A Network of Women Mobile Application Developers

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 7:00 AM on February 8, 2011:

“I believe the single most powerful software-productivity strategy for many organizations today is to equip the computer-naïve intellectual workers who are on the firing line with personal computers…and to turn them loose.”
- Kenneth P. Brooks, known as the father of the IBM System/360, 1987

A 2009 Forrester report priced a minimum-featured corporate mobile application at $20,000, with a more sophisticated app costing up to $150,000. 

According to Juniper Research, mobile application store downloads are expected to reach 25 billion by 2015.

A shortage of mobile application developers in the New River Valley of Virginia predicts that the current and future market opportunity in the mobile application development industry may bypass the region.

The New River Valley is home to two major universities, Virginia Tech and Radford University.  Faculty members and graduate students at both universities often have bright, highly-educated spouses who are under-employed or non-employed due to choosing to care for children at home and/or having English language difficulties.  Many would welcome part-time employment which they could perform at home on their own schedules that would equip them for post-child-rearing careers.  In addition, the area is home to enterprising women interested in learning new skills and to women entrepreneurs interested in creating new companies.

Software development is difficult.  It requires intelligence, perseverance, and concentration.  It requires the acquisition of complex knowledge and skills that can be learned synergistically in groups.  The willingness of group members to share, teach, tutor and coach each other results in rapid, efficient, collective learning.

A Network of Women Mobile Application Developers PROPOSAL

Create, equip and train an initial group of local women in mobile application development, request that these group members teach mobile application development to others, and thus begin a work force and network with both local ties and global connections to create a local pool of mobile application developers, then a regional hub with global connections in the mobile application development industry.

If you are a woman in Blackburg, Virginia or the New River Valley, Virginia area, and want to learn how to be a mobile app developer, or are even remotely interested in finding out if you might possibly want to learn, please email me at anne@handshake20.com.

At Handshake Media, we've been doing extensive research on women and mobile apps, and I wrote more personally about the shortage of women mobile app developers on the She Chooses(TM) blog in I've Got a Company - What I Need Is Company.  In response to my request to women interested in mobile app development to contact me, we had three replies the first day.

Thanks to Ryan Hagan for the Kenneth Brooks article, source of the quote, which I have read over and over again, gaining new insights into software development each time.

Women and Mobile Apps Market Research - Survey Results

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:15 AM on January 5, 2011:

She Chooses(TM) and Handshake Media, Incorporated commissioned a study by Piedmont Research Associates on women and mobile applications.  The first release was The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps.  Women were then invited to take The Apps That Connect Us - Women and Mobile Apps Survey, an additional part of the study.

Ages of women owning smartphones - Women and Mobile Apps Survey The Apps That Connect Us:  Women and Mobile Apps Survey Results (.pdf) from Piedmont Research Associates was released on January 3, 2011.

Here are excerpts:

As a follow-up to “The Apps that Connect Us, A Report on Women, Mobile Phones and Apps," we created a survey to verify some trends and dig deeper.  The nine-question survey was distributed virally through blog posts, email and social networking sites. It ran for the month of December 2010 and garnered 231 responses. The ages of the respondents ranged from under 18 to over 65. All respondents were self-reported as women.

Social media apps were the most popular apps used by the women who responded to the survey (78.1 percent). The majority of those – 77 percent – were between the ages of 25 and 54. None of the women who used their smart phones just for business used a social media app. Seventy-three percent of them used their mobile devices for both personal and business.

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Mobile apps used by women - Women and Mobile Apps Survey You're invited to read the full report:  The Apps That Connect Us:  Women and Mobile Apps Survey Results (.pdf) from Piedmont Research Associates.

She Chooses(TM) is the social network for women.

Handshake Media, Incorporated is a technology company specializing in digital media public relations for corporations through online content, social media, and mobile applications.  Handshake Media is the maker of the Handshake(TM) App and the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Piedmont Research Associates is a research firm offering community research and statistics, competitive business intelligence, corporate writing services, and public relations.

We've been posting the results of our study of women and mobile apps in a series on Handshake 2.0.  Here's the series so far:

Real Value of Mobile Apps (column by Maureen Carruthers)
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (column by Maureen Carruthers)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

Our category of posts, Mobile Apps on Handshake 2.0, may also be of interest. 

Real Value of Mobile Apps

Posted by Maureen Carruthers at 7:00 AM on December 14, 2010:

Contributors to Handshake 2.0 have been trying to answer the question “What do women want from mobile apps?” for months.  We've approached the topic from many angles, including serious market research - Piedmont Research Associates are in the process of studying the question now.  In the meantime, the results of my own, very unscientific poll, seemed to be all over the map.

