Category: Insights

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaS

The Best Zoom Alternatives for Work and Play

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed more people than ever to work remotely. Yet, to function well, many types of teams still need to meet, including teachers, marketing professionals, and software developers like those at BairesDev. As a result, online meetings have become the norm and the videoconferencing application Zoom has become a well-known name and a de-facto alternative for group chats.

Zoom is also helpful for creating socially distant gatherings of family, friends, and other groups. But it isn’t perfect. In addition to being disappointed by Zoom’s limited features, users have experienced issues with data privacy and “Zoombombing,” which describes the activity of trolls who enter Zoom meetings uninvited and express hatred or display offensive images. The privacy issues stem from the application not being end-to-end encrypted, resulting in leaked user email addresses.

You may choose to use Zoom despite these drawbacks. But if you’re looking for a change, there are many similar applications available for you to try, including those listed here. 

Google Meet

If you want to replace Zoom for business meetings, Google Meet is a good application to try. You can include up to 100 participants per meeting and you get unlimited call time for free from now through September 2020. After that, call time will be limited to 60 minutes unless you upgrade your account. Google Meet also offers real-time translation, a useful feature for international calls.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is another good choice for work-related meetings. Each meeting can accommodate up to 250 participants and you can store your conversations, files, meetings, and apps in a shared workspace. Useful features include the ability to search conversations, customize notifications, and blur your background for privacy. To use Teams, you must have an Office 365 subscription or a trial subscription of Teams.

Skype

Skype was one of the first videoconferencing applications and it’s still useful for online meetings. The new Meet Now feature enables functionality similar to Zoom and meetings can accommodate up to 50 users. You don’t need an account to sign in, just a link. Special features include reaction emoji, call recording, and the ability to blur your background. Skype offers both free and paid versions.

GoToMeeting

Packed with features, GoToMeeting enables you to include up to 150 participants per meeting with the entry-level plan or up to 3,000 when you upgrade. This application allows you to include multiple facilitators, share your screen, record and transcribe meetings, and assign follow-up tasks. You also get drawing tools to help participants make important points while presenting.

WhatsApp

For more informal conversations, such as those with family or friends, WhatsApp is a good option to try. While better known for messaging, the app does allow you to videoconference as well. You can include up to eight participants on each call, and the app is free to use. The best thing about WhatsApp is that it can be used across platforms, so it doesn’t matter if you use an Android device and your cousin has an iPhone. WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption so you can be sure your conversations are secure.

Facebook Messenger

If you’re on Facebook a lot, Messenger is a great tool for videoconferencing with friends. Even if you don’t use Facebook much, it might be worth using Messenger for those calls because the video quality is better than that of some other apps. With Messenger, you also get emoji reactions, stickers, and the ability to include up to six people on-screen during a video call (though you can have up to 50).

FaceTime

Practically synonymous with video chatting, FaceTime enables those who use the Apple ecosystem to easily communicate with each other. You can get up to 32 callers on at one time and use special features to project your digital look-alike or add fun effects in your call. FaceTime is also end-to-end encrypted so you can be sure your calls are secure.

Discord

Discord is popular with gamers because it integrates with games like Call of Duty: WWII and Divinity: Original Sin 2. But it can be used by anyone who wants encrypted chat, messaging, and video call functionality. Users can set up their own “rooms” in which to chat via video or text. Up to 50 users can participate in a call.

Houseparty

Many things are just not possible with social distancing, but game night isn’t one of them. Houseparty enables you to connect and also provides the entertainment! Up to eight callers can play Trivia, Head’s Up!, and other fun games that are included. The app also allows you to purchase additional games if you want.

In Summary

Social distancing is making communication more difficult, but the right technology can help. If Zoom isn’t for you, there are many other options available for keeping in touch with colleagues and friends.

DevelopmentInsightsProductsSaaS

Why 5G Is so Important for the IoT

The 5th generation of wireless network technology, known as 5G, promises to dramatically increase data transfer speeds, decrease latency, and improve network reliability. These and other enhancements will result in more efficient internet access, and the ability to connect more devices within a given area at one time.

Such advancements are particularly important as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. Expansion of the IoT supported by 5G will be enriched by innovative IoT products for both consumers and businesses with built-in security features and software validated by QA & testing services. Here we explore exactly how the IoT will benefit from 5G.

What Is the IoT?

