Alexa Amazon Echo App Everywhere Connected Car Podcasting Radio Smart Home

3 Tech Trends That Will Impact Your Radio Station This Year

By: Vince Kattoula

Radio has survived countless technological advancements over the years, from TV to iPods to streaming. But, perhaps the most dramatic changes, and most challenging, have yet to come. Below are some important technology trends that we think will influence your station this year.
Smart speakers. Radio’s presence in the home has been eroding since the appearance of the iPod. But new hope for radio has arrived in the form of “smart speakers,” particularly Amazon Echo. By now, you’ve probably heard about (or even used) “Alexa” and experienced all she can do. From setting the temperature on your smart thermostat to dimming the lights in your living room, there are a lot of cool things these speakers can do. For radio stations, however, their opportunity lies with Alexa’s ability to pull in the listener’s favorite station or podcast with a simple voice command. Radio’s at-home challenge – like so many of the others – starts with awareness, and then devising smart strategies to take advantage of this technology.
PodcastingPodcasting, a once-obscure method of consuming audio, has become a leading medium for distributing audio content, whether for business or personal use. In 2016, 71% of podcasts were listened to on a mobile device. It’s no surprise that mobile is the dominant platform being used to stream podcasts, yet radio stations still haven’t embraced podcasting like they should. When combined, podcasting and radio can create exciting programming that brings together broadcasting’s skills at production, content creation and marketing in an exciting, unlimited new form.
Connected cars. The car dashboard is one of the greatest programming challenges for broadcasters today. It’s also one of the greatest opportunities. Radio still has a dominant presence within cars, but this does not mean things won’t change. More technology brings more choices, and there are a lot in connected cars. We can attribute much of this to the driver’s ability to bring in smartphone content as well as dashboard apps, like Pandora and Spotify, right to their screen. So, what does this mean for your station? Simple – your mobile app is the way in. Whether it’s the in-car system, CarPlay or Android Auto, your mobile app makes sure that when your listener is in the car, your brand stays top of mind.
Apps are the best way to engage consumers through their mobile phone since it allows a variety of content (and content types like audio, video, text, etc.) to go with them no matter where they are. We understand the potential of these technologies to redefine the way consumers inform and entertain themselves where they live and while on-the-go. That’s why we’ve been hard at work developing new “skills” for Amazon Echo and Google Home, adding to our App EverywhereSM initiative.
Reach out to us today! Call 248-353-9030, or email for a free consultation.

Mobile Apps

The Difference Between Native Apps and Hybrid Apps

Over the last few years, many businesses have made the commitment to mobile. They understand the power of having a mobile app, and how it can grow their brand, reach consumers, and capture more revenue. There is more than one approach to mobile, and one of the first strategic decisions you’ll have to make is: Native or Hybrid.

Here’s a quick rundown on both native apps and hybrid apps

Native apps are developed specifically for a given mobile operating system (OS). This type of app follows the technical and user experience (UX) guidelines of that particular OS. The reason for this is so that the code runs more efficiently and that each function of the app will work smoothly with the device’s internal tools such as the camera, microphone, compass, accelerometer, gestures, etc. This allows for faster performance and an app that “feels right” to the end user based on their experience of and knowledge of the Android or Apple operating system. Since all native apps must follow the same guidelines, each one will have a look and feel that’s consistent with other native apps on the device. This means it will take less time for users to familiarize themselves with your app.
Hybrid apps are essentially driven by a company’s website. This kind of app loads most of the information on the screen as the user navigates their way through the app versus a native app that downloads most of the content when the user initially installs the app. Since one app can be released across multiple operating systems, hybrid apps are typically easier to develop. This makes life easier for the developer since they only have to maintain one version of the source code. What this also means is that getting the app into each app store takes less time and effort because there are fewer requirements to meet. Furthermore, updating a hybrid app is much simpler for the user. Instead of updating the app through the respective app store, the user will see updates within the app as they navigate through it – unless a new feature that dramatically changes the user experience is added.

Which route should your business take?

There is no wrong choice when it comes to deciding which route to take for your mobile app. However, there is a better choice and that choice is native apps. Overall, native apps perform better than hybrid apps, offer the highest security possible, and present a better experience for the end user. The user experience is probably the most important difference. In fact, according to Dynatrace, almost half of consumers are less likely to use the mobile app again due to a poor experience – and 34% would switch to a competitor’s mobile app. Click here to learn more about the importance of mobile UX.
Source: Dynatrace Mobile App Survey Report
Check out a few of the native apps that we’ve developed here. To get an even better understanding of how our services can help your business grow, click here to set up a conversation, call us at 248-353-9030, or email us today!

Mobile UX

The Importance of Mobile UX

By: Vince Kattoula

Technology, especially mobile apps, should be easy to use and make life easier, not harder. A good user experience is usually the difference between success and failure in the app world. User experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitude, and emotions about using a product, system, or service. When UX is well thought out and succeeds, end users are happy. But when it fails, users can become frustrated and end up saying goodbye for good.
Paige Templeton, our Lead UX and PM, had this to say about the work involving UX:

“The work involving UX encompasses a broad collection of things. The research portion gives us a base to make decisions. Competitive analyses, personas, and usability tests all help to create an app that caters to the end user. Taxonomy and information architecture work is vital in making sure users know where to find things. A lost user is a failed experience and results in a deleted app. Then, as most know, there is the user interface design. Interface design focuses on creating a layout that feels intuitive to the user. An interface that follows recognizable patterns lifts the user’s mood and he or she responds more positively. The visual design in UX caters to the look and feel of the app. It helps lead the user to more understanding of what kind of an app it is. Interface choices, such as over-designing, can hurt the app by creating a frustrated user.”

Earlier this year, Paige spoke at Ignite UX Michigan in Ann Arbor. She discussed the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding icon usage. Here are a few key takeaways:

  1. Use labels unless there isn’t enough space.
  2. Use context cues if you cannot fit a label in.
  3. Test, test, test! Use your users.
  4. Use the AIGA universal symbols list when possible.
  5. Don’t assume that making something an icon will make it easier on the user.

Creating an awesome app is more than just great code or flashy looks. After developing more than 1,000 apps for hundreds of clients across multiple industries, one of the best lessons we’ve learned is that the only thing that matters in a mobile app is the experience that it offers end users. To create an excellent user experience one must put on their end user hat and really think about each individual experience with their product. Each button, link, feature, and so on, needs to be carefully considered and designed to delight and engage the end user.
As always, we’ve love to talk mobile with you. Click here to set up a conversation about your brand’s mobile strategy. You can also give us a call at 248-353-9030 or shoot us an email.

Mobile Apps

The Day the Mobile App Won

By: Vince Kattoula

If you live in Southeastern Michigan, there’s a good chance you went to sleep without power on Wednesday night and woke up without power on Thursday morning. Throughout the day on Wednesday, a severe wind storm caused the second largest power outage in DTE Energy’s history. High winds ripped countless trees from the ground, many of which fell onto DTE’s poles and power lines triggering more than 850,000 homes throughout Michigan to lose power.
Most people were not at home during the height of the storm, prompting them to check DTE’s website. However, their only option was DTE’s mobile app since the website crashed due to the high amount of traffic. People who were home during the power outage, used the app to find out how long it would be before their power was restored. Using the app, customers can report an outage, check the status of an outage, and view an outage map all from their smartphone. The DTE Energy mobile app is available for free on iOS and Android.

This is yet another reminder why mobile apps hold the advantage over mobile websites. A well designed mobile site can take care of many problems, but it still can’t do things a mobile app can do. First, apps are less vulnerable to this type of situation. As long as the cell towers are working, apps can be accessed for news and other information. Mobile apps can also send push notifications, be accessed offline, and send geo-targeted messages. They also offer another way to get in front of your customers while securing a spot for your logo on their device’s screen. Being able to accommodate consumers when they need you the most is just as important for them as it is for you.
This got us thinking about the numerous uses for apps beyond the typical. Apps are great during emergency situations like the wind storm in Michigan on Wednesday. They’re also very effective when critical messaging needs to get out in a hurry. The best way to communicate with people is on their smartphone, and there’s no better way of doing that than with an app. So when it comes to your mobile strategy, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Click here to set up a conversation about how we can help with your mobile strategy.
So be sure to keep your smartphone battery charged, and we hope everyone’s power comes back on very soon.
You can also give us a call at 248-353-9030 or email

Mobile Apps

5 Mobile Apps That Help You Save Money

By: Vince Kattoula

Mobile apps are a great way to help you relax after a long day. With all the games and media apps out there, it can be easy to get distracted and end up spending countless hours wasting time. But apps don’t always have to be time-wasters. They can help you be more productive throughout the day, and some even save you money.

