blog

Announcing Shape Me, the 30 day plan

We’re very proud to announce the release of a brand new online diet program we’ve recently released with TV Dietitian Susie Burrell. ‘Shape Me, the 30 day plan‘ has been entirely developed in house over the course of 2013 and features a collection of tools, guides and functions to help users with their weight loss goals.

 

The system opens with an exclusive pre-registration offer on Monday 3rd February and launches officially on February the 10th at 10am.

 

Some highlights of the system include:

  • Your own personalised & customisable meal plan
  • Over 350 recipes to choose from incl. gluten free, wheat free, vegan and vegetarian options
  • Daily exercise & motivation tips
  • Direct access to a dietitian
  • Daily exercise and motivation tips
  • Supermarket product guide
  • Personalised shopping list

 

Click here for a full list of features.

Fly Digital is a proud sponsor of Red Baron

Fly Digital is very proud to announce that we have become a sponsor of Red Baron Sydney – the leader in adventure flights, flight training and home of the Red Bull Air Race Experience.

Pictured above is the Fly Digital logo on the tail of VH-ZXY an aerobatic training aircraft that’s a great place to start for anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to fly a plane.

Thanks to owner Joel Haski and the whole team at Red Baron. We look forward to a long (and occasionally inverted) relationship with you.

 

WordPress Comment Spam – my top 5 from this week

Like most other sites that use WordPress we tend to get our fair share of comment spam. Usually it’s a “select all + mark as spam” solution, but sometimes it’s fun to stop and take a moment to read what’s actually been posted. Here are my top 5 favourites from the last week:

 

1) The “compliment” comment

“Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this web page, as i wish for enjoyment, as this this website conations genuinely fastidious funny data too.”

 

2) The “here’s some renovation advice” comment

“I really like this. Shabby Chic is certainly a type of Feng Shui, giving a laid back, soft and feminine feel. A very romantic way of decorating making people choose to come in and relax, which is why it can also be known as the cottage feel.”

 

3) Dirt Rabbits & shoe choices

“Do not let your dirt rabbits hold the manage from the beneficial area through your your bed. Make the most of that will additional room along with Shoes or boots Below. Whether or not you may need more space for your tennis shoes, high heel pumps, or sandals, you’ll be able to shop to a 12 various frames inside the Shoes Below.”

 

4) The “Are we really Search Engine Optimising for that?” comment

“WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for low humidity air”

 

5) …and finally, the “I just had to share” funny story

“Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!”

 

Thanks for putting a smile on our faces Comment Spam Bots, see you again next week.

What’s new in iOS7 (beta 3) – see screenshots here

Apple launched beta 3 of the highly anticipated iOS7 today. Geeky developers (like us) have been spending the day learning about the latest release and sharing screenshots and opinions on what’s new. Here are a few highlights from today.

iTunes Radio

Combine the innovative technology of spotify or rdio with the reach and userbase of iTunes and you have iTunes Radio. Create a radio station then let iTunes Radio “learn” your preferences and tailor music to you through the new “Tune This Station” slider that was spotted today:

BUT – currently only available in the USA (boo!).

iTunes shows download sizes

You can now see how large an app download is in iTunes before you download it. Great for those on limited data plans who may want to wait until they’re on wifi before updating an app.

New loading animation

Icons no longer use the blue progress bar to show how much has been downloaded, you’ll see a new ‘circular’ animation now instead as shown here:

New calendar

A few improvements to the calendar since beta 2 including those small dot indicators under days to show when you have events on certain days. The latest version looks like this:

Those are just a few highlights from today. What else have you spotted that you like in beta 3?

Twitter highlights websites that embed tweets

Twitter is rolling out a new display feature that highlights websites that have embedded tweets.

Quick revision here, if you’ve never embedded a tweet before it’s really simple. Just head to Twitter.com, find the tweet you want to embed, click “…more” at the end there and select “Embed Tweet” to get the code:

Now once you’ve done that, whenever people view the Tweet that you’ve embedded in their Twitter feed they’re going to start seeing this:

Why do I like this? Firstly because I hope this will encourage people to actually start using the proper “Embed Tweet” feature rather than screengrabbing a Tweet to appear in their articles. This is better for download speeds, rendering on mobile and is just the right way to do it. Then secondly, and more importantly, it’s going to help give kudos to certain Tweets as the more trusted and relevant sites are that have embedded it, the more likely you will be to read it.

This is rolling out now, so you may not see it right away but start thinking about how you can use this feature to you and your customer’s benefit.

Oh and as a test, here’s an embedded Tweet about this article about embedding Tweets that links to this article about embedding Tweets (makes me want to watch ‘Inception’…).

What’s a Hamburger Button? It’s the Hamburger that’s good for you.

There’s a hamburger you should try. It’s becoming really popular, people who try it seem to like it, it doesn’t make you (or your app) feel bloated…

Ok, enough of the poor wordplay, of course I’m talking about a Hamburger Button – that little three line icon you would have seen on apps that hides the primary navigation system until you tap on it.