The IoT is the collection of internet-enabled devices that are an increasingly major part of human activity. The number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 10 billion by 2020 and to 22 billion by 2025. A robust IoT enables new services, such as self-regulating electrical grid equipment that sends signals to utility operators when it needs replacement or repair.

IoT devices include everything from our familiar smartphones to smartwatches, internet-enabled video cameras, streetlights, motor vehicles, retail beacons, store inventory, shipping containers, manufacturing equipment, and robots. These devices add a high level of convenience to everyday tasks for individuals (such as shopping) and companies (such as inventory control).

In an example described by the World Economic Forum, we see just how integrated the IoT will become, even in things as commonplace as clothes: “Maybe you’ve heard about the Commuter x Jacquard, a jacket that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth – the result of a collaboration between Google and Levi’s. With a haptic buzz on your cuff, you are reminded about the phone you left behind; by swiping your sleeve, you can skip a song; while a tap on the shoulder strap takes a picture.”

How 5G Supports the IoT

Naturally, the more of these connected devices there are, the more bandwidth they require. While the current generation of wireless technology, 4G, has the capacity to handle many of them, 5G can support many more. Cognizant VP Randal Kenworthy, a Forbes Technology Council member, states, “5G can send data to and from as many as a million devices per square kilometer, compared to 100,000 devices per square kilometer using today’s 4G networks.”

Additionally, 5G offers super-fast speeds that are 100 times greater than 4G’s and that enable devices to make split-second calculations with optimal performance. For example, self-driving cars must be able to transfer data within milliseconds to receive instructions for how to safely perform – with 5G, they are able to do precisely that.

In addition to expanded capability and speed, 5G is more reliable than previous wireless generations, meaning essential connected objects like locks, security cameras, and other safety devices will operate more effectively. In fact, according to Intel, 5G wireless networks will be “so reliable they can replace physical connections.”

5G also enables easier setup for the IoT. According to IoT For All, rather than connecting each device to a Wi-Fi router, “5G connectivity will let each device connect wirelessly, individually and directly to your internet service provider.” In this way, “You can think of 5G as a kind of next-generation Wi-Fi.”

Industry IoT

With 5G, many industries will be able to make ever-greater use of the IoT. Here are just a few examples:

  • Agriculture. IoT sensors embedded in the soil can help farmers determine how much water or nutrients are needed and, in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI), deliver them at the right time. These processes enable farmers to spend more time on higher-level tasks. 
  • Automotive. As mentioned above, self-driving vehicles require fast processing to operate as safely as possible. Additionally, maintenance shops can use sensors within cars to send reminders when it’s time to have them serviced. 
  • Healthcare. With 5G and the IoT, telehealth will become more ubiquitous, enabling doctors and robots to treat — and even perform surgery on — patients remotely. Wearable health monitors can help patients and healthcare providers closely monitor symptoms.
  • Manufacturing. Manufacturers will have the opportunity to respond to consumer and business demands for new IoT products. They will also use IoT devices in the manufacturing and transportation processes, such as monitoring equipment and tracking packages. 
  • Smart Cities. The possibilities for smart city technology involving the IoT are nearly limitless. One example is connected parking lots that send real-time information to smartphones about parking availability. Another is using technology to make automotive and pedestrian traffic flow more efficiently. 

In Summary

The World Economic Forum states, “Coupled with an array of other new technological solutions like IoT, edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, 5G is powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the same way that steam, electricity, and silicon powered the previous three.”

Given how the IoT can evolve with the support of 5G, both consumers and businesses are likely to see great technological leaps in the coming years. Both will benefit from greater efficiency, convenience, and flexibility in their daily activities.

InsightsProducts

5 Strategies Your Start-up Can Implement to Survive an Economic Downturn

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unpredictable business environment where even the most established companies are shifting their focus from growth to survival. For start-ups, the challenges are even more significant. 

Thousands of start-ups enter the corporate race every year. However, only a little over half actually survive to their fourth year, and the startup failure rate at four years is approximately 44 percent. These are daunting numbers even in a normal economy. 

Now consider an economic downturn. Investments dry up as venture capitalists become risk-averse and seek more reliable investments. Most start-ups work with slim cash margins so a slow sales cycle can create a major cash flow crisis. Also, start-ups thrive in an environment of close in-person collaboration. However, in these times of social distancing, that’s not an option. 

Navigating an economic downturn is a daunting task for organizations in the early stages of development. However, it can also be taken up as an opportunity to innovate and implement new ideas that will help organizations come out stronger in the long-run. 

Here are five strategies that can help start-ups weather this economic downturn. 

1. Cut costs 

Start-ups track expenses carefully in a regular economy but during a downturn, it is important to actively cut costs. Eliminate low performing projects, trim employee perks, and carefully consider whether you need a brick-and-mortar location. Enable effective remote work conditions for your team or consider getting a coworking space to save on rent and utilities. 

Even small budget cuts make a difference so eliminate overheads such as underutilized software licenses, free office lunches, and take careful stock of your inventory. If it’s not completely essential to the business, delay or don’t buy. Conversely, negotiate with suppliers on better deals and prices for essentials items. 

2. Go digital 

Optimize operations by going digital wherever possible. As an example, you can improve employee productivity and cut costs by automating the management of your software and hardware assets via a cloud-based IT asset management software. Get real-time information on the location of your IT assets, and ensure that the equipment is in top-shape with automated servicing and maintenance alerts. 

Automating this function also enables employees to easily collaborate both on-premise or remotely while you receive real-time updates. 

3. Hire freelancers 

Start-ups thrive on highly motivated teams and downturn or not, you should not skimp on quality talent. If you cannot afford to hire full-time employees, consider freelancers, contractors, or part-time workers. 

As the economy slows down, there is typically a large pool of talent to choose from due to lay-offs and cut-backs on hiring. You save money by paying them a fixed price or an hourly rate without the added cost of benefits such as healthcare, sick leaves, holidays, and other perks. 

4. Don’t be afraid to pivot 

An agile company is not afraid to pivot with a changing market. Consider multiple businesses that changed course from what they originally planned to do and found success with a different plan. For example, YouTube was originally a sort of video-based dating service, and Yelp was not always the go-to source for reviews — it started as an automated system to ask friends for direct recommendations. 

An economic downturn changes consumer budgets and priorities which is why it is important to consider the new market reality and pivot your business accordingly. This could mean adding more products to your portfolio, changing your product, offering a discount on pricing, or targeting a whole new demographic. A downturn may require an overhaul of your plan but it could be the path to long-term survival and success. 

5. Use government stimulus offers 

Finally, it is important to avail financial assistance offered via government loans or stimulus packages. For example, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a Paycheck Protection Program to eligible businesses. This loan is designed to provide a direct incentive for businesses to keep their employees on the payroll. 

Likewise, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. EIDL proceeds can be used to cover a wide array of working capital and normal operating expenses, such as continuation to health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed debt payments.

About the author

Rabia Mughal works as a Communications Manager at AssetSonar, a leading cloud based IT asset management solution. An experienced marketing communications professional, she is interested in the impact of digital transformation on modern business operations.  

DevelopmentInsightsSEO

Turn Website Visitors into Loyal Paying Customers With These Tips

E-Commerce has established successful businesses that are now ruling the world. From Amazon to the renowned Alibaba, the magic of e-commerce can be seen from many inspiring businesses. But, It’s not always easy to set-up an e-commerce website, engage the audience, and maintain them.

Extra-ordinary customer services, quality products, and, most importantly, a well-designed e-commerce website is what keeps the business going.

Many businesses fail due to lack of absence, poor website design, and the conventional way of selling. A website that is not intuitive, SEO-optimized, rich in graphics does not attract viewers, and they prefer to click the ‘CLOSE’ button. But if you have an understanding of your visitors, their buying patterns, you can design a website that will turn browsers into regular paying clients.

Brands hire SEO professionals and website designers, who work with them to build an engaging, user-friendly, compelling website.

They are aware of the local audience preferences, their buying behavior, and help in e-commerce development. Here are some e-commerce website design tactics that capture customer attention and urges them to shop.

Make Your Website Fast

According to various case studies, most shoppers don’t complete the purchase because of delayed website response. And that’s not shocking. With most people having an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish, it’s not hard to understand why one-second delay can cost a significant percentage of sales.
So, make your website faster and responsive. You can increase the page loading speed by:

  • Ditching budget web hosting.
  • Reducing HTTP calls.
  • Enabling compression.
  • Enabling browser caching.
  • Optimizing on-page elements.

