use AWS SDK which enables Java function users to bundle the modules which needed from the SDK. 

Let’s take a look at the example of how using Java Function with AWS SDK create an excellent package;

<dependency>

    <groupId>software.amazon.awssdk</groupId>

    <artifactId>dynamodb</artifactId>

    <version>2.6.0</version>

</dependency>

Here, only the required modules have been used

In case, you are not using Java Function with AWS SDK, you end up creating a larger package with the entire SDK with lots of unnecessary modules. Here’s how it happens;

<!– https://mvnrepository.com/artifact/software.amazon.awssdk/aws-sdk-java –>

<dependency>

    <groupId>software.amazon.awssdk</groupId>

    <artifactId>aws-sdk-java</artifactId>

    <version>2.6.0</version>

</dependency>

Final Thoughts

When it comes to creating a serverless web application, you have plenty of things to learn. Serverless technology is the need of time as people need more services, support, and assistance from technology at the minimum costs. Serverless is the way to cut costs significantly and reward the business with limitless scaling options. Stay tuned for more such information. 

To know more about iView Labs, kindly log on to our website www.iviewlabs.com and to get in touch with us with your queries and needs just write us an email on info@iviewlabs.com and sales@iviewlabs.com.

Download the latest portfolio to see our work.

How to Manage Distributed Product Development Teams

An important tenet of the Agile Manifesto is that successful product teams must collaborate daily from a shared co-location. But, we wish to challenge this notion. Remote product teams (spanning continents, cultures, and time zones) are very much the need of the hour. And, with sophisticated collaborative tools available, distributed teams can be as productive as co-located ones. A changed mindset from product managers and some flexibility from team members is the only requisite.

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Ten Secrets to Make Your Product Development a Success

Success doesn’t come from guesswork, innovation, or diligence. It is a combination of all this, plus more. As we unraveled from Neilson’s Consumer 360 Study that is collated by industry trailblazers and innovators. Their disruptive ideas about consumer behavior and product development will be an eye opener for most of us.

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Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem?

Have you ever sat and wondered why Uber and Urban Clap are such a roaring success? Why a simplistic app like Freshmenu took the world by storm? What all these products have in common is that they aim to solve real problems and pain points of consumers. Because at the end of the day, customers don’t care about your product, they are just concerned with how your product can solve THEIR problems. This is the secret that smart marketers and product designers realize early on, rather than after failing with many “innovative” products that look very “cool” but are of little interest to their target audience!

Now, let’s dive deep into the real question at hand today – Is your product really solving a problem?

Is Your Product Really Solving a Problem

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Top 6 Metrics used to measure app success

Most customers from all segments of society and the financial status world over have one thing in common today. They all own a mobile phone and not just any mobile phone but a smartphone. It is no surprise that mobile phone users are using applications for an increasing number of tasks whether it is booking an airline, planning an itinerary, paying an outstanding bill or taking an academic course online. Businesses today, therefore, find it important to have their presence and reach out to customers and users through an application.

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