Why talk about it? We build a lot of mobile sites and apps here at Fly Digital and have started seeing a real trend in clients moving away from tab bar navigation to the Hamburger way of navigating. It’s becoming a more widely accepted way to manage navigation on smaller screens.

Is it going to replace the tab bar? I think it will. The traditional tab bar that runs across the footer of many apps takes up a fair percentage of the screen real estate and usually only allows for 5 options at any one time. The Hamburger method takes up a tiny amount of screen space and can reveal a menu system that theoretically can be endless. These two reasons alone are going to move more app developers across to this method.

How does it work? In most cases, tapping the Hamburger icon slides the main content across to the right revealing a vertically scrolling view of menu items. Some apps also replicate this behaviour by allowing you to swipe across the main content.

The screenshots above show how the Facebook app on iOS does this. Below is a closeup of the Hamburger icon and expanded menu from the Teambox app also on iOS:

Why ‘Hamburger’? Well the icon itself has been around for a while but was originally designed to represent a set of drawers that when opened reveal additional content. However as it’s been used more widely in the mobile world (and probably in a bar somewhere on a Friday during lunch) developers have recently decided that the three layers looked more like a stylised burger instead, hence the name.

5 things we can learn from Game Of Thrones

1) The King is not always right, nor is the client

Joffrey has made some bad decisions in his short reign and if you’re really honest I’m sure the same could be said about your clients. But when this happens it’s rarely a good idea to simply nod and obey for fear of losing your head (or the contract). Always remember that you’ve been put in the position you’re in by a client or customer because you’re the specialist. So be a bit more like Tyrion Lannister and stand up for what you believe in. Because ultimately the King will be better off as a result.

2) Don’t judge too early, find the best in people and jobs

At first glance it’s easy to discount Hodor as a man of simple thoughts, few words and unable to offer a lot else. But without him Bran Stark would literally be in a very different place to where he is today. The same can be said about that job that looks a bit dodgy from the initial brief, or the potential employee who you didn’t get a good vibe from. Don’t give up too early, you can rarely get an accurate idea of how a project or person will turn out from first glance. I’ve had projects that sounded pretty uninteresting from the initial brief, but after taking the time to talk to the client and hear how passionate they were about it they’ve actually ended up being really interesting and profitable exercises all round.

3) Adapt or die

Wildlings don’t adapt very well. Generation after generation have attacked the Wall and each time the result has been the same – failure. If you don’t adapt as a small business and stubbornly adopt the same strategy over and over, you will fail too. It doesn’t matter if people want you or your products now, in time they won’t. Guaranteed. So if you want to succeed and don’t want to end up cold and alone beyond the wall make sure you are prepared to adapt to the market and to your enemies. It’s the only way to survive.

4) Expect the unexpected

(Season One spoiler alert) After Ned confessed to treason everybody thought Joffrey would show compassion and things would go back to normal. But a sudden change of heart and slash of the sword and things changed forever. When you run a small business I truly believe you have to expect and plan for the worst. Ask yourself, if you lost your biggest client could you still survive? If sales started declining rather than growing how long until the business started dying? What percentage of current income could you lose before you had to start slashing overheads? Always have a plan B for what you’d do if your current income stream was severed. It’s not a nice thing to think about but the more you do the more quickly you’ll be able to adapt if it ever happened.

5) Where Are My Developers?

And finally, don’t be like Daenerys Targaryen and turn your back on your Dragons (Developers) because when people find out how valuable they are they’ll try and steal them from you. Right now in the Australian market I believe that finding and keeping a good developer is one of the hardest parts of the job. So when you find one, be good to them and hang on to them. Because as a Technology Company you will lose the battle without them.

App Search Optimisation (ASO) for beginners

Hooray, there’s a new Technology acronym that I need to learn … said no one ever.

ASO or App Search Optimisation is the fancy way of describing the process of trying to make your app stand out above others when customers are browsing app stores like iTunes or Google Play.

Personally I think, as with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), there’s an awful lot of common sense that can be applied here to cover 80% of the ‘recommendations’ that the ‘experts’ are telling us.

But as a self confessed ‘expert’ who is here to give you some ‘recommendations’ here are the key things that I’d suggest you focus on when submitting your app.

App Name

Most importantly. Does your app have a descriptive name that contains keywords customers may be searching for? Remember, you have two ‘names’ for your app: 1) the short name that appears under the app icon on the smartphone and 2) the longer app name that features in the App Store. As an example your new flying game might have a short name of ‘Fly High’ but can have an App Store name of ‘Fly High – the Aeroplane Simulator Flying Game’. So choose both names wisely, the idea is to maximise the number of downloads by being descriptive.

App Keywords

Keywords are of little relevance to website SEO nowadays but they can help with ASO. So make sure you use as many of the 100 characters you’re given as you can. A good starting point is to research what your competitor apps are using to get ideas. And don’t forget there’s no need to repeat your App Name in your keywords.