High-powered career women wanted work apps.  Women who do a lot of waiting around liked free games. Mothers wanted apps to entertain toddlers.  Commuters loved public transport schedules.  Scientists needed field guides.  Some people were willing to pay for apps, others were not.  Interesting, but nothing one would call a trend.

Too much stuff! There should be an app for that! Then I read this piece by Paul Graham about tablets and a connection emerged:  The real value of mobile apps, especially for women, is they allow us to be as (or more) prepared than we are now - while toting less stuff.

My iPhone is my calculator, calendar, watch, GPS,  email and web portal, camera, reading material, music player, entertainment library, notepad, audio recorder, flashlight and, of course, phone.  If the tea leaves are being read correctly, eventually it will also be my credit card, car keys, medical records, and grocery store discount card.

I can’t imagine a world where mobile apps will replace the diaper bag, but if women’s clothes started to reliably have pockets, they could make purses obsolete.

So let’s ask the “mobile app” question another way.  What do women carry with them now that they’d love to be able to leave at home because they “had an app for that”?

When she’s not playing in the research side of marketing, Maureen Carruthers helps nonprofits tackle their social media fears at Low Hanging Fruit.

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Women readers of Handshake 2.0 are invited to take The Apps That Connect Us - Women and Mobile Apps Survey, part of a study by Piedmont Research Associates on women and mobile applications for She Chooses(TM), the social network app for women.  If you would, please take the survey, then share it with your friends and networks and ask them to do the same.

Further reading:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps - case study, also by Maureen Carruthers
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women

Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

Our category of posts, Mobile Apps on Handshake 2.0, may also be of interest. 

Women and Mobile Apps Survey

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on December 7, 2010:

How do women use mobile apps on their smartphones? 

Women readers of Handshake 2.0 are invited to take The Apps That Connect Us - Women and Mobile Apps Survey, part of a study by Piedmont Research Associates on women and mobile applications for She Chooses(TM), the social network app for women.  If you would, please take the survey, then share it with your friends and networks and ask them to do the same.

She Chooses(TM) and Handshake Media, Incorporated have commissioned a study by Piedmont Research Associates on women and mobile applications.  The first release is The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps.

We've been posting the results of our online research on women and mobile apps in a series on Handshake 2.0.  Here's the series so far:

This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

Our category of posts, Mobile Apps on Handshake 2.0, may also be of interest. 

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She Chooses(TM) is the social network for women.

Handshake Media, Incorporated is a technology company specializing in digital media public relations for corporations through online content, social media, and mobile applications.  Handshake Media is the maker of the Handshake(TM) App and the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Piedmont Research Associates is a research firm specializing in community research and statistics, competitive business intelligence, corporate writing services, and public relations.

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 5:30 AM on December 6, 2010:

From Anne Piedmont, Piedmont Research Associates:

In the beginning was the telephone.

The telephone was bolted to the wall or sat on a table in the home or in a business. It was the connection with the rest of the world, the bringer of good news, bad news and gossip. Then, one day, the phone left the building – either in a “bag” or a car. And in a relatively short period of time, the mobile phone has moved from luxury to necessity to ubiquity.

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps While an estimated 300 million in the U.S. use mobile devices, women and men use them differently. A 2008 presentation by Cleverwood, a Belgian new media consulting firm, asked the question: What Women Want … In Mobile? Melanie McCluskey, vice president of executive advisory services at Belgacom, answered it:

  • Women tend to be multi-taskers and look for solutions to simplify their lives. Think washing machine, dishwasher or any other household appliance that seems one is unable to live without.
  • Women are the first to adopt any innovation that simplifies a task.
  • Women will consider an innovation if it is useful and not just a gadget.
  • Because women want useful, once a technology or app works for them, it will work for good.
  • Once adopted by women, an innovation will follow a much steeper adoption path as women share it with friends and convince them to adopt it as well.
  • Women use mobile devices for personal and emotional exchange.
  • Women want mobile apps that inform rather than entertain.

I'll add a quick word about the “Apps Culture,” as described in a report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project released in September, 2010.

Pew found that while the use of apps is growing, it is still low compared to other mobile device features. Just 29 percent of adults report using an app, compared to 76 percent who use the phone’s camera or 72 percent who text.

