Category Archives: Mobile Applications
As smart phones move into the consumer and enterprise space, there is a growing need to test the suite of applications that reside on these devices. Test automation has always been an attractive alternative to expensive, time consuming and inconsistent manual testing – the question now becomes “How do we leverage test automation in this new, ill-defined space?”
Let’s try and understand test automation and test execution that will yield the highest return given the maturity of the smart phone space. Let’s also talk about the factors we should consider when implementing a test architecture to support this space.
Consider the Challenges :
Before we address the question of smart phone automation, we have to accept the unique set of challenges smart phone development and testing represent and how these challenges impact your overall mobility testing program. Smart phones, when combined with other mobile devices, represent the fastest growing segment in IT terms of market share, OS deployments, device deployments and software deployments, with a constantly growing set of basic functionality. At the same time, these devices represent one of the least secure deployment architectures IT, as a whole, has ever been asked to address. This means any test automation program needs to be pragmatic, supported by a flexible supporting architecture and focused on high-yield opportunities – your test automation yield being defined in terms of full-time equivalents – high being defined as at least eight to one. You need these types of yields to help offset the impacts of a constantly changing device and application landscape.
In terms of a “smart phone test automation program,” the target needs to include high-yield elements of your application space that the current set of automation tools can address. How much test automation to apply towards a program must align with these goals. Otherwise, the long-term success of the test automation effort will be in jeopardy and will almost certainly fail.
Though the focus of this article is on the implementation of a smart phone test automation program, it must be noted that test automation is not a silver bullet – treating it as a “cure all” will certainly lead to disappointment.
Test architecture: Leverage “soft” solutions that work across multiple devices and multiple OS’s
The early adopters in the smart phone testing space implemented architectures with both logical (i.e. test automation tools) and physical (i.e. cradles) components. As smart phone vendors, developers, consumers, and enterprises begin to treat smart phones as business appliances, test architectures need to become cheaper, faster and more nimble. History has shown us that this leads to software-driven solutions that leverage OS provisioned “hooks” and on-device agents.
New “players” in the smart phone test automation space are introducing promising software-driven approaches to smart phone test automation; approaches that require minimal hardware – often just an IP address on your existing network – while leveraging existing test management toolsets. This enables you to implement a cost effective on-site smart phone test automation solution – a must have for many financial institutions.
Test design: Use keyword-driven automated tests, manual look-and-feel tests
A keyword-driven test design and automation approach yields a significant return in the smart phone testing space. The difference between the smart phone space and more traditional interfaces is the focus of your test automation design. To date, harvesting the highest yield from your keyword-driven test case designs involves focusing only on business functionality – look-and-feel testing appears to be best left in the hands of manual exploratory testers. This split supports a sustainable test automation solution while preventing look-and-feel issues from escaping into production undetected. It also enables automation solutions that work across more than one device or one operating system.
In summary, strive for:
- Business events captured in keyword driven automated tests.
- Look and feel captured by skilled manual exploratory testers.
Build: Focus on building what you need and refactoring when additional ROI is available
Constructing a test automation solution involves a set of choices that automation engineers – especially more disciplined automation engineers – may find difficult to accept. Smart phones represent an evolving architectural space so investing in a sophisticated test automation framework may be premature. Opportunities to create modular, maintainable toolsets should not be ignored but try to determine if the investment is going to harvest an eight to one return before proceeding. In this space, you have to be willing to drop current solution sets and invest in newer solutions – if the return on investment changes to favor a different approach. An Agile approach to both test automation and the supporting test automation framework yields the highest return – build what you need when you need it and re-factor/rebuild when the return on investment dictates you should.
Execution and reporting: Test management solutions that support mechanized execution
The sheer volume of mobility test cases requires a test management solution that enables mechanized execution and reporting across a large number of devices on a regular execution schedule. Several commercial solutions provide this functionality – look for test management solutions that support software-based automation solutions. This will allow you to harvest the return from the next generation of tooling that leverage approaches that require minimal hardware – OS-provisioned “hooks” and on-device agents.
As has been stated before, test automation is not a silver-bullet – it is a powerful test enabler when used appropriately. Test automation is becoming an absolute necessity with the explosive growth of smart phones and the applications that reside on those devices. Appropriate investment in the test automation will yield returns – but as we have already discussed, this return must be higher than traditional test automation (“8 to 1” vs. “4 to 1”). As the test automation tools, devices and OS’s mature your organization should be willing to move into more effective solutions – especially when there is a significant difference in ROI. If the history of IT and testing in IT shows us anything, it is that you do not want to be behind the curve in a quickly evolving space – your costs will quickly become prohibitive if you do not adapt to changes within the mobile and mobile testing space.
A recent internal study carried out by Distimo found that the top 200 highest grossing apps in the US generate over three times more revenue in the Apple App Store for iPhone (excluding iPad) than they do in the Google Android Market. And, crucially, this is a trend exaggerated in most other countries outside of the US.
The most recent figures from ComScore revealed that Android phones now account for 44.8 percent market share, compared to 27.4 percent for iPhone, so the fact that the revenue generated by iPhone apps is so much larger than it is for Android is surprising. They have tried to identify some of the reasons why the revenue of Android apps lags behind that of iPhone apps.
One reason lies in app discoverability. It should be easy for smartphone users to find the most relevant content for their phone with just a few clicks, and the most important and easy way for many smartphone customers to find applications is by means of the top overall applications in the app store associated with their mobile device. So, how are the iPhone and Android phones different in this respect? The difference lies in the content refresh rate of the top apps. As per a research done by Distimo, they had a look at the top 100 free and the top 100 paid applications in the US every day during September 2011, as research has shown these applications to be the most relevant when looking at app discoverability. They found that 631 distinct applications had a top 100 free or paid ranking in the Apple App Store for iPhone in September. By contrast, they found that only 313 distinct applications had a top 100 free or paid ranking in the Google Android Market in September. This implies that while the top 100 applications refresh quite fast in the Apple App Store for iPhone, the top apps in Android Market have remained nearly the same for the entire month. This makes it much less compelling for Android users to browse through the top Android Market applications on a regular basis to find new applications and spend their money buying apps.
