Android App Development Trends: The Rising Popularity of the Dark Mode

Have you noticed that most of the popular apps are recommending the dark mode? What difference does it make when using an app on the dark mode?  Is there a downside to it? As we discuss this new trend, bear in mind that app developers have user experience in mind at all times.

Every trend in iOS or Android app development is in most cases meant to improve the experience of end users. Hence, when a new trend comes, app developers will try to implement it across all platforms. The dark mode started with Android apps and then expanded to iOS devices.

YouTube, Twitter, Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook already have the dark mode option. An app does not switch automatically to this mode. You have the choice as an app user to stick the old black and white background or turn the dark mode on.

The traditional mode has a white background with black text. Some developers experiment with text colors to highlight certain features. When you turn the dark mode on, the background becomes black, gray or dark blue. The text turns from black to white.

 What are benefits of this app development trend?

1. Less strain on your eyes

The first reason that app developers give for introducing the new screen settings is their users’ health. Eyestrain is not new to phone users who spend hours staring at their screens. Let us be honest here. Smartphones have become addictive, especially with cheap data bundles.

It only makes sense to do everything you can to stay healthy while enjoying the beauty of connectivity. Browsers like Chrome are also considering the same trend for this reason. For internet lovers, if you are not on an app, you are browsing websites or watching videos.

Continuous strain on your eyes can lead to conditions such as myopia. You are at a high risk of nearsightedness if you work on a bright screen all day.  The risk is higher now that virtual reality has been introduced to the world of Android app development.

Using the dark mode on apps does not mean that you are completely safe from the mentioned risks. You still need to reduce the number of hours spent on your mobile devices. However, the dark mode reduces the fatigue on your eyes.

2. Easier reading

Mobile apps are designed with the assumption that users have normal vision. The reality is that our vision is different. Some people have low vision while others struggle with color blindness. The new trend favors such phone users.

Texts become more visible on the black or grey background. You will come across different settings for the dark mode. It is not always a reverse of the black and white combination. Some app developers prefer a grey background with black text. An alternative is a black background with grey text.

Blocks of text are easier to read with the dark mode. The settings activate all the sensors on the eyes even with low vision. If you have been struggling with reading online, try the dark mode where available. You are likely to keep it on.

Android app development

3. Longer battery life

Ever since smart phones were introduced, the greatest challenge has been the battery life. The situation has been improved but you can do with an extra hour or two of battery life. Dark mode gets you just that, longer battery life.

It takes more power to keep your screen illuminated than a black or gray screen. You will have to sacrifice something to keep your phone running for long. First, you are accustomed to the white back background. It will take some time and adjusting to appreciate the dark mode.

The white or bright mode is easy to navigate. Scrolling and switching from one feature to another, or one app to another is easy. The dark theme is a bit slow in terms of a smooth flow but you are guaranteed of using your phone longer.

4. Better sleep

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of a notification on your phone? Forget about the alarm. You know those automated messages from service providers or notifications from apps. Switching data off does not always help.

Falling back to sleep is a challenge after staring at a bright screen. If you have problems falling asleep, try using the dark mode in the hours preceding your usual bedtime. Bright light inhibits the function of sleep-inducing neurons, especially artificial light.

The light interferes with the natural cycle of sleep. This partly explains why you stay awake longer after using your phone. The worst happens when you wake up to bright light and cannot fall back asleep. With the dark mode on, you will easily fall back to sleep and maintain your sleep cycle.

5. Better experience in low-light environment

Using a mobile device in a low-light room is strenuous. The obvious temptation in such situations is to increase the brightness on your screen. That just makes things worse. You will strain your eyes more even when the text size is large enough.

Try the dark mode when you get into such an environment. You will not even realise the difference in lighting if the mode is always. Reducing the brightness on your device helps for apps or programs that do not have the dark mode yet.

6. Improving sensitivity to light

For many phone users, the bright light disturbs when the screen is on. The discomfort is over as soon as the phone goes off. For some, sensitivity to light is a medical condition. Even the sun is too bright for such people.

Doctors call the condition photophobia. The dark theme makes it more comfortable for people with this condition to work and use apps. In addition, the theme helps those who suffer migraines. Prolonged eyestrain often leads to headaches and migraines.

Final thoughts

Before they discover the cure for phone or internet addiction, protect your eyes. Take advantage of this Android app development trend. Activate it for apps and programs that have it in their settings. You can switch to the bright screen at times but if you suffer migraines or photophobia, it is safe to use it always.