Focus on Product Pages

No matter how compulsive your homepage is, the product pages are where visitors become shoppers. Make sure the product page has all the information about the product. Include high-quality product images editing. You can also try motion images, including interactive functions that show products up-side-down (360°) views, zoom-features that show fine details.

Write an excellent, compelling product description.

You can also experiment with on-screen videos.

Include Live Chatbots

Chatbots are quickly becoming a talking point. Thanks to the wide range of use cases in many industries, they’ve become a major communication channel with customers.

This is an interactive way to engage with customers as they feel more comfortable when communicating with and getting new information from chatbots.

It might be, the viewer has specific requirements about the product that can’t be described on-page. A little help with live-chat will resolve the problem, and the customer will happily buy the product.

Easy Check-Out Process

An abandoned cart is the most common problem e-commerce businesses face. It is because of the long contact forms, shipping details, and payment options. 

So, reduce the ordering process to 2 to 3 clicks. Moreover, make the online payment easier and convenient by introducing payment options which the majority of customers use. 

Design A Thank You Page

It’s a page where visitors go after they shop from the website. Creating a thank-you page provides a great opportunity for you to express gratitude and encourage them to sign up for your newsletter.

When designed skillfully, these pages can keep your leads engaged and promise secondary conversion opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Excellent website design, informative product pages, user-friendly interface, and simple check-out process, are the main pillars for e-commerce business. So, if you focus on the above-mentioned points and hire the best firm of public relations, your website will attract visitors and turn them into paying customers.

What are the current strategies you adopt to convert your visitors? We’d like to know in the comment section below.

DevelopmentInsightsMartech

6 Ways Wearable Tech Makes Everything Better

Modern technology has penetrated every spore of our daily life to the point that we wear every time we step outside the house. Whether it’s a smartphone or an Apple Watch, high-tech wearables are there to make our lives easier, help us look better, and help us in times of trouble. In fact, here are the 6 ways wearable tech makes our lives better in every aspect imaginable.

Monitoring our health

You know how doctors like to say that it is better to prevent a disease than to treat it? Well, prevention has never been easier with portable health monitors. Wearable sensors that track our vital functions have come a long way, as they are now microscopic in size. Some of the variables a modern health monitor tracks include the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, etc.

The smaller the sensors, the more functions can a health monitor has. In fact, the size of the monitors has made them not only a commercial success but it has helped scientists conduct more thorough research, as it is easier to find test subjects who are willing to wear inconspicuous sensors on their bodies.

Keeping seniors safe

The two categories of people that benefit from health monitors the most are professional athletes and seniors. The formers use these gadgets to track their athletic performance, while for the latter a high-tech wearable could help save their life.

Devices designed to keep seniors safe use Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS to automatically detect a fall or a heart issue (when paired up with a health monitor) and alert emergency medical services in real-time. More advanced models come with artificial intelligence that literally learns the owner’s lifestyle so it can instantly react in case of a medical emergency.

An extra benefit of these devices is the geolocation function. It can help guide the wearer back to their home, which is not uncommon for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The location data is fed directly to a cloud, so you can track your grandmother if she gets lost in Dunedin and walks all the way up to Chain Hills, for instance. 

Making the switch to e-cigarettes

Apart from simply tracking your health, tech wearables can actually help you make the switch to a healthier lifestyle. One example is tobacco smokers who are making the switch to vaping. If you have noticed people wearing e-cigarettes around their neck in downtown Wellington, then they are former smokers (there is no combustion when vaping).

In fact, vaping stores are so popular nowadays, that you can vape in Dunedin and choose from a variety of vape mods. These prolong the experience and e-liquids are there to provide you with a taste of your choice, from coffee, across fruity flavors to gummy bears taste.

An improved image of the world

For those people who wear prescription eyeglasses, there are smart cameras that get attached to the frame of the glasses. The main function of the camera is to recognize people, text, and various objects. Pointing the camera at a section of a text will enable you to hear whom you are talking to or have an inscription before your eyes read aloud.

Not only are these cameras cool as heck but they can become a lifeline for vision-impaired people. The smart cam verbalizes the world around us, enabling even the blond people to fully enjoy their visual surroundings. People who would normally need prescription glasses can now read books without straining their eyesight.

Better than a hearing aid

Although New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has a subsidy scheme for getting hearing aids, they are still expensive and inaccessible to some people. Luckily, there are tech wearables complete with apps for those people who have difficulties discerning voices in a crowd but aren’t eligible for a hearing aid nor they really need none.

