Friday, April 26, 2013

Home, Sweet Home Screens - Three Options for Your App

As with all of our updates and development, we wanted version 2.0 of the mobile suite to address requests from our partners.  One such request has been for InstantEncore to provide different options for the Home screen, which is the first content area encountered when the app or mobile website launches.  In response to this request, InstantEncore now offers three Home screen options for your mobile app and website.

Icons ex: Berkeley Repertory Theatre


The Icons option provides a 3 x 3 table of graphics representing tabs or content areas within the app.  
  • This table of icons provides one-touch access to nine tabs in your app.  
  • If you have more than nine tabs, the bottom-right position will contain an ellipsis with the word "More" underneath.  (See example on right.) When you tap the ellipsis icon, you will see a page listing all of the remaining tabs in your app.
  • You may choose your icons from our library of graphics, or you may upload your own.  Custom icons should be sized to 60p X 60p and uploaded as PNG files with a transparent background.
  • In addition to providing navigation at-a-glance, the Icons option gives the greatest visibility to your custom background image.
Slideshow ex: Chattanooga
Symphony & Opera


For those who prefer a more graphically-focused Home screen, the Slideshow option allows you to create a series of full-screen slides connected to content within your app.
  • Each slide contains an uploaded image with descriptive text overlaid in the upper left corner and a call-to-action overlaid in the lower right corner.
  • We recommend uploading a 1024p X 768p image so that it appears vibrantly on tablets as well as smartphones.
  • You may use HTML markup tags to modify the descriptive and call-to-action text.
  • The call-to-action text may be linked directly to content within the app.
  • Slides may be added or deleted at any time.  Also, their order may be changed at will.
  • Slides may be loaded and scheduled in advance for seamless transitions throughout your season.
What's New ex: The Royal Conservatory

What's New

If you prefer an update-focused Home screen or you simply like the look and features of our original Home screen, then the What's New option is for you.
  • This option features a "welcome message" area at the top with a thumbnail image and 90 characters of text that can be linked directly to content within your app.
  • The second area features an upcoming event.  This may default to the next immediate event on our calendar, or you may decide to feature a particular event or no event at all.
  • The third area highlights the most recent content from the Buzz, Music and Video areas of the control panel.  As new content is added to these areas, that content will automatically appear in the What's New feed on the Home screen.

Don't Want to Choose Just One?  You Don't Have To!

Remember, the Home screen is just the first content screen that your visitors see when they open the mobile app or website.  If you like more than one of these options, you can choose one for the first position and use either or both of the others as tabs within your app.

For a step-by-step look at how to set up your Home screen, check out this tutorial video.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Series of Tutorial Videos for Making the Most of Your Mobile App

With the release of version 2.0 of the InstantEncore mobile suite, we have created a series of short, tutorial videos to guide you through particular tasks and content areas in the control panel.  You may view all of the videos as a YouTube playlist or individually, as follows:

The Basics

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rejuvenate Your App This Spring with Version 2.0

Spring is here!  Throughout the winter, the InstantEncore team has been working intently on the next generation of our mobile suite.  And now, we are excited to spring forward with Version 2.0!

Here is a quick glimpse at some of the changes we've made:

Version 2.0 displays a uniform
presentation across all platforms
Fresh, Consistent Look
Version 2.0 has a new look that appears uniformly across all three platforms:  mobile website, Android app, and iOS app.  No matter which mobile platform they are using, your app users will have a consistent aesthetic experience.

New Home Screen Options
Version 2.0 has three options for your app's home screen:  Icons, Slideshow, and What's New.
  • The Icons screen displays a 3 x 3 grid of icons connecting to various tabs in the app, which provides clear and concise navigation for app users.  If you have 10 or more tabs in your app, the last icon in the grid will be an ellipsis (...) with the word "More" underneath.  The More icon leads to a list of the remaining tabs.
  • The Slideshow screen displays a series of full-screen images with a title/description in the upper left corner and a call-to-action area in the bottom right.  The user taps the call-to-action area to go to the content in the app and swipes horizontally to move from one slide to the next.
  • The What's New screen is the same great home screen option from version 1.0 with a welcome message, featured event, and dynamic content stream drawn from the Music, Videos and Buzz areas of the control panel.

Can't choose? No problem.  You can select one to be the home screen and use the others as the 2nd and 3rd tabs in your app.  Use as many as you like in whatever order you prefer.  It's all about what works best for you and your audience.

Productions Tab
Productions Tab
In the previous version of the app, each individual event was displayed in chronological order on the Events tab.  With version 2.0, you also have the option to use the Productions tab, which groups multi-day events together in the app's list of events.  When a user taps on the production, they then have the ability to select a specific date for further information, links to online ticketing, etc.  The Productions tab allows theatres, opera companies, presenters, and other performing arts organizations to display their seasons in a manner that is more easily scanned by their app users.

Tablet Version
Your mobile apps look better than ever on iPads and Android tablets.  Version 2.0's apps scale to fit tablet screens while retaining crystal clear picture quality.

App users can share your content on Facebook
Facebook Integration
Version 2.0 makes it easy for your app users to share content from your app will their Facebook friends.  With a tap of the finger, they can post events, videos, music, news items, and more directly to their Facebook profiles.

Support for Vimeo
That's right.  With version 2.0, you can import videos into your app from Vimeo by using embed codes.

Live Video Tab
Expanded Support for Live Video Platforms
We have expanded the Live Video feature to work with Ustream and YouTube Live accounts as well as Livestream.

New Live Video Tab
Now, when you connect your mobile app with a live video broadcast, a special tab will be the first tab that users see while the event is airing.  The tab contains your description of the live video event as well as a video icon, which takes the mobile user to the broadcast when tapped.

Upgraded Google Analytics
With version 2.0, you are able to track the usage traffic for your mobile website separately from your Apple and Android apps using Google Analytics.  In doing so, you are able to determine which content areas have higher usage rates and if there is a difference between usage patterns for those who visit the mobile website versus those who download the app to their mobile devices.

Over the next few weeks, we will explore particular features in greater depth with an eye toward how to maximize them to provide your audience with the most engaging mobile experience.

If you can't wait and would like to learn more now, visit the Mobile Suite Tutorial playlist on YouTube for step-by-step instructions on how to work with these new features and more.