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Everything You Need To Know About Mobile App Analytics

Creating a mobile app is not enough! You need mobile app analytics. Many app owners think that as long as they come up with an outstanding idea, everything will be great. The reality hits after the launch when they do not get as many downloads as they expect.

If you are in this journey of creating a new app or considering it, you must have realistic expectations. You also need to track the performance of your app consistently. Mobile app analytics enable you to make quick decisions about your product.

Analytics tell you if your target users agree with your thought that the new app is useful or great. Before you invest more money in updates or even launch another app, track the performance of your app. Compare data at different times and seasons. What kind of data do you need?

Key performance indicators for a mobile app

Understanding the need for mobile app analytics is a good starting point. Your next step is to identify the type of data that you should be looking at every day. The performance indicators will also help you choose the right tools to use for analytics. The key indicators include:

1. Number of downloads

The basic metric tells you if your target market is interested in your mobile app. With the right marketing tactics, the number of downloads should be high after a launch. Mobile phone users are always excited to try a new product if it meets a pressing need. However, the app downloads after the excitement of the launch is over paint a better picture.

2. Active users

How many active users do you have every day, week, and month? Downloading an app from the app store is not good enough. You need users to interact with your app almost every day or several days a week. The analytics tool that you choose should give you real-time reports of the number of active users.

3. Retention rate

The expectation of every app owner is that users will find an app enough useful enough to use in the long-term. Mobile app analytics will tell you if you are achieving this dream. Check the number of uninstalls and the duration between installing and uninstalling. Low retention rates do not necessarily mean your app is not useful. You just need to change your retention strategy.

Related article: 5 Proven Strategies for Mobile Application User Retention

4. Conversion

The most likely reason why you created the app is to make money. Whether you are selling a product or service directly, charging a subscription or earning from ads, conversion rates are critical. Check the trend of revenues, ad clicks, downloads or whichever metric applies to your app.

You can determine if you need to review your prices, products, or marketing agencies based on the conversion rates. The rate will also help you predict and improve future earnings from the app.

5. Open rates

Here is another metric that will give you a clear picture of user engagement. How many times do active users open your app in a day or week? How can you increase the open rates? The data will help you design marketing tactics such as subtle notifications to remind users about the app.

6. User sessions

How long do users take on the app? Which functions or pages do they visit the most? You cannot do without such numbers. Otherwise, you will not know the updates required on the app apart from increasing its responsiveness and performance.

7. Referrals

App developers will always advise you to include the social media sharing function on your app. If users are impressed with the app, they will share it on their social media platform. The app should automatically prompt users to share or refer others to use the app. Tracking the number of shares or referrals including the comments will tell you what users think about your solution.

The best mobile app analytics tools

We have listed the best indicators to follow when analysing the performance of your apps. You can use the list to determine the best analytics tools to use for your app. There is no harm in choosing more than one tool. The good thing about these tools is that they give more than the metrics we shared.

1. Google Analytics

You can use this free tool for both iOS and Android apps. The tool shows in-apps activities including session duration, location of users, revenues, number of users, and number of sessions among other events. You may need a little time to read and understand the analytics but the tool is great for all types of apps.

2. App Analytics (Apple Analytics)

The tool is great but limited to the iOS platform. It gives you useful information on how to make your app attract more users and improve its position in the app store. Some of the metrics you can get with this tool include user sessions, app crashes, sources of downloads and impressions, sales, and active devices.

3. Appsflyer

The tool is tailor-made for marketing analytics. It is compatible with both iOS and Android platforms. The developers have partnered with Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. The tool is recommended for app attribution and fraud detection.

4. Amplitude

The tool helps you analyse how users interact with the app. You can tell which features or functions bring users back to the app. The tool designs and sends smart alerts to potential loyal users using machine learning technology. Consider this tool if you are interested in improving your user retention and conversion rates.

5. Crashlytics

The tool works in both Android and iOS platforms. Crashlytics is probably the best tool you will come across for crash solutions. The tool gives comprehensive reports including the trends and factors contributing to app crashes. You will also get a report of unresolved

6. Mixpanel

The analytics tool gives automatic insights using machine learning including user loyalty, engagement, and retention. You can also predict conversion and user behavior with the tool. Mixpanel has inbuilt tools that improve user engagement such as in-app push notifications, messages, and emails.

7. Kumulos

The tool stands out among other tools because of its wide range of functions. Some of the services you can get on the platform include performance reports, funnel analysis, campaign analysis, engagement analysis, and bug tracking. You can also generate cohort analysis, clicks, and visual analytics among other reports.

