Alpha Software Blog

Award-Winning Mobile App Design Demonstrates Roadmap

picksellEvery year, thousands of new apps are developed. In such a crowded technological landscape, it becomes imperative for app designers and developers to find ways to set themselves apart from the pack.  It would be natural to assume that to have success in mobile app design, you would need to develop entirely new technologies. However, as the BMA award-winning application, Picksell shows us, it is often more important to utilize existing technologies in new and imaginative ways. 

Speaking to BMA, Picksell explains that in order to develop an app that "facilitates the shopping process for customers and reduces business costs....we had to develop some tools".  Let's take a look at what some of those tools and technologies were, and how we as citizen developers might be able to achieve similar results.

Many leading mobile apps did not invent new technologies, but simply leveraged existing tech in imaginative ways...You could too! 

The key tools that enabled Picksell's success are:

  • An online showcase for customers where they can plan their purchases
  • A communication channel between the client and the store
  • A system of QR codes to form a single cart of items from various stores 

At a glance, it's easy to see the combined power of these tools, and yet the actual technologies utilized are nothing new. And since tools like this can be built upon existing technologies and capabilities inherent in mobile devices, we can deduce that similar results could be achieved most easily by utilizing low-code development environments like Alpha Anywhere.

Let's break down the bullet points to assess how we, as citizen developers, could develop a similar mobile app design. First on the list was 'an online showcase for customers'. 

To create a 'showcase' of multiple vendors, you would need to build a list of products that is populated from participating companies. Accessing these products in real time could be achieved via API. This way the list of available products shown in the application would not be built on a static list of products, but from a dynamic list that is populated from any participating vendor.  Alpha Anywhere's List Control could easily be adapted to the task. And with the integration of dynamic data sources via API calls to the vendors, the List Control becomes truly powerful.

Next, let's consider 'a communication channel between client and store.' This is simply a chat tool that maintains a history of client-vendor interactions and sends notifications to participants when a conversation update occurs.

In Alpha Anywhere we could handle this a number of ways, but the easiest would be to utilize PusherTM integration. One of the great strengths of developing with Alpha is its compatibility with countless services. This enable you to develop faster and with less coding than building in Anywhere alone. Another option would be to build the chat system using web sockets. 

Lastly, Picksell utilized 'a system of QR codes to form a single cart of items from various stores.' Accessing QR codes from a mobile device is nothing new and many Alpha Anywhere apps have utilized this ability. But a mobile app design like Picksell would require more than just the ability to read QR Codes, we would also need to dynamically generate the QR codes for each product. Once again a third party service could be employed, but the task could quite easily be accomplished using the QRCode data control built into Alpha Anywhere. The most challenging part of achieving this goal is likely not the development of the technology, but in motivating participating vendors to consistently display the QR codes at their brick and mortar stores.

Picksell is just one example of an award-winning mobile app design, but there are many other successful mobile apps designed with existing technologies. So, whether you leverage the power of 3rd party integrations, or you take advantage of Alpha Anywhere's vast set of development tools, you can have everything you need to build your own award-winning mobile apps. With Alpha Anywhere, you are not limited by the technology, only the limits of your imagination.  

But what are the costs to develop an app like this?

It is known that App development can be a costly prospect, but at Alpha we wish to make learning to build an app and getting your first app developed affordable...or even free.  That is why we developed The Alpha Anywhere Community Edition, a low code development platform that lets you build all the business apps your organization needs for free. Download the software now and start building.

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About Author

Scott Allen
Scott Allen

Scott Allen is the Senior Designer at Alpha Software. He's an enthusiastic communicator who has consistently demonstrated talent for creative vision and design, staff management and training, and sales and customer retention. Possessing harmonious skills in Client Interaction, Sales, Advertising, Graphics, and UX Design, Scott is a proven professional with a strong background that is enhanced by a wealth of business management experience and a Masters in Teaching from Marylhurst University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.