At Überconf 2016, Neal Ford gave a great presentation titled “Hypothesis-driven Development using Feature Toggles.” In his talk, Ford explained how a simple, yet powerful, technique called feature toggles can be used to achieve true agility in software development. While these ideas are based on enterprise development experiences, we can still use them to implement the mobile app designer’s dream: A/B testing.

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Contributing Author
Jossay Jacobo

So a new version of Android is out and your boss says to you, “Make sure our app works on Nougat!” If you have automation frameworks in place those can get you some of the way, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a complete guide to the changes in Nougat and how they affect your existing app? I thought it would be, so I’ve outlined all the changes that have officially occurred in Android with a high likelihood of causing bugs. I’ve also converted them to CSV format for importing into your favorite test-reporting tool. Enjoy!

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Welcome to the second post in our series on chatbots and emotional intelligence. Last week, in Part One: Shortcuts to Chatbot Emotional Intelligence, we covered why it’s important to have a user-centered design and strategy process in place before you dive into creating conversational flows for your bot. Today, we’ll discuss five user-centered design considerations that can help you breathe life into your chatbot.

Chatbot Design Focus One: Usefulness

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Building something that’s going to be useful should be our top concern. We don’t want to go building Skynet, do we? No, we want to build Johnny Five! Because Johnny Five is our friend and wants to help us.

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This weekend I attended CocoaConf DC. It wasn’t the first CocoaConf I’ve attended, but it was the first I could drive to. And it was the first one I spoke at! It was a great weekend. Here are some highlights that I took away.

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Espresso

  • The Leading Strand is an initiative to bridge art and science that pairs academic researchers with design professionals to create visual representations of scientific breakthroughs. Here’s what happens when neuroscientists and designers team up to explain science.
  • Unfortunately, the language of human-computer interaction falls short for upper-limb amputees. To solve this issue, David Kaltenbach, Lucas Rex, and Maximilian Mahal created Shortcut. It is a wearable designed to translate sensory muscular impulses to the phantom hand into contactless and intuitive computer control.
  • When will drug companies create user-centered innovations that improve the lives of patients instead of their bottom line? The Sad State of Product Design and Innovation in Healthcare. What are your thoughts on this issue?
  • There are plenty of wearables designed to help you live a healthier and better life. With so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here is a nice curated list of the top choices when it comes to health wearables and trackers – Top 10 Healthcare Wearables For A Healthy Lifestyle.
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#WAT-Up

/topic Each week, the Web Applications Team (WAT) at WillowTree uses Slack to post interesting articles, share development tricks, and discuss technologies used in our world. Here’s a breakdown of what we talked about this week.

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Chatbots have been getting a lot of press recently with Slack, Facebook, and Microsoft embracing the technology. But many of the bots released on these platforms are like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz – they’ve got no heart. Here’s how a user-centered design process can lend a heart to your chatbot, and why that’s important.

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Contributing Author
Matt Yohe

Apple’s iPhone 7 event was certainly exciting, and while we don’t have a ton to report on–at least from a development standpoint–we do want to highlight two announcements we found particularly interesting from yesterday.

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Recently, I sent an email to the WillowTree team after being asked by a number of people what I do to network. Questions were typically things like, “Where do you go to network?” and “How do you network?” Honestly, I never actually thought too much about it. I do not feel I do anything special, nor do I feel I do anything someone else could not easily do themselves. So, I decided to put together a set of guidelines modeled after what I do to network that I hope will help others. I am not claiming I am an expert or that there is any science to my methods, but I do think they work!

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React Rally is a two day, single track conference for developers of all stripes. Though the focus tends to be React.js and React-y things, speakers cover topics such as React Native, Flux, ES6, isomorphic universal JavaScript, functional programming, fringe languages, and much more.

In 2016 React Rally celebrated its second year, and it was amazing. The conversation has since moved past How-Tos and To-Dos. It has evolved. React Rally 2016 focused on improvements to performance, animation, accessibility, and the community as a whole.

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Every week, hundreds of mobile RFPs hit the market. Since many of them make their way here to WillowTree, we decided to put together a “best practices” summary highlighting questions your company can ask to get the best possible responses and pricing estimates for your mobile project. Of course, these are guidelines first. Keep in mind they need to be customized for each mobile app project you might be considering, but we hope they will provide you with a helpful starting point.

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The biggest news in the Apple universe this month? iOS 10. We’ve been previewing this new version for a while, and now that its release date is just around the corner, we want to tell you about some new features that we think will get real traction, real fast.

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