Push Notifications or Email?

September 23rd 2014 in Blog

Email is of course a standard feature for smartphones and tablets. But if you want to be truly effective in reaching your readers and customers, push notifications are the way to go. Emails pile up. They get clogged in spam filters. They’re easy to lose track of in the deep dark depths of your inbox. And email just isn’t the best choice for getting time-sensitive material out into the wild. You could send out an email that contains information about a one day sale that doesn’t get read until it’s too late for the customer to take action.

Push notifications give you the power to immediately alert your readers. And because push notifications show up on the screens for people’s mobile devices, the information you want them to have is instantly received. 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of being delivered, and push notifications show up in the same way.

Wovax WordPress Mobile app Push Notifications

If you’re a business such a restaurant, you can let people know about those great new lunch specials from 12-3. For a school, you can alert parents to pertinent information such as a last-minute schedule change for sports practice or even a snow day. Maybe you have a food truck and you want to let people know where you’ll be setting up shop for the evening. And of course, if you’re a blogger, you can notify fans that a new post is live.

At Wovax our apps are built to work seamlessly with WordPress push notifications. So whatever your business may be, you can be sure that people will stay informed of it. And they’ll choose to do it in the most efficient way possible – through push notifications.

Wovax WordPress Mobile app Push Notifications

Those New iPhone Sizes and Wovax

September 22nd 2014 in Apple

There’s been a fair amount of controversy in the tech world around Apple’s new iPhone sizes but over at Wovax we’re pretty excited about them. And now that we’ve had a chance to play with both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, we thought we’d say a few words about the design of the phones.

The phone pictured is the iPhone 6 and at 4.7″ the screen size isn’t too radically different from many other phones on the market (for comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was 4.8″). The rounded edges are a fantastic grip and make it even easier to hold as you don’t have sharper edges digging into your fingertips. The power button has also shifted to the right side of the phone rather than the top right, making it easier to access with the larger width.

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Where the phone really shines aesthetically is the screen itself. When people say that iPhone screens are still getting clearer and sharper, you look at your current iPhone and think “really? Cause this one is pretty durn good.” The pixels per inch (ppi) are the same as the iPhone 5s at 326 ppi but the bump in screen size really gives the HD display a chance to pop. And it definitely pops in a way that the 4″ models weren’t quite able to.

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The iPhone 6 Plus is probably too big for many consumers as the 5.5″ screen size would make it kind of a sporting event to hold all the time. But while holding it I was surprised at how sleek it felt. The thin body and rounded edges make it feel much smaller than it actually is. The screen glass on both models is also rounded at the edge, providing a seamless transition into the side of the device.

At Wovax we’re excited about the way our apps already look on these new screens and are going to be optimizing the app framework to take full advantage of the new sizes.

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Wovax’s blog app running on an iPad Air, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5.

Apple Just Killed the Phone: And That’s Great!

September 10th 2014 in Apple, Blog

Part of what drives people in their decision to purchase a phone is the screen size. A frequent criticism that has been directed at Apple’s smartphone lineup is the lack of a “phablet” size. Of course that changed yesterday when Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus which respectively come in at a diagonal screen measurement of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. For comparison, the most recent iPhone models are the 5, 5s, and 5c which come in at 4 inches; the 4s and all previous iterations were 3.5 inches.

iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus smartphone phone Woväx

Of course, many Android smartphones such as the Samsung Note 4 have been boasting screens as large as 5.7 inches. And that’s where the criticisms have been pouring in. Why won’t Apple give us bigger screens? Everyone else has been doing it for years now! But Apple’s apprehension at jumping into the phablet market is understandable, and not necessarily for fear that they would be seen as copycats or trying to keep up with a passing fad. The push for larger smartphone screens is part of the change in how we compute. And once Apple realized that this change wasn’t a fad and would drive people to larger devices for good was when they embraced and adopted it.

Samsung Note 4 Wovax smartphone phone

The Samsung Note 4 which actually comes with a stylus.

We’ve talked about our mobile devices becoming an integral part of how we communicate and stay updated via the web. But it’s not always practical to have a tablet with you, as portable as they are. And a slim screen will only get you so far if you need to get some serious work done on the go; the limitations can definitely become frustrating.