Compared to other cell phone users and the general population, mobile apps users according to Pew tend to be male, and younger, more affluent and more educated. However, the Pew Apps Culture study, which used data from a phone survey of 2,252 adults conducted from April 29 to May 30 of 2010 by Princeton Survey research Associates, showed that despite the male dominance: 

  • Women were more likely (53 percent vs. 42 percent) to have used a social networking app in the last 30 days.
  • Women who used the Facebook app were more likely (64 percent vs. 55 percent to use it every day.
  • And, surprisingly, women were also more likely (63 percent vs. 58 percent) to have used a game app.

Neilsen found similar results in December 2009 through online, self-administered surveys with 4,265 apps downloaders originally identified in a previous survey. The results are based on the 3,962 adults ages 18 and older in the Nielsen sample who had downloaded an app in the past 30 days (the survey period).

  • Neilsen’s findings track with Pew’s showing that women are more likely to download games and social networking apps, as well as entertainment and music apps. Men are more likely to download banking/finance and productivity apps.
  • Forty-two percent of the downloaders in the Neilsen survey used Facebook in the survey month.
  • Of those who’ve downloaded Facebook, 59 percent use it daily, women more so than men: 64 percent who’ve downloaded it use it daily (55 percent of men do).

Women’s use of Facebook on their mobile devices is not surprising in light of McCluskey’s research – and in light of Facebook’s own statistics.

The majority of Facebook’s 145, 331,600 U.S. users (as of 11/24/10) are women - 79,840,860, or 55.9 percent.

For perspective, if they were a country, they’d rank 15th in population, between Germany and Ethiopia, and bigger than Egypt, France, the United Kingdom and Italy. (In the few days between when I found this statistic and when I wrote the report, Facebook added 803,460 female users, who moved ahead of Ethiopia in “population.”)

Facebook reports that it has 200 million total users (men and women) currently accessing its site through mobile devices.  And that those users are twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile users.

Conclusions

  • Is there a market for mobile apps that connect women? A population nearly the size of Germany would say yes. Women are the majority on Facebook and lead men in downloading Facebook apps to their mobile devices.
  • Women want useful, time-saving innovations and apps. And when they find them, they keep them. And tell their friends.
  • Women will continue to lead the social media revolution because they are, and always have been, connected to each other.

There should be an app for that.

Anne Piedmont is the founder of Piedmont Research Associates, an organization specializing in community research and statistics, competitive business intelligence, corporate writing services, and public relations.

How do you use mobile apps on your smartphone?  Women readers of Handshake 2.0 are invited to take The Apps That Connect Us - Women and Mobile Apps Survey, part of a study Piedmont Research Associates is conducting on women and mobile applications for She Chooses(TM), the social network app for women.  If you would, please share the survey with your friends and your networks and ask them to do the same.

Added 1/6/2011:
The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps - Survey Results

These posts may be of further interest:

This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps

Posted by Maureen Carruthers at 7:00 AM on November 30, 2010:

I’m obsessed with my phone. I don’t go anywhere without it. In fact, I only put it down when I sleep. While I don’t believe this level of phone-love qualifies me to identify what all women want from their mobile applications, I have noticed some interesting trends that may be of use to app developers looking to catch the attention of women like me.

My most interesting find was some of my favorite “apps” aren’t applications at all - they are bookmarks to the mobile versions of my favorite websites. They behave very similarly to my “real” apps and have icons on my phone to help keep up the ruse. The lesson? A savvy web developer may create the next “killer app” by simply creating a great mobile interface for an existing website.

Next, the best way to make sure I never try an app is to charge me for it. This may not be a trend for women in general, but it’s a huge barrier for me. I’ve downloaded over 50 apps for my iPhone. I’ve paid for fewer than five. I understand on an intellectual level that charging for great apps is a legitimate business model. My open source sensibilities just don't let me go there.

This price factor is complicated by the fact that for every person who feels like I do about paid apps, there is another who dismisses free software (including apps) out of hand because their experience tells them technology is likely to fail at critical moments - and using free software means there is no one to call when the inevitable crash occurs.   So what’s an app developer to do?  Decide which group to serve.  Once a developer identifies her right people, deciding if paid apps or free apps are the most likely to connect gets much easier.

The final quality of my favorite apps is how they make me feel - about myself.  From keeping me connected to my social network, to updating me on the latest news, to capturing my to-do lists, these apps help me feel loved, well-read and prepared.  That's everything this woman needs to feel secure.  Most importantly, they are intuitive, so they never make me feel stupid.  No matter how potentially amazing an app may be, if I can’t easily figure it out, it will gather virtual dust.

That’s this woman’s mobile app story.  Does it match yours?  Tell us in the comments.  Perhaps together we can answer the seemingly unanswerable question:  What do women want from mobile apps?

