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a 3d rendering of a front store marketplace

No-Code Marketplace — Building a Marketplace without Code

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
January 19, 2023

Learn how a no-code platform facilitates the development of a marketplace business.

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No-code tools speed up the development of digital products to a point where you can have a fully operational marketplace app in a matter of days. And while no-code lowers the barrier to entry for non-technical founders to launch their products, the approach comes with a set of pros and cons that have to be factored in early on — in-depth analysis at the start will help you decide how exactly a no-code platform should facilitate the development of a marketplace business.

Benefits of Building an Online Mobile App Marketplace Using No-Code Tools

While the biggest benefit of using no-code to build your shopping platform is simply quickly turning your marketplace idea into a workable product, there are several other benefits to building online marketplace apps using no-code tools:

Reduced development costs

No-code tools can significantly reduce the costs associated with building and launching a marketplace. They decrease the need for custom development, allowing you to build and launch your marketplace at a fraction of the cost.

Faster time-to-market

A marketplace website builder for no-code development allows you to build and launch your marketplace much faster than traditional coding methods. This can be particularly beneficial if you have a short-term focus or need to get your product to market quickly.

a screen of a mobile app built using no-code blocks
By using blocks, you can build the application faster.

Low learning curve

No-code builders have a low learning curve, making them accessible to non-technical founders and individuals. This can be particularly appealing for those who are new to building digital products or have limited technical skills.

User-friendly

No-code development platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with a range of templates, custom elements, and integrations to help you build a functional and professional marketplace.

Drawbacks When Building a Product Using a No-Code Platform

While the no-code approach to online marketplaces offers many benefits, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. Knowing the limitations of no-code marketplace software builders should be a big chunk of your decision whether to build with little code or opt for custom development.

Scalability

While no-code tools can be a great option for building an MVP or small-scale marketplace, they may not be as scalable as traditional coding methods. This can be a problem if you have ambitious growth plans or need to build a highly complex and customized marketplace. Consider a scenario where your audience matures to a point where they are loyal to your application but to keep them appropriately engaged, you have to develop new marketplace features or introduce new integrations that the no-code builder doesn’t yet offer.

Vendor lock-in

One potential drawback is vendor lock-in. When you build a product using a no-code platform, you are reliant on that platform for updates, maintenance, and support. This can be problematic if the platform decides to change its pricing model, discontinue support for your product, or experience technical issues.

Customization

While no-code tools do offer some level of customization, they may not offer the same level of flexibility and control as traditional coding methods. This can be a problem if you have specific business requirements or need to create a completely customized marketplace.

a marketplace application for shopping

Marketplace App Metrics to Track for Sustained Growth

by
Paulina Nowicka
Paulina Nowicka
,
December 28, 2022

Here’s a rundown of the most valuable metrics to track in a marketplace app.

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It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of wanting to track every metric possible of your marketplace app. But aside from filling your head with plenty of numbers, tracking everything won’t give you the insight you need to make better product decisions. Here’s a rundown of the most valuable metrics to track in a marketplace app.

What Are the Key Metrics of a Marketplace?

The key metrics of a marketplace have to give you a whole picture of your app’s performance — both from the financial perspective and product development side.

Measuring marketplaces for goods vs. services

There may be some differences in the metrics for a marketplace app for services versus goods.

For example, a marketplace app for online courses may place more emphasis on metrics such as course enrollment and completion rates. A marketplace app for goods may pay more attention to metrics like the number of transactions and average order value.

What are the 4 types of metrics?

You can split the marketplace metrics into four buckets to keep analytics organized and draw better business insights and learn to recognize patterns.

  • Usage
  • Transactions
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Business

Now let’s go over the four buckets and point out the most important metrics that will help you build a well-performing marketplace.

Usage Metrics

Usage metrics tell you what users do in your application. Mobile analytics help you track the visited screens, the used features, and the amount of time users spend on each screen. These metrics will help you understand how users are using the product.

Usage metrics include:

Active users

This measures the number of unique users who have used the app within a given time, e.g., daily or monthly active users.

Session duration

The average amount of time that users spend using the app during a single session. This metric is especially useful when you combine it with other metrics such as screen views, transactions, or interactions in the app.

Screen views

You can track the number of times a specific screen is viewed by users. This can help you understand which screens are the most popular and which ones may not be receiving as much attention. This way you can introduce changes in the screens (or even eliminate them to streamline the user experience).

Session frequency

This measures the average number of times that a user opens the app over a specific period.

Drop off rate

Drop off rate within a specific step in the funnel can help you eliminate the friction points that decrease conversion rates.

a screen for a custom funnel tracker in UXCam
A screen of a custom funnel tracker in UXCam helps marketplace app owners fix friction points. UXCam
two people using flutter for web development

Create True Cross-Platform Products with Flutter Web Development

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
December 2, 2022

Flutter is an effective way to manage one team that works on a single code base of a product that runs on many devices and platforms.

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Flutter is an effective way to manage one team that works on a single code base of a product that runs on many devices and platforms. Flutter for web development is a great choice for projects where users want to access the product conveniently, via a mobile or desktop app.

Flutter for Web Development in 2022

Stability and maturity

Flutter for web development might not be as mature as Flutter for mobile, it’s good for web development and stable commercially. Flutter web support reached a stable level in March 2021.

Performance

During first app use, there can be some lagging because the app has to be cached. After that, the application loads from the cache and works fast. Final app performance depends on code quality and the size of the application.

What Web Products Can You Build with Flutter

Progressive web apps (PWAs)

PWAs are similar to desktop and native applications. They are lightweight, responsive, and they also behave like ordinary websites. PWAs also work offline and can be installed independently of mobile app aggregators such as Play Store or App Store.

Single page apps (SPAs)

SPAs are a type of a web application that loads one web document that is dynamically updated — websites normally load new pages as the user navigates through them. Because of fast data rendering times, SPAs work well for content-driven products.

a big digital mobile phone with a person standing in front

No-Code Startups — Successful Companies That Started without Coding

by
Łukasz Kincel
Łukasz Kincel
,
November 15, 2022

No-code tools help validate ideas and launch products quickly. Here’s an overview of no-code startups and companies that started without code.

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No-code tools have helped entrepreneurs without programming resources test their ideas and launch products quickly. Wanting to validate solutions fast, companies can use no-code platforms to ease their product into the market for feedback. Here’s an overview of no-code startups and companies that started without code.

No-Code Startups and Companies Built with No-Code Tools

Comet — The “OG” no-code success story 

Launched in 2016 by three roommates, Comet is probably the most successful no-code startup out there. Comet is a freelancing marketplace that attributes its early success to no-code platforms.

comet screenshot of the website
Comet’s homepage. Source: Comet

Being a non-technical founder, Charles Thomas built and launched the core platform quickly. Built entirely in Bubble.io, Comet scaled fast, helping freelancers deliver 300+ projects and register an average MRR of $800k. 

Comet's early success is attributed to the founder’s manually vetting every freelancer profile.

The platform attracted venture capital upward of €14 million within three years of inception. Investors like Kima and Otium Ventures gave seed capital. Over the last five years, Comet helped 1000+ companies hire tech talent. 

  • Founders: Charles Thomas, Joseph, and Valentin 
  • Website: comet.co 
  • Tool used: Bubble
  • Prominent clients: Renault, LVMH, Société Générale, BNP, Payfit, and Allianz
  • Funds raised: €14 million raised in Series A in 2018

Teal — Job search made easy 

Founded by David Fano, Teal helps people get better outcomes from a job search. The platform lets people organize their job hunt activities and find better jobs. 

Teal's founder admits that no-code was in their DNA from the beginning. They used Bubble to launch the platform.

Choosing a no-code platform gave Teal better control over design and helped it iterate faster. Teal started with Bubble for the main product, then used Typeform for surveys and Airtable for database management — connecting everything using Zapier. Webflow was used for the website.

The founder says that traditional mockups are a great solution, but they don't help validate if there’s demand for a product. A no-code MVP lets companies speed up development, test rapidly, and iterate quickly to find a product-market fit. 

Teal has raised over $11 million from investors and continues to improve the platform with a small team. No-code helped the company refine the product and focus on better helping people achieve the most out of their career journey. 

  • Founder: David Fano 
  • Website: tealhq.com
  • Tool used: Bubble.io, Webflow, Airtable, Zapier, HubSpot. 
  • Funds raised: $11 million from City Light Capital, Flybridge Capital, Oceans, Human Ventures, and many more.

Scribly.io — A no-code content service

Good content can drive demand galore to a business. Scribly helps companies with content needs through a service facilitated by a no-code website.

example screenshot of Scribly websi
Scribly’s landing page was built using Webflow. Source: Scribly

Started by Dani Bell, a British freelancer, Scribly was built entirely using no-code tools. Interestingly, Scribly started out because of her need to productize her content marketing services.

Scribly was built in 6-8 weeks and registered an MRR of $30K within a year.

When asked about her journey, the founder stated that she was amazed at how quickly and affordably one can build something using no-code technologies. She also revealed that she didn't want a no-code business but was looking to patch some solutions to improve her productivity.

Scribly's success with no-code stems from the founder's understanding of the market's pain points. A clear goal is essential to building a useful solution. Indeed, no-code startups that are successful first focus on the problem and then try to solve it with technology.

Dani Bell used Webflow for the website, Airtable for database management, and Zapier to connect different systems. The workflow is pretty simple but highly effective.

  • Founder: Dani Bell 
  • Website: scribly.io
  • Tool used: Webflow, Airtable, Zapier 
  • Notable achievements: Functional product in 6-8 weeks and $30K MRR within a year.

Qoins — A financial app for getting out of debt 

Qoins help people pay their debt faster. The company provides financial coaching, tips, and round-off payments for automating debt repayment using a mobile app.

Qoins app was built in Bubble. According to the founders, Bubble let them build a seamless product quickly that would otherwise need a big team to launch and maintain.

a screenshot of Qoins a mobile app built without a single line of code
Version 1 built in Bubble. Source: Qoins

Over the last four years, Qoins has helped people pay over $30 million in debt. They also won the Fintech Innovation Award Challenge — the biggest award for fintech companies in the United States. The company has raised a total of $2.3 million since it started.

  • Founders: Nate Washington Jr. and Christian Zimmerman
  • Website: qoins.com/ 
  • Tool used: Bubble.io 
  • Funds Raised: Raised $2.3m funding in total to date
  • Notable achievements: Won Fintech Innovation Award Challenge

Flexiple — A freelance hiring platform

Flexiple is a popular Toptal alternative that helps companies hire pre-vetted freelancers. Flexiple generates $3 million in revenue, and the company is built using a no-code stack that costs them just $60 per month.

