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5 Ways The Sharing Economy Changed Your Life

Have you ever rented someone’s apartment in the summer? Taken an Uber home on a Saturday night? Maybe washed someone’s car or mowed someone’s front lawn?

Technology has made sharing and selling so simple. It has never been easier to take part in the sharing economy. Networking technologies like social media, apps or forums allow any type of transaction possible.

Do you know what the sharing economy is? It is as simple as renting a holiday house from someone. If you have rented an asset owned by another person, the sharing economy has entered your life.

Through this culture shift, giants like:

  • Airbnb allows you to rent property from a stranger.
  • Airtasker lets you complete stranger’s chores for money.
  • eBay lets you buy and sell second-hand goods.
  • Uber orders a person to pick you up from the location of your choice.

Will you get in a strangers car?

Are you a frequent Uber user? Car sharing platforms have flipped the taxi industry on its head. People have jumped into their cars and become their own taxi service. The sharing economy is taking the power away from the big businesses. People are using their assets to help other people for money. This is the sharing economy in full force.

Technology on demand

Uber Driver

Skills to pay the bills

Do you have skills that are being wasted? Do you love mowing the lawn or planting flowers but have no garden? Airtasker allows people to complete day to day tasks for anyone. Whether it’s teaching, fixing, building or digging, your skills are required. If you have a unique skillset, Airtasker will give you the opportunity to use it.

Different skills to achieve success

Skills to pay the bills

Shelter

Would you like to be a local everywhere you go? If you plan a beach holiday or travel through countries, you need a roof over your head. The streets are not always so kind. Airbnb and Couchsurfing give you that feeling of living like a local. You can rent apartments or sleep on strangers’ couches to have that authentic, interesting experience.

Welcome you to the world of tech

Home away from home

Pet Sitting

Do you love pets but cannot afford or do not have space/time to look after one? Now you can with Mad Paws. This is obvious for every parent, you need to feel safe with your babysitter. But what happens when you go on holiday without your pet? I see my dog as a family member and Mad Paws gives me the security knowing that my dog is safe. That a stranger will open their home for my dog.

We will guide you to app success

How simple life can be

Foodies

What does an authentic Italian pasta taste like? What about a delicious Indian butter chicken? Do you love local cuisines but don’t have time to travel? Chefly is about people cooking local delicacies for strangers to buy. This is a perfect example of people sharing their skillset with one another.

We develop all our designs in house

Nothing like a home cooked meal

 

Before technology became such a powerful force, the concept of a sharing economy seemed impossible. With such efficient networking technologies, the options are endless. These days if you feel like, need or want anything, an option is not far away.

 

If you are thinking of creating a sharing economy app, whether it’s for travel, food or leisure, get in touch with Launchpad for a free quote.

 

Are you curious to find out what will make your life more productive? Have a look at our blog to find productivity hacks.

Why 2016 is the Year of On-Demand Apps

One of the most common phrases in mobile is “there’s an app for that”. Now, it should be “there’s an Uber for that”.

 

This year, we’ve seen the “uberisation” of mobile apps – the increase of on-demand mobile apps in the market. There are lots of on-demand apps that offer different services, such as food deliveries,  postal services and many more.  These apps are part of a market that is known as the On-Demand Economy, also called the Sharing Economy.

the-uber-of

The Uber of different categories

 

The On-Demand Economy

on-demand-economyA diagram of the On-Demand Economy

 

The On-Demand Economy refers to activity that is focused on providing goods and services to consumers efficiently and immediately. A majority of the key players consist of technological entrepreneurs and startups. The leader market is Uber. Valued at $85 Billion, Uber is dominating the transportation market with the highest funding.

There has been a high interest in on-demand apps with investors resulting in a lot of money being invested in on-demand apps. Since 2010, $9.4 billion has been invested in the on-demand industry and we’ve seen a major jump in funding for on-demand service apps.

The tech-savvy and constantly connected millennial generation (18-34 year olds), make up most demand in the sharing economy. As a result, an increase of apps catered towards this group  can be expected in the future.

on-demand-australia-1The On-Demand Economy is revolutionary

 

The Future of the On-Demand Economy

The on-demand app economy is expected to grow thanks to the positive outlook in the Australian app economy.

App entrepreneurs will look for new opportunities, while current on-demand apps will expand. As a result, others will compete with the big on-demand app players.

There will also be expected growth in various industries in the future due to the on-demand economy, such as groceries, transportation, home services and food delivery.

 

Why are On-Demand Apps so popular?

The on-demand economy is booming because of our consumption behaviour. On-demand apps are easily accessible, very convenient and easy to use.