When she's not checking her e-mail, Maureen Carruthers blogs at Low Hanging Fruit.

These posts may be of further interest:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

Women and Apps: Mobile and Social

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:00 AM on October 13, 2010:

Juniper Research predicts 25 billion downloads of mobile apps by 2015.

We continue our market research on women and their use of mobile applications and mobile devices.  We add this post to Best Mobile Apps for WomenMobile Apps for Women in Business and Women and Smartphones.

Women with smartphones are mobile and social. In their use of mobile download site Myxer, as reported by Mobile Marketer, "Females continue their dominance on mobile, accounting for 67 percent of downloads across Myxer’s platform in April.  According to the study, for the month of April women represented 4.5 million downloads and males represented 2.2 million downloads. This large disparity in downloads is due to two factors; there are roughly 1.7 times as many females as males downloading content from Myxer on a monthly basis, and each female that visits downloads 17 percent more content than the average male.

However, a survey with more than 80,000 responses reported by The Wall by Lady Geek TV and YouGov SixthSense, found that women with smartphones are twice as likely as men to never have downloaded an app.  Reasons cited for the disparity included women's inability to make selections from an overwhelming number of choices of available apps, and a perception that mobile apps are not relevant to women's lives.  "A plethora of fart-based apps lends some credence to this belief."

According to the Mobile Industry Review on The Female App Economy, "The number 1 app for female smart-phone owners over 55 is Facebook, with 18% of survey participants in this group saying that a social networking app is their favourite app... 22.5% of female smart-phone owners over 55 found out about their favourite app from a recommendation from a friend, compared to only 12.9% of male smart phone within the same age band."

Women on the Web: How Women Are Shaping the Internet, the June 2010 report from ComScore, states, "Regardless of how much you believe that women are primarily communicators, networkers and facilitators, it’s clear they are embracing social networking in a way that men are not...  with Social Networking sites... Social networking is also emerging as a key driver for women in the mobile sphere... Women’s adoption of mobile social networking, however, is a clear indicator that mobile Internet services are moving out of early adopter mode and into the mainstream."

The report continues, "The main thing holding them [women] back is Internet connectivity, and that barrier will gradually be removed going forward. Although mobile adoption among women seems to trail men currently, this appears to be primarily driven by availability of data plans rather than an inherent tendency to be less engaged. As data plans become more available and affordable, women will take their seat at the mobile Web table as well. Once women connect, they engage; once they engage, they embrace; once they embrace, they drive. And that’s the future."

Our conclusion?  A social networking site for women is a very good idea.  And it needs a mobile app.

These posts may be of further interest:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

Best Mobile Apps for Women

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 5, 2010:

When we asked in our Handshake 2.0 survey What do businesswomen want in a mobile app?, we learned that the question about women in general and mobile applications - What do women want? - had yet to be answered.

What are the best mobile apps for women? A frequent answer to our survey was a question:  "The mobile app I want may already be out there, but who has time to search through all those apps?  What are the best mobile apps for women anyway?"

According to a 2009 Nielsen survey, reported by Pew Internet, women surveyed were more likely than men to download "games, social networking, music, and entertainment/food apps" and "women in the sample were slightly more likely than the men to say they learn about apps from friends and family (39% v. 33%)..." Nielsen followed up in its September 2010 The State of Mobile Apps, reporting that people discover apps first through searching app stores, then through family and friends.  Ratings and review sites were also a method for finding apps.

My mobile app download history matches the Nielsen reports in some ways.  I've downloaded more social networking apps than any other kind - Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare - but I've only downloaded one game, no music, and no "entertainment/food apps," although I'm not sure what those would be.  And I downloaded an app just yesterday.  But I'm a cautious downloader - a technology survivor - so I also match the survey profile in that I seek recommendations from friends and family - I'll add colleagues to that - before I download software, mobile or otherwise.

With no personal recommendations of my own or from "It's still who you know" others to offer yet, I was open to seeking recommendations from ratings and reviews.  After more than two hours of using various combinations of women+mobile+app+top+best search terms, I gave up.  This is all I found:

10 (Really!) Useful iPhone Apps for Women (Girl Goes Tech)
What a Girl Wants: More Mobile Shopping (miBuys as reported by Mashable)
The Best iPhone Apps for Women (Star Reviews - TiffanyB)
Ten Best iPhone Apps for Women (iPhoneNess)
5 Cool Cell Phone Apps for Women (Cell-Phone-Plans.net)
Top iPhone Apps for Moms (Huffington Post)

My quest for answers resulted in more questions:

  • Why could I not find more ratings and reviews, even lists, of the best mobile apps for women?
  • Are mobile apps for women not being written about, or are few being created?
  • How many mobile app development shops are run by women?  I suspect few.  If there were more, might I have been able to find more mobile apps for women?
  • Was I running into the women in technology issue - whether they're the founders of mobile app development companies or seeking mobile apps to dowlload - women have trouble finding each other?