In a theoretically competitive space of freelance hiring platforms, the key to success was a simple business model, core focus on organic growth, and frugal innovation.

It took Flexiple four years to reach $1 million in annual revenue, during which they tested various models. Since then, Flexiple’s been growing at 25% month-on-month.

Flexiple’s no-code tech stack is Unicorn Platform, Airtable, Bubble, and Webflow. According to the blog on one of Flexiple’s side projects, Buildd, the company:

  • Built 100+ subpages on Unicorn Platform
  • Launched side projects like Scale and Founder Origin Stories on Webflow
  • Manage dynamic flows using Zapier or Integromat
  • Built internal tools for business management using Bubble, which helps them save 160 hours every month

Flexiple's founder, Karthik Sridharan, regularly shares nuggets about the power of no-code in building a startup on his Twitter.

Bloom Institute of Technology — Accessible education for everyone 

Bloom Institute of Technology, formerly known as Lambda School, fixes broken education systems.

The platform lets students attend college-level programs, learn a new skill, and land a job without paying any upfront tuition fee. Bloom relies on the Income Share Agreement model, where a student can pay back tuition after securing a job.

The ingenious model helped the company raise $4 million in seed funding (and $122 million overall), all for a solution built using a no-code platform. Bloom used Typeform, Airtable, Retool, and Webflow to develop and launch an MVP for 3,000 users.

No-code helped it launch a functional platform without writing code or programming skills. The team at Bloom introduced automation, got their idea off the ground, and caught the attention of investors and students.

  • Founders: Austen Allred and Ben Nelson
  • Website: bloomtech.com 
  • No-code tools used: Webflow, Typeform, Airtable, and Zapier 
  • Funds raised: $122 million

Dividend Finance — A renewable energy and home improvement financing platform

Dividend Finance is another no-code success story that has transformed an entire industry. Dividend Finance helps homeowners secure financing for home improvements and add renewable energy solutions to their homes.

Dividend screenshot, one of the many success stories for no-code programming
Dividend Finance homepage. Source: DividendFinance

Dividend Finance provides a simple onboarding experience for loan applications that removes obstacles and red-tapism, especially for individual customers.

The platform used Bubble to launch the no-code MVP and managed to process more than $1 billion in sales over the years. Dividend Finance attracted investments of over $384 million from Credit Suisse and LL funds, and also the company won several awards in the fintech industry.

LetterHunt — A newsletter directory 

If you are looking to build a directory app using no-code, LetterHunt can be a great inspiration. LetterHunt helps marketers, readers, and founders discover niche newsletters. Built using Softr, LetterHunt hosts information about 10,000+ newsletters across 20+ categories.

a screenshot of letterhunt app
LetterHunt newsletter directory with multiple categories. Source: Softr

LetterHunt received a great response from the online community and became the #1 Product of the Day and Week on ProductHunt.

  • Founders: Akhil BVS and Madan Rawtani 
  • Website: letterhunt.co
  • Tool used: Softr
  • Revenue: $4,000 in just 2 months
  • Notable achievements: #1 Product of the Week on ProductHunt

Princeton Concession — A stadium food delivery app 

Princeton Concession is a limited-area food delivery app lets users order refreshments and snacks at Princeton Stadium, New Jersey. The app, built using Glide, helps avoid long wait times and queues at food stalls in the stadium.

Princeton Concession delivery app. Source: Glide Apps

Crowd management is a serious issue at concerts and sporting events. A food delivery app built on a simple no-code architecture for a limited geographical area is a great solution to modernize the food ordering experience.

  • Made for: Princeton Stadium, New Jersey
  • No-code platform used: Glide Apps
  • App link: Princeton Concession

Chara — An on-demand healthcare app 

Chara is a holistic health and wellness company that helps achieve a balance between mind, body, and soul. The Chara app that lets you book sessions with expert therapists, health coaches, and alternative health specialists.

Built by Dylan Terrill using Adalo, the app connects you to top-rated practitioners for sleep, skin, gut health, mental health, nutrition, and general health issues. You can use the app to book a physical session or video chat with an expert.

screenshot of the mobile app Chara
Chara mobile app interface. Source: Adalo

The user-friendly interface and minimalist design crafted using a no-code app builder help users find answers to their healthcare issues faster. 

  • Maker: Dylan Terrill 
  • Website: charahealth.com
  • Tool used: Adalo
  • Available on: iOS and Android

Aqarat — A real-estate listing app

Aqarat is a real-estate listing app designed for the Middle East and African markets. Available in English and Arabic, the mobile app was built using Adalo.

The app helps users find residential and commercial properties for sale or rent in a region. With features like location filter, search, and customizable listing, the mobile app is great for people looking for a property to buy, sell, or rent.

According to the maker, no-code eased the development process and helped quickly launch the MVP.

  • Founder: Mohamed Mudathir
  • Tool used: Adalo
a 3d laptop with wheels and cogs

How to Validate Ideas Faster with No-Code MVP

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
November 2, 2022

Launching an MVP is an efficient way to ease a product into the market to gauge feedback. You can build a no-code MVP in days instead of weeks.

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A minimum viable product (MVP) is a cost-efficient approach that lets you validate ideas quickly. By using no-code and low-code you can build an MVP in a matter of days. No-code tools help you check if a product solves user problems and learn how to refine your solution.

What Is a No-Code MVP?

A minimum viable product can have many forms. The key of every approach is to start providing value for the user as soon as possible.

That said, in the world of mobile app development, a no-code MVP is one of the swiftest methods to validate ideas using technology, at a low cost.

Building a no-code MVP means using a platform that lets you put together a mobile application without having to write code. Because the learning curve is significantly lower compared to custom development, a no-code MVP can be released within two weeks.

In Bravo, one of many no-code platforms out there, you use designs from Figma that are then turned into mobile app screens. In that way, Bravo simplifies the frontend development of your mobile product — you still need logic (the backend). You can use many integrations available inside the tool (e.g., Airtable) to configure the backend that does the thinking behind the screens.

“No-code platforms let businesses build native apps for iOS and Android. After familiarizing yourself with tutorials and documentation, you can build the app, sign it, and publish it all on your own without ever needing developers. If I was to estimate, it should take two to three days of learning to start building a product in Bravo,” says Adam Zawiślak, Product Manager at Nomtek.

What Can I Build with a No-Code Tool?

The possibilities of no code platforms have developed incredibly in recent years. 

Just two years ago, it was common for no-code tools to have scalability limitations, forcing companies who chose them to move to custom development after initial validation to accommodate the need for feature extensions. That said, currently there are many successful products that were built entirely using no-code tools — and they’re operating as complete businesses.

Here are some examples of apps you can build using no-code tools:

  • Photo editing (including AI touchups)
  • Gradebooks
  • Booking
  • News feeds
  • Translators
  • Loyalty card management
  • Finance management

The list is incomplete and the pool of apps you can build using no-code tools is constantly expanding, along with the sophistication of no-code tools. But even though you can create an increasing number of app types with low-code tools, there are still some limitations to keep in mind if you plan a long-term support cycle for your app or simply want to introduce more features.

pieces of a mobile app in the making

Hire Flutter Developers for a Successful Product Release

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
October 13, 2022

Flutter is one of the most popular cross-platform frameworks, but there’s a limited pool of experienced developers. Learn how to hire the right developers.

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Find out where to find seasoned Flutter developers and how to include them in your next mobile app project.

What to Consider When Hiring Flutter Developers?

Native mobile development experience

Developers without native mobile app development might have gaps in knowledge that can lead to lengthened problem-solving. This can generate more costs and uncertainty if a solution picked by the developer is actually the most effective one. Developers with 3+ years of experience in native app development have a greater understanding of mobile environments and best practices. This helps them find the most optimal solution faster.

Cross-platform experience

For small projects that require only one developer, it’s great to find someone experienced in developing for two platforms: iOS and Android. This way, you’ll be able to release your product for two platforms and have certainty that the developer is familiar with the differences and requirements present on both platforms.

Drive to learn

Flutter is a dynamic technology that’s constantly evolving — you have to follow the news and upgrades to know which solutions work best for specific use cases. That’s why when talking to developers about your project gauge their eagerness and interest in the technology. Flutter is relatively young: not every use case has been explored. Also, while Flutter can be used for web development, there aren't that many libraries available for out-of-the-box integrations.

Why Do You Need an Experienced Flutter App Developer?

It seems like a no-brainer, but experience in native development is hugely important when considering Flutter developers. The development is rarely straightforward — there are always problems of varying complexity bound to crop up. Different issues can surface when inexperienced Flutter developers work on the project.

Here are just some of the possible scenarios:

  • New product launch
  • Additional maintenance
  • Rebuilding the existing software
  • Native app into a cross-platform
  • Web into mobile (or mobile into web)

All these scenarios have edge cases that require experience to implement well. For example, during a new product launch, it might be wiser to hire a team that consists of a designer, developer, and product manager to validate an idea (by using no-code discovery) before jumping straight into development. That way, you can minimize the risk of spending money on a solution that doesn’t have a problem among your target audience.

people building a 3D asset

How to Build Sticky Products in Flutter

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
October 11, 2022

How can technologies such as Flutter help maintain an optimal ratio of business viability to customer satisfaction?

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Ever get a panicked “where’s my phone” moment? Well, the average American checks their smartphone every 10-12 minutes and spends over five hours a day browsing apps. Sure, that’s a huge business opportunity. But if you consider that phone-related anxiety can turn to nomophobia (i.e., “a fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity”), digital addiction is no longer an opportunity but a threat. So the real question is, if mobile products were developed ethically — with a balanced consideration for the business and the user — could the digital landscape turn from worrisome to enabling?

And how can technologies such as Flutter help maintain an optimal ratio of business viability to customer satisfaction?

Sticky Products that Build Good Habits

A lot of the information we consume on mobile apps has a negative effect on our self-esteem, creating an illusion about perfect routines, shredded silhouettes, or lavish meals. Social media apps in particular have a documented impact on our mental health, especially among youth.

But there’s another, positive, part of the story — positive habit-building mobile experiences. These are apps that help us manage our time better, learn new skills, or simply keep tabs on our fitness and training progress. They bring together like-minded people into communities.

If digital products have such mutually exclusive results on mental health, how can founders design their products so that they help form healthy habits without causing addiction? Does technology have any say in that?

Creating Digital Products That Are Profitable and Empowering

At nomtek, we believe that the key to building successful digital products is to take an honest approach to development. This means we don't just push a product out the door without carefully considering whether it’s truly needed by the target audience.

Instead, we experiment, validate, and discuss market changes to ensure that the product will solve a real problem for the target audience. This allows us to create products that are useful and effective, with a strong appeal to the people who will be using them.