Here are a few of those money-saving apps.

With Mint, users can manage their money and keep track of their finances with ease by bringing together their bank accounts, credit cards, bills, and other investments. By seeing everything in one place, you can save time and money since there’s no need to log into multiple apps or websites. The app offers tips to save money, pay off debt, grow your credit score, and ways to better manage your budget. And, best of all, it’s free.

Mint is available on iOS and Android.

RetailMeNot is an award-winning mobile app that helps people save money while shopping and eating out. With deals from over 50,000 retailers and food offers from thousands of local and national restaurants, this app offers tons of ways to save. A savings map with all the offers near your location alerts users about nearby deals.

RetailMeNot is available for free on iOS and Android.

Ibotta helps people save money in a different way. Instead of hunting down promo codes, clipping coupons, and screenshotting barcodes, Ibotta helps you earn cash back on the brands you love. How it works is simple. Users unlock savings when they shop then submit their receipt or link their loyalty card to verify their purchase. After that, they can cash out using PayPal, Venmo, or a gift card. According to Ibotta, they’ve helped users save over $150,000,000 since their launch in 2011.

Ibotta is available for free on iOS and Android.

With a community of 60 million users who provide information about gas prices, this app helps people find the cheapest gas near their location. These stations can be found by distance or price, and users earn points and achievements for reporting gas prices. Furthermore, users can enter to win $100 in free gas every day! As if saving you money wasn’t enough.

GasBuddy is available for free on iOS and Android.

Driving around the city looking for parking sucks. What sucks even more is the fact that some of these lots charge an arm and a leg just to park your car. BestParking is a great app to avoid this since it finds the cheapest and most convenient parking facilities in 105 cities and 115 throughout North America. BestParking is so confident that they have the most accurate data out of any parking app out there that they offer a $5 Starbucks eGift to any user who reports inaccurate information. The app boast more than 2 million downloads and 1 million monthly users.

BestParking is available for free on iOS and Android.

Have a recommendation? Click here, give us a call at 248-353-9030, or email to let us know if there’s a mobile app you think we should add to this list. As always, you can also reach out to us for input on your mobile strategy.

Mobile Apps

What You Should Look for When Choosing a Mobile App Developer

Finding a mobile app developer who understands your vision and knows how to execute it is not easy. Finding an app developer to help you is a great idea, but finding the right partner is more important in the long run than saving a few dollars. Here are some things to look for when choosing a mobile app developer for your business.

Can they do more than code?

A good development company should be able to guide your brand from strategy to concept to code. If they don’t have a strong knowledge of your business they’ll never be able to give you the creative input you need. If they have experience with similar businesses, that’s even better.

Can they back up their work?

If they have created some kick-ass apps, they will have clients willing to back them up. Look for developers who can easily provide client contact information so you can get real feedback on their work, and the experience of working with them. Explore their social media sites and make sure to check their website for any testimonials and any other feedback from their customers. Click here to see what some of our clients have said about working with us over the last couple years.

Can you “develop” a relationship with them?

Mobile app development is not a one-and-done process – it’s much more than that. There are constant changes to the Apple and Google operating systems that will require updates to your app. Look for a developer that will stay by your side throughout the life of your app.
Our Monthly Maintenance Plan, or MMP, includes preferred and automatic responses to major Android and iOS upgrades that affects the app’s performance. It also includes automatic inclusion of major templates upgrades when made available. This is just another way we strive to provide our clients with the best possible customer service.
The right mobile app developer will add value in more ways than just development. In turn, this will help your business reach more of your target market and maximize your revenue. Click here to reach out and get more of an idea of how we can help your brand with mobile. You can also call 248-353-9030 or email