Conclusion

You will come across tens of mobile app analytics tools in the market with different features. It is advisable to get one or two tools with a wide range of reports that you can generate. Follow the data consistently for weeks or months before making any major changes on the app. 

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How to Migrate From One Domain to Another without Losing SEO and Traffic

Muva recently moved from muva.co.ke to muva.tech. Our greatest concern like most website owners was the possible effect on traffic and rankings. Hence, before making the move, we considered all the factors that could affect our SEO. Remember that we had built a strong brand around the old domain for 8 years but the change was necessary.

The fear of losing flowing traffic holds many website owners from making such a big move even when it is clearly necessary. You need to be certain that switching domains is necessary even before considering the effects. You could lose all the years of SEO and branding if you switch domains at the wrong time.

It is advisable to move during a slow period in your financial year. The reality is that even with the best planned migration, temporary traffic fluctuations are inevitable.  Search engines take some time to update the index of the new domain. If you are certain that it is the right time for the move, take the following steps:

1. Crawl your website

Prepare a list of all URls and meta descriptions of the old website. A tool like Screaming Frog can help you pick all the links and identify redirects and errors. Remove or replace any links that direct traffic to 404 pages. You also need to list all the pages in your old site from your database. Crawling tools may leave out important pages.

2. Use a test server

Even with a complete list of URLs and pages, you still need to test if everything works privately. Avoid going public before testing and confirming that all redirects are working properly. Fix any errors or broken links that you may find when running the tests. It never hurts to run several tests with different tools to be sure. Web developers can recommend the best tools for such tests.

3. Maintain the URL architecture

The recommended way to migrate to a new site is to keep the URL architecture identical. The reason is that when you change the architecture, Google may interpret the new site as a different site. Hence, you will lose your rankings in the new site. In addition, maintaining the URl architecture simplifies the process of redirecting old pages to the new pages. The redirect workload on the server is lesser when the architecture for both sites is identical.

4. Check duplicate content

The best way to solve issues of duplicate content is through self-canonization of all new pages. The process ensures that only one version of a URL is published. Self-canonization is also a way of telling the search engine that the new site is the new location of the old site. Check your folders to see if more than one folder leads to the same content. In addition, ensure that all IP addresses redirect to the new URLs.

5. Keep a copy of your Google Analytics

You will never know if you lost any traffic during the migration if you have no benchmark. A copy of the current analytics acts as your benchmark. Monitor the traffic to your top pages after the migration. You can run analytics on the new site and compare it page by page with the old site. Consequently, you can determine the specific pages that need special SEO attention. The reality is that if old pages with the highest number of inbound links go down in terms of SEO, the ranking of the new site will be low after the migration.

6. Update internal links

HTML links on the new site will automatically redirect to the new site if you migrate in the right way. However, depending on this automated process is risky. The redirect process takes longer and the slow loading time affects the page rank. Search and replace all internal links on the site’s database. Be careful with the updates to ensure that only the text with a HTML link is updated and that the folder structure remains the same.

7. Avoid removing pages

You might not need all the old pages on the new site. However, deleting many pages during a migration will hurt your SEO efforts. Google views the new site as a new website and you now have to work your way up again. The best strategy is to keep all the pages and remove the unnecessary pages later when the traffic is back to normal. However, if some pages must be removed, keep a list of the pages. Set the replacement links where necessary and remove all links to the old pages. Avoid redirecting the removed pages to the home page.

8. Keep the old domain

Many website owners sell their old domains after migrating to a new site. The general advice is to sell the old domain when Google stops indexing the domain. However, you can lose the redirects from the old site to the new site along the way. If you no longer have control over the old domain, you will lose all the inbound links from the old site. It is possible that the migration was to lead to the sale of the old domain, but if you can, keep the old site in your control.

9. Check the sites for errors and redirects

Every link on the new site should lead a functional page. Visitors should not get any 301, 404, 501, or any other errors. Find a replacement for all links with errors immediately. Internal links should point to a functional page directly and not through a redirect. Your goal when monitoring the new site is to eliminate redirects because it takes longer for such pages to load. The result is a lower ranking and poor performance of a site that was high ranking before the change.

10. Monitor the performance of the new site

Track the rankings and traffic to the new site after the migration. It is advisable to pull data daily, weekly, and monthly. Conduct the page-by-page comparison consistently as you monitor the performance. Tracking performance daily helps you make quick SEO decisions right after a migration. You can identify and fix errors early before you lose your best customers to redirects or slow loading times.