Exploring product opportunities with ongoing discovery

Teresa Torres' Continuous Discovery Habits is a framework that can help businesses explore product opportunities and validate their ideas. The framework treats product development as an ongoing process, where businesses should be constantly experimenting, learning, and adapting in order to create successful products.

The Continuous Discovery Habits framework consists of six key habits:

  1. Observing customers and their behaviors in order to gain insights into their needs and preferences.
  2. Asking questions and gathering feedback from customers in order to better understand their needs and validate your assumptions.
  3. Trying out new ideas and solutions in a low-risk and low-cost way in order to test their feasibility and effectiveness.
  4. Reflecting on your experiences and learnings to continually improve and refine your product.
  5. Communicating openly and transparently with customers, stakeholders, and team members to build trust and alignment.
  6. Prioritize: Prioritize your efforts and resources based on the insights and learnings you have gained in order to focus on the most valuable opportunities.

By following these habits, businesses can use the continuous discovery framework to explore product opportunities and validate ideas in a systematic and effective way.

A depiction of an opportunity solution tree.
Opportunity solution tree make it easier for teams to map out the path to a desired outcome. Source: Product Talk

Ongoing discovery habits yield the best insights in cross-functional teams. Teresa Torres proposes a product trio consisting of a designer, developer, and product manager. Each contributes their expertise, filling gaps and generating compounding discovery benefits.

Network effects for improved product stickiness

Network effects are a powerful tool that can be used to build products that resonate with users. Network effects leverage relationships between users, allowing new users to benefit from the network that already exists. By creating network effects within an app, as it grows in popularity, each user gains more value as more relationships are formed and connected. This trend has become increasingly important for businesses and developers looking to create engaging and successful digital products over the last few years.

The key to reaping benefits from network effects is building products customers want — for this to happen, ongoing discovery and an almost intimate knowledge of customer needs are necessary.

two people working on a 3d mobile app in flutter

Improve Business Outcomes with Flutter App Development Services

by
Paulina Nowicka
Paulina Nowicka
,
October 3, 2022

To fully leverage the power of cross-platform Flutter development services, the key is to approach the project in a structured yet agile way.

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Flutter helps you create pixel-perfect digital products that run on multiple platforms from one codebase. To fully leverage the power of cross-platform Flutter development services, the key is to approach the project in a structured yet agile way — positive business outcomes can happen faster when you make decisions supported by data.

Overview of Flutter Product Development Steps

While the product development cadence for Flutter is similar to that of other cross-platform mobile frameworks, Flutter’s flexibility lets developers improve efficiency during all stages of product creation. The code can be reused across platforms to make development and maintenance easier.

Strategy and idea validation

A product strategy helps ensure that the mobile app meets customer needs and is viable in the market. The validation process includes market research, user feedback, and competitor analysis. The results of the validation process will guide the development process. If the product should be available to audiences on different platforms and devices, picking Flutter as the frontend technology will help lower development costs: You can build Flutter apps for mobile, web, and desktop.

Product design workshops

Product design workshops let the team collaborate and discuss product requirements, user experience, and design elements. Workshops help ensure that the product’s UX and UI resonate with target audiences and meet the goals of the project.

During this exploratory part of the project, the team brainstorms to create people-centered designs. The team creates a roadmap for the product and discusses any potential problems that may arise. The workshops also help align stakeholders on the product vision.

overview of app screens
People-centered design is key to building sticky apps. Source: nomtek

Development services

Flutter lets developers create truly stunning digital products. The SDK has a set of customizable widgets and built-in animation support, which make it easy to create beautiful, fast, and responsive user interfaces. Flutter also has a hot reload feature that lets developers see the changes they make to their code in real time, which speeds up developments. A built-in robust testing framework for writing and running unit and integration tests improves the QA process.

But to develop great user experiences in Flutter across all platforms (iOS, Android, and desktop) the Flutter app development company should have native app development skills. This way, the app will have a familiar feel. Each mobile platform (be it iOS or Android) has its own unique set of characteristics and requirements, and using native development techniques ensures that an app will be able to take advantage of the full capabilities of the platform. Experience in developing native apps is crucial.

Product management

Skilled product managers navigate the product backlog through the availability of resources to meet the deadline and budget requirements. Flutter helps product managers communicate better because there’s only one team for the whole product regardless of the platform.

Fewer meetings mean more time for quality development work and the discovery of opportunities.

Quality and assurance

The quality assurance process for Flutter development is similar to that of other mobile app development frameworks. It involves testing the app to ensure that it is functional, reliable, and user-friendly. Testing for performance, usability, or UX lets developers identify any issues and make improvements before the app is released.

Support and maintenance

Support and maintenance services are essential for ensuring the success of a product. Ongoing support and maintenance ensure the product continues to function properly and provides a good user experience.

When providing app maintenance services, it's important to consider the following:

  • Engagement model. Different businesses have different needs when it comes to support and maintenance services. It's important to choose an engagement model that is tailored to your specific needs and goals. Some common engagement models for support and maintenance services include managed services, where the service provider manages all aspects of the support and maintenance process; and a support-only model, where the service provider provides support and assistance but does not manage the entire process.
  • Availability and uptime. One of the key goals of support and maintenance services is to ensure that your product is always available and functioning properly. This can improve customer satisfaction and drive business growth. When choosing a service provider, it's important to consider their availability and uptime guarantees, as well as their track record of meeting these guarantees.

Dedicated Flutter App Development Services

Flutter app migration from other tech stacks

Flutter can make it easier to manage a team and ship features compared to native app development and many other cross-platform app development technologies. It’s a cost-effective long-term strategy for products intended to be maintained for years. Still, keep in mind that migration is a big endeavor, so before deciding to migrate to Flutter, consider the following:

  • Compatibility. Is the technology you’re migrating to compatible with the features and functionalities of your existing app? How much effort would it take to write them? Can the technology meet your future scalability and extensibility needs?
  • Cost. Migrating an app to a new technology can be a costly and time-consuming process, so it's important to weigh the costs and benefits of the migration, in the short and long term.
  • Support. Will you have the support and resources available for the technology you are migrating to? Is the technology well-established and widely used, with a strong community and robust documentation and support resources? Are skilled developers readily available on the market?

Flutter app upgrades

Upgrading an app to the latest version of Flutter can provide many benefits, including enhanced business continuity, security upgrades, and improved performance. New Flutter releases also come with new features and improvements. To ensure the upgrade doesn’t cause regression or generate bugs, a team should review the app's code to check for potential compatibility issues.

Flutter product consulting services

Flutter product consultants help businesses determine how this cross-platform technology can support business objectives. Working closely with experts, businesses can improve their time-to-market, customer engagement, and business outcomes. With a customized approach to development, product consultants analyze data and conduct experiments to help companies get the most out of their investment in Flutter-based digital products and find opportunities within the target audience’s needs.

Flutter architecture setup

Architecture refers to the overall design and structure of a mobile application. It includes the high-level components and modules of the app, as well as the relationships and interactions between those components. A well-designed architecture is important for several reasons:

  • Maintainability. A good architecture makes it easier to maintain and update the app over time. This reduces maintenance costs and effort.
  • Scalability. A well-designed architecture can be scaled efficiently without excessive costs.
  • Performance. Architecture plays a key part in ensuring a close to native performance of the Flutter application.
  • Extensibility. A proper mobile app architecture lets developers add features to the app faster with little overhead.

Understanding Flutter’s architecture is another element that helps build the mobile apps architecture with best practices in mind.

flutter architecture
Flutter’s architecture. Source: Flutter

Continuous integration (CI)

Continuous integration (CI) is a mobile application development practice where Flutter app developers regularly integrate their code changes into a shared code repository. Automated tools build, test, and validate the changes. Using continuous integration in mobile app development can provide several benefits, including:

  • Improved code quality. By regularly integrating code changes and running automated tests, developers decrease the likelihood of bugs and other issues, for example, those that affect performance.
  • Faster feedback. By implementing changes to the code daily, the team can get faster feedback to identify and resolve issues.
  • Better collaboration. Continuous integration improves collaboration among developers by making it easier to share and integrate code changes.
machinery working on a mobile app written in Flutter

Flutter Development — Great Pick for Digital Products

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
September 26, 2022

Learn why Flutter is a good choice for cross-platform apps that run on mobile, desktop, and web.

Read more

Flutter is a cost-effective choice for businesses that want to quickly validate their ideas but also need a long-term tech stack to scale in the future. You can use Flutter to reach a broader audience across devices, using a single codebase.

What Is Flutter?

Flutter is an SDK (software development kit) that developers use to write cross-platform apps. It means that a single codebase can work on multiple platforms — for example, mobile and web — without the need to build separate apps for each of these environments. 

Cross-platform development frameworks can be used to create high-quality digital products in a shorter time with smaller teams. Flutter has been a favorite among these tools, appreciated by many industry professionals. According to the 2022 Stack Overflow Survey, Flutter is the top most loved cross-platform technology.

Created by Google in 2017, Flutter quickly outraced its biggest competitors, React Native from Facebook and Xamarin from Microsoft. The main reasons why it’s the preferred environment by many developers are high performance, hot reloads, a big library of UI components and widgets, faster time-to-market, a helpful community, and a productive development process.

Is Flutter a programming language?

Flutter lets you create cross-platform apps using Dart, the programming language created by Google in 2011. Dart is object-oriented, has relatively easy syntax, and offers a set of handy tools that make the mobile app development process more productive. So, Flutter isn’t a programming language but an SDK that uses Dart to create cross-platform apps.

Dart is a relatively niche programming language compared to Java or JavaScript. However, it’s not difficult to learn and start working in Dart, especially for developers who already have a grasp on the syntax of other object-oriented and class-based languages.

Is Flutter frontend or backend?

Flutter is a framework that can be used for both frontend and backend development. However, most Flutter developers use it for the former. This is because Flutter makes it easy to create beautiful, interactive user interfaces. Since there are many great BaaS (backend-as-a-service) solutions that cooperate with Flutter, building the backend from scratch makes sense only in particular cases. For example, if the project has many custom features, a BaaS might not cover them all. But for most projects, the Firebase backend will be more than enough. Firebase is also a Google solution, so it complements Flutter well.

Which Companies Use Flutter?

Being a Google product, Flutter is the staple technology behind many of the company’s products: Google Pay, Stadia, and Ads. But the list of companies who trusted Flutter with mobile app development is much larger, encompassing brands such as Alibaba Group, eBay, Toyota, BMW, iRobot, and Tencent.

Want more examples? Here’s our list of 15 brands that trusted Flutter with their software needs.

logos of companies who use Flutter
Many companies trusted Flutter to build their apps. Source: Flutter.dev
folder with mobile applications

Companies Using Flutter to Build Their Products in 2022

by
Mat Zaleski
Mat Zaleski
,
August 1, 2022

Discover highly popular and successful mobile apps built with Flutter. Learn how Flutter's robust functionalities have contributed to their success.

