These days, it seems everyone is trying keep up with the hottest innovations in fast-moving technologies such as mobile, cloud, big data, wearables, and even connected and IoT devices. The pace of change is so relentless that staying abreast can sometimes be overwhelming.
The technology revolution has radically altered expectations. If today’s users don’t love an app, they’re not going to use it. Period. Which, of course, would negate any potential return on investment for the app’s developers.
Given that the bar is so high, there’s no point just going through the motions. Your team has to aim to knock the ball out of the park every time. Of course, it’s one thing to intend that, but to actually do that, your team may need to become highly proficient in a variety of new and unfamiliar disciplines. And there’s a real risk of losing some key benefits of traditional approaches as part of that transition.
Unfortunately, the problem is often easier to articulate than the solution. And even when an adequate solution has been defined, it will still require high quality execution to achieve successful results.
About Objects has assisted enterprises and small and medium businesses in solving exactly these kinds of problems for years. We’ve helped our customers succeed at that from the smallest to the largest scales across multiple platforms. We can help your team select the right technology stack, navigate potential pitfalls, and maximize potential benefits.
About Objects can provide a temporary supplement to your team's current skills and knowledge to bridge the gap. We bring to bear extensive experience developing solutions that require the integration of multiple platforms to form a seamless product.
As a company with training in its DNA, we have a strong focus on the transfer of knowledge and skills. So if your organization has a goal of elevating its practices, we can help by both doing and teaching. Here are some of the services we can provide:
Our practitioners are great at mentoring — as well as executing — across the entire spectrum. So while we’re happy to build a complete product or platform for you, we’d much prefer to build it with your team. Our goal is not only to help you get your product to the finish line — though obviously that’s important. Our overarching goal is to leave your team stronger and more capable than we found it.
Our work on mobile, cloud, and other emerging technology platforms includes years of mobile development experience. So although much of the work we perform is at the macro level — architecture, development process and methodology, enterprise and cloud integration, test strategies, and the like — we’re also intimately familiar with the wide array of low-level details that go into the design and engineering of, for example, a truly polished iPad app.
The upshot is that we’re well positioned to help your team avoid common engineering, design, and usability mistakes, while showing them how to take best advantage of the capabilities of a given platform. At the same time, we’ll also help with the bigger picture items in terms of integration with new and existing enterprise technology solutions.
We’d love to talk with you about how we might be able to contribute to your current and future development efforts.
We spend a lot of time thinking about why various approaches to software development have their observed effects. Doing so enables us to more easily trace issues that may be hampering an IT organization's effectiveness back to root causes. It also helps us always be awake to opportunities to further optimize our own practices.
As practitioners, we believe in tempering theory with the results of our own first-hand observation. The process and methodology we follow has been synthesized not only from other well-established approaches, but also from the fruit of hands-on experience with the things we've seen work — or not work — in actual practice. Because our approach is pragmatic rather than strictly by the book, it's relatively easy for us to tailor our process and methodology to mesh smoothly with the goals and preferences of each unique customer.
Like any other methodology, Agile has its strengths and weaknesses. In a nutshell, here's what we've observed: in migrating to agile practices, IT organizations often unwittingly lose some measure of accountability, particularly with respect to change management. We can walk you through practical steps you can take to manage change as effectively as in the past in a way that's fully consistent with today's methodologies.
The need for speed has led development organizations to migrate away from more traditional, formal process and methodology. Often, though, important things get lost or diminished in the transition. For example, agile teams often struggle managing user expectations because of a lack of clarity about what’s to be delivered. To make matters worse, changes to scope and changing interpretations of user requirements are often inadequately communicated.
Unfortunately, software design often tends to get overlooked in favor of quickly working through user stories. Sprints can bog down or under-deliver because areas of technical risk may not be identified until far too late.
Our fully documented software engineering process was designed from the ground up to let development teams move fast without sacrificing control. The key is to limit unpleasant surprises, especially the disruptive ones that arise late in the cycle. Our process is iterative, risk-driven, architecture-centric, and infused with agile concepts. It's a synthesis of the Open Unified Process, Agile, and Scrum, tempered by decades of full life cycle software engineering experience.
Critical thinking, activities, and deliverables to focus the project and provide a roadmap for execution. We make sure that the project's guiding principles are defined and documented, and that comprehensive estimates are produced and validated.
Agile sprints for requirements, design, architecture, implementation, testing, and continuous integration. In parallel, we gather requirements in the form of use cases to provide traceability and a basis for communicating the impacts of changes. We make sure that all architectural risks are identified and mitigated during the early sprints. At the end of each sprint the application is demonstrated, velocity is assessed, corrections are made, and changes that impact scope, time, and money are reported to management.
Preparation for delivery, with DevOps and testing incorporated in each sprint. DevOps scripts are developed and tested in pre-release test environments. Teams external to the development team are included in sprint activities for deployment, performance, integration, and application testing. We can share numerous techniques we've evolved over the years to improve cross-team collaboration and production readiness.
A well-designed application is simple and useful. A great application embodies the elegance inherent in a balanced combination of those two qualities. Design begins and ends with a keen understanding of the user. Putting users in the center of the design process allows designers to validate hypotheses that can otherwise give rise to speculative assumptions, and hours of conference room debates.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
— STEVE JOBS
The constraints of mobile devices (tiny screens, brief interactions, imprecise input) led to major changes in approach to user experience design. Websites and mobile apps needed to have simpler layouts and be radically easier to use than their desktop counterparts. Navigation had to be clear and obvious.