These on-demand apps help make life easier for us by fulfilling our daily needs. With the touch of a button all our chores are done, at a low cost.

On-demand apps are also popular with app entrepreneurs and startups. This is because it enables them to bring their idea to life faster and more cheaply.

On-demand services like Dispatch help startups list and source their services to customers. It gives app entrepreneurs and startups the opportunity to capitalise on markets that have been untapped. These include B2B On-Demand Services, drone deliveries and B2B shipping.

 

What are the most popular categories of On-Demand apps?

 

  • Food Delivery

This popular service trend began with a company called Suppertime, now called Foodora, which delivered food to late working business people and entrepreneurs.

Food delivery is now one the largest and most popular areas, with lots of service operators, such as Deliveroo, UberEats, Menulog and Foodora. In fact, restaurants offer a whole diverse range of cuisines so consumers can purchase food from any nationality.

With Australia’s multi-billion dollar takeaway industry, this sector will continue to grow as more restaurants take on these services.

 

  • Outsourcing

Outsourcing services have become very popular in the United States. Being influenced by the success in America, these on-demand services are currently trending in Australia with major platforms such as Airtasker and Sidekicker. These services help consumers with daily tasks such as general cleaning and home improvements.

In addition, there are now on-demand clothes washing startups, such as Dryz and LaundryRun, launching in Australia. This area could potentially grow further in the future.

 

  • Transportation

Ride-sharing was the pioneering sector, which started the on-demand app trend. Uber was the first app to disrupt the transportation service and on-demand platform. Ridesharing services are growing and used more often by commuters.

The most popular apps in this category include Uber, GoCatch and Shofer. This is very popular because it’s cheaper compared to taking taxis. Consumers have a range of different services and tiers, which range from budget to luxurious rides.

 

Tips on entering the On-Demand app industry

 

  • Convenience is key

Your app should give consumers and users a simple purchasing experience. Here, you should implement features and technology that makes the app easier to use, e.g. live tracking, easy payment options, have a service progress screen etc.

To complement the intuitiveness, your app should have a UI and UX design that is visually appealing and intuitive. Users should be able to navigate the app easily and identify which buttons are interactive.

 

  • Create an app that solves a need

With the various on-demand apps out in the market, you’ll need to identify how your app will stand out among others. Here, find out if your app idea solves a need that hasn’t been met.

For instance, in 2015 the on-demand dog helping service, Wag!, was launched to help busy people take care of their dog. If there are other apps that solve an existing problem, think about how you can do it better than competitors?

 

  • Identify your industry

During the planning stage of your on-demand app idea, you should try to find an industry or market where you can get a competitive advantage. Focusing on one market when first starting out allows you to stay focused on a specific target audience and avoid competing with others and market leaders. This is how current ride-sharing platforms became successful. You can do this by either targeting a niche market or trying to disrupt an existing market.

For instance, Drive Yello disrupted the food delivery market by enabling restaurants to post delivery jobs; essentially being a job board for drivers.

 

Key takeaways

The on-demand economy has been booming this year and will be expected to grow in the coming years. These platforms have changed our lives, making daily chores like preparing dinner and postal delivery more conveniently.

With the most common apps being food delivery, outsourcing tasks and transportation, there is the potential for other markets to be disrupted. If you are looking towards creating your own on-demand app, remember to make sure that it solves a problem of a defined market with a design and features that are easy to use.

 

What are your thoughts on the on-demand economy? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

 

Contact us if you have an app idea and we’ll help you bring it to life.

 

The 6 Best Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs

The old saying “slow and steady wins the race” is exactly that – old! The new version of the saying should be “fast and ready wins the race”.

In business, time is money. You can’t create more time in a day but by increasing your productivity on tasks, you can save a lot of time and money. Therefore, increasing your productivity makes money!

To help you do just that, here’s our list of the best money saving, productivity apps available.

Related: The Top 6 Traits of a Game-Changing Entrepreneur

Evernote

First up is Evernote. This is one of the most popular productivity and business apps.

Evernote is a note taking and organisation application that saves information via cloud. It is widely assessable and currently available on most platforms including iOS, Android, Mac and Windows.

Evernote’s beauty lies not on the surface, but really emerges when the application is used to its full potential. A lot of apps allow you to take and organise notes, copy information from websites, make to-do lists, read online content or send emails, but Evernote allows you to do all this and more!

Melbourne App Development

Evernote’s iPhone App. Source: iTunes

With its inbuilt search features and tags, Evernote makes it effortless to sort through 1000s of notes and acquire information or jog your memory on experiences or information you wrote years ago.

