B2B Apps

4 Ways to Make Your Business App User Friendly

When a business goes to the time, effort, and investment of creating its own in-house app, it needs to ensure that the targeted users will actually use and enjoy that app. That means it needs to be user friendly. How can you accomplish that if you’re new to the app game? Here are four easy ways.
Keep It Clean
A clean and uncluttered look improves the customer experience on several levels. First, minimalist screens help users find the right steps and complete their transactions quickly and comfortably. Second, a simpler app loads faster and more successfully on any device and in any sort of connection circumstances. The longer your customers have to wait to move around in the app, the less likely they are to frequent it.
Decluttering the app also means keeping it focused to a certain set of goals and targets. An app that tries to do everything — from making orders to scheduling employees to troubleshooting products — gets confusing and slower very quickly. Focus on your core goal(s) for the app when it releases, adding new features only as they become organic.
Use Colors Wisely
The color schemes for any app or website are an important aspect of making a user-friendly experience. White text on a yellow background might be in line with your brand identity, but it can be terrible to read in the bright sunshine or when on the run.
Bolder text colors on a light background are a simple and proven way to help people find what they need without strain. No matter what your brand color scheme, you can find a way to blend it with easy-to-read choices.
Highlighting the correct next step in a different color than the text could also clue in people as to where to go next. Similarly, you might highlight navigation features in a way that keeps them consistently in the users’ view throughout the app’s pages
Think Mobile
A mobile app is designed to be used on the go and on different devices. That means you must think about how the users will interact with it while they walk, eat, wait in line, are in a busy store, stand on a street corner, or are in the car. They will use the app in daylight, at night, inside buildings, and in bed. How easily does the app work in less-than-ideal situations?
Complex instructions, small text, or undersized selection buttons, for instance, are hard to pay attention to and press when in motion. A simple fix might be to reduce the amount of text or steps, increase sizes, or spread out content on multiple pages.
Also, make sure your app can function even in changing connection situations. Does it require a good wireless connection to load a lot of graphics or different sections? If so, your customer may experience a problem as they physically move around.
Make It Intuitive
Move the user through your experience in logical manners. Consider an example. If you want a person to read instructions and then select one of three options, make sure the option buttons are logically placed directly underneath the text. Too much space will confuse users and an illogical placement will frustrate them. Even if you include instructions in the text to choose a button on the left, this is not an intuitive location to look.
What feels intuitive to one person may not feel so to another, of course. You achieve the best results by working with a group of people, testing the interface by third parties, and working with experienced developers.
These few tips are sure to enhance users’ interaction with your app. A professional app developer will be able to help you use them to create a great interface to reach your goals. At jācapps, our team knows what it takes to appeal to users of all sorts. Call today to make an appointment and get started.


5 Tips for Creating an Effective App for Employees

When you think about having an app made for your company, you might think about an app that your customers can download and use. This can be useful, but you may want to create an app for your employees to use as well. If you’d like to make a more effective app for your employees, try these tips.

  1. Work With an App Development Company

There are programs that you can use to create apps yourself, but you may want to avoid this if you don’t have experience. The team from a good app development company can give you ideas for your employee app, and they can help ensure that the app turns out like you want it to. Plus, cost might be more affordable than you think.

  1. Ask Your Employees What They Want

Talk to your employees about the fact that you are thinking about creating an employee app. Then, you can ask them for feedback. A surprising number of employees might be excited about the idea and may be happy to provide you with input. Keep your employees’ ideas in mind when you design and create your app.
Additionally, once the app has been released and your employees have been using it for a little while, you may want to ask for their feedback again. After all, the people who use the app the most will probably be the best people to give their opinions about the app. Then, they may be able to tell you about bugs that are present or features that they would like to see added.

  1. Keep It Simple

You’ll probably want to keep your employee app relatively simple and easy to use. Employees shouldn’t have to spend tons of time learning how to use the app. Instead, they should be able to download and use it right away without much of a learning curve. Keeping the app simple will also help you keep costs down in most cases.

  1. Provide Useful Information

You might have a lot of ideas about things that you can implement in the app, but first and foremost, you will probably want to provide useful information. Employees might like being able to access the app so that they can read the latest company news and memos, for example, so make sure that you keep the app up-to-date with this information.
Additionally, think about the different types of features that your employees could benefit from in their day-to-day lives. Having the option to pull up their schedule, check out the cafeteria lunch menu, or view the events calendar can all make use of the app very helpful. You may want to add some pictures and other content, too, but useful information will probably be what makes your app truly effective.