Final remarks

Migrating to a new site is a risky process but sometimes necessary to build a strong brand. All the steps outlined above happen in private. However, you must publicize the move even before making the major move. Talk to your current customers or audience on all social media platforms. Press release statement and offline advertisements will help maintain your audience as well.

The reality is that you will lose some traffic in the move. However, the magnitude of the loss depends on your migration approach. Much SEO work is required to keep the traffic flow but with the steps above, you are already in the right direction even without an SEO expert. Involving a good web developer is also advisable to avoid missing any step.

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Top Trends in Web Development You Can Expect In 2019

Leading website developers in Kenya are quick to adopt the latest trends in web development. As the professionals grow, organizations can expect the latest designs of corporate websites. New trends are sometimes improvements of ideas introduced in previous seasons. For instance, virtual reality was introduced years back in the world of games. The technology has invaded web development.

Almost every business website you visit today has a chatbot ready to assist you before you can talk to the support team. VR will continue to dominate web development as developers explore new ways of utilizing the technology on websites. What other trends can we expect in this industry in 2019?

One-page websites

The popularity of these websites started last year and more businesses are likely to adopt the trend. The one-page websites are more convenient to users than the traditional websites with multiple pages. Whether you are a developer or a website owner, you must wake up to the reality of technological changes.

The easiest way to connect with your clients now is through their mobile phones. An app is trendy but some aspects of your business still require a website. One-page websites are easy for mobile phone users to scroll and learn about your brand without clicking on buttons.

Less text and more illustrations

Companies have been spending a significant amount of money on web content. The expense was tied to the traditional designs that needed large blocks of text to complete the layout. Web developers should shift their focus from multiple fonts and large text. Using creative fonts should not be a priority this year.

Current web users prefer a combination of less text, more illustrations, and photographs or images. The most important details about a brand should be visible at a glance. With so many web and mobile solutions competing for attention, the target audience has no time to read large blocks of text.

Major changes in programming languages

Every programming language has its shortcomings. Despite the advancements in this field, many web developers in Kenya still use JavaScript and PHP in their projects. The changes in these languages will continue this year as the developers try to eliminate their shortcomings.

The developers of the PHP language recently released PHP7 with major changes that have improved the performance of websites significantly. The changes include anonymous classes and the ability to group ads, which were missing in previous versions of PHP. The emergence of digital products such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain products will continue to trigger changes in programming languages.

Progressive web apps

The trend to develop progressive web apps started a few years ago. The popularity of the apps is likely to increase this year. Progressive web apps are developed on HTML, CSS or Javascript. The popularity comes from the simplicity they offer to users.

Businesses that intend to increase their client base and convert visitors into loyal customers prefer progressive web apps. The web apps adapt to the user’s devices. Each app is updated autonomously or independently. Another unique characteristic of these apps is that most of them do not require installation.

Static web pages

Web development started with static pages and then progressed to dynamic web pages. The industry is now going back to static web pages. With static web pages, developers code one page at a time in HTML. Every user views the same static content on the page, which is a different experience from that of dynamic pages.

Static web pages are simple and easy to navigate. Users can find the information that they need easily and make quick decisions. Data analytics also show that the static pages load faster and do not require large amounts of text. On the parts of developers, static pages are easier to develop than dynamic pages.

Motion UI

Users visit a website with the sole purpose of finding information and not just viewing the design or layout. Top website developers in Kenya understand this and focus more on the user interface. In the process of simplifying the interface, web development has adopted motion UI.  The change has improved the users’ experience by eliminating the disruptive flashy advertisements.

One of the advantages of adopting motion UI is that it brings life to all sites including minimalistic sites. In addition, it boosts user engagement because using different parts of the site is easy. Motion UI allows developers to customize websites to suit specific needs and different brands in the market.

Push notifications

Most people are familiar with push notifications on mobile apps but the technology has expanded to web development. Companies are demanding such notifications on their sites because of the marketing advantage. Push notifications enable users to receive instant messages whenever a company posts new content.

Unlike other alerts, users do not need to be on a website or access their email to view the new content. Users can view the click with a single click, which points to another advantage. Push notifications boost the clicking rate for websites and improve conversion rates.

Adaptive websites

As mobile technology advances, the importance of creating adaptive websites increases. Most people access websites on their mobile devices and expect a great experience while at it. Developers now understand the need to create mobile responsive websites. Mobile phone users expect the same experience on their devices while using a website as when using their computers.