Using myself as an example, I honestly didn’t have much interest in a larger phone screen. The 4-inch has been great for me and it gets the the job done. But since I’ve started working here at Wovax my mobile needs have changed. Part of my job in updating our social networks is monitoring them away from the office which means that I’ll be writing more on my phone than I ever have before; and I’m not really into hauling my iPad around town all the time (although I am enjoying using it to write up this post in a coffee shop). The biggest 5.5″ screen size isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but it will definitely have its fair share of users. And as people in general get used to larger phone screens, they’ll become more ubiquitous as a whole.

I’ve always used the term “pocket computers” to jokingly refer to devices such as smartphones and iPod Touches as a way to point out how insanely mind-blowing it really is that we have these useful devices on our persons all the time. But as the screen sizes increase and the processors get more and more powerful, this term is becoming reality. And now that all the major smartphone manufacturers are on the same playing field, it’s official: the phone is dead. What you now have is a portable computer that also calls people. It isn’t too far off to imagine that soon the iPhone could be completely rebranded as a product without “phone” in the name.

With these larger screen sizes comes a unique opportunity for us at Wovax. As was displayed in the Apple Keynote yesterday, the iPhone 6 will have a similar UI design to the iPad, and even features that are reminiscent of the desktop, such as displaying the dock on the side of the screen. Wovax is excited to begin development on updates that will allow our apps to work seamlessly with the extra screen space these new phones offer.

And yes, there will be soon be things cooking up over here for the Apple Watch as well!

Apple Watch Wovax mobile app wordpress smartwatch

Before you go be sure to check out our recently launched Wovax app in the App Store so you can stay updated with all of our blog posts!

Your Website Sucks: A Case for Mobile Apps

September 4th 2014 in Blog, The Web

Let’s say that you own a restaurant. And one day this review pops up on Yelp.

First of all the dining room was a total mess, like someone had set off a land mine in a plate of spaghetti. Half the tables were on their side and the ones that were upright had crookedly placed dishes all over them like they had just been chucked across the room. After hunting around I found a chair that wasn’t completely disgusting and sat down. I’d been here so many times but after getting my smartphone, things just haven’t been the same. 

There was crud on the table and a small piece of paper that looked like it was a shred of menu. And then I realized it was the menu. It was so tiny, like a menu for ants! I couldn’t read anything. I pulled out a magnifying glass (I used to be a boy scout, so I’m always prepared!) and that made it a little better. The waiters were really disorganized so I had to go back to the kitchen to order. I mean, they seemed really polite and nice but I wouldn’t know because they never talked to me. They just don’t seem to have their act together anymore. But here’s the weirdest part; the food was fantastic, just like always! It hasn’t changed. Heck, it might even be a little better. But this place is just…so off now. How could they let this happen? Furthermore…what happened? I’ll give them another chance, but if this is what my experience is going to be like from now on I will regrettably have to take my business elsewhere.

You would probably be a bit peeved. The key to keeping a business open is goodwill and customer loyalty. This poor guy seems to be running out of both. And while the scenario seems ridiculous, it’s not far from showing what a website is like that doesn’t cater to mobile users. In 2014, a time where a new phone is a masive media event that gets people lined up around the block weeks in advance, not having a mobile app for a website is quite frankly just as ridiculous as those lines.

Mobile app service Wovax WordPress

“I do say chappie, the pub down the way procured a mobile app nearly six months ago! What the devil is holding you lot up?”

Why do we use the web? We use it to find information. And every single one of the zillions of informative websites out there provides a service. That’s the key word here. Service. You serve your readers, and in doing so it is your responsibility to give them the best experience possible.

It’s easy for any kind of business, be it an online enterprise or a brick-and-mortar deal, to fall into the trap of believing that as long as their content or product is prime they don’t need to put effort into the structure of how that product is delivered. “We have the best DIY website out there; why should I give a hoot about how my site looks on mobile? People like the articles so they’ll keep reading it anyway!” Yeah, guess what? They won’t. There are 5 million other websites out there about the exact same thing. Give them a good reason to stay loyal to you.

If you run a website then you are in the service industry. And while your content is the star of the show, if the rest of the production isn’t up to snuff, people will pick up on that and drift away. People know when they’re not wanted and your website’s design clues them in.

Imagine going to this same restaurant again. But now everything is set in order. Furniture is upright, surfaces are clean, menus are large and legible. The waitstaff even goes out of their way to make your experience last after you’ve left. “Hey we’re setting up a system to let you know when we’re having specials on burgers! Would you like to sign up?” A mobile app provides not only the same level of service, but can make it even more personal than a sedentary desktop site is able to.