The biggest advantage of smart hearing amplifiers is their price, as on average they cost ten times the price of brand new professional hearing aids. These amplifiers resemble a Bluetooth headset, so they are easy to put on and remove. Some models have optional microphones you attach to the person speaking to improve sound quality.

Getting a tan in a smart way

Finally, a tiny sensor had been developed recently to indicate the strength of UV rays to the user. Mere 9 millimeters in diameter and battery-free, the tiny device is worn on the thumbnail. The person wearing it will never again spend too much time in the sun, ensuring they get a nice tan. After two weeks, the data from the little devil is uploaded to your smartphone where an app analyzes it.

As you have seen from our 6 examples, our lives are radically altered by wearable tech. From health monitors to vaping, wearables make everything better and more enjoyable.

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Simple Tricks for Cutting Back on Sugar

Consuming a lot of sugar contributes to a lot of diseases and disorders in the human body. Keeping track of how much sugar you are consuming is an essential part of healthy living. Ideally, taking in large quantities of sugar makes you susceptible to many life-long health conditions, for instance, diabetes. Also, a recent study done in America shows that sugar contributes to obesity more than fats.

While must of us know that excessive sugar is not good for our teeth and the rest of our bodies, cutting back is easier said than done. With that said, it’s not impossible. The following are several helpful tricks that may help you cut back on sugar:

Regulate the Pantry

Sugary foods usually trigger overeating, and having many sugary foods inside the pantry may be a disaster for many people. For instance, if you have many cookies inside your pantry, realistically speaking, you will not eat only one cookie. You may even end up eating the whole bag in a single day. Therefore, it would help if you tossed any sugary foods in your pantry to avoid overeating. It is a helpful technique in cutting back on sugar.

Keep Sugary Drinks Away

One of the worst habits you could have is drinking a lot of soda, flavored coffee, or cocktails. All these drinks contain loads of sugar. If you continue to consume them for a substantial amount of time, they may end up messing with your overall health. Since it’s harder to notice the difference between real sugar and artificial sweeteners when a beverage is cold, consider iced coffee instead of hot. Likewise, enjoy cold carbonated drinks with zero sugar. This way, you will have control over the amount of sugar you consume while still enjoying your favorite beverages.

Learn More About Nutrition Labels

Most nutrition labels may contain added sugars into their products. Therefore, you must research the nutrition products you are using and see how much sugar they contain. You have to do research even for essential items like sauces or bread, and be sure to go for the products with the lowest sugar levels. However, fruits and dairy products contain natural sugars, and they should be of no concern to you, provided you are taking them in regulated quantities. You can be able to identify the added sugars on the ingredient list of the products.

Make Low Sugar Desserts

Making low sugar desserts is also a helpful trick in cutting back on sugar. While many people always have a sweet tooth and would like to eat sickly sweet desserts rather than reduced sugar options, finding ways to prepare a low sugar dessert may be exceptionally helpful. Desserts like dark covered almonds, or frozen bananas blended with cinnamon, are okay. If you make such, you will be able to cut sugar and boost your overall well-being significantly.

Spice Your Food

Spice is an incredible tool in adding taste to your food while at the same time not adding sugar. You can try using spices for your food most of the time instead of using sauces, which might contain added sugars. Moreover, spices do not add calories, unlike a sauce. With this in mind, using spices instead of sauce is another nifty trick to cut back on sugar.

When you reduce your sugar intake, it helps you live a healthy lifestyle free from diseases and many disorders like obesity caused by excessive sugar intake. Be sure to follow our guide, and you will cut back on sugar significantly.

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaSSEO

Best Google Chrome Extensions for Small Businesses

Google Chrome has arrays of extensions that you can use to scale your business. You can use them to send emails, automate tasks, and safeguard your documents online. The extensions work on your PC or Mac once you have downloaded them. Here are the top applications that are of immense benefit to your business.

1. Todoist

Todoist is a useful tool that will help you organize all tasks in your organization. You will work with other workers as a team to complete all the jobs. Plus, you can assign individuals to work based on their skills and talents as well. As the boss, you can track the tasks regardless of your location. The highlight is that you can set reminders via Todoist so that you won’t miss out on significant job events.

2. Helium 10

Helium 10 is an Amazon Chrome extension for sellers that help them check prices on various items. You can keep tabs on the cost of specific products in your line of business. Once the prices drop, Helium 10 will alert you so that you can set competitive rates. This way, you will generate profits based on the trends that come with the cost of goods. The best part is that you will get data on Amazon and other global online sellers. You will be ahead of other businesses that trade in the same products as your enterprise.

3. Grammarly

The app is essential since you need to create content from time to time about your company. On that account, Grammarly removes typos and grammar mistakes that make online content appear unprofessional. Once you install it, it automatically corrects all errors when you write to attain polished posts. Your emails will be easy to read and have the correct spelling as well.

4. Buffer

It is a widely used Google Chrome extension that links all your social media accounts. You can advertise your products via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn with one click. The posts become automatic, making social sharing a seamless thing to do. The highlight is that you can track and analyze results to see the number of likes, shares, and comments.

5. Boomerang

Boomerang is the best extension for your email account since it manages the messages that you send or receive. It can delay texts until when you are ready to view them in free time. In addition to that, Boomerang can help you schedule when you want to send emails. You can track messages if you don’t get feedback from your clients. The best part is that you will know if the recipient has read the content or not, thanks to Boomerang.

6. Click & Clean

As part of technology, your business will face risks such as cyberattacks and other cybersecurity breaches. Therefore, you need to protect vital information that you have searched via your browser. Click & Clean is the ideal mechanism to clear history and cookies. It gets rid of cache and typed URLs so that no one can have a wind of what you are doing as part of your venture.

7. Fakespot

If you buy products in bulk online, you need to know if they are authentic or not. Fakespot allows you to determine genuine and fake reviews from customers. This way, you can purchase items that will not discredit your business. The extension pans out the difference between honest and untrue comments about specific goods. You will view the real grades from A to F that show the value or worth of the items that you intend to buy.

DevelopmentInsightsSEO

How to Work With an Outsourcing Company as an In-House Developer

As a developer, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to check every item off your checklist. When these small tasks and items snowball over time, projects end up delayed, things are overlooked, and mistakes are made.

 

When an in-house team can no longer handle the amount of work and needs extra hands to get projects completed on-time and within budget, it’s time to partner with a software outsourcing provider.

 

Outsourcing software development helps companies of all sizes and industries accomplish their goals in the most time and cost-efficient manner possible. It also helps relieve some of the stress put on in-house developers by providing them with an external resource and the additional manpower required to get things done and increase overall productivity.

 

Outsourcing teams act as an extension of your in-house talent to supplement when niche skills, extra developers, or specific expertise is required. However, as a developer working in-house for a company, partnering with an outsourced team may feel like a world of uncertainty even if the help is totally welcomed. After all, you are working closely with a team of strangers from sometimes thousands of miles away (or even on a different continent) on important projects.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. When done correctly, software outsourcing is a great way to help your company grow, succeed, and accomplish more with the help of a third-party team.

 

Tips for Working with an Outsourced Team

 

Before beginning any project with a software development outsourcing provider, it’s important that your team sets themselves up for success and fully defines a few items before bringing the new virtual team members into the working environment. While the work is going on, making some simple adjustments and changes to your normal development routine can help make it a smoother process for all involved.

 

 

Below are just a few tips for setting your in-house development team up for success when working with an outsourcing company:

 

  • Before your team starts to work with the outsourced team members, it’s a good idea to establish a leadership hierarchy. This will let your in-house devs know who is responsible for formally checking in with the team on items, who they should go to with questions, and a general game plan for management.
  • You should strive to treat your offshore developers just like an in-house coworker. When you begin working with an offshoring company, employees from that company become your virtual partners. Make the effort to make them feel welcome and like a part of the team. Not only does this boost the overall work morale and foster co-working relationships, but it will also boost productivity levels across the board.
  • Communication is, without a doubt, the backbone of a good outsourcing partnership. Without strong, effective communication from the very start of the working relationship, you are setting yourself up for failure. All project requirements must be set and clear from the beginning. However, just handing over a project explanation and having a few meetings isn’t enough. Daily communication between in-house developers and your outsourcing partner is important to help keep things on track.
    Programs such as Slack and Skype make it easy to communicate in a quick fashion to answer questions in real-time. The programs are a big help when challenges or problems come up as they allow for a timely response. Weekly meetings via voice or video calls are a great way to help bring your team back together for status updates and such. Making communication a top priority when working with an outsourced provider is one of the top ways to be successful in your software development projects.
  • Project management tools are a great way to keep things organized and visible to all team members at all times. When working with a development team that is not fully in the office, it can be difficult to know the status of each individual task for the current project. With a project management tool, such as Asana, Trello, or Basecamp, it’s easy to clearly communicate and assign tasks, determine deadlines, arrange meetings, and set goals or milestones for the projects. These tools help keep questions and answers, comments, and attached files organized and in one place for all of your team members to see. 