Evernote has a seemingly endless amount of features, so its purpose is really only limited by the user and their needs.

 

Free WiFi Finder

With business these days becoming more and more mobile there is a clear desire to be connected with your employees and customers round the clock. Working out at lunch or pitching a new proposal to clients or investors at a restaurant will almost certainly bring up the need to be connected to the internet.

As satellite internets can be a costly and annoying expense, the idea that an application can find all the free WiFi locations around me is pretty exciting. Most will probably require you to purchase a small product, coffee or cake etc but that is a small price to pay for the luxury of mobility at the tip of your fingers.

Free WiFi Finder is available in over 50 countries which makes travelling abroad no problem and with the information accessible offline, you won’t need to be connected to the net which is definitely a smart feature.

 

Dropbox

Dropbox is the king of cloud storage applications. Dropbox’s elegance lies in its simplicity – dragging folders from your desktop into your dropbox file allows you to transfer your files easily across many devices, and also to your family or friends with its easy-to-use sharing functions.

Australian App Developers

Dropbox helps backups your important files with storage via a  cloud. Storage space ranges from 2GB on a free basic account to 1TB with a pro account. Furthermore, it has an option to increase the security of your files. Whether you’re using it for work or saving personal files, Dropbox will make sure they are secure. With its stunning User Interface and functionality, it’s hard to overlook Dropbox as one of the best cloud storage applications out there!

 

Pocket

Have you ever stumbled across a great article that you just don’t have the time to read? I for one have fallen victim to this many times.

If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of time throughout the day, to sit there and read these articles and find yourself staying up at night trying to remember where you saw the articles, then Pocket is the mobile app for you!

App Development Australia

Pocket’s Android App. Source: Google Play

Pocket, originally called Read It Later, started off as an application to save articles. Overtime  it has grown to accommodate to videos and images. The app lets you bookmark and has extensions along with compatibility to a lot of other apps. It also has built-in saving functions you’d find in other apps such as Flipboard and Pulse.

Pocket also improves the reading experience by displaying content without the usual chaos of ads, sidebars, buttons and more. Pocket’s new User Experience design, along with its clear, uncluttered reading spaces, makes it my choice for read-it-later apps.

 

Streaks

This app essentially is a motivating tool to help create good habits. I love how Streaks rewards you for continuously completing the same task, which helps forms good habits. It has an beautiful UI and is incredibly simple to use.

Streaks limits you to tracking six tasks at any one time. This ranges from tasks like remembering to brush your teeth to tasks that you can create and personalise. Knowing that not all tasks need to be done everyday, you can roster ‘days off’. Here, you don’t have to complete the task and it won’t break your streak.

Uber

The last few years we have seen the emergence of one particularly disruptive app that has completely revitalised the transportation industry. Welcome to the era of Uber.

Uber has seen enormous growth since its start off in 2009 with an estimated value of $85 Billion in 2016. Why so much growth you might ask? The necessity of being mobile these days is imperative and with a lower-cost alternative service that Uber provides, why go anywhere else?

As previously noted, Uber’s worldwide growth has allowed ride costs and waiting times to steadily decline. Furthermore, the rating system ensures that driver quality is relatively consistent, leading to an improved service quality in comparison to traditional forms of transportation. Ultimately, Uber is an essential app for the on-the-go entrepreneur.

Using these apps, will help you be more organised with daily tasks. As result, you’ll get the competitive advantage you’re striving for. Whether you use all of these great tools or even a completely different set of apps to improve productivity, we’d love to hear about them!

Leave us a comment below on any productivity apps that we may have missed.

The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

What are the shared traits of apps like Uber and Airbnb that help them become impactful multinational companies? The answer can vary depending on industry and business model. In this post we share the four most common characteristics of successful app startups.

Not since the dot-com days of the late 90s has there been such a prevalence of tech startups. The rise of mobile technology and innovations such as cloud computing has spurred this latest round of tech entrepreneurship.

As the mobile revolution becomes mainstream, new business opportunities are being presented. At Launchpad App Development, we help entrepreneurs and emerging businesses realise these opportunities through iPhone, Android and Web App Development.

Here are the important qualities to achieving app startup success in the evolving mobile marketplace.

They are disruptive

One of the defining characteristics of successful app startups is Disruption. A disruptive app challenges the status of an industry – transportation, retail, lifestyle, etc. – to such an extent that the traditional way of doing business becomes practically obsolete.

That’s easier said than done, and a lot more difficult than creating an app that follows consumer demand and market trends. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

So is a disruptive app created?

Clayton Christensen – who introduced the disruptive innovation theory in the Harvard Business Review – notes that disruptive innovation often starts from the low-end market foothold.