Wovax WordPress Mobile app

This is your website on Wovax.
Photo by Alan Light

You thrive because of your customers’ loyalty. And the second you take them for granted is the second they will find someone who does appreciate them. Do you have a website? Cool. You’re in the service business. And if you haven’t adapted to mobile web yet then your customers are receiving severe disservice. If you have WordPress, get a WordPress mobile app. Whatever you do, be sure that when your customers are guests in your business, you respect their patronage by letting them see you at your very best.

Coworking: Is it Right For You?

September 1st 2014 in Blog

Coworking’s identity comes from the variety of people that it draws. But just as the seductive glow of Silicon Valley and Hollywood draws its share of confused wanderers, so does the coworking space to both ambitious and non-ambitious alike.

In looking at coworking spaces both successful and now defunct, the common thread that can be traced to the cohesion or unraveling of an establishment is the workspace’s culture. It’s honestly a somewhat uncomfortable topic to bring up because it can seemingly have a tone of “you’re not cool enough to play with us.” That is probably true in a space that’s all for show and only wants to cash in on the zeitgeist of the concept. But in a space like MosCoWork, it’s a preventative measure for both parties. 

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The culture that MosCoWork encourages is creative and laid-back professionalism. People who make things and encourage others as they do the same. If you’re a lawyer or loan officer, then this isn’t the place for you. And please don’t take that offensively. We love lawyers and loan officers (seriously!) but this wouldn’t be a place you’d be very happy with in the long run. Tech startups and creatives aren’t the quietest people. 

In a place like this, the energy and excitement is shared. And while we expect everyone to use common sense in not bugging each other every two minutes, we also don’t want someone who comes in expecting a Cone of Silence to be included with their desk membership. 

The coworking spaces that don’t make it are the ones where members keep their heads down and don’t interact with anyone else. There’s nothing wrong with that style of working. It just isn’t the coworking method. When you pay for a spot in a coworking space, you aren’t just buying into space for yourself. You’re paying for the entire experience of being in a hustling environment that will nurture you and your ideas as well as expecting the same in return. Healthy competition is great in its own way but far too often do entrepreneurs and creatives get caught up in a rat race of trying to be the biggest one in the room. And no one likes that guy.

If you decide that coworking could be a good fit for you, this is the mindset that will help you and those around you succeed: we’re all in this together.

MosCoWork Moscow Idaho Coworking Wovax

Let’s Be Friends: A Thought From Wovax

August 29th 2014 in Blog, iOS

Recently, the tech world seems to have taken on the characteristics of a high-stakes political race. It’s Apple vs. Samsung vs. Google and all parties involved have intensely devoted fans and detractors. The name-calling and mud slinging is even finding its way into official ads for the companies – with Samsung being the worst offender if we’re gonna be totally honest here

And while we at Wovax have our own brand favorites (full disclosure: we’re all Mac junkies) we also recognize that not everyone’s needs are the same. Not everyone demands the same things from their smart devices. I can’t customize my iPhone layout? That’s fine because I don’t really want to. You would? That’s awesome – get an Android and enjoy! 

People will sometimes go to great lengths to prove they’re the smartest one in the room. But here’s the thing – no matter what phone you have in your pocket or whatever tablet gets your commuting work done on, you are smart. You’ve weighed the pros and cons of both systems and made the decision that was the smartest for you and you alone. And that’s the important thing. At the end of the day, no one cares what you’re using as long as you can deliver something stunning.

In creating apps for you, we don’t just take an empty framework and pour your website in like cement. We tailor it to the specific needs of you and your users. Our goal isn’t for our brand to be plastered all over your content. Our goal is to get your brand amped up so that it can be broadcasted loud and clear across the web like never before.

At Wovax, we provide our services for both Android and iPhone because we think they’re both excellent tools for accomplishing great things. It’s the not the car you drive – it’s the attitude that gets you there. And our attitude is this: find what works for you, and do it. 

Coworking For Professionals on the Palouse

August 28th 2014 in Blog

This week we made exciting developments on the coworking front. MosCoWork has officially become a part of Wovax, LLC! As we hurtle towards our September 15th opening date we wanted to talk more about the benefits of coworking. Because if you couldn’t tell, we’re definitely excited about this.