  1. Allow Push Notifications

Your employees might live busy lives both when they are at work and when they aren’t, and it might be easy for them to forget about their employee app. If you want your employees to make use of the app, consider adding a feature for push notifications.
You will probably want to allow the opportunity for your employees to turn off these notifications if they really want to, but allowing notifications can help you make sure that your employees use the app and help them avoid forgetting anything. You can even set up the app so that it will do things like give a push notification reminder prior to an employee’s scheduled shift.
Creating an employee app could be a great idea for your business. Contact us at jācapps today to find out more about our app development services and how they can help your company and your employees.

B2B Apps

4 Ways a Shift-Scheduling App Helps Your Business

Any manager who oversees shift workers knows the challenges that come with scheduling. You must account for individual employees’ availability, company needs, business cycles, and the payroll budget. For many managers, this process takes up much more time than it should.
Do you still attempt to do this job with a pen and paper? Then what you need is a scheduling app. How can this simple tool revolutionize shift management? Here are four distinct ways a scheduling app can help you and your business.

  1. Let Employees Schedule

What happens in your organization when one person has a change of availability? Do you end up having to spend hours remaking the whole schedule? Does the person email the whole team to find someone who can cover? Do supervisors bear the brunt of the responsibility? Do they sometimes not even know what is going on with their shift workers?
With a scheduling app, employees can connect with one another to make their own swaps or reliably notify supervisors of emergencies. You may have them input things like blackout dates, schedule preferences, and skills certifications.
Allowing employees to self-schedule their time as much as possible is more than a time saver. The more employees can control and manage their own schedules, the more empowered they feel. This simple and free benefit may help reduce turnover and boost morale.

  1. Use the Power of Data

The variety of elements in good scheduling are occasionally too much for one person to manage. What are everyone’s preferences? What does the upcoming business cycle look like? Who will run into overtime? How much payroll budget is left?
An app can do all these calculations much more easily and quickly than just about any human manager can. If you let it do the analysis based on data from prior shifts and pay periods, you can then focus on other matters.

  1. Automate Communications

Do you have a workforce that tends to show up late, forget their shifts, or fail to respond to attempts to reach them? You can partially overcome many of these challenges with an automated scheduling system. Set reminders through push notifications or text alerts about when employees are to be at work. Rather than someone calling or texting workers, your system can take care of the need automatically.
The advantage of a mobile-based scheduling system over traditional web-based ones is that most employees have their phones on them nearly all the time. Using a mobile app lets you harness this connectivity and get more immediate results.

  1. Link With Finance

Scheduling connects with payroll as well as other aspects of the company’s finance department. But if you schedule on paper, you do not get real-time information on how the week’s numbers look. And you still end up entering data into the payroll system separately.
Look for an app, instead, that tracks payroll expenses on a per-shift or per-day basis and offers reports to see how your schedule holds up against the payroll budget. Senior managers can keep an eye on payroll and performance data without investing too much time. The app’s data should also be downloadable into your payroll system or provider’s software so no one does redundant data entry.
Which of these features could make the biggest difference for your company’s scheduling challenges? Whether you need a time-saving device, the ability to empower shift workers, or stronger data analysis, a scheduling app could be the answer. At JACAPPS, we design customized apps for businesses of all types and sizes. Call today to make an appointment, and let us help your business help itself.

B2B Apps news and press

4 Ways An Internal Company App Can Help You Grow

An internal app provides a new method of communication and organization within your company. App development requires time, money, and attention, so what makes it worth the effort? Here are few ways it can provide tangible and intangible benefits to any growing business.
1. Communicate Easier
If all your employees don’t spend the majority of their time working within earshot at the company’s main office, you probably struggle with communication. As a company grows, it generally has  more people on the road, servicing customers, working in branches, working remotely, and using flexible schedules. All that translates to some difficulty reaching everyone and keeping them on the same page.
An internal app provides a singular way to reach everyone no matter where they are. Because an app is specific to your company and can often provide “push” notifications, you’ll have more confidence that everyone is up to speed. Even if staff is in the same office, you may find that retention and engagement is improved when everyone uses the same platform instead of a myriad of different methods to converse.
2. Get Things in One Place
Do your employees use a variety of software, apps, programs, and portals to do their particular jobs? Then wrangle most – or all – of these into a centralized system that everyone can access with just one login and one platform.
With a single app portal, you can customize the interactions based on your specific employees’ needs and learning style to make it more intuitive. And you can expand or contract the connections through your app to offer new work tools or to discontinue ones that are out-of-date.
3. Encourage Technology Use
If you have some employees who find it hard to embrace new technology, an app is the perfect way to encourage this adoption. Structure the app to be user-friendly and focus only on the most important functions that you need at the beginning – perhaps employee notices, scheduling, and payroll information. Have regular and personalized training sessions to help everyone learn how to use the app easily.
As employees learn to use the app and to see the benefit within their own lives, add more features. This may include group project organization, departmental communications, or software people can use in their jobs. Many employees will see that technological changes help them work more efficiently or become less frustrated with mundane tasks like getting approvals from management.
Once the app is something employees are accustomed to, use similar thought processes and platforms to introduce other modern technological tools like a customer-facing app, paperless offices, and remote work options.
4. Introduce Virtual Work
An app is an excellent way to start moving your company toward a more mobile and technology-friendly future. Mobile work options allow people to remain efficient even when they’re not in the office and they provide more ways to organize your business.
A sales team, for instance, can use the app to coordinate people on the road and those working behind the scenes And rather than maintain individual offices for sales staff who need to come in just to complete paperwork, you save the space and equipment by allowing them to do many of those functions from home or the road. It may even allow some employees to shift to an entirely remote schedule.
Internal apps are a new idea for many businesses and their employees. But they help you stay on top of the competition and move at the pace of modern business. At JACAPPS, we know that this can be a challenging transition time. We’re here to make it work both for you and your staff. Call today for an appointment.

App Everywhere

Use an App to Engage Patients Throughout Their Care Journey

Today’s medical practices face competition and increased expectations from an informed and tech-savvy client pool. One of the best ways to meet those expectations as well as to drive more customer engagement is to focus on the patient journey.
What is the patient journey? And how can you use a simple app to improve it for everyone? Here are a few answers.
The Patient Journey
The key to designing an app that improves patient experience is to understand the journey that patient’s take through their medical care. This journey begins long before the customer calls for an appointment, continues as they have various interactions with you and your staff, and ends after they are back home. It generally has six key steps: awareness, help, care, treatment, changes in lifestyle, and ongoing care.
Ideally, this journey shouldn’t be a one-time event. Instead, the more your patients interact with staff and feel empowered throughout the steps, the more likely it is that the journey will circle around repeatedly.
The Steps of the Journey
A customer-facing app is a great way to manage the engagement journey at all the principle steps. How can this work? Here are a few ways it boosts each touchstone.
Patients today seek information about their health in a variety of ways — some qualified and many unreliable. Can you use an app to help engage them in reputable sources for research about various health issues? Simple information about common health concerns or symptoms, for instance, keep the client informed but also keep them within your sphere of influence.
This stage of the journey is when your practice first interacts with the patient in person, usually with a phone call and appointment request. An app means your patient can make an appointment whenever they want. They can choose from available times or providers without delay. If they need personal assistance, schedulers can offer to chat or even send a text.
The care stage occurs when a person comes in for a visit with their provider. Use an app to help people complete forms though a customer portal, see wait times or delays, and even choose virtual visits for busy patients with common health challenges.
Care, of course, extends beyond the office visit. You may prescribe medicine, therapy, or follow up visits. Patient portals allow providers and patients to all be informed as to the treatment plan. You may use an app to give push notifications that remind clients of home treatment needs, provide information before or after a procedure, and make follow-up inquiries.
Lifestyle Changes
The fifth step in the journey is all about preventing recurrences and further need for in-office care. Follow-up questions are an easy way to help people make positive changes, and an app is a simple way to offer assistance. You can also share documents, recommendations, and helpful information with the patient through the portal right on their phone.
Ongoing Care
Once a patient’s single engagement journey comes to an end, be proactive about continuing the relationship. Once a patient has downloaded your app, make it a primary source of medical information and assistance. Provide changing and informative content about common health issues in your area and during various seasons. Offer notifications about things like annual exams, vaccinations, or refills.
Designing an app that focuses on ways to interact and engage with clients throughout their medical care journey can be difficult. You need an experienced app developer on your team as early in the process as possible. At jacapps, we provide mobile solutions focused on the needs of the healthcare industry. Call today to make an appointment.


Happy 11 Years jacapps!