 

As an in-house developer or development team leader, working with a software development outsourcing firm may seem like a daunting task at first. However, these partnerships are incredibly beneficial for your team in terms of both efficiency and productivity. By setting yourself up for success with the right tools and effective communication methods, as well as clear and concise planning, your teams will be able to work together to knock projects out and achieve success.

DevelopmentInsightsSEO

10 Things to Consider When Outsourcing Quality Assurance

If software or website development project is to be successful, it has to go through rigorous quality assurance and testing to ensure that it’s ready for the market. However, this is a tedious and rather time-consuming part of the overall development process. For this reason (and many more), many organizations choose to outsource their quality assurance needs. 

What is quality assurance? One of the most important parts of the software development process, quality assurance (QA) is the process of identifying and maintaining set requirements for the development of reliable products. QA helps to boost a company’s credibility, improves overall workflow efficiency, offers a competitive advantage, and helps boost the customers’ product confidence.

QA outsourcing is when an organization chooses to partner with a third-party QA outsourcing company to handle all of their quality assurance needs. This process not only helps bring a fresh perspective and eyes to the project but also helps expedite the process and ensure that nothing goes unanalyzed. It cuts costs, improves efficiency, and provides organizations with access to quality assurance expertise without the expensive costs associated with hiring in-house.

Many businesses, however, get stuck on how to get started with third-party QA companies. They may know that the process is beneficial and that partnering with another company is something that they should do, but don’t really know where to begin or how to organize things.

Things to Keep in Mind When Outsourcing Quality Assurance

  1. The lowest rate doesn’t mean the lowest total cost nor the best services. – When it comes to outsourcing vendors, sometimes rates sound too good to be true. Unfortunately, it’s likely that they are, in fact, too good to be true. Inexpensive rates and the promise of an enormous virtual team may sound rather enticing, but it’s important to consider all options before signing on the cheapest dotted line.
  2. A thorough and comprehensive Service Level Agreement is a must-have. – A good SLA describes the level of service that an outsourcing vendor will provide in detail. This includes client satisfaction, on-time delivery, the volume of work, system downtime, availability, reporting, project management, timelines, and so on. The SLA should also include the company’s quality assurance process and measures so that organizations know what they are paying for.
  3. Industry experience means a lot in QA. – Every industry vertical has unique business processes and procedures. If a tester or testing team doesn’t have any experience with the industry at-hand, they may slow down QA efforts. A team of professionals who understand how the industry works will not only improve efficiency but also help focus quality efforts to ensure that the areas with the most business impact get the top priority testing slots.
  4. Engagement model selection is important. – During the development of an outsourcing plan, one of the most important decisions for an organization to make is the selection of an engagement model. The main point of this choice is for organizations to decide whether total outsourcing or incremental outsourcing is the right decision. Incremental outsourcing is the process of outsourcing smaller projects to make things more manageable while total outsourcing includes multiple projects with the same vendor.
  5. Communication is everything. – Communication is the key to success with any sort of outsourced project or team, something that’s especially true when it comes to QA outsourcing. Hiring organizations should strive to ensure that they have open channels for any questions that need answering and provide effective, responsive points of contact within their organizations. Factors such as escalation, issue resolution, and reporting are all important aspects of the communication process for QA.
  6. Make sure the culture fits. – A good cultural fit with an outsourcing partner is also very important. The outsourcing team needs to get to know the hiring organization as a whole, the employees, how everyone works together, and other vendors that may work on the project. They should understand the pace at which the team works and how they need to fit within it as well.
  7. Make IP protection a priority. – Companies must ensure that all personally identifiable information is never duplicated, distributed, disclosed, or made available to third parties in any manner. Any outsourcing partner needs to have security testing standards that will prevent any unauthorized access or misuse of data for hiring companies.
  8. Ask about the technology framework and best practices. – Before hiring a QA outsourcing provider, every organization should ask about the unique intellectual property and best practices that the provider offers. This helps give insight into the methodologies, tool kits, and success rate of the provider.
  9. Learn about flexibility and scalability options. – To guarantee an effective and efficient response to any work fluctuations, hiring organizations should ensure that their chosen outsourcing provider offers flexible options. This means scaling the team up during peak times and scaling down during a lull. A good outsourcing partner should have adequate infrastructure and resources available for their clients.
  10. Learn about the provider’s methods and tech. – A good outsourced QA provider uses the latest technologies and methodologies to keep up with the times. This is an obvious item, but also commonly overlooked.