MosCoWork coworking progress Moscow Idaho

Many of the people who jump into coworking have been couch surfing. And those couches are in coffee shops. It might seem fun and cool at first. Waltz into a coffee shop, plant yourself at a cozy chair and sip fraps while you mine for gold in startup land. And while the energy of a coffee shop might be invigorating it is often distracting for many, if not most. And there’s the cost to consider. Unless you’re consistently buying expensive drinks every two hours at least, be assured the owners hate you for taking up their space eight hours a day.

MosCoWork coworking progress Moscow Idaho

When you have a coworking space, there is an energy inherent in the location, but it’s much more refined than a public place. While a coffee shop is usually full of focused people working on various projects for school or business, it is also a social watering hole. But a coworking space differs because people are paying to be there for the sole purpose of accomplishing things and being productive. 

MosCoWork coworking progress Moscow Idaho

MosCoWork has two different membership plans.

The optimal one for businesses as it gives you a place for your things is the Pro plan at $150 per month. The Pro plan gives you access to a dedicated desk as well as use of the conference room. The biggest perk of the Pro plan is 24/7 access via an electronic lock that is activated with either a smartphone or keyring fob. (This is like magic – it uses whichever device is in your pocket to sense your proximity so that when you touch the lock with your fingers it opens for you).

The Basic membership is $100 a month. This plan allows you to use any of the open working spaces when you are in the building. Access for this plan is 8 AM – 6 PM. 

Wireless printers and high speed internet are included in both levels of membership. 

MosCoWork coworking progress Moscow Idaho

Much of our excitement for a coworking environment comes from the opportunities outside of work that arise. A community that creates together will grow stronger together. MosCoWork will be a thriving hub for creatives of all kinds; an environment that allows people to learn from and encourage each other. To that end, MosCoWork will also be hosting workshops and other events that range from cooking to filmmaking to web design. 

We’ll see you this September!

MosCoWork coworking progress Moscow Idaho

WordPress: A Brief Primer

August 27th 2014 in Blog

Right now our main focus for apps has been the WordPress blogging platform. We’re big fans of WordPress over here and wanted to make sure you know why.

When we tell people what we do, we often get the classic “okay, you lost me at WordPress.” So what is WordPress?

WordPress is a free blogging platform that provides flexible customization. A WordPress site can be as basic or as advanced as you or your web guy knows how to make it. Web designers love WordPress as a basic framework that they can furnish to their hearts’ content. And if you’re just getting started, WordPress also curates a fantastic library of blog themes that you can choose from.

There are many things to love about WordPress, but for now we’re going to tell you just a few of the ones we think are the most important.

WordPress has an excellent control panel – the dashboard. Logging into the dashboard on your browser will give you the ability to make posts and edit content anywhere on your site. Uploading media, previewing a change before it goes live, and controlling your search keywords (more on that in a minute) are all easily accessible features. If you have an app, the content would be pushed out onto devices the second you hit the “post” button.

mobile WordPress app

Uploading media such as photos is literally drag-and-drop.

One of WordPress’ main strengths is the control that it provides you over search engine optimization (SEO). Every post and page that you create can have its own description and keywords. And because the code is simple and easy to navigate, search engines are able to be highly efficient as they crawl through the site. In addition to the default features, there are hundreds of plugins that you can use for getting the most out of your SEO.

User management on WordPress allows you to collaborate with a team while keeping an established hierarchy. The administrator runs the site and sets permissions for the editors who streamline site media and the authors who write the content. One of the most important user features is the commenting system. As we’ve discussed, interaction with blog readers is essential, and WordPress makes it simple for anyone to comment within seconds.

A crucial component of any successful brand is an independent identity. Setting up WordPress on your own domain is simple and will make your site more accessible and professional (wovax.com vs. wovax.wordpress.com).

And because mobile is now the master that web content serves, WordPress provides apps that allow posting from tablets and smartphones.

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So meta. Such convenient. Very WordPress. Wow.

Info dumps are never helpful, so we’ll leave it at that for now. Soon we’ll discuss more about the customization features of WordPress; specifically our top plugins that you will find incredibly useful.

Toto…I Don’t Think We’re On Dial-up Anymore

August 25th 2014 in Blog, The Web

We’ve been talking quite a bit about the changing nature of the web. Barely two decades old, it has already seen a massive upheaval in its very nature because of the way it is consumed.

This is nothing new. One of the most recent communications technology to see such a transition in its youth was film. Within a few quick decades, the technology rapidly progressed from silent films to talkies to full blown Not-In-Kansas-Anymore Technicolor. And all along the way, industry giants who staked their careers on the old iterations kicked and screamed as they refused to change despite their relevance fading before them. Charlie Chaplin hated talking pictures. And you probably haven’t seen him in one, have you?