The major advantages of adaptive websites are that they are scalable and versatile. Users can access several services fast on the internet. However, developers are also moving towards offline web solutions where users can access web apps without an internet connection. Even with affordable internet connections in the market, web users still value saving data.

Conclusion

It is important for website developers in Kenya to keep up with the latest trend in the industry. Clients expect developers to use the latest technology to update or create their web solutions. In addition, most new trends simplify web development and improve the user experience. By insisting on outdated trends in web design, developers deny web users a great experience and high conversion rates to their clients

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10 Worst Web Design Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs In 2019

Do you like the performance of your website? Are you unhappy with the number of visitors you get in a day and high bounce rates? Well, before you give up on it, check what you could be doing wrong. You could be making some big mistakes that are pushing visitors away before learning about your business.

Before we look at the worst mistakes that you must avoid, let us make one point clear. Website developers in Kenya will tell you that design is not just about the outlook of your website. Design covers its functionality as well. How easy is it for visitors to navigate through the web pages and find the information they need?

With this in mind, let us discuss the top mistakes you must correct immediately.

1. The website takes more than 3 seconds to load

Before we can talk about the content or layout of your website, consider the loading time. Web users expect almost instant results when they search for information. If the website does not load in 3 to 4 seconds, they will simply move back to the search results. If you have not thought about it, conduct a speed test right away.

If the speed is slow, check the reason why each page takes time to load. Large files slow down the loading time of the web pages. Ask a developer to review the entire website and minimize the files that are slowing it down. You may need to get rid of some media content.

2. Unclear information about your company’s mission/vision

Once you sort the issue of speed, your visitors can now open the landing page. Right from the logo to the design on the header, a visitor should tell what your business sells or supplies. Be intention with the content, especially on the home page. Visitors develop an opinion about your business in five seconds or less. What does your website say about your company?

3. The website is not mobile-friendly

The majority of internet users search for information on their mobile devices. If you designed the website a while back and optimized it for a website, you need to test the mobile experience. Website developers in Kenya can help redesign the website and make it mobile friendly. You are losing all the visitors that have had a bad mobile experience to your competitors.

4.  Lack of a persuasive and clear call to action

What do you want visitors to do after visiting your website? Call the business? Order for products? Share content on social platforms? Without a clear call to action, visitors will see your services or products and move on. Consequently, your conversion rates will be low. Ensure that the call to action button is visible and functional.

5. Large blocks of text without sub-headings

You may have great content on your website but the reality is that web users do not read through until they are interested. Most of them read the headings to decide if the content is useful or not. Check the content on each page and introduce headings where necessary to improve the reading experience.

6. Multiple links that open in new windows

Internal links help visitors to navigate the pages on your website easily. However, if most of the links open in new windows, visitors get tired of following the new tabs. The experience is worse when a visitor is using a mobile device to access your website. The moment they discover that the “back” button is missing, the visitors will shut everything down. You do not want such an experience for your target clients. Talk to website developers in Kenya if you have such a problem on your website.

7. Placing social media icons at the top

 Social media is a powerful tool for marketing your business. In fact, it is part of the effective SEO and marketing strategies. However, you have to do it right to get good results. Placing social media icons at the top creates an immediate distraction. Visitors will click on the button and may never come back to the website. Place such buttons at the bottom to give visitors room to explore your website.

8. Tiny buttons and links

Ever tried to click on a button but it was too small? It is annoying when a link or button is too small to click with a finger. We cannot emphasize the importance of a mobile friendly website further. Small buttons and links are often optimized for mouse clinks but the reality is that many users will try to click with a finger. Make the buttons and links large enough to click easily on a mobile phone.

9. Invisible contact information

Visitors expect to see the contact information of your business on the homepage. Some visit the website not to read but to find a number to call or the location of your business. Such information must be accurate and visible on your website. Indicate your working hours and provide an alternative way of reaching your business after the working hours. For instance, you can ask the visitors to send an email or a message when your chat button is unavailable.

10. Choosing the wrong font and colors

Did you know that visitors could leave your website within seconds because of a poor choice of color? The colors you choose give your website a personality. How do you want your visitors to feel about your business? Here is another mistake to avoid, a tiny font that makes the text unreadable. The right combination of color and font will encourage visitors to stay on your website and visit other pages.

Our final thoughts

Websites require constant testing and redesign to give users the best experience possible. You may need to change the entire outlook and functionality of your website if you find a number of mistakes outlined above. Getting the right web design starts with the right choice of designers. Do not settle for low conversion rates and high bounce rates. Let top website developers in Kenya help you improve the experience of your target clients.

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