By keeping these 10 notes in mind during the process of finding and hiring a software QA outsourcing company, organizations are set up for success before the projects even begin.

DevelopmentInsightsMartechSaaSSEO

Visuals in Landing Pages: Using Them Right

Tapping on the emotional instinct of your prospects and customers is imperative if you want your landing pages to convert and bring you better sales. Visuals can be a powerful element that can make your visitors smile, share valuable information, inspire the readers, and encourage them to make the purchase.

Take a look at this landing page inviting the visitors to a webinar that would discuss the future of retail-borderless commerce. It has perfectly combined text, visuals, and CTAs to encourage the readers to take action. 

That said, let’s move on to exploring the world of visuals in landing pages. 

1. Use relevant imagery

When your content is accompanied by relevant images, readers find it easier to grasp the message and make up their mind to complete the purchase. The key to using imagery is that if a message can be conveyed with the help of an image, there is no need to have a wall of text to explain it. 

Moo has gone a step ahead and incorporated the principle of storytelling in their email landing page. 

While the email shows an interesting GIF of a toaster with the CTA “Push the lever”, the landing page continues the story and displays a toast with toaster marks of 15% to promote their 15% off and coupon code.

2. Grab attention with GIFs

GIFs are the perfect substitute to videos as they emulate a video-like experience without any major impact on the loading speed of the landing page. According to GIPHY, 500 million active users spend close to 11 million hours in viewing GIFs on their channel which demonstrates the love for GIFs.  

Just make sure that the size of the GIF does not go over 1MB so that your page does not take too much time to load. 

3. Let videos do the magic

So many companies have started using videos in their landing pages to make the message more impactful for the readers and showcase your products or services effectively. You can either use the videos in the background or have a different section for the video followed by a sign-up form and CTA. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you can even try out personalized videos on the landing pages. These videos can be easily created with the help of tools like Hippo Video in which you create a video template with placeholder text and then edit it with tailormade content according to the reader’s preferences.

4. Take help of illustrations

Illustrations are way more convenient to create when compared to videos or GIFs. Another advantage of these modern images is that they have a great visual appeal too. They can be used to symbolically represent an idea through graphics and explain your offerings to the visitor.

5. Harness the power of graphs

Often, marketers need to showcase complicated statistics on a landing page. Graphs can help you with this.

Here are some ways in which you can use graphs to their maximum potential.

i. Take help of scatter plots and treemaps to display huge set of information.

ii. If you want to show trends over a decade or two, use line charts or bar graphs. 

iii. Pyramids and pie charts work well if you want to show the proportion of elements.

6. Choose the right colors

Whenever you sit to strategize your landing page design and visual elements, pick the right colors according to your business type and industry. For example, if you are a premium brand, black and white would be the perfect choice for you. Remember Apple?

On the other hand, if you are an FMCG brand, red would work better for you. (Example: McDonald’s)

Green stands for tranquility, health, and good luck which makes it a good choice for brands that are related to growth.

To learn more about how to use the appropriate visuals, colors, and CTA in your landing pages, head to the insightful infographic by Email Uplers: A deep dive into “the use of visuals in landing pages”.

IMAGE EMBED CODE 

<a href=”https://email.uplers.com/infographics/landing-page-visual-elements/” target=”_blank”>

                  <img src=”https://email.uplers.com/infographics/landing-page-visual-elements/images/embed.jpg” alt=”How to Use Visual Elements in Landing Page to Boost Conversions” /></a>

                 Source:<a href=”https://email.uplers.com/infographics/landing-page-visual-elements/”> How to Use Visual Elements in Landing Page to Boost Conversions </a>

About the author

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.