App Description

Most importantly with the App Description is the fact that it’s going to get truncated. So make sure your key sell message is concisely written in the first two sentences. A punchy couple of sentences which neatly describe what you’ll get in the app is a way better strategy than paragraphs of text on how you came up with the idea or who the sponsors are or why you think it’s the next Angry Birds. Give the customer the facts, sell them the concept, then let them decide. Here’s a good example from Fox Sports’ NRL app:

App Icon

There are two schools of thought for including text in the icon or not. My opinion is that if the icon text is readable and better defines the purpose/brand of the app than a graphic only icon then go for it. But there’s no need to repeat the name of the App in your icon, that’s what the short name is for.

Updates

If you are making updates to your app make sure you don’t only describe the updates you’ve made but list them too. People love lists. Writing a sentence or two on why you’ve released this new version (eg: “You asked for changes to our booking system so we’ve added new ways to pay and made booking even easier”) and following that up with a list of exactly what you have done is generally the best approach.

Other tactics

A couple of final tips:

  1. Encourage customers to review and rate/review your app. You can do this via push notification prompts or via your company Social Media channels. An app that has 0 reviews and 0 ratings doesn’t look appealing to customers at all, especially if you’re asking them to pay for it.
  2. Encourage your friends and family to rate/review your app. As per point #1, it doesn’t hurt to ask people you know to rate your new app to get some initial runs on the board.
  3. Have relevant screenshots. You may love your fancy loading screen but there’s no point making that the number one screenshot, it’s not going to sell your app. Choose screenshots that tell the story of what you get when you download the app. Pick the key areas of content or functionality, and make sure the first screenshot is the best one.

If you have any other tips that you’ve found work when Optimising your App content, let us know below.

Xbox One – A non-gamers guide to what Microsoft just launched

We’re not gamers at Fly Digital but we don’t mind a new technology launch, so it was still a big deal when Microsoft presented their new Xbox One earlier today.

To help like-minded non-gaming tech fans, here’s a quick cheat sheet on the Xbox One.

What is the XBox One?

It’s the latest version of the Microsoft Xbox released 8 years after the Xbox 360. Rumours had it that this version would be called Xbox Infinity, but it seems Microsoft went the other end of the scale and started from step one again trying to create a completely new gaming experience rather than an upgrade to Xbox 360.

What cool things can it do?

Lots of voice control. You can turn it on by saying “XBox On” for a start which will wake up the device and return you to where you last left off. Or say “Xbox watch TV” to swap to a live TV feed. Plus you can even jump into a Skype call whilst playing a game (useful for taunting opponents).

Also using Windows 8′s snap feature you can ‘snap’ an app to one side of the screen whilst using the other side for something else. This has plenty of cool uses like snapping a twitter feed next to a live TV show, or playing a game with the walkthrough snapped to the other side.

What about Kinect?

The motion control add-on is still there but for Xbox One it’s been completely redeveloped. According to the demo earlier today, Microsoft claim Kinect “picks up motion at 13 billionths of a second, the time it takes light photons to bounce off of you and make it back for the sensors.” Now I’m no particle physicist but that sounds pretty darn responsive, am I right? This thing can apparently detect your heartbeat when exercising and Microsoft even claim it can register movements even in complete darkness (not sure if that’s important though, perhaps useful for the adult games market?)

Any demos I can watch?

Yep, check out the Call Of Duty : Ghosts video here: http://kotaku.com/call-of-duty-ghosts-gives-you-a-dog-customizable-mult-509058934 Check out the detail in the way the plants move when the helicopter flies past, or the reality of the German Shepherd (you get a dog in this new version, nice). Impressive stuff.

When can I get one?

Patience… Microsoft said the Xbox One will be available later in the year. I’d say based on previous releases assume around 4-6 months. But no doubt this is going to be a very popular Christmas gift for 2013.

Job: Digital Project Manager (midweight)

Digital Project Manager (midweight)

Fly Digital has a great opportunity for an ambitious, well-disciplined and creative Project Manager with excellent communication skills to join our growing team. You will be responsible for managing websites, mobile apps, eCommerce sites and other projects from concept to delivery across our varied client base working with our in-house and remotely located developers and designers. Reporting to the Company Director you’ll bring a flexible work ethic, an organized and methodical approach to your work and a genuine desire to be a key part of a small but fast growing company.

Download the job description here (PDF)

What you’ll need:

  • 3+ years client facing Project Management experience in the Digital Industry
  • A strong understanding of web/mobile development and design techniques
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of HTML, Photoshop and Coding Languages would be very advantageous

 What you’ll be doing:

  • Managing concurrent projects from concept, through to execution, testing, delivery and support
  • Managing client requests and translating these into briefs & tasks for developers and designers
  • Writing and presenting project documentation
  • Assisting the team with the company’s Social Media channels, blogs and websites
  • Assisting the Company Director on new business proposals and presentations

To apply:

Please submit your cover letter and resume to support@flydigital.com.au. Applicants chosen for an interview will be contacted in due course.