Consider an industry where companies try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services. In such an industry, these companies are paying less attention to less-demanding customers. This opens the door to disruptive apps to provide these low-end customers with a Minimum Viable Product.

Example – Uber

The taxi industry is tightly regulated and the drivers face strict obligations. In most cities, drivers need a special operator’s license in order to act as a taxi. Furthermore, there are restrictions to what cars they can legally drive.

In comparison to traditional taxis, Uber started in the low-end market by allowing anyone with a car to drive other people around for money. No special certification or knowledge was required.

As Uber’s network grew in each city, ride costs and waiting times declined and the rating system ensured that the driver quality was relatively consistent. With this improved service quality, Uber was able to move upstream to attack taxis directly – a classic disruptive move.

Uber Most Valuable Startup

Now worth $85 billion AUD, Uber is the World’s most valuable startup. Source: Statista

They have a well-defined Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that explains what benefits your app provides and how it does it uniquely well. It describes your target users, the problem your app solves, and why it’s distinctly better than the alternatives.

A significant part of defining a value proposition involves what Forbes writer Michael Skok calls the 4Us:

  • Unworkable: Does your app solve a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction?
  • Unavoidable:  Is it driven by a fundamental requirement for accountability or compliance?
  • Urgent: Is it one of the top few priorities in the marketplace that your startup is entering?
  • Underserved: Is there a noticeable lack of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re on the right path toward a compelling value proposition.

Example – Evernote

Evernote’s value proposition is to “help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done”. From saving ideas and thoughts to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s distinct app offering makes it easy for users to stay productive and organised.

With a well-defined value proposition, you know that your target market is primed for the solution that your app provides.

They start with a small market

When it comes to successful app startups, there’s been a lot of talk about the huge market that’s readily available through the ever-evolving mobile platform.

While it’s true that a startup must eventually reach a large market to transform into a large company, it’s actually best to identify a narrow market segment to begin with.

As we covered in a previous post, starting with a small market helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in an insightful manner, while also underlining any issues that need to be rectified more quickly.

“Begin with a really small market, take over said market, and then expand that market in concentric circles.”

Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder and early Facebook Investor.

 

Thiel advises in his lecture , “the greatest mistake you can make as a new startup is going after a giant market from the get-go. That signifies that you haven’t defined categories properly. And you’re going to be dealing with too much competition in one way or another.”

If you want to turn your app startup into a successful company, you should first capture targeted small markets and then help that market grow over time.

They provide an outstanding User Experience

By definition, a startup is a new company. They can’t be dependent on brand loyalty built over years or decades like their big, entrenched competitors can.

This is why providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is so important to the business’s long-term success.

So how do you deliver a great user experience for the app that you’re building? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  • Easy flow and navigation – Once you’ve decided on the first set of features you want to be part of the app, it’s essential that you make it easy for the user to navigate from screen to screen, or from one feature to another. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
  • Understand your customer What is the profile of your typical customer (E.g. Age group, gender, their behaviour with technology, etc.)? The navigational features (such as button size, easy tap instead of swipes) will differ from a 5 year old compared a 55-year-old mobile user.
  • Utilise the platform – Each platform, iOS or Android, offers various gesture-based navigation tools. Swipes (left, right, up or down) can bring a new screen and remove another, while a pinch can zoom into content or move out of the current screen as well. Depending on the nature of your application and its purpose, platform-specified gestures should be offered to provide an intuitive navigation experience.

App User Experience

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: Business 2 Community

The User Experience your app offers should be an integral part of your product strategy. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether your app idea will grow into a successful startup depends on a variety of factors. They have common characteristics that can be identified.

Successful app startups are disruptive, have a well-defined value proposition, start with a small market and provide an amazing user experience. Making sure that your app concept has these four traits will set you on the right path to achieving startup success.

What additional characteristics do you believe lead to app startup success? Let us know in the comments section below.

The Blueprint to Designing Your App Icon

As the visual anchor for your app, you need to nail the icon design at the beginning. In this post, we discuss the best practices to creating a memorable and unique icon that entices app store browsers to download your app.

Uber may only be 6 years old, but that didn’t stop the $85 billion company from recently rolling out a redesign for its entire brand. In doing so, Uber completely changed its highly recognisable monochrome U-shaped icon into something that looks like:

a) A backwards ‘C’

b) An evil Pac-Man

c) It’s forever updating

d) All of the above

So what was Uber’s rationale for the new icon design?

The square is meant to represent the bit — a nod to Uber’s technology. The colours and patterns being introduced to the branding represent the atom — the people and things that Uber transports and the places where it operates.” 