Let me set the stage for you . . . .
It was eleven years ago.  Our research showed radio had lost its portability to the iPod.
The iTunes App Store opened in July.
And in the fall, the economy went down the drain.
In the midst of all of this, our head of digital, Tim Davis, marched into the conference room to show us an app for a radio station he’d downloaded onto his iPhone (he was the only one in the company that owned one).
It was basically a streaming app, but Tim made the case to us that this solves radio’s portability problem, and since the iPhone was so cool, radio stations would want to be on it.
What did we do?  We tossed him out of the conference room.  With the economy in tatters, combined with our complete lack of knowledge about software development, it might have been one of the dumbest ideas we’d ever heard.
Until it wasn’t.
A few days later Tim told us the guy who developed the app he showed us agreed to develop for us as an outsource partner for a fair rate.  So, armed with no business plan, capital, employees, or knowledge, jacapps was born.
We didn’t even know what to call it – there was no standard for naming an app development company, so we just took the first three letters of our last name and butted it up against “apps.”  And as you can tell from our original logo, not a penny was spared in the original marketing strategy for the company!
Looking back, it was a combination of timing, good fortune, a ton of hard work, great clients who believed in us, and hiring really good people, who we like to describe as “half our age and twice as smart.”
As the company grew and we began hiring, we had nowhere to put them, because our offices were designed for consultants (read: boring).  Plus, there was no room.  Voila!  We had a huge storage room so that became the new home for the company.  Of course, we soon outgrew that and moved into much nicer digs.  Why?  Because the staff convinced us that if were going to get really serious about this company and wanted to hire great people, the environment was everything.  See, I told you they were smart.

Eleven years later, we’ve developed over 1,200 apps and are still going strong.  How did this happen?  Here are a few of the lessons we’ve learned during this grand adventure known as jacapps.
Ideas are the currency.  That had always been the mantra of Jacobs Media, but the decision to start jacapps was premised on a great idea founded in research combined with a spark.  Three years before jacapps opened we launched our first Techsurvey and quickly began asking about smartphones.  Seeing how consumer behavior was changing combined with our understanding of the radio business and its needs created a scenario where with a simple press release about our idea, a great business began.  We didn’t know much about the business we entered, but we were confident in our idea and we just went for it.  Plus, who was starting a business in late 2008 with the stock market losing 1,000 points/day?  We had the field to ourselves.
Hire people who know things you don’t.  In 2008, there were virtually no apps, so where do you look to find an app developer?  It was daunting, and we had to go out and simply find smart people.  And did we get lucky.  Kate Levy, who’s been with us close to eight years and is our VP/Development was the game-changer.  We really didn’t know what she was talking about when we first hired her, and we’re sure she hadn’t been around a couple of radio veterans, but we knew she was smart and let her run with it.  We haven’t looked back since then, and have added other great talent and leaders like Ben Levy (yes, her brother), Chelsea DuFour, Nathan Turner, and the guy who took over the company 6+ years ago, Bob Kernen.  They run the company day-to-day now – – we’re smart enough to provide guidance but to let them do their work and get out of the way.
Never stand pat.  One of the first lessons we learned was that mobile is an incredibly dynamic space.  Not only do operating systems change and new devices are constantly being released, but new features and uses kept springing up.  Looking back, it seems like the mobile space changes every 6-9 months, and like it or not, we had to be adroit.
But, change has also been the secret sauce for jacapps.  We were the first developer to recognize the impact of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and moved quickly to get them installed into our apps.  We’ve created a push messaging platform and developed partnerships with companies like Aptivada and Instreamatic.  We designed our platform to be amazingly flexible and able to provide clients the ability to change their apps as often as they’d like so their app is in-sync with their product.
The other big moment was when the company decided to expand beyond just developing apps for radio clients. When we started in the business, the hottest apps were the Zippo Lighter and iFart.  Hardly any businesses or organizations thought about having an app.  But we recognized that any company or organization can have an app, and today, our “custom” app business has developed apps for a wide array of companies – road builders, construction, weight loss, and more.
Concurrent with moving to custom apps, we also discovered that our “B-to-C” model was limiting.  Companies began to call us with “B-to-B” needs – they weren’t looking for thousands of downloads.  Instead, they had specific needs for a finite group of their customers.  Once we saw that potential, we jumped into that space as well.

And as our radio clients began to demand more complex apps that use registration and other high-level features, our work outside of radio enabled us to develop skills that could be applied to radio apps, and have led to the development of world-class apps for WTOP, Relevant Radio, the Bob & Tom Show, and more.

As I am writing this, I guarantee the team is down the hall dreaming up the next big thing.
Clients make you better.  Because mobile is such a dynamic space, we are constantly being pushed by our clients to fulfill their latest need or concept.  And because our client base is so large, jacapps has improved because of these requests.  I won’t single out any particular client or clients here but I do want to thank them for being a big part of our success, and I encourage you to keep pushing us.
11 years.
1,200 apps.
Hundreds of great clients.
And an amazing team of passionate pros who make it all happen.
That’s what jacapps is.
Here’s to a great future together.