And while Chaplin was able to crank out a few more silent masterpieces well into the 30’s, he was an exception, not the norm. And with countless alternatives to your blog at users’ fingertips, the web is far more unforgiving.

The votes are in and the statistics have spoken in favor of mobile web.

By using tablets and smartphones, more than half of the internet’s digital democracy have made their choice. And while mobile usage has been on the rise for some time now, the final word that’s pushed us into this new direction is the high volume of app usage. We’d like to show you some numbers that we have found supremely helpful in making clear the new state of the web.

Flurry Analytics released a study in 2011 that shows the mobile-dominated progression of US web traffic. By the end of that year, the average user was spending far more of their time in apps as opposed to browser web. And it doesn’t stop there.

Currently, app usage is at an all-time high. As more and more websites get with the times and have apps made that keep their brand alive in the mobile shuffle, their users have responded eagerly. Just this January, 55% of web traffic was from mobile users, and 47% of that was from apps. For the first time mobile web had overtaken desktop usage, and it wasn’t a fluke or random fluctuation.

Just last week, Comscore released a detailed report of where things stand as of June 2014. We highly recommend giving it a read, but the main takeaway is this: mobile web usage is now at 60%. And 52% of that? It’s apps.

Wovax wordpress mobile app smarthphone

A smartphone user checks the Wovax app for the Supreme Court of the United States Blog.

These numbers make it crystal clear that there is not a push for mobile web. It’s just happening. And it isn’t just smartphones. People are buying mobile devices such as tablets because they’re generally more cost effective and portable than even a laptop. Although their method of accessing the web is changing, they want to be able to interact with it in the same way they have been. And smart website owners are keeping pace. So make sure that you don’t get left behind with the silent films and dial-up.

And Introducing MosCoWork!

August 22nd 2014 in Blog

A topic that we have explored here and will continue to do so is that of web design changing based on the evolution of the technology we use to access it. But it isn’t just the web that’s changing. The way that we work is changing as well.

Wovax is no exception. Currently we occupy an office space that was the shipping room for a small publishing company that acquired their own building last year. In a few weeks, we’ll be moving into an exciting new project that our owner Joe is heading up: MosCoWork, a coworking space located in Moscow’s downtown.

Coworking has a number of advantages for startups and freelancers.

If a company hasn’t grown quite enough yet to justify renting their own office space, they may look into sharing a coworking space with other companies in the same situation. Think of it as a roommate scenario for businesses.

Zonaspace Russia coworking Moscow Idaho MosCoWork Wovax wordpress apps

Zonaspace in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Creativity and collaboration flow freely in coworking environments; networking happens on a daily basis as clients for multiple businesses come through and employees at various companies who wouldn’t usually cross paths get to connect on a regular basis.

And it’s not just for entrepreneurs and freelancers. The strengths of coworking have been recognized by many successful companies long after they make it big. Pixar co-founder Steve Jobs wanted employees at the animation company to network with fellow colleagues in other departments. Given the solitary desk-anchoring nature of animation, various departments didn’t stray too far from their wings of the building. He kept this in mind as he designed the main building on Pixar’s campus and created the Atrium, a large common space that houses not only the cafeterias and refreshments, but the only bathrooms in the building.

Video game company Valve employs an even more unorthodox approach in reaching their goals. At Valve, there are no managers and no one tells you what to work on. You decide for yourself and you then do it. Desks are on wheels so that as projects come and go, people can rearrange themselves accordingly. Valve took a great risk in giving that much trust to their employees. But the creative and driven people turned that freedom and power into hit franchises like Portal and Left 4 Dead as well as the wildly successful Steam (it’s like iTunes for games).

Citizen Space San Francisco MosCoWork Moscow Idaho

Citizen Space in San Francisco, CA

Coworking isn’t just for businesses, either. Freelancers are a welcome staple of the experience and having maverick professionals rotating in and out as they please brings an exciting and interesting roster of individuals in contact with each other.

The space that we will be occupying is currently being renovated. Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you updates of the progress as we get closer to our move in date. MosCoWork will be open to businesses and freelancers starting September 15th!

If you are in the area and would be interested in finding out more about the membership options at MosCoWork, follow us on Facebook for further updates as we begin our countdown to launch date.

MosCoWork Moscow Idaho Wovax WordPress App Coworking

MosCoWork in Moscow, Idaho