As designers found solutions to these design issues, they began to integrate the new patterns that emerged into desktop design as well. As a result, design approaches have changed across the board, and are now a common part of the average user's everyday experience.
Since apps are increasingly used on the go, awkward user interfaces have gone from being perceived as a mere annoyance, to being treated as unacceptable. With hundreds of thousands of apps to choose from, the bar has been set higher than ever. User experience has become absolutely critical to success. The following are some key ingredients.
There's a common pitfall we've seen occur commonly, and it's usually a costly one. It generally has some or all of the following components:
At About Objects, our designers and engineers work closely together. We're keenly aware of platform features, and know how to design and implement features to take maximum advantage of inherent capabilities.
Users quickly become familiar with common interaction patterns on well-defined vendor platforms, such as those for mobile and wearable devices. Because today's users have little tolerance for apps that don't behave the way they've come to expect, to be successful, most apps need to closely adhere to a given platform's published human interface guidelines.
At About Objects, our UX/UI designers are deeply knowledgable about the platforms we work with. We understand how to design for the medium, whether it's the web, an iPad, an Android phone, or an Apple Watch. We've executed cutting edge designs for leading brands such as the NFL, Marriott, and DIRECTV.
We're big believers in following a consistent, repeatable process. And we think that's every bit as important for software design as it is for software engineering.
Our UX/UI design process combines discipline and creativity in the right measures. Following that process makes it possible to reliably deliver a fresh, intuitive, and elegant user experience, each and every time. By correctly defining the business problem to be solved, getting meaningful feedback from users early and often, and performing a series of stepwise refinements, we can calibrate the experience to deliver precisely what the user needs and expects moment by moment.
Understanding the problem is the first step for being able to solve the problem. To fully understand the problem, boundaries must be uncovered and defined. Feature sets need to be aligned with business goals. This phase is where direction and vision are nailed down.
Once there are boundaries in which to work, the next phase is about learning as much as possible about anything and everything that fits within the defined boundaries. Whether user personas, content strategy, or the details of individual device platforms, the more you know, the better.
Here we begin adding substance to the app vision by applying the research gathered in the previous phase. Prototypes are developed that embody early concepts of the intended user experience, beginning with navigation patterns. Deliverables and concepts are driven by user personas. Iterating over this phase allows multiple directions to be explored as concepts are refined.
This is the testing part of the process. Getting meaningful validation with actual users via the prototypes is crucial for getting to the right solution quickly.
Once a prototype has been thoroughly tested with users and is ready to be taken further, visual and interaction designers may begin implementing the physical forms and affordance of the application. These may be further validated with users where appropriate. ￼
In today's fast-paced world, users are always on the move, and smart devices are an integral part of their daily routines. But precisely because things appear to be moving so quickly, users are less willing to invest time learning the features of mobile apps. A great user experience needs to be intuitive, familiar, and snappy. And the only way to get that kind of performance and user experience is to develop for the native platform. That's the only way to develop apps that are truly seductive — apps that users will want to make an integral part of their daily life.
Today's organizations are under increased pressure to deliver well-designed solutions while balancing time-to-market deadlines, navigating through a quickly evolving IT environment, and responding to market changes. Leverage our decades of enterprise experience to better position your team for success. We partner closely with clients to deliver quality solutions on-time and on-budget. Our specialization in mobile (iOS and Android), cloud/big data, microservices, and back-end architecture allows us to customize solutions that are tailored to your organization.
ACHIEVE MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH SMART INVESTMENTS IN HUMAN CAPITAL.
At About Objects, we understand the balance necessary to keep your engineering staff up to speed on ever-changing technologies and the need to deliver projects on-time and on-budget. That's why we've introduced our unique About Objects Associate Engineer Program to help your team to secure the right resources and facilitate knowledge transfer, while holding the line on costs. Here's how it works.
It starts with our ability to recruit quality high-potential candidates through our rigorous selection and evaluation process. Associate Engineers are intensively trained at About Objects, then paired with a small team led by one of our senior engineers, who are both industry experts and experienced mentors.
Our senior engineers work with your in-house staff and our Associate Engineers alike, providing guidance on high-quality software architecture and engineering best practices while fostering platform-specific skills and knowledge transfer. As the team develops robust technical solutions, you and your staff will have the ability to evaluate the Associate Engineer’s work products on a first-hand basis.
Finally, at the end of the engagement, the Associate Engineers can be converted to full-time staff members. You’ll have a high-quality product with a solid foundation and be well positioned to make great hires—engineers with tremendous upside who understand your business and have the potential to be great contributors to your core, in-house team over the long haul.
Building mobile and cloud solutions can present challenges for even the most seasoned development organizations. These platforms embody new paradigms that mandate changes across the entire development lifecycle. Our Readiness Review process helps your organization gain valuable insight into areas of potential risk.
Whether your program is in the early planning stages or is already in full swing, our senior-level architects and engineers will help you identify high-impact areas of potential improvement across your organization’s IT development practice areas including:
The Mobile App Readiness Review is completed in four weeks. Our team works both onsite and remotely to evaluate your environment, document recommendations, and report findings.
The process includes: