User experience, Customer experience or Customer satisfaction! There are some synonyms that have become extremely common in the past few years. The customer of today has zero tolerance for any mistake. With mobile usage increasing drastically, the mobile world is also no longer untouched with this demand of smooth user experience. For anyone who is interested in customer retention, mobile app is as important as any other campaign. You offer your users a smooth experience or they will soon churn!

Following are some best practices for mobile app designing, implementing which can give your users a smooth experience around your app and will make them come back.

Tip 1: It’s all about grid and white spaces

Gridding is the basis of mobile app designing. On every surface of mobile app, you will find an invisible grid. Although you won’t be able to see it, but trust us guys, this is going to guide you through.

Similarly, the second you place a dot, word or even line on the display, the margins and paddings are defined. With every stroke, you clearly define the space where you are going to work. Having said that, always keep in mind to maintain some consistent heights and widths along with the padding and margins.

Tip 2: Create hierarchy with colors

Did you know every color value denotes a purpose and can affect your user behavior in a certain way? For e.g., let’s talk about Black and gray-scale color. Let’s say you have made one button as black, the next one as dark gray and the next to it as light gray, it will indication ‘the first one is the most crucial to the visitor, second one is less and third one is the least’. Hope you got the drift!

Additionally, make sure to avoid using same color for buttons as you have used for app as this will make your buttons look lost. Instead go for contrasting color. Also, experts recommend to avoid using bright red color for buttons as in US, it indicates STOP. Often the users won’t click on it, thinking something suspicious.

Tip 3: Choose colors that reflect your brand not you

Now that you know how big role colors play in user experience, another thing you need to understand is that these color scheme settling should be defined based on the target market you are focusing. These colors should reflect your BRAND, not YOU! You can see many case studies on how even a minor change in the color led to huge boost in conversions. Also try to understand the color psychology. It’s best to go through the meaning and impact of every color before settling for any. Your brand has a specific purpose for your target audience and choosing the right colors is the best way to convey this relationship.

Tip 4: A great logo might not help you, but a poor one will definitely spoil you.

We all know, a brand and a customer, both are incomplete without each other. Logo is the quickest way to bring out your brand among a huge audience. Although investing in an extremely costly professional logo might not seem right to you, but settling with a poor one can really ruin your reputation. And the same thing applies in your mobile app too.

Unlike what people say, logo is not timeless. As the logo is a design and no design is timeless, how can a logo be? With time, most of the big names in the industry have modified their logo to match their modern audience. So make sure to update your logo time to time. Although if you are on tight budget, you can easily look for free online logo designer tools and get it done without spending fortune.

Tip 5: Using Outdated design or elements is a strict NO NO

No matter you are designing for desktop or mobile, one thing you have to constantly ensure is that your design is up to latest trends. If you are still stuck with those old school design trends, your customers won’t hesitate in shifting towards your competitors.

Customers today love modernity. They want everything updated and more in-sync with their personality. One such example is the huge shift towards flat designs. These days, flat designs have totally replaced Skeumorphic induced designs. And if any of the app is still holding anything but flat design, its audience will soon turn their backs to it.

The key here is to be totally aware of your users’ expectations, likes and dislikes. You err.. And they won’t spare you from judging. If you are modern, they will love that, if you are old school, they will note that.

Tip 6: Don’t throw sign up on their face as soon as they land on your app

Imagine your visitor has just landed up on your app and you slap one big ‘Sign-up’ button on their face, what are they going to do? You guessed it right, finding you creepy, they will simply press the Back button.

So guys, first wait for the users to browse your app and make some engagement such as liking a product or adding it to the cart. Another way here is to add Social Login. For those who are not aware of it, social login allows your users to sign in using their existing social media accounts such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This will save them from the trouble of going through a long registration form that is asking him to create another username and password, he is going to forget as soon as his task is done.

Tip 7: Lastly, don’t forget to follow the visual guidelines

Although most people are not aware, even the UI world comes with certain guidelines. So while you are experimenting with user interaction or navigation, you must keep standards in mind. Try to focus on core features of the app instead of minor ones. If you want your app to be listed on the app store, you must optimize your website based on their criteria. Android, iOS, Windows, everyone has their certain guidelines around styling and other details. Avoiding them can create issues for you in future.

Finally, the best way to build an awesome app is to make your audience priority. Think how they think, design how they behave and you can never go wrong.

About the Author

Prince Kapoor is a Freelance Marketing Analyst and Blogger. While not working, you can find him in gym or giving random health advises to his colleagues which no one agrees on :). If you too want some of his advises [on health or on marketing], reach out to him at @imprincekapur

The budget is significant not just for the country but you as well. That’s because it directly impacts you. The changes it makes in its taxation structure can influence your disposable income, investment portfolio and so. This is why tracking the budget can be a useful exercise. You get an idea about what to do with your income. You can plan where to invest, how to save tax and so on.

But, don’t worry if you haven’t. This article will briefly tell you how this year’s budget can affect your investment:

Equity

The Indian government imposed a Long-Term Capital Gains Tax [LTCG] of 10% on equity assets in this year’s budget. This means that if you sell the equity investment after 12 months, you will be taxed 10%. However, you are exempted from paying tax if your proceeds are not over Rs 1 Lakh.  You also need to remember that the LTCG tax is applicable from April 1, 2018.

To understand the LTCG tax calculation, you need to understand the meaning of Fair Market Value [FMV] and acquisition cost.

The FMV is the highest price of a listed equity share on an exchange on January 31, 2018. If there was no share trading on January 31, the highest price quoted on the most recent trading day before January 31 will be used. The FMV for an unlisted asset like the share of an unlisted company will be its Net Asset Value [NAV] on January 31, 2018.

The acquisition cost will be the higher of the FMV or the purchase price. If the sale price is less than FMV, the acquisition cost will be the higher of the purchase price or sale price. The difference between the sale price and the acquisition cost will be the capital gain or loss.

Mutual funds

The budget has not changed the tax deduction limit of Rs 1.5 Lakh under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. This means Equity Linked Saving Scheme [ELSS] is one of those funds that can help you reduce your taxable income.

However, the introduction of LTCG tax has complicated matters. But, you can still save tax if you are smart. As mentioned earlier, gains up to Rs 1 Lakh are exempt from tax. Once the three-year lock-in period is over, sell units partly in a way that your gains do not exceed Rs 1 Lakh in a financial year. This method can help you earn an income every year without paying taxes! You can also choose to reinvest the proceeds in a new ELSS scheme.

Retirement planning

A person turning 60 years can withdraw 60% of the corpus held in a National Pension Scheme [NPS] account at maturity. About 40% of the corpus is exempt from tax. The tax exemption benefit is meant for salaried employees only. The benefit is extended to all subscribers of the NPS scheme from April 1, 2018.

Fixed deposit

Until now, the tax exemption limit for interest earned from post office and bank fixed deposit was Rs 10,000. But this limit will be raised to Rs 50,000 from the next financial year. The tax benefit is applicable to recurring deposit schemes as well.

To sum up

Now that you are aware of the tax impact on each asset class, you can start with investment planning for next financial year. 

References – 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ace director and writer Vikram Bhatt announced his venture into the digital space with the launch of his OTT platform called VBontheweb, which brings forth a Theatre on the Web, concept where one pays only for the premium show one wishes to binge watch. Joining him was family friend Mahesh Bhatt who came in his support to encourage Vikram’s new foray. The VBontheweb app was launched on the platform hosted by Brightcove, one of the pioneers of online video streaming and has been developed by Ecreeds.

This is India’s first OTT platform to promote the concept of bringing cinema to the mobile phone with its unique subscription model. It allows users to buy a pass to watch a show/entire series for a fees as nominal as INR 18. This is the first time in India that the viewers would get to pay for particular shows only which they desire to watch and not the entire application. With this, Vikram Bhatt wishes to bring about a substantial change in the digital space and give a choice to the viewers.

Also what sets this platform unique is the opportunity it will be giving to other filmmakers, the power to find a platform to put up their content on the app as a synergy to give them access to a platform where their content can be displayed. The app launched with original series ‘Untouchables’ directed by Vikram’s daughter Krishna Bhatt. Untouchables is a courtroom drama inspired by real life events. The shows available on the app include Maya, Twisted, Rain, Tantra, Hadh, these shows can be viewed free of cost.

Vikram Bhatt commented

We are not leaving any stone unturned to making it big for VBontheweb app. Our digital venture premiered Untouchables which is special to me because it my daughter Krishna’s directorial debut, and it makes me feel extremely proud. Digital is the future and it has arrived, we are ready to seize the day.

Speaking about the app launch, Krishna Bhatt said

Launching VBontheweb app is a big step we are taking to capture the OTT platform. The series of programming also includes Untouchables which is my directorial debut and has already received appreciation from the audiences. I am hoping this platform will become a digital sensation, and I am excited to see the progress.

VBontheweb is currently available to download on Android and iOS platforms.

Milkbasket, India’s first and largest micro-delivery platform has been recognized as ‘Startup of the Year‘ 2017 at the 7th Small Business Awards.

Image Source – Milkbasket

Anant Goel, Co-founder and CEO, said

We are honoured and humbled to have received this recognition, which is testimony to the fact that a passionate team, that sets out to solve real issues and doesn’t deviate from its vision despite market forces, makes for a successful organisation. Our drive and commitment to transform the grocery delivery industry in India is relentless and year 2018 will be a transformational year for Milkbasket and the industry.

The Startup of the Year award is dedicated to young SMEs, aged seven years or less, with great potential to become big in local / international markets. Considered as the most coveted awards show complementing the league’s best across SMEs, SMB and new and emerging small scale ventures, Small Business Awards 2018 were organised by Franchise India Group. The award ceremony was hosted in New Delhi.

About Milkbasket

Launched in early 2015, Milkbasket is India’s first and largest daily micro-delivery service. Built on the unique Indian habit of getting fresh milk delivered at home every morning, Milkbasket is today fulfilling the entire grocery needs of a household everyday before 7:00 a.m. To enable frequent and frictionless buying, Milkbasket has innovated flexi-ordering and contactless delivery – both a first in the ecommerce industry – and favourites of Milkbasket customers. Founded by INSEAD alumnus Anant Goel with his co-founders Ashish Goel, Anurag Jain and Yatish Talvadia, Milkbasket delivers only in select areas while expanding its network with new launches every week. With an order fulfillment rate of 99%, customer retention rate of 95% and on-time deliveries of 99.9%, Milkbasket has redefined the industry benchmarks and enjoys envious customer loyalty. For more information, please visit Milkbasket.

Koinex, India’s most advanced digital assets exchange, will now be accessible for users on their smartphones through a new app feature launched by the company. The app will be available on Android now, while the iOS version will be launched shortly.

Image Source – Koinex

The app version offers ‘personalized price alert’ which will help users to know when their crypto-currency has hit their desired price listed on the exchange. Koinex is the first exchange app to pioneer this feature, in the crypto-currency segment in the country. Other distinctive features include three step security verification, graphical chart representation of industry trading and an extensive log book for users to plot the current crypto-currency valuation. The app also offers users, the feature of scanning QR code to connect to their payment wallet, which again is a unique feature, apart from the seamless interface allowing them to maneuver through multiple sections on the app.

Talking about the app launch, Rahul Raj, Co-Founder, Koinex said

The smartphone adoption in the country has made it inevitable to have an app service. We have been traders ourselves, and we are working to solve the pain known to all of us, one step at a time. The platform currently is the largest digital assets exchange in the country in terms of trading volume and we want to further accentuate our user experience by allowing them to track and trade at Koinex, on the go.

Adding to it, Aditya Naik and Rakesh Yadav the other two, in the co-founder trio, said

The key challenge was to create an interface that can sustain the enormous trading volume we have on the portal. The app also has been built using our innate tech expertise and we strive to improve Koinex, build more trading tools, develop more blockchain products, and create a holistic crypto-currency trading ecosystem.

Koinex is the first multi-currency exchange with an open-book ledger format, in the country and it began operations in August 2017. Within a short span of five months, the company grew to be one of the largest trading portal by volume, in the country.  Few of the key reasons for their success are their cutting edge technology, proprietary trading engine, wallet and platform architectures, grade A security, user-centric UI/UX and tons of user-demanded features that makes it seamless for the users.

The tremendous growth volume is indicator to the scalability and long tenure of the brand in the market. Today as per industry rankings, Koinex stands among the top 50 exchanges globally and is the only Indian exchange in the list. Koinex aims to make India a hotbed of blockchain technology development and adoption.

About Koinex

Koinex is India’s first and most advanced crypto-currency trading and exchange company. Incepted in August 2017 in Mumbai, the web platform facilitates real-time trading of multiple crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. By operating on a peer-to-peer exchange model, the live, open order book exchange enables users to discover the best price. Koinex facilitates simple on-boarding with quick e-KYC, and enables users to instantly start transacting in their preferred crypto-currency. For more information, please visit Koinex

DocOnline, India’s quickest and only multi-language online doctor consultation platform announced that the Standards Certification Council has certified the platform under ISO 9001:2015 starting January 2018. With the latest development, DocOnline has become India’s first healthcare start-up to meet the quality standards.

Image Source – DocOnline

International Organization for Standardization [ISO] 9001:2015 is the most updated standard and focuses on quality management systems and performance. It assists companies in developing a management system that aligns quality with their wider business strategy. This Certification has gained prominence in the times of risk-based thinking and accountability in all organizational processes that helps improve communications, efficiency, and implementation of continuous improvement.

Commenting on gaining the Standards Certification, Rahul Paith, COO, DocOnline said

We are excited to earn certification to ISO 9001:2015 and feel it provides additional assurance to our customers that we are focused on continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

For any organization, the road to certification requires time and commitment and DocOnline went through the process by evaluation of existing procedures and improving them to meet the prescribed standards. DocOnline, backed by a group of international investors has always maintained high quality standards, and the organization only needed to make minor changes to earn the ISO 9001:2015 Certification.

The key staff of DocOnline went through prescribed training to become certified internal auditors. And by doing so, DocOnline was able to conduct internal audits from time to time and maintain the high standards.

About DocOnline

Launched in July 2017 with an initial investment of $1 Million through private venture funding and backed by Swedish investors and entrepreneurs, DocOnline has been developed to address a much neglected yet apparent gap amongst individuals on the first step of action when ill. Hyderabad based DocOnline is envisioned to offer users easy, reliable and affordable health care access. DocOnline allows one to reach a doctor either through Audio, Video or Chat (App) and connects the patient at the general physician level thus aiming to bring in preventive care. For more information, please visit DocOnline

One of the biggest pain points for recruiters and candidates is locking down on a time suitable to both for an interview. Scheduling a time to setup an initial interview is often burdensome, time-consuming and can lead to candidates dropping off from the hiring process due to the back and forth.

To ease the hiring process and avoid fallout’s, LinkedIn launched ‘LinkedIn Scheduler‘, a tool that automates initial interview scheduling for recruiters and candidates, directly via InMail. It helps candidates and recruiters save time spent on scheduling a meeting and helps recruiters focus their energies on hiring strategically and on-boarding the best candidate.

LinkedIn Recruiter

Using this feature, candidates or recruiters can reach each other via InMail to see one’s calendar availability and reserve an interview time that works best for both. It also gives candidates the liberty to feed in their contact information to accelerate this process.

Here’s how it works

  • First, recruiters are prompted to sync their calendar [Office 365 or Google Calendar] with LinkedIn.
  • Then, using a new InMail message, recruiters can easily send a scheduling link directly to the candidate of interest.
  • The link shares a real-time view of the recruiter’s calendar availability with candidates who can then choose what time works best for them, add their phone number and confirm the meeting.
  • Advance settings allow recruiters to manage preferences such as time zones, availability, length of meetings and same-day meetings.
  • Candidates can easily and automatically reschedule meetings with the recruiter through the confirmation link.

You can check out the global blog here, and read more about this product feature here

A very famous quote on investing says – ‘Risk & Rewards are two sides of the same coin’. This means that in most of the cases, higher the amount of risk involved chances of maximizing the returns are also very high! The investment portfolio of every person would differ since it is dependent on various factors like risk appetite, assets, liabilities, dependencies, etc. and hence, it becomes virtually impossible for any investment firm to cater to varied investment requirements of such a large audience.

Image Source – Fintech

This is where emerging technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can play a vital role in creating a tailor-made investment plan based on your long-term and short financial requirements. Machine Learning has already the paved way into the Fintech market, be it approving loans, documentation, managing assets, etc. Many Fintech startups are leveraging machine learning, AI, Chatbots and helping banking institutions to either enhance the existing banking experience or creating kick-ass products in the areas of wealth management, personal finance, customer service, etc.

According to a report by Bloomberg, less than 1.5% of the Indian population invested in equity markets and only 2% of India’s household savings were exposed to equity. However, there is a rising interest to invest in financial instruments like Mutual Funds if they are given proper guidance.

This is the problem being solved by Sqrrl, a Fintech startup that was incubated at Reliance GenNext Hub and seeks to help young people save & invest in Mutual Funds in a hassle-free manner. Sqrrl also recommends great tax saving investments for its customers, keeping in mind a seamless experience. All this with the aim to help young Indians financially prosper! Today we have a chat with Mr. Samant Sikka, Founder of Sqrrl about the app, Fintech, Personal Finance, etc. so let’s get started with the Q&A…

How did your team come up with the idea of Sqrrl ?

Having spent almost two decades in financial services domain one was constantly exposed to challenges of building distribution in a country as diverse as India. I was always intrigued by the fact that in spite of six decades since independence financial services ecosystem was still struggling to provide access of financial services to its citizens. To my mind the single most important reason that came in the way of expanding financial services footprint was ‘Unit Economics’. Unit economics basically dictated who got access to financial products & services and also which type of products got sold.

Sometime in 2015 I started to absorb the impact that culmination of technology & internet was starting to have on democratizing ‘access’. E-commerce was starting to grain traction and people started getting access to goods and services hitherto restricted to larger cities and towns. 2 things stood out, given the economic prosperity over the 2 decades people had both aspirations and means to consume and were demanding better experiences. Internet had started to travel deeper in the country and social and digital were starting to have an impact on consumers behavior and consumption patterns.

Meanwhile, silently but surely there the impact of #RegTech and benefits of India Stack which were started to make tremendous traction on the two biggest friction areas in financial services, on-boarding & payments. The timing seemed to be just right neither too late neither too early.

Can you take us through the founding team of Sqrrl ?

Putting the challenges & opportunity together gave birth to the idea of Sqrrl. The vision being to build a digital platform aimed at millennials with an Initial offering is around savings & investment products powered by Mutual Funds and will expand to Loans, Insurance, Payments ultimately aspiring to morph into a digital bank. The idea aligned the founding team which brought wealth if experience & complementary skills sets .

Sqrrl is an interesting name for a ‘Fintech startup, how did you zero in on the name and how does the brand ‘Sqrrl’ get along with the moto of ‘building financial literacy among Indians’ ?

Sqrrl name was chosen with care. The animal embodies certain character that we stand for

  • Doer and Prudent,
  • Natural Intelligence,
  • Hi-Energy-Active-Nimble,
  • Saver and plans for future. hoards for winters in summers,
  • Good at balancing work & play,
  • Social

What is the TAM of the Fintech market that Sqrrl is trying to address ?

  • India’s Asset management Industry has grown at a CAGR of 21% over the last 17 years [ 2000-2017] is expected to grow to USD 700 billion by 2022.
  • Sqrrl aspires to be amongst the Top 10 players by 2022 with an Asset Under Management [AUM] of approx USD 14 billion and 12 million customers

There are number of Fintech platforms that are targeting a similar problem [as well as market], what according to you are some of the core USPs of Sqrrl when compared to its competitors ?

Sqrrl is different from existing players in many ways. Important ones are highlighted below:

  • Sqrrl has a customer persona which is in the age group of 25-35 years, salaried class, upwardly mobile and digitally savvy.
  • Sqrrl is a not a marketplace unlike many others. We personalize investments needs of individuals and match them with funds available in the industry.

Can you please walk us through the funding of Sqrrl ?

We have been bootstrapped from beginning of our journey. We are currently in funding raise discussion of about 1M USD with some VCs.

Once user has created an account on Sqrrl [and all his investments from various AMCs are under one window], what other services does your team provide to the investors so that they can get more returns from their investments ?

Sqrrl keeps monitoring all of the funds recommended by its team. We stay with our customers in their investment journey and keep guiding him with right decisions from time to time.

Can you give a small glimpse about the tech behind Sqrrl ?

We are app only offering on iOS and Android

  • Our API layer is powered by Python [Falcon framework]
  • Our database is AWS RDS on PostgreSQL
  • Other than this we use many third party APIs

Sqrrl is currently limited to Mutual Funds, are there any plans/timeline on whether it would be expanded to cover other financial instruments ?

Yes, we have plans to launch loans and insurance products in future.

What are some of the methodologies that your team use in order to keep the investors hooked on to the platform ?

We have a way to connect with customers in 360 degree way. Our customer success team keeps talking them on Email, Phone, SMS, Whatsapp in addition to in-app communications.

L-R : Sanjeev Sharma, Co-Founder; Samant Sikka, Founder and Dhananjay Kumar Singh, Co-Founder

Sqrrl was incubated in Reliance GenNext Hub, how was the experience in the accelerator program and how did the program help your team to validate & scale the startup ?

The program was really of great help in helping us with product market fit study and beyond. They really helped in methodical product market fit. In addition to product market fit, customer traction strategy and its execution planning was done with them.

Are there any setup charges or any other charges that customers have to pay to use the Platform ? Do you charge any withdrawal or closure charges for the Sqrrl’s recommended funds ?

There are no setup charges to use Sqrrl. However there may be early withdrawal charges for some funds before initial lock-in period.

Which are some of the AMC’s that are currently on-boarded on the Sqrrl platform ?

There are 17 AMC that are there with Sqrrl. It covers 91% of the industry AUM

As you have mentioned earlier, Sqrrl aims to encourage Indians to save more. There are various investor initiatives like #MFDayon7th by Reliance MF and CNBC TV18, does Sqrrl have plans of starting an investor education initiative [or something else] in order to widen the horizon of passive investors [that could be an integral part of the investors eco-system, but don’t know where to get started] ?

The ecosystem is doing a great job in educating investors. AMFI is doing great job in communication like ‘Mutual Funds Sahi Hai’. AMCs themselves have different plans. Sqrrl plans to use these and some of its own to launch education awareness. We are working on them.

Many fintech companies, namely PayTm [or PaytmMoney], FreeCharge, PhonePe, etc. are planning to have boutique of finance products on their platform, does this growing competition have an impact on a startup like Sqrrl and how it would the competition result in expansion of the fintech ecosystem ?

It is good that this space is getting its validation by entry of bigger players. There will always be space for early movers like Sqrrl based on its customer service differentiation.

Can you comment on the ‘Customer/Investor’ demographics that are currently using the Sqrrl Platform ?

  • 90% of the users are under age 40 years.
  • 61% of the users are from B15 [beyond top 15] cities.
  • We have coverage from over 700 cities of India.

What is the revenue model of Sqrrl and does it follow the Freemium model ?

We get distribution fee from the underlying Mutual Funds.

Along with the integrated AMC approach, building investor portfolio as per his requirements, etc. does your team also provide advisory services ? If not, what are some of the services that you plan to offer in future [especially with the Mutual Fund Products] ?

We are not providing advisory services now but we are open to embrace this in future.

How Fintech is shaping up the Financial Eco-system in India and how technologies like Blockchain will bring the next wave of Fintech revolution ?

Blockchain and its acceptance is in very early stage. Most of the work is happening in Crypto exchanges. We are open to exploring something on blockchain which is widely accepted.

Some books that you highly recommend for entrepreneurs

  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  • The Lean Statup by Eric Ries
  • Traction : How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg

Some closing thoughts for our readers!

As Bill Gates says, ‘If you are born poor its not your mistake, But if you die poor its your mistake.‘ Sqrrl is a platform available for every Indian to manage their money.

We thank Mr. Samant Sikka for sharing his insights with our readers. If you are planning to put your money to work via smart investments, then you should download Sqrrl. If you have any questions for Samant or the Sqrrl Team, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.