While I did not find the answers I sought, in the growing mobile app economy which Business Insider reports is "huge and growing fast," I think mobile apps for women are a huge market opportunity.

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As of June 2010, according to Nielsen, "59% of smartphone owners and nearly 9% of feature phone owners report having downloaded a mobile app in the last 30 days."  By 2011, Nielsen predicts most U.S. phone subscribers will have smartphones. 

This joins our series of market research posts on women and smartphones and mobile apps for women in business.  We're writing about mobile apps and about the development and use of the Handshake(TM) App.

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Handshake Media, Incorporated, a woman-founded technology company and parent company of Handshake 2.0, is the developer of the Handshake(TM) App, a corporate mobile directory app extending the reach of companies and organizations to mobile customers.  Handshake Media's Anne Giles Clelland is one of four co-founders of a social network for women.

Thought Full - an app to remember These posts may be of further interest:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Mobile Apps for Women in Business
Women and Smartphones

Mobile Apps for Women in Business - A Mobile App Wish List

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:30 AM on August 26, 2010:

We did the numbers on women and smartphones, I bought a Droid X, I read Juniper's prediction of 25 billion mobile app downloads by 2015, and we launched the Handshake App ASAP,  a mobile app for memberships, groups and communities.

As a businesswoman, the Handshake App checks off an item on my mobile app wish list.  The Handshake App is a way for me to have a group of people important to me app-available, with the most important need-to-know info right-now click-able or tap-able, wherever I am, not where my computer is.

What would be my next app download?  I went shopping with the intent to buy.  This is what I found - or didn't find - on mobile apps for women in business.

As a result of that post, I was asked what I was looking for that I couldn't find.  If "there ought to be an app for that," what was the "that"?  "What do women want?" was extended to "What do businesswomen want in a mobile app?"

I am working on my wish list. Women in business, what's on your mobile app wish list?

Please take our Mobile Apps for Women in Business Survey.

On my wish list?  More apps for the Pomegranate Phone.

Thanks to Z. Kelly Queijo for the link to the video.

These posts may be of further interest:

The Apps That Connect Us - A Report on Women, Smart Phones and Mobile Apps
This Woman's Gotta Have Mobile Apps (case study)
Women and Apps - Mobile and Social
Best Mobile Apps for Women
Women and Smartphones

Mobile Apps for Businesswomen

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 8:00 AM on August 25, 2010:

Although I am a case study of one, not a research study, I am a woman, I am in business, and I am looking for - and not finding - mobile apps that I perceive would be of value to me as a businesswoman.

I am a market opportunity.

Where is my mobile app? I’ve had some insights as a result of seeking my mobile app.

Mobile app store search matters.  I typed brand names and keywords into the search field in the mobile app store on my smartphone.  I didn't find what I sought.  An app store may not replace Google as the top source for search, but if I were a company hiring another company to make my company’s mobile app, I would want my brand name and keywords describing what my company does in the app’s title and description.

Just because an app can be made doesn't mean it should be made.  Oh, there’s such foolishness out there.  And, frankly, ineptness.  An app I downloaded yesterday, which will remain nameless, required a kill app to force it to release its death grip on my smartphone's browser.  Ridiculous.  Today, I am not a fan of mobile app developers enamored of their own code and not attentive to what the market - that would be moi - wants and needs.   

Mobile apps for women don't target women in business.  I'm not this and I'm not trying to be and I'm all about this but that latter one requires people to be successful in business.  That would be moi.  And if I can do the task better and faster on my computer, it's not a mobile app.  These apps recommended for women entrepreneurs look tediously like more work, not less.

The print cover of the 18.09 issue of Wired reads “The Web is dead.”  Chris Anderson writes in “What Happened,” that the future will be “less about browsing and more about getting.”  Yes, please.  I want to get my app and I want it to do something for me.  Right now.

Anderson also writes in Wired, “Within five years, Morgan Stanley projects, the number of users accessing the Net from mobile devices will surpass the number who access it from PCs.”

I will be one of those.  I am a market opportunity. 

Where’s my app?

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Our compiled stats on women and smartphones may be of interest.