Travis Kalanik, CEO of Uber

That sounds kind of cool and interesting, but Uber’s previous icon had imprinted itself in the minds of budget-conscious travellers everywhere. So why would the transport unicorn completely drop its familiar ‘U’ for a non-distinct shape?

Armin Vit opines for Brand New: “Let’s assume that it’s a matter of being used to poking an app icon for the last six years and that we just need to get used to poking at this new one. Even then, it seems like this is an icon for something else altogether.”

Uber App Icon

Uber’s new icon eating it’s way through the transportation industry.

An app icon is the one, singular piece of graphic design that users will interact with first each time they see your product. A great app icon becomes synonymous with what the app enables users to do and how it makes them feel.

So you’ve validated your app concept and now need to design an identifiable and unique app icon. But what exactly makes a great app icon?

We’ve put together an essential guide to designing an app icon that screams ‘Install ME!’… Without the unnecessary redesign 6 years later.

Scalability – Big or Small, the Icon Needs to Look Good

Your icon is going to be shown on a variety of screens, and in a variety of sizes, so it’s important your creation maintains legibility. It needs to look good on the App Store, on Retina devices and even as a favicon for the app’s promotional website.

One Minute Closer App Icon

An app icon needs to work at multiple resolutions retaining the legibility of the concept across the range of sizes. Source: One Minute Closer

When designing your app icon, consider the following scaling tips from App Icon Template:

  • Design and test the icon in multiple contexts and sizes.
  • Think simple and focus on a single shape or element.
  • Your icon should retain its recognisability when scaled.

As for software applications that let you design with this scalability, we recommend the use of Adobe Photoshop. If this is your first attempt at creating an icon, working with a free Photoshop template from AppIconTemplate.com is probably the best approach.

Simplicity – Clearly Convey What Your App Does

You have a confined 57×57 pixel space for your app icon. This is the first thing that browsers see when searching on the Apple App Store and Google Play. Do these potential users a favour by having your icon clearly convey what your app does.

You can’t always rely on users tapping your app to view it’s optimised screenshots on the preview page. Your icon should stand on it’s own.

App Analytics company App Annie provide the following rules of thumb to keeping your icon simple:

  • The most effective icons have a simple design and clear message.
  • Make sure the icon represents the core brand values of your app. This could be the app’s primary function, such as Gmail’s use of a letter or a gaming app using the main character.
  • The colours used in the icon should pop while still reflecting the in-app colour scheme.

Applying these rules of thumb will greatly assist in highlighting your app’s unique selling point.

Uniqueness – Stand Out in the Crowd

Let’s consider a user who downloads your app, closes their iPhone and then opens their menu screen later on. On a smartphone that’s already filled with apps, what is it about yours that is going to grab the user’s attention and stand out from the crowd? It’s an app icon that’s instantly recognisable and unique.

App Store Productivity Apps

It seems that uniqueness doesn’t enter the design process for Productivity apps. Source: idApostle

When attempting to create a unique icon, focus on a shape or object that stands out. Consider Snapchat’s ghost. The icon both sticks out and highlights the app’s unique selling point of ‘poof-it’s gone’ snaps.

Also consider choosing colours that contrast and pop, as this is often an overlooked way of positioning an app. Spotify does this well by pairing green with a starkly contrasting black. When a user browses the App Store for a music streaming service, these colour choices are what help Spotify stand out from competing apps.

Avoid Text – The App’s Name Often Accompanies the Icon

Words and images are separate representational tools. Combining them in what is supposed to be a visual representation often leads to a cluttered and unfocused experience that is difficult to decode. As such, you should avoid using copy or text in your app icon.

‘But this blog started with a Kanye-like rant about how Uber’s rebranding from a ‘U’ text icon to an unrecognisable shape was a mistake’, I hear you say.

Well first of all, I think we can all agree that this blog’s introduction made more sense than any rambling tweet from Kanye West.

Secondly, if you’re using a singe letter and validate it as a suitable fit, then the letter avoids being ‘wordy’ and becomes iconic by itself. However, this is more often the exception than the rule.

Your app’s name will be written next to the icon on the app stores and smartphone menu screens. Therefore, using text – especially if it’s your app’s name – is redundant.

Before designing your app icon…

An app’s icon is highly influential for standing out on the app store and engaging potential users with your product. Make sure that it’s scalable, simple, unique and visually conveys the app’s core value.

Along with the product strategy you plan to implement, nailing the icon design will put you on the right path towards a successful launch into the market.

Do you have any tools and tips for designing an app icon? We’d love to hear about them.