Read more

When Google introduced Flutter in 2017, many companies picked the framework to power their applications across platforms (e.g., Android, iOS, desktop, web). With its rising popularity, apps built with Flutter continue to grow in numbers. Let’s look at some of the mobile apps built with Flutter and how Flutter's robust functionalities have contributed to their success.

If you want to know this technology better, read about Flutter development.

How Many Flutter Apps Are There?

With every major release, the number of Flutter apps increases. When Flutter 2 was released in March 2021, there were over 150,000 Flutter-based apps on Play Store alone. At the time of Flutter 3 launch in May 2022, we had 500,000 Flutter apps already out there. That's a 455% jump in usage over two years.

By comparison, in August 2020, there were “only” 90,000 Flutter-made apps.

Here’s Flutter’s evolution with key improvements to the framework:

Flutter’s roadmap from first release to Flutter 3
Flutter’s roadmap from first release to Flutter 3. Source: Tim Sneath’s Medium

What Popular Apps Are Made with Flutter?

Xianyu by Alibaba

Xianyu by Alibaba is an ecommerce app for buying and selling second-hand goods. The app is built in Flutter and is available on both iOS and Android.

Xianyu app by Alibaba
Xianyu app by Alibaba. Source: Pandaily

In 2017, the team at Xianyu conducted an in-depth comparison between available cross-platform development platforms. The analysis favored Flutter, which offered a better development experience and faster testing capabilities compared to, for example, React Native.

At the time, Xianyou was struggling with hiring challenges and the shortage of talented iOS engineers, which hindered the company’s app development efforts. Flutter helped the team solve their recruitment problems. With Flutter, the company could adopt a flexible team structure. Also, apps built with Flutter performed better according to Xianyu’s internal test results.

Easy implementation, minimal learning curve, and hot reload feature helped Xianyu launch new product pages quickly. After initial success, Flutter became a standard part of Xianyu’s tech stack, speeding up development and improving the cross-platform experience for end-users.

The Xianyu app now has more than 50 million downloads and 10 million active daily users.

More about Flutter and Xianyu by Alibaba

Google Stadia

Google Stadia is a cloud-based video game streaming service that lets you stream games on a smartphone, PC, laptop, or tablet. What made this app so popular among gamers?

Google Stadia App video game streaming app screen
Google Stadia app is video game streaming. Source: Dribbble

In 2019, John McDole, the leading UI engineer at Google Stadia, said they used Flutter to build the Stadia mobile app. According to their blog post, the Stadia controller setup was one of the most complicated parts of the mobile app. But Flutter made writing and maintaining Stadia's controller setup a more manageable task.

John McDole google stadia twitter entry
John Dole's original tweet about implementing Flutter. Source: Twitter

According to the official blog, Flutter was instrumental in speeding up the development of the controller setup flow. Writing code in Flutter was faster and almost doubled the team’s productivity. Flutter also helped maintain cross-platform consistency for Google Stadia.

Google Stadia used the available custom Bluetooth plugin logic, which reduced the quantity of code to be written. The team was able to deploy features quickly across iOS and Android versions. Flutter’s shared codebase and hot reload capabilities increased the speed of development. Also, automated testing using Flutter was fast and reliable.

More on Stadia and Flutter

eBay Motors

eBay’s automobile portal eBay Motors, is one of the most popular apps built with Flutter. The app lets you buy and sell vehicles and accessories, discover new listings, and connect with car buyers and sellers.

ebay motors app screenshot
The eBay Motors mobile app. Source: Google Play

Hot reload and automated testing allowed them to test functional prototypes quickly.  The development experience was seamless, and apps delivered a consistent user experience.

Flutter’s code-sharing capabilities sped up the platform-specific integration deployment process. The team used available Flutter plugins to integrate device APIs quickly.

comparison of flutter to native ios/android development at ebay
Flutter offered eBay motors the speed it sought. Source: eBay Tech Blog

According to the team, Flutter’s capabilities (shared code, hot reload, and “write-once use forever” philosophy) let the team deliver new features in record time.

benefits of flutter use in ebay app development
Flutter’s benefit analysis according to the eBay Motors team. Source: eBay Tech Blog

More on eBay Motors and Flutter

Google Ads

Google Ads is one of Google’s flagship products, and its mobile app is a great extension of the desktop version. Google Ads mobile lets ad managers track and control their campaigns on the go.

As the creator of Flutter, Google actively uses the framework to build its own products. Google Ads mobile has just the right ratio of desktop features to satisfy the needs of millions of users across the world. The app is fast and responsive, rendering graphics quickly for an optimal user experience.

Google also chose Flutter to tap into convenient scaling options and reduce the need to maintain two codebases for iOS and Android.

google ads screenshots of campaigns
Google Ads dashboard on a mobile app. Source: Play Store

New York Times

The New York Times used Flutter to create a cross-platform app for their readers. Read by millions every day, NYT was looking for new ways to engage their readers and improve the user experience.

screenshots of NYT KenKen puzzles that launched across multiple platforms in 2019
NYT KenKen puzzles launched across multiple platforms in 2019. Source:  YouTube

Flutter’s cross-platform capabilities helped NYT launch a platform-independent app — the popular KenKen puzzle.

Offering a seamless experience across platforms is always a challenge for developers. Flutter’s single codebase allowed the team to launch KenKen Puzzles for iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and the web, simultaneously.

Flutter facilitated real-time iteration and saved time on building and running multiple betas. This let the NYT team launch a seamless version of KenKen puzzles across platforms quickly.

The app became the first commercial Flutter web prototype to debut at Google I/O 2019.

More on NYT and Flutter

Hamilton Muscial

The Hamilton app is great for all fans of the musical. By giving users additional ways to interact with favorite characters, Hamilton keeps engagement at a high level, ensuring fans stay active long after shows. 

The Hamilton team built the app in three months with Flutter. Flutter made it possible to release the app for iOS and Flutter with eye-pleasing designs and fast performance. The team considered other frameworks such as React Native or Xamarin but both lacked the tools available in Flutter.

screens from the hamilton app for musical
The Hamilton app features many user engagement features such as a lottery, trivia, or stickers. Source: Play Store

My BMW App

MyBMW app lets BMW owners interact with the car — lock, unlock, locate, monitor, and navigate using their mobile device. The app serves as a single-point solution for managing car ownership with good user experience.

MyBMW App screenshots where the app serves as a smart vehicle companion for BMW car owners
MyBMW App serves as a smart vehicle companion for BMW car owners. Source: BMW

My BMW app was primarily built for iOS for different vehicle models and variants. Though it had an Android version, feature discrepancy was a major challenge for BMW. BMW ownership experience was inconsistent for iOS and Android users affecting the brand image.

The company had two fundamental goals to tackle the “platform disparity” problem:

  • Launch a seamless app with the same functionalities across platforms without increasing costs.
  • Build a development platform for consistently releasing features without reducing development speed.

Flutter helped them tackle both challenges. BMW had several car models and brands under its umbrella, each requiring a dedicated app.

With Flutter, the BMW team launched the new MyBMW app to deliver a cohesive and seamless ownership experience. An internal platform powered automated builds and testing of unique app versions for different platforms, markets, and sub-brands. This saved BMW thousands of hours every month.

Thanks to Flutter, BMW deployed more than 10000 versions of 96 different variants of the My BMW app in record time. Plus, the problem of managing multiple code bases was resolved after migrating to Flutter

MyBMW App offered a consistent user experience across iOS and Android for all models. This improved app reliability and preserved the brand’s image in the eyes of the customers.

More on MyBMW App and Flutter

Topline Abbey Road Studios

Topline is a music production app for artists to save their music ideas. Artists can record tracks, add lyrics, compose creations, anywhere, anytime. The app saves everything on the cloud, so artists are never worried about losing their record-breaking beat.

screenshots of Topline Abbey Road Studios app
Topline app allows artists to record or compose creations, on-the-go. Source: Google Store

The app was launched by Abbey Road Studios for iOS, originally. The ideas' novelty and utility made the app an instant hit. Though an Android version was not planned initially, persistent demand made the developers look for options.

Building a music production app on Android is trickier than iOS due to audio latency issues. Limited resources and a small team added to their problems.

Choosing Flutter for cross-platform development made sense to the Topline team as they could launch both Android and iOS versions with a single codebase.

According to the Topline dev team, Flutter helped them quickly build, launch, and deploy without much hassle. The team added a neat swipe menu and launched Android and iOS versions in just 10 weeks — a seemingly impossible ordeal if they’d developed natively. The app became immensely popular and was officially featured on Google I/O 2018 and Flutter Live 2018. In 2018, Topline also won the Top UK App Award. 

More on Flutter and Topline

Reflectly

Reflectly supports mental health by encouraging users to write daily entries as a vent to nagging feelings or thoughts. The app uses AI to give personalized insights and ask users specific questions to help them dig deeper into the entries. Reflectly is more than a journal app and mood tracker — overtime it creates graphs with feelings analysis and sends personalized quotes to inspire users. 

screenshots with different features of the Reflectly app
Reflectly has smooth designs and swift screen transitions that create a pleasing user experience. Source: App Store

Reflectly was built in 2017 using React Native. The team had big expectations, which React Native didn’t meet. The animations were sluggish and the cross-platform development experience was subpar. In 2018, the team decided to try Flutter. Initial experiments delighted the team and Reflectly migrated to Flutter.

Realtor.com

Based in Santa Clara, California, Realtor.com is a popular real estate company and  the second most visited real estate listings website in 2021. Until mid-2019, their organizational model had two separate Android and iOS development teams and codebases, which became an overhead later. After recognizing the benefits of having a single codebase, the company started implementing new features using Flutter’s Add to App feature.

Adding Flutter to the existing mobile apps brought many benefits. For example, it freed their web developers from having to learn two new languages and frameworks. Moreover, the ability to develop features for both iOS and Android at once increased their productivity. Feature release and code changes now require only half developers than earlier.

realtor.com app screenshot
Realtor.com app is a top real estate listing app. Source: Google Play

Sonos

Sonos lets you listen to music from popular streaming services like Spotify, Gaana, or Apple Music on any speaker. People use the free Sonos app on their mobile, tablet, PC, or laptop to connect their home speakers to streaming services.

screenshots of the sonos music app made in flutter
Sonos app streams music to any speaker. Source: The Verge

Sonos started using Flutter in 2020 for their app development endeavors. Their existing app had several issues, including a confusing (and buggy) speaker setup wizard.

Flutter increased the development capabilities of the Sonos team. The framework saved hundreds of hours and helped launch a refreshed and intuitive cross-platform app quickly. 

They solved all existing issues and developed additional features that improved the user experience. Sonos revamped the UI and offered assistive features for end-users across all platforms. Integration of sound, animations, transitions, and walkthroughs was easy with Flutter. 

The new features and UX solved the problems and delighted the app’s existing and growing user base.

More on Sonos and Flutter

Nubank

Catering to 48+ million people around the globe, Nubank is one of the largest independent digital banks on the planet. The app improves access to banking by reducing complexity in underserved markets.

screenshots of nubank Nubank gives people control and detailed overview of their finances
Nubank gives people control and detailed overview of their finances. Source: Google Play

As the company grew, it couldn’t find enough native mobile developers to roll out new features. The lack of quality talent led to disparities between features on different platforms.

After carefully evaluating options for seamless development across platforms, they chose Flutter. Flutter outperformed all platforms in terms of development experience, documentation, or stability. 

Choosing Flutter, Nubank hired local talent easily and onboarded them into the dev team within days instead of weeks. With Flutter, the team could launch new features simultaneously across platforms. 

The hot reload feature and an internal developer tool built using Flutter helped speed up testing capabilities. According to Reinaldo Moreira, Nubank’s mobile engineer, Flutter enabled them to launch life insurance solutions within just three months which would have taken at least a year.

Flutter brought consistency to their product development efforts. It also improved their build time (from overall 70.45 minutes to just 9.9 minutes) and increased the team’s performance. Also, a single codebase made it easier to manage bugs, monitor the app, and correlate app metrics with other systems.

More on Nubank and Flutter

Beike — Real Estate

Beike supports people in finding their dream home and enjoying a great virtual house hunting experience in China. Beike lists 187 million properties in China and offers virtual property tours via a mobile app.

screenshot of Beike app for real estate in china
People can use the Beike app to discover properties for rent or sale in China. Source: South China Morning Post

The company wanted a seamless app experience for its diverse user base. They aimed for a beautiful design with near-native performance on iOS and Android.

With Flutter, the company increased developer efficiency by up to 100%. Thanks to a single codebase, they could build essential features for iOS and Android simultaneously. Fast development shortened launch to a month.

According to the Beike dev team, Flutter let them scale without hiring a large team. Relying on the Flutter community, the team saved a lot of time thanks to several plugins, widgets, and solutions that sped up the development.

Today, the company has more than a dozen apps operating under the Beike umbrella. Together, the apps have helped 300 million families find and visualize their dream home.

More on Beike and Flutter

Betterment

Betterment is an online investing company that provides investment and financial advice. The Betterment team needed a solution that would help them better manage their mobile codebase. With Flutter’s add-to-app feature, Betterment connected the new code to its native codebase without impacting the customer experience. 

Today Betterment has over 500,000 user accounts and 26 billion assets under management.

a screenshot of betterment app dashboard made in flutter
Betterment provides investment and financial advice. Source: Betterment

Google Pay — Digital Payments 

Google Pay is one of the world’s most popular digital payments apps with more than 100 million users across the globe. The app allows users to pay for goods and services and adopt digital payments in some of the remotest corners of the world.

screenshots of Google Pay app
Google Pay lets users send and receive money and manage their finances. Source: Google Play

Every region or country expansion required its own set of unique features. An increasing user base on iOS and Android led to a wastage of development resources due to the duplication of efforts for every feature. Also, finding and hiring more engineers was a constant challenge, too. Choosing Flutter for development made natural sense.

Flutter helped Google Pay consolidate engineering resources and save on building dedicated teams. With a team of 150 engineers, the team could rewrite and test the existing app with 300+ features. Google Pay, built on Flutter, was launched to 100 million monthly active users in the US and Indian markets.

Thanks to Flutter, Google launched a slick, beautiful, and efficient app, with a 35% smaller codebase. According to Google, they were able to save 60-70% on development time due to a single codebase.

More on Google Pay and Flutter

woman making an app in flutter

How to Build a Flutter App in 30 Days

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
July 11, 2022

Rapid MVP development in Flutter lets you validate your idea quickly while minimizing development time and costs.

Read more

Rapid MVP development has one big benefit for entrepreneurs and companies — you get feedback quickly. When you know what your users think about your product, you’re that much better at refining the product and making it serve your users’ needs.

Below is a recipe for rapid MVP development without compromising quality.

Flutter Cuts Months of Development Time

Flutter and other cross-platform mobile development frameworks are excellent tools for code reuse.

Flutter also supports web app development, so the code can be reused in the Android, iOS, and web versions of the app.

From our estimates in Flutter projects, Flutter lets us reuse approximately 20% of the code for the mobile parts of the app (iOS & Android) and around 60% for the backend in a glue-code format.

Now how to put the Flutter development features to practice and build an MVP in Flutter in less than 30 days.

Step 1: Analyze the End User

First, do a detailed and thorough analysis of who the end users will be. When you know exactly who will be using the product, you can create a very small list of features, crafted in a way that helps the user achieve their goals.

This means, for example, limiting the number of login and account setup options.

Also, consider the first environment the app will be released to. For example, if it’s an internal product initially, limit login options to one and simplify account registration. You can have the app’s admin take care of new users via email address sign-up.

Ditch including a password reminder or a password reset feature. This will shave off plenty of development hours.

woman with hair color change via augmented reality app

Augmented Reality in Business: How and When to Use It

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
July 7, 2022

Check how your business can use augmented reality to improve customer experience, increase engagement, and boost brand promotion.

Read more

With relatively cheap implementation costs and easy accessibility, mobile AR is a great choice for a goal-oriented tech asset. Businesses can use augmented reality to increase customer engagement, improve brand promotion and awareness, and facilitate the creation of product demos.

Multiple high-profile companies are investing in AR tech. Among them are Qualcomm, Apple, Facebook, and Google. The two smartphone giants, Apple and Google, are particularly invested into developing their respective AR software development kits (SDK).

Update July 2022: There are almost 3.5 billion AR-enabled devices of any type, with 891 million Android smartphones and 1.25 billion iOS phones. However, the number of active users of AR is significantly lower. The potential for commercial adoption of this tech is still untapped

a graph with market penetration for mobile AR
Global market mobile AR penetration for 2021. Source: ARtillery

The AR market alone is blooming, with various forecasts projecting it to reach between 30 to 80 billion USD in the upcoming years (1, 2, 3).

No mainstream implementation of costly technology necessary to bring it to the users makes augmented reality that much more accessible. On the other hand, virtual reality or mixed reality headsets are still too expensive for such widespread adoption.

But what is all the fuss about? Can AR apps transform businesses and add tangible value? Check out how augmented reality is helping businesses.

How Is Augmented Reality Used in Business?

Businesses across industries are already using augmented reality solutions for a variety of purposes.

For example, AR is used to:

  • Improve brand awareness
  • Showcase product demos
  • Increase customer experience
  • Streamline workflows

How to Implement AR in Your Business Strategy?

Before jumping into the world of augmented reality tech, there are a few questions you have to answer.

If you want to include AR in your business strategy, first ask yourself what it is specifically that you want to achieve through an AR solution.

To give you an example: a problem can be something missing in the workflow.

Let’s say quality assurance at your company takes a lot of time to complete. The reason why might be that QA professionals need to comb through stacks of paper instructions to complete the process.

This inefficient approach results in a waste of time: seconds turn into minutes and minutes into hours. In the long term, it amounts to a significant drop in productivity.

Augmented reality could come in handy here by feeding all the steps and actions necessary to conduct a QA test into a mixed reality headset. The application would interact with and respond to the actions of the tester in real-time.

Here’s Renault’s road to quality assurance supported by mixed reality:

Wondering what companies use augmented reality? Let’s look at some of the use cases of augmented reality across industries and sectors.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector is expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of cross-reality solutions. Combined with the rollout of 5G connectivity that offers speeds 100x faster than 4G LTE, augmented reality can be a huge opportunity for manufacturing facilities to improve a number of their processes and workflows.

The upside of using AR in manufacturing facilities is that it’s a fraction of the cost compared to investing in complex hardware.

Besides, augmented reality is much more convenient to exchange information since there are no physical restrictions such as cables, devices. Data is fed to the AR application virtually.

Onboarding. With AR, employees just starting out in a manufacturing plant could see interactive hints and instructions on how to use machinery, with all important information layered over the physical equipment. AR onboarding can increase employee safety and shave off ramp-up time.

See an example of using AR for training purposes at BMW:

Productivity. AR headsets equipped with AI technology could help employees get from point A to point B in the most efficient fashion, leading to potential productivity gains in the long term. Moreover, engineers could send a request for a specific part by simply pointing at it.

Operational information. With AR elements overlaid in a factory, manufacturing employees could have easy access to information about the performance of existing equipment and infrastructure. For example, interactive gauges over different areas on the assembly line offer real-time insight for employees.

Safety. Mixed reality solutions can inform employees about dangers (e.g., areas closed for maintenance/cleaning). And when an emergency happens, workers in need of help or assistance could transmit an interactive beam with their whereabouts.

Automotive

Relying on complex technology and hardware, cars are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain for mechanics, who may not yet have the know-how necessary for servicing. The pace of the digital evolution in the automotive industry calls for improvements in various workflows and processes.

Remote assistance. AR-based remote assist lets engineers show other employees how to conduct complex repairs and service maintenance on vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz US is using Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist to help technicians perform maintenance activities remotely with the assistance of an expert engineer.

Training. Cross-reality workshops are a safe and efficient way to share information. Engineers can enroll in digital training where they learn the workings of complex machinery and how to assemble various parts. Instructors show trainees how to disassemble an engine without actually putting it apart.

Porsche says it has tripled the usage of augmented reality in their workshops. “Tech Live Look” is Porsche’s in-house app for connecting technicians with experts to help solve complex car repairs. Porsche has been using augmented reality for years.

Tech Live Look from Porsche
Tech Live Look from Porsche. Source: Porsche

Tech Live Look speeds up car service per vehicle by up to 40%, significantly improving Porsche’s customer experience.

See how augmented reality can be used in education.

Prototyping. Every new iteration of a prototype can be costly for an automotive company. Car prototypes can cost upwards of $100,000. Immersive designs aid in iterating and improving on product designs without companies having to spend anything on expensive prototypes.

Now, $100,000 might not seem like a lot for big automotive companies, but when we’re talking about multiple iterations, it can amount to a nice sum.

BMW is already using AR in vehicle prototyping. AR lets workers know faster if a component will fit once the production starts. Using AR in that way decreases the need for performing many test setups.

Entertainment

Content consumption. Enhanced with augmented reality, written content can be expanded to include immersive experiences. AR can also serve as a visual aid in non-fiction writing to better illustrate concepts and events.

Board games. Traditional board games could use augmented reality to enhance the level of immersion for gamers. Physical boards can be transformed from 2D experiences into interactive 3D adventures — the board stays the same while the elements turn virtual.

people playing a real world board game with augmented reality elements
A real world board game with augmented reality elements. Source: Tilt Five via Kickstarter

Military

In the military, soldiers can use augmented reality that transforms sensor data into visual input to gain greater insight into their surroundings as well as to improve navigation.

Situational awareness. Sensors and cameras implemented in AR tech provide soldiers with more information regarding their surroundings. Other critical information can also be fed into a headset from headquarters.

Since 2018, the US Army has been looking into AR when developing the Integrated Virtual Augmentation System (IVAS). The IVAS provides mission-critical information to soldiers on the battlefield, for example, the system performs a quick object identification check.

Navigation. In aviation, augmented reality blends complex charts and maps into a pilot’s field of view, decreasing the need to check the information on displays.

An example of heads-up display (HUD) in aviation
An example of heads-up display (HUD) in aviation.

The US Army is exploring the possibilities of augmented reality goggles for combat dogs. The idea is to give dogs in the field more contextual information, along with visual indicators that tell dogs where to go.

Ordinarily, soldiers guide their dogs with lasers or hand gestures. During a mission, however, it might not be possible for the soldier to be close enough to the dog to give it commands. This is where AR goggles step in, letting soldiers guide their dogs through visual cues rendered in the glasses. Additionally, the goggles attached to the dog’s head transmit what the dog sees back to the soldier.

AR goggles for dogs — augmented reality technology in military
AR goggles for dogs. Source: US Army

Travel

Tenant instructions. Landlords renting apartments can use augmented reality to provide tenants with instructions. For example, to help tenants orient themselves around the apartment or explain how to use and locate different utilities.

Along with smart locks that eliminate the need for the landlord to hand the tenant the keys, augmented reality further decreases the necessity for contact.

Virtual AR Map Concept for rentals
AR Map Concept for rentals. Source: Isil Uzum via dribbble

Tenants simply put on a headset or turn on an app and explore the flat themselves with detailed instructions.

Immersive experiences. To advertise offered destinations and facilities, travel agencies can turn to augmented reality to create AR tour presentations. This way, customers get to experience interactive content and learn more about a destination. AR tour presentations also help travel agencies prepare offers with content customized to cater to different target audiences.

Moreover, to improve customer experience, travel agencies can equip their customers with advanced digital tour guides. These augmented reality guides can be further tweaked to include memorable and personalized experiences to tourists in a given location. For example, an AR guide could contain sightseeing places that match customer needs and preferences.

nfc enabled devices and a person

What Are NFC Tags? A Beginner's Guide

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
June 22, 2022

Learn what NFC tags are and how they are used beyond contactless payments.

Read more

The popularity of smart devices has skyrocketed in recent years. And the more powerful smart devices become, the more we can use them to interact with our environment. A seamless user experience for connected living needs efficient solutions to transmit data and trigger events — near-field communication (NFC) is one of the elements that enables devices to connect with each other to exchange data.

What Are NFC Tags?

Near-field communication technology allows two devices to communicate wirelessly. The technology can be embedded in a small tag to facilitate data transfer between nearby mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronics. NFC tags are often compared to RFID, but the two are different.

What is RIFD?

The RIFD technology (radio-frequency identification) is the predecessor of NFC. RFID tags are most commonly known from anti-theft systems attached to the more expensive products in stores. RIFD has been successfuly used to track inventory in a variety of sectors and industries, e.g., manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, or apparel — wherever there's a need to track items.

What is NFC?

NFC is part RFID (radio-frequency identification) and part Bluetooth. Unlike RFID, NFC tags work in close proximity, giving users more precision. NFC also doesn’t require manual device discovery and synchronization as Bluetooth Low Energy does. The biggest difference between RFID and NFC is the communication method.

RFID tags have only a one-way communication method, meaning an RFID-enabled item sends a signal to an RFID reader.

NFC devices have a one- and two-way communication capability, which gives the NFC technology an upper hand in use cases where transactions are dependent on data from two devices (e.g., card payments). Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and other contactless payment solutions are all powered by the NFC technology.

So in essence, RFID tags are great for inventory tracking and NFC tags work well for enhanced communication.

a diagram showing differences between rifd and nfc
NFC tags are embedded as a smart chip in a physical device. Source: CXJ RFID Factory


How NFC Tags Became Popular?

NFC has been on the technology scene for years — Nokia launched the first NFC-enabled phone in 2006. But this technology only gained momentum in recent years.

market size and popularity of nfc-enabled devices
Growth of NFC as a technology — 2018-2024. Source: BlueBite

NFC popularity soared when companies recognized NFC as a enabler of a contactless future.

Contactless payments registered a 150% increase between March 2019 and June 2020 in the US alone, partially caused by the pandemic. Contactless tech, originally designed to handle small purchases, is now one of the most popular mobile payment methods.

Today, there are more than 2 billion NFC-enabled devices and 20% of the world’s population has access to NFC.

But what is an NFC tag? How does NFC work? What are the advantages of using NFC? Are NFC payments secure? How are businesses using NFC technology?

Let’s look at all these questions and explore some common applications for NFC tech.

flutter and react native logos in hands

Flutter vs. React Native in 2022 — Detailed Comparison

by
Mat Zaleski
Mat Zaleski
,
June 15, 2022

Flutter and React Native are two leading tools for cross-platform mobile development. Learn about their differences and the best use cases for each.

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Flutter and React Native are two leading tools for cross-platform mobile development. Learn about their differences and the best use cases for each.

What Is Flutter?

Flutter is a user interface (UI) software development kit released by Google in 2018. Flutter lets you build cross-platform applications for a number of platforms and operating systems.

Will Flutter Overtake React Native? [UPDATED]

As of May 2021, Flutter was getting closer to overtaking React Native in terms of popularity and usage. But let’s look at the stats.

stack overflow survey results 2019
Flutter is almost on par with React Native in the "Most Popular Technology - Other Frameworks" category in the Stack Overflow Survey 2021.

Interestingly, in 2019, Flutter was almost at the bottom of the popularity contest. So the technology is catching up quite nimbly.

Flutter was near the bottom of the popularity list according to developers participating in the Stack Overflow Survey 2019. Source: Stack Overflow Survey 2019

UPDATE, June 2022:

Submissions for the Stack Overflow Survey 2022 have closed for this year so we can soon expect an update of the Flutter vs. React Native debate among developers using these technologies in commercial projects and beyond.

A look at Google Trends results reveals a fierce battle between the two.

After gaining on React Native for over two years, in April 2020, Flutter became a more frequently searched query globally and continues to be so in 2022.

a graph of worldwide Flutter (red) and React Native (blue) popularity trend (2018–2022).
Worldwide Flutter (red) and React Native (blue) popularity trend (2018–2022). Source: Google Trends

And yet, in the US, the battle still goes on and is as fierce as ever, with axes and gunpowder spoiling the air galore, especially when you look at the trend curve starting from January 2021. However, Flutter currently has a slight lead over React Native.

a graph with Flutter (red) and React Native (blue) popularity trend in the US (2018–2022).
United States Flutter (red) and React Native (blue) popularity trend (2018–2022). Source: Google Trends

Statista seemed to confirm the global trend in the Flutter vs. React Native battle in 2020. In the survey made with almost 20,000 respondents, Flutter was going head to head with React Native.

statista results for most popular cross-platfrom development tools
Cross-platform mobile frameworks used by developers worldwide in 2019 and 2020. Source: Statista

UPDATE, July 2021:

The latest research from Statista places Flutter as the leading cross-platform mobile development framework in 2021. Flutter surpasses React Native by 4% (42% for Flutter against 38% for React Native). Still, it's fair to say the two technologies are almost equally popular.

2021 Statista popularity graph for cross-platform mobile development frameworks
Popularity of cross-platform mobile frameworks among developers worldwide from 2019 to 2021. Source: Statista

What makes these two technologies so popular? Let's see.

person carrying a phone with different hardware addons

Mobile Development Technologies

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
June 15, 2022

Explore the trends in mobile technologies in 2022 and what they have to offer for mobile app developers and smartphone users.

Read more

The future of mobile is bright and the market seems resistant to saturation. In 2022, almost 1.4 billion smartphones were expected to be sold worldwide. In this blog post, we look at the trends in mobile technologies in 2022 and what they have to offer for mobile app developers and smartphone users.

What Major Trends Are Occurring in Mobile Apps?

In 2020 alone, it's estimated there were 218 billion mobile application downloads worldwide. The growing number of app downloads — and a steady demand trend — opens the door for many innovations in the world of mobile technologies.

a graph showing the number of global downloads of mobile applications from 2016 to 2020
The number of mobile app downloads worldwide is increasing rapidly with each year. Source: Statista

Here are some of the top mobile app development trends.

Beacon technology

A beacon is an inexpensive wireless transmitter that uses Low Energy (BLE) technology to send signals to nearby smart devices.

The beacons are battery-powered and located via Bluetooth — mobile devices can communicate with them even without an internet connection.

For example, Safetify was designed to turn down the volume on mobile devices of people who listen to music while crossing the street, until they safely reach the other side.

The global beacon technology market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 86% from 2017 to 2024. Beacon technology has transformed various industries, primarily retail and e-commerce, and it will play an integral part in increasing customer awareness by delivering location-specific alerts and notifications.

In marketing, using beacon technology is called proximity marketing. Companies such as Macy’s, McDonald’s, Woolworths, or Amazon Go are already using this tech in their on-site marketing efforts and to boost in-store customer experience.

The beacon technology can also be used to create the infrastructure for smart cities.

Enterprise mobile apps

Enterprise applications operate in a corporate environment, and their primary purpose is to solve complex processes within an organization. Because how well a company performs often depends on these critical software assets, enterprise apps have to be built using reliable and scalable technologies.

Mobile cloud computing enables enterprises to store large amounts of data in one place securely. With the use of cloud services, employees can access this information quickly, which results in enhanced communication and more efficient work.

According to a recent study, the demand for these mobile applications has increased dramatically, and enterprise mobility is a top priority for one-third of organizations

Geolocation-based apps

From default apps like Find My iPhone or Weather to Instagram, Uber, and Yelp, most apps today use geolocation. Many messenger applications let you share your current location directly in the chat. Even photos on your phone camera can be stored by the place they were taken.

Google Maps location-based services
The rise of location-based applications has changed the way people navigate through their daily lives. Source: Unsplash

Geolocation can be used as a way to deliver more personalized and localized content. Location-based services provide a better user experience, plus they can give companies insight into user demographics.

