Grow your business with a web application in 2020

As we already mentioned, in these uncertain times, a strong online presence may be your opportunity to build better relationships with your audience and, as a result, generate more revenue. We have created this web application development guide for CEOs and executives who want to grow their online channels. You’ll learn how your business can benefit from modern web app solutions, what are the most exciting web development technologies and design trends in 2020, and, finally, how to build a web application that your customers will love to use.

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5 web app trends that you can’t miss in 2023

When building your first app, don’t forget to keep up with the modern trends - find out what those are. From AI-powered chatbots to Augmented Reality, we've got you covered.

In the rapidly changing world of technology, it’s not easy to keep up with all the advancements. Web app development technologies are no different. Thus, if you haven’t updated your web application in the last couple of years, most probably you’re staying behind your competition.

But how to stay up to date with the trends in web apps development?

We got you covered: our intention is to provide you with inspiring ideas, as well as practical tips and actionable insights on how to make use of these trends, in a form that is easy-to-digest for non-technical executives.

That’s enough for the introduction. Let’s unveil the trend no. 1!

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Choosing The Best Backend Framework For Your Project

The next step of development is choosing the right framework for your web application.

And in backend web development, choosing the best backend framework may not be as easy as it seems. Here, we'll explain how we approached this issue at Apptension with an exercise case study. Some thoughts a software engineer might have: ‘There are too many backend frameworks. "Or:“Backend developers are too different, only consensus can save us. "Here, at Apptension, a primarily frontend software house, there are not many backend developers. Recently, we’ve started a mentoring process and picked learning about backend frameworks as the first meeting topic. Read more about our motivations, the exercise and an office event that we organized.

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Time and Material vs Fixed Price Billing in Software Development

As soon as you’ve answered a whole lot of questions: “What? Why? How? With whom?” and have found your perfect idea and dream company, the next key decision is what pricing model to choose. And it is not only about money, but the whole process and workflow, so it is worth thinking carefully. In the following article, we will discuss the two most popular forms: time and material and fixed price, and help you decide which one will be best for your business.

Developing a product is thrilling yet stressful - you set a discovery call with the software house (or your own developers), talk about needs, solutions and technologies, plan the strategy, create a product roadmap template, imagine how our new website or application will impress customers. The future looks bright. But with one thing, negotiations grind to a halt: which pricing method should you opt for? And this is where things get tricky, because you have to take into account everyone’s preferences and habits, and above all - what will be best for the product.

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How To Write A Project Brief For Website Development

It can turn out that you’re more likely to outsource website development to a software house. It’s common to decide on outsourcing since it is a simpler and sometimes even cheaper way to build an app. 

In this can, first you need to know how to write a project brief that describes your project, its main goals, desired features, budget, etc. Depending on how detailed your brief will be, the more accurate quotes you will get. That’s why, in order to collect meaningful proposals and estimations from software houses, you need to master your project brief.

Working with different types of clients like startups, small businesses, agencies and production houses, we’ve come up with a list of best practices that clients might have while outlining their project to an outsourced software vendor. Based on our experience, we’ve put together this project brief template. After reading this, you will be able to better outline:

  • Your project’s scope
  • Its main objectives
  • The complexity of it
  • Primary functionalities
  • Its timeline

But before we start, let’s quickly recap what a project brief is, and what it is not.

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The importance of design in Web Development

Undoubtedly, you should pay attention to designing your app with users in mind, so let’s dive into some details regarding the product design process.

At Apptension, we follow a proven process which allows us to design apps that win people’s hearts. You can benefit from our experience as well—we’ve created a step-by-step recipe for designing apps based on users’ real needs. Replicate these steps to build a successful web app.

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Two approaches to user onboarding that will grow your user base

We are also sharing two of the most powerful approaches to user onboarding, along with some real-life industry examples (and results!). As you may know, user onboarding can become a decisive factor in the future usage of a web app. 

The two general patterns are:

  • Deferred account creation,
  • Persona-based onboarding.

The first approach leverages gradual engagement, letting users explore the app and experience its real value before prompting them to create an account. Users might also never be explicitly asked to sign up and complete their goals as a visitor. They will, however, see the benefits of becoming a user. Zalando's wishlist or Duolingo’s Leaderboards are great examples of such user-only benefits.

The latter pattern focuses on customization and personalized experiences. Users might be asked to self-segment as soon as they sign up. Pinterest employs that approach and asks users to select their topics of interest, for instance sports or photography right away. Alternatively, the customer service team might segment users themselves based on their in-app behavior. In either case, the segmentation provides a next-level personalized onboarding experience and helps the user discover the full potential of the tool.

Which pattern should you go for? It will depend on the nature of your business. The first approach is typical for free ecommerce and hospitality apps. The latter one is popular within paid SaaS solutions.

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Spline Tutorial - Learn How to Create 3D Web Experiences

Interested in 3D web applications? We have a guide for those, too. 

Spline, a 3D design tool, was launched towards the end of 2020. As you probably know, it’s not your typical 3D environment like Blender, 3D Max, or Cinema 4D. For instance, it doesn’t allow you to edit meshes. You could say Spline is more like three.js editor, but unlike this tool, Spline is codeless. It also feels more designer-friendly to me. When we tried Spline for the first time, it felt like 3D Paint but with interactions. It seems that this is how the Spline team wants to position their product on the market. This impression is further supported by the eye candy aesthetic you will notice when browsing the library of projects. 

For me, the biggest upside of Spline is its “magic-doing”—and yes, “doing magic” is the message you see when exporting your project to a browser. Spline’s speed, performance (web and mobile), and simplicity make it easy for 3D designers to showcase their work in a browser using just WebGL, not a built-in player, which is the case for Sketchfab. 

We really appreciate what other creators achieved with Spline and the general aesthetic emerging in the Spline community. Spline’s Twitter and Instagram accounts prove that many designers got on the bandwagon, and the published works can be truly breathtaking. Usually, these are the scenes where artists tried to enhance the content predominantly based on Spline’s native interactions: rotate, zoom, pan. 

Working at Apptension, a software house where interaction is crucial, we  decided to take a different route. We asked ourselves: how complex can Spline-based interactions be? Can we use them to tell a story? Can we have more than one rotating scene? Can we achieve, as Ryanne Fadel tweeted, a Prezi on steroids?

We tried to answer these questions with a project illustrating the 10 principles for good design by Dieter Rams, which you can look up here. Below there is also a Youtube video.

Let’s explain how we built it. Click the subheading for more information.

5 CTOs reveal the top tools to optimize your web app

Do you already have a web application and your main goal is optimization for a better experience? Read below to learn how. 

Google Page Speed, Cloudflare and Lighthouse are some of the tools that leading CTOs use. Scroll down to find the rest

Technological insights, decision making, team management, and business knowledge are some of the traits of a great CTO. One aspect which is often overlooked but is an important part of a CTO’s arsenal is the tools they use on a daily basis.

CTOs work with a number of tools and applications to ensure maximum productivity for both themselves and their team. There are often a plethora of options available for these tools, therefore it’s important to choose the one that adds value to your team, and your needs, best.

So if you’re wondering what tools some prominent CTOs use to build and manage high performing web applications then you’re at the right place.

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