Folding display phones and apps

If you had one in the early 2000s, you were definitely the coolest kid on the block. Although in a different form, It’s no surprise these are making a comeback. Folding phones were among the major announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2020.

a foldable phone made by LG Electronics
Are foldable mobile phones the future? Source: Let’s Go Digital

The emergence of foldable smartphones has created a new challenge for app developers. Dynamic adjustment of app content to fit the screen properly with the right amount of data requires careful planning. Foldables create an entirely new segment for developers to explore, one where plenty of opportunities for disruption await to be explored.

In 2019, global foldable smartphone shipments represented only a tiny fraction of the overall smartphone sales in 2019, but they are projected to increase 100 times by 2025.

Mobile wallets

The global shift from using cash as your primary form of payment has been happening for years now, and it appears we’re reaching a critical tipping point. Recent global payment reports show that mobile wallet payments are likely to exceed the use of cash in four years.

A wallet in your phone allows you to store all of your credit cards, debit cards, loyalty card information, and more. In addition, mobile apps like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay have revolutionized how we pay for merchandise at the checkout line.

paying with a mobile wallet
In the near future, mobile wallets might as well replace all other forms of payment, at least in some transactions. Source: Unsplash

Integrating mobile wallets into apps enables users to checkout quickly and seamlessly, with just a single tap. 

M-commerce

The goal of an online retailer is to make their products available to buyers no matter where they are. M-commerce, or mobile commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services through a mobile device, which helps online retailers reach their customers. M-commerce already accounts for over half of global online retail, which comes as no surprise given that mobile usage and searches are steadily taking over desktop.

Looking at these statistics, we might posit that m-commerce will dominate online retail in the nearest future. This calls for retailers to either optimize their websites to work on mobile devices or release m-commerce apps that offer much more in terms of customer engagement and experience.

Biometric authentication

In recent years, biometrics has become an increasingly popular form of identification due to its accuracy and reliability. Biometric systems use physical attributes like fingerprints or retinal scans to identify individuals. These are considered safer and more reliable than passwords because they cannot be easily shared or forged. 

Biometric technology can be used in financial transactions, government agencies, healthcare facilities, and more. The cost of developing apps that feature this technology has dropped considerably in recent years. Hardware-wise, face recognition and fingerprint scanning have become a staple for many smartphone manufacturers, with Apple being one of the first companies to have implemented Face ID in their phones.

On-demand mobile apps

On-demand mobile apps let users order anything from food to laundry service, with just a few taps or swipes. They can be found in different places and formats: as standalone apps like Lyft, TaskRabbit, Postmates; inside other established services like Uber and Amazon Prime Now; or even embedded into social networks like Facebook messenger.

a phone with the uber on-demand app open
On-demand apps like Uber have revolutionized our lives. Source: Unsplash

One thing these companies have in common is that they're all gearing up for an increasingly on-demand-driven world where consumers find it easier to find reviews and order a service directly from an app rather than browse through scattered reviews and make phone calls to order services.

What Is the Future of Mobile App Development?

Mobile tech is a booming field and will be even more so in the future. The mobile app economy has gone from $1.3 trillion to over $4.5 trillion since 2016. By the end of 2023, it's projected it'll reach an astonishing $6.3 trillion or higher.

One of the likely reasons for this growth is that people turn to mobile devices for an increasing number of activities.  

With new advances in mobile tech and other areas that can be incorporated into mobile environments such as 3D printing, machine learning, or ARM-based systems, there’s still plenty of disruption to be observed.

Are mobile developers in demand in 2023?

The demand for mobile app developers is expected to increase from 17% to 24% by 2026, which means that there will be a significant need for new talent.

Is there anything that can threaten this projected demand for mobile app developers?

Low-code and no-code software might.

Low-code and no-code platforms give less experienced users a chance to quickly build mobile applications using, for example, a simple drag-and-drop method. However, more advanced apps still require the presence of a mobile developer with experience in creating the app’s architecture.

So even though low- and no-code mobile development software has been steadily gaining ground in recent years, the relatively low sophistication of these tools doesn’t yet let creators build complex applications.

Which technology is best for mobile app development?

The world of mobile app development tools is quite big, and it would be difficult to objectively name one mobile dev technology best. The choice depends on your business needs and the requirements of your project.

While native mobile development is still superior to other approaches in many areas, cross-platform tools such as Flutter or React Native are catching up quite fast.

Flutter is a mobile app development SDK from Google that has been getting rave reviews and is steadily growing in popularity. React Native, on the other hand, has been around since 2015 and boasts an extensive community of users and developers. 

When choosing a technology, you’ve got to have a deep understanding of your company’s needs. Do you want something that will help you reach more users faster? Which platform (iOS or Android) does your target audience use more? How complex will your app be (i.e., how many platform-specific features will it be dependent on)? All these questions determine which technology fits your project better.

doctors viewing an augmented reality heart

Improving Clinical Practice with Augmented Reality

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
May 16, 2022

The healthcare industry is projected as one of the greatest beneficiaries of augmented reality tech. Learn how AR is already reshaping clinical practice.

Read more

Over the past century, clinical practice has undergone an almost unthinkable transformation. Just over 150 years ago, doctors didn’t even know they could transmit germs on their hands.

On maternity wards of the past, doctors would move from one female patient to the next, examining each without washing their hands in between, much less wearing gloves.

Needless to say, maternal death ran rampant.

So to think we can now use augmented reality during reconstructive surgery to locate bone fractures and blood vessels is quite an astonishing advancement.

Check out what else augmented reality makes possible in healthcare.

Fast Forward to the Twenty-First Century

The potential of AR is visible across industries. From education to manufacturing to automotive, augmented reality fills gaps in workflows, offering tangible opportunities for improvement.

For example, AR can be used to eliminate inefficiencies in manufacturing — the constant loss of focus and time necessary for the engineers to refer to paper instructions amounts to considerable losses over time.

If you've ever struggled with a paper instruction for a shiny new IKEA bookshelf, quality assurance in the automotive industry is like the IKEA situation times 1,782.4.

For extremely precise and complex tasks, the help of computers is invaluable. And the better the augmented reality technology gets, the more advanced its use cases in clinical practice.

In fact, the healthcare industry is projected to add a $47.9 billion boost to the global economy by 2022.

The role of AR/VR in the global economy
The role of AR/VR in the global economy. Source: PwC

The current clinical practice is evolving at light speed, but the sector still has multiple areas in need of solutions that can benefit from technology.

AR is an entirely new concept to you? Read our AR guide to learn the basics of augmented reality.

AR in Surgery

Augmented Reality Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive surgery calls for a high precision to yield the expected results and improve a patient's recovery time.

Augmented reality goggles can be used to feed information from CT scans and MRI images directly into a surgeon’s field of vision. This way, the surgeon knows where blood vessels and bone fractures are and can increase the precision of the incision during reconstructive surgery.

How Does It Work?

First, surgeons perform diagnostic imaging on the patient. Then, the data from CT scans, MRI, and X-rays is digitized and transformed into a 3D model, which shows the location of soft tissues, blood vessels, and bones.

This rendering is then fed into the AR device. During the surgery, the 3D rendering is mapped on a patient’s body, providing the surgeon with critical information.

CTA images of a leg rendered into an AR model
CTA images are rendered into an AR model. Source: European Radiology Experimental

Thanks to this approach, surgeons don’t have to look back and forth between the patient and the images, or rely on audible Doppler ultrasound, which is currently the prevalent method during reconstructive surgeries.

The technology is far from mature, with many challenges waiting in line before mainstream adoption is possible.

For example, transforming information from CT scans and MRI into 3D models is time consuming — the ER won’t benefit from AR, at least for now.

Aumented Reality in Neurosurgery

Neurosurgeons at Johns Hopkins used augmented reality during spinal fusion surgery on June 8, 2020. Two days later, surgeons relied on an AR headset during the removal of a cancerous tumor from the spine of another patient. Both procedures were conducted using a pilot augmented reality headset from Augmedics.

AR in Spine Surgery

In 2021, Dr. Harvinder Sandhu at Stamford Health performed a successful spinal surgery using AR goggles. The AR technology uses data from MRIs to overlay critical tissue around a patient's spine. Provided with detailed data projected directly on the retina, the doctor is able to perform more precise surgeries that speed up recovery and decrease the likelihood of infection.

a prototype of a mobile phone

What Is a POC, Prototype, and MVP — Explaining the Differences

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
May 9, 2022

Learn the differences between a proof of concept (POC), prototype, and minimum viable product (MVP) to know how to approach product development.

Read more

Building good digital products is a combination of being innovative and following tested mobile app development methods. A proof of concept (POC), prototype, and minimum viable product (MVP) help test a product idea before you spend funds on product development.

What are the differences between a POC, prototype, and MVP, and how to choose the one that fits your project best?

POC vs. MVP vs. Prototype: Short Definition

Proof of concept — A POC is a method of validating assumptions with target users and checking if your idea is feasible technically.

Prototype — A mobile app prototype evaluates the general “shape” of your idea (e.g., look, flow, user interaction).

Minimum viable product — An MVP is a fully working version of your product but with only the core features that let you collect initial user feedback.

We talk in detail about how to build an MVP in our guide.

What Is a Proof of Concept?

In the world of mobile app development, a POC is a simple project that validates or demonstrates an idea. The purpose of a POC is to check if an idea can be developed and won’t consume excessive resources or time.

With a POC you essentially evaluate core functionality. If your app idea is complex, you can have many POCs to test each functionality.

User experience is pushed aside when you build a POC. That’s because it takes lots of time and work to create an optimal user experience, and that’s not the point of creating a POC. The goal is to validate technical capability.

Features of a proof of concept

Catch early investor interest. You can build a POC to present your idea to investors to acquire seed funding for further development.

Innovate. Innovation happens at the intersection of technological viability and market demand. A POC will help you check if your idea can be built using current technology.

Save time. When you check if your idea can be built, you automatically save time that would be wasted if you were to figure out technical viability issues once you hired developers and committed significant resources and time.

Pick the technology. Creating many POCs using different technologies can help you decide which technology stack is the most suitable for your project. This way, you’ll know early on what’s possible as you move forward and how to structure your product’s roadmap.

Check against the competition. If you plan to release a mobile application in a heavily competitive market, a POC will help you validate unique features in your offer. Your product will need to include a unique approach to solving the same problem to be a better alternative to what’s already out there.

Example of a proof of concept

PONS XR Interpreter

Companies around the world are increasingly embracing remote-work solutions and collaboration methods. We worked with PONS — a global publishing house and our long-term partner — to create a proof of concept for an XR cross-language communication solution supported by AI.

The POC helped validate if XR Interpreter could be used in a professional environment to make communication easier.

product validation augmented reality
The POC was built to prove that professionals could communicate in different languages in real time to discuss complex mechanical issues. Source: nomtek


two people playing with a mobile phone

Building Scalable Mobile Apps Is Key to Long-Term Product Success

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
April 12, 2022

Learn what scalability is in mobile development and how to factor it into product creation.

Read more

Successful products that solve user problems can create significant user demand over time. Apps with many users and heavy traffic should cater to a growing user base with flawless performance and user experience. If the app fails to withhold the demand with expected quality, it most likely won’t stay on the market long.

To make sure your app can serve a large number of users, you have to include scalability in your app’s discovery stage to keep it highly available and reliable as it grows. Learn what scalability is in mobile development and how to factor it into product creation.

What Is Scalability in App Development?

In simple terms, scalability is your application’s ability to handle a growing user base without affecting the user experience and the app’s performance. That means your applications’ infrastructure needs to be able to support a large number of requests per minute (RPMs)

Each user interacting with your application generates a request to your backend — the backend should process that request with a minimum delay.  A highly scalable app efficiently manages many requests at once, delivering seamless experiences to users.

Two types of application scaling
Vertical and horizontal scaling are the two main types of application scaling. Source: GeeksforGeeks

Vertical scaling

Vertical scaling adds more resources like CPU, memory, network capacity, and more to the existing application server. It’s powerful enough to handle a large number of simultaneous requests. However, adding resources can be limited depending on the capabilities of existing servers. Because of that, horizontal scaling is the preferred option in many use cases.

Horizontal scaling

Horizontal scaling or scaling out adds more machines or servers with the application code to increase the capacity. The existing resources of the computing instances do not change, but the application logic may need to change to run in parallel. Popular in distributed systems, a load balancer will handle the incoming requests and distribute the load to multiple machines.

It’s not a requirement to use either horizontal or vertical scaling only. But you can have a hybrid system that includes vertically scaled machines in a horizontally scaled system.

How Do You Scale a Mobile App?

Identify the scalability requirements

Before jumping straightaway into scaling a mobile app, you first need to ensure you have a viable reason for it. Your scaling expenses need to match the growing user demand in your app to avoid unnecessary costs. Here are the questions you should answer that will help you decide whether the time to improve capacity has come.

  • Do you expect growth in your user base? If yes, how long would it take? Look at the trends in data analytics.
  • What is the annual expected number of users of your app?
  • How long can your current setup serve the growing user base without losing performance?
  • Are there any events or holidays where you observe high demand and heavy usage?

By knowing the answers to these questions, you will have a better understanding of where you’re at with capacity and where you need to be to meet the spikes in demand. The information will also help you estimate the budget for scaling your app.

Identify where the scalability issues arise

If you already have an application, discover where scalability issues may occur using application monitoring tools like New Relic AMP and AppDynamics. Using the chosen tracking tool, track key metrics like CPU, memory, and network usage. If any of these metrics show high usages, find out the transactions responsible for them. Take these results as a benchmark to find out where and how to inject scalability.

Choose the right tech stack

Your mobile app’s tech stack is the key to scalable mobile applications. Thus, choosing the right tech stack with a scalable backend and a responsive front-end technology is a must. If your current tech stack doesn’t leave much room for scalability, consider rewriting your app.

An app rewrite will be a significant investment initially, but when you consider a growing user base of satisfied customers, the ROI will follow soon. For example, consider Wallmarts' decision to transition into its legacy system to Node.js. With that decision, they have been able to gain 98% of growth in mobile conversion.

Decide on the right infrastructure

The application’s infrastructure plays a key role in achieving the desired scalability. Using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions like AWS, Azure, or IBM Cloud for your mobile app is a great way to meet a variety of scalability needs. Cloud services have many scaling and pricing options.

For example, if you choose to deploy your app in AWS, the vendor will take care of all the necessary scaling demands on your behalf — many renowned cloud services offer auto-scaling where the app dynamically scales according to the current user demand.

You just have to define the required parameters such as how many maximum servers and other resources like storage, middleware, and networking the service should allocate. In addition, you also have the flexibility to change these parameters according to future app usage statistics. Scaling a mobile application that serves millions of users in a PaaS environment is an easy and flexible approach to scalability. 

Use caching wherever possible

Caching is another way you can optimize the code for scalability. When you cache the frequently required data, it’s readily available and users can retrieve it faster. Caching helps significantly reduce the processing time. 

For example, say your mobile app gets data from an API call. If you save the data in a cache, the next time another user requests the same data, the app won’t need to make that API call again since the data is readily available in the cache.

Caching is a highly useful approach to reducing the amount of data processing when the load is high. When you use caching correctly, it can also make the app work in offline mode.

Choose the right architectural pattern

Your app’s architecture can have a big impact on app scalability. For example:

The three-tiered architecture

Client, server, and the application are at different layers where each performs only the most essential tasks. This architecture simplifies each layer, thereby improving scalability and performance.

Microservice architecture
The microservice architecture helps easily build scalable apps. Source: Microsoft

The microservice architecture

This architecture helps build flexible applications by making individual services loosely coupled with each other. Individual services of a microservice architecture can be scaled to meet the demand.

Three-tiered Architecture
The three-tiered architecture simplifies the tasks of each layer to make the app scalable easily. Source: guru99

Scaling databases

If you want to handle a larger number of user requests (e.g., a workload that exceeds the capacity of a single database), you can scale your database horizontally:

  • Shard the database into multiple servers or nodes. Sharding helps achieve better read and write performance and reduces the risks of node failures. 
  • If the app is in the cloud architecture, add more read replicas for workloads that need heavy read operations.
  • Move old information to archives so that the main database can have more space when more read and write operations happen. 
Read replicas diagram
Read replicas help speed up read operations during heavy app usage. Source: guru99

Use Mobile Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Mobile CDNs make content delivery faster because CDNs distribute the information from locations closer to the user. The content is delivered in a shorter time. Mobile CDNs are very useful when your mobile apps’ users are distributed across different regions.

Mobile CDNs are developed specifically to operate on mobile networks and deliver content to mobile devices faster.

node.js vs ruby on rails

Node.js vs. Ruby on Rails — What to Choose for a Mobile App Backend

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
March 30, 2022

Ruby on Rails and Node.js are two popular mobile backend technologies that help developers build reliable and highly available apps.

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Choosing a tech stack for a mobile application backend is key to building a product with great performance. Ruby on Rails and Node.js are two popular mobile backend technologies that help developers build reliable and highly available apps. This article will explain the differences between them with example use cases for each.

What Is Ruby on Rails (RoR)?

Ruby on Rails is an open-source and server-side web application development framework based on Ruby and the Model View Controller (MVC) architecture. Ruby is famous as an easy-to-learn and beginner-friendly programming language.

logos on companies that use ruby on rails
Popular tech companies that use Ruby on Rails in their backend. Source: Medium


waterfall design thinking lean startup agile

What Is Waterfall vs. Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile

by
Maja Nowak
Maja Nowak
,
February 22, 2022

There are many methodologies to choose from in software development. Learn the principles of Waterfall, Agile, Design Thinking, and Lean Startup.

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Today’s software development utilizes many methodologies to facilitate building applications and software solutions. We have Waterfall, Agile, Design Thinking, or Lean Startup as well as their combinations and variations. What are the principles of these methodologies? How do they support software development? Let’s explore the differences between the Waterfall methodology and a combined approach that includes Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile.

Waterfall

The Waterfall approach to software development describes a sequential process for building software—i.e., one step has to be completed before the next can begin.

In the Waterfall methodology, the project scope, outcome, and requirements are documented fully before any development begins. The documents, among many other aspects, include functional specifics, user interfaces, architecture, data structure.

The traditional Waterfall project structure is split into six phases:

  1. Requirements and analysis. Collect client requirements pertaining to the product. The information collected during this phase should be enough to validate the product idea and let developers grasp the client’s intended vision of the product. The following is established: budget, risks, completion date, dependencies, and success metrics.
  2. Design. Agree on a programming language, specific design elements, system design. Documents produced during this phase will be the framework for the implementation (coding) phase.
  3. Implementation. Turn client requirements and design documents into the software.
  4. Testing. Test the software for bugs and check if the goals from the requirements document are met.
  5. Deployment. Release the software to the client.
  6. Maintenance. Fix any problems found once the software has been released to the customers.
step-by-step waterfall methodology
In the Waterfall methodology, a project's structure is split into six phases.

Benefits

  • Better manageability. Because each step is documented and deliverables outlined upfront, it’s easier to manage the project.
  • Fixed price and deadline. The cost and delivery date can be determined with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Clear instructions. Developers and designers involved in the project know exactly what to do and when to do it. With detailed documentation available, the project can be completed by different teams.

Drawbacks

  • Once the development begins, it’s difficult to adapt the project to any changes in requirements or new market insights. Whenever significant changes are needed, the project has to go through the requirement and design phases.
  • Requirements don’t always reflect real user needs.
  • Because users receive the software only once it’s finished, it’s difficult to gather any actionable feedback beforehand and adjust the product to better align with user needs. This increases the risk of project failure caused by a potential lack of market need or low satisfaction.
  • Projects relying on technologies that have frequent release-cycles need to be updated often to reflect the changes. As a result, the estimations in documentation will be less accurate.

Use Cases for Waterfall

Taking into consideration the principles of Waterfall and its resulting pros and cons, this methodology is best for building projects with clear specifications and client requirements. We can think of using Waterfall with projects that are simple, predictable, and well-defined.

For example, the Waterfall approach can be used when adjusting an application to meet specific regulations (e.g., when developing medical systems), or when integrating software with existing infrastructure—e.g., banking systems. In both cases, clear and detailed documentation and specifications are critical to successful project completion.

Here are specific project features that determine if the Waterfall approach is a good fit:

  • Product definition is stable.
  • Technology is understood.
  • There are no ambiguous requirements.
  • Ample resources with required expertise are available freely.
  • The project is short.

The Need for Different Software Development Methods

The Waterfall methodology has been around for decades, initially serving as an essential and structured approach to software development. In the 1990s, however, the Internet technology began evolving rapidly — the Waterfall approach proved inefficient in the increasingly dynamic and complex environment.

There was a pressing need for software development methods that could address the inefficiencies of Waterfall’s linear approach to building software. As a result of that need and through years of refinement, a combined approach for the entire product development life cycle was created.

The combined approach includes methods and processes that come from different backgrounds to together form a mindset for the adaptive building of products, as opposed to following a rigid project plan.

  • Industrial design -> Design Thinking
  • Manufacturing -> Lean Startup
  • Software development -> Agile

Below is a brief description of each and a summary of how they complement one another in the software development paradigm.