Another important reason for the lower amount of revenue in the Google Android Market is the available content in its store. There is always a debate between fans and supporters of iPhone and Android phones about which store has the best available content. It is hard to measure quality in an objective way, but they tried to find a way to assess the quality of the apps nevertheless. Researchers analysed the top 100 most downloaded free and paid applications in the US during September in both the Apple App Store for iPhone and the Google Android Market to accomplish this. They looked at whether the top applications on the iPhone were also available for download in the Android Market, and 31% of the top applications on the iPhone were also available in Android Market. However, when looking at the top applications in the Google Android Market, 41% of the top applications were also available in the Apple App Store for iPhone. More top Android content is available in the Apple App Store than vice versa, which leads us to conclude that iPhone is the leader for new unique top content and Android is the follower. This is yet another reason that users may find it more interesting to browse through apps in the Apple App Store for iPhone than in the Google Android Market.
Ease of payment
An important reason why iPhone developers are able to sell more apps than Android developers is the cumbersome payment system associated with the Google Android Market. It is virtually impossible to get an Apple ID without having to enter any payment credentials in the Apple App Store – even when downloading only free apps. This makes buying paid applications later on much easier and accessible in the Apple App Store. Reversely, the Google Android Market makes it easy to download free applications without having to enter any payment options. Without these payment credentials filled in, it is much easier to download a free app the next time a user visits the Android Market than it is to download a paid app. There are rumours that PayPal will be a method of payment for apps in the Android Market in the future. This would make it much easier for many more people to download paid apps, since many people around the world already have a PayPal account.
Content is still king
There are several reasons why the Google Android Market has fewer sales than the Apple App Store for iPhone, but the most important reason is the content itself. Right now, the Google Android Market is the follower and the Apple App Store for iPhone is the content leader. The App Store for iPhone appears to be the most interesting store for users to browse content, but whether this will change in the future largely depends on the monetisation options Google will offer to make developers come on board the Android platform. The available payment methods and ease of payment appear to be important barriers to successful monetisation for developers in this respect, which means that content in the Apple App Store reigns supreme for now.
This is an amazing article which talks about ‘Designing Apps for Kids’; a great insight by UX Magazine.
Here are some suggestions for designing and devising apps for children to help ensure the apps are correctly used by preventing some common design issues.
THE SPLASH SCREEN
Kids at preschoolers (ages two to five), do not quite grasp the concept of patience, especially when it comes to digital devices.
A splash screen that takes more than ten seconds to load will give rise to comments from kids such as, “Mommy, it doesn’t work.” They will get frustrated and lose their patience the first time they use the app.
The Splash Screen for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Even though The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is an amazing app for young audiences, it takes between 24 and 28 seconds to load. But the soothing splash screen music keeps kids calm while the app finishes loading.
A splash screen is certainly necessary, as the app content needs to load before it can launch. But we should offer alternatives to this loading process to entertain kids while the app is loading; a puzzle or perhaps an animation could fill out this “waiting” process.
THE HOME SCREEN
An app’s home screen is generally not useful for children between one and three years of age (this changes from age four onwards). These children cannot read or write and do not yet know how to make the best decision when presented with several options.
In a usability tests we have noticed, for instance, that if a child wants to restart or resume a game, story, or activity, the child will not tap on the back button, which is designed to resume the game or revert back to the home screen. The majority of children press on the iPad’s or iPhone’s home button, causing the app to exit, and then look for its icon and launch it all over again.
This means that apps aimed at children between one and three years of age should immediately launch when they are opened, with no home screen or any other interstitial screens.
Kids Song Machine: A clear example of a simple and straightforward start screen.
For an app aimed at children aged three and above with different options to choose from, a plain and simple start screen can be used.
It is best to use very few buttons (three or four at most), maximize the size of the target tappable areas, and create the sensation of clicking so it feels like they are physically clicking on the buttons, which can help prevent possible mis-taps.
AlphaWriter by Montessorium home screen only has two large tappable areas with clear, concise, and meaningful drawings for children from ages four and over.
This is recommended settings buttons, as children often tap them accidentally. If an app has settings that require frequent configuration, they should be designed to be so simple that if the child accidentally changes them, it will not greatly affect the app’s performance.
The Wheels on the Bus app features a button on all screens to change the language or the song, or for kids to record their own voice. Even though children constantly touch them, these types of settings do not affect or determine the overall performance of the app. It is a good example of a non-intrusive setting.
Settings of the Wheels on the Bus
From our perspective, settings are a function for parents, not for kids, so this is recommended to put them in the device settings panel. Configurations can be made according to each child’s needs in the Applications Installed section. The frequency of and room for error can thus be reduced.
Interaction Design for Kids
Think big! Think enormous!
Look at any child’s toy truck. It’s enormous. And look at jumbo construction sets for preschoolers for instance; there isn’t a single small piece. Between 18 months and three years of age, children develop fine motor skills, so bigger is always better, particularly when it comes to designing apps.
Kids are drawn to large objects, especially if they are simple and easy to recognize.
The “A” from “Abeja” (on Spanish) feature in the Know section of ABCKit for iPad
It is also observed a two and a half year old boy call the ABCKit app for iPad, “A de Abeja,” because the first thing he would always see and select on the screen is the first letter of the alphabet in the “Know” section of the app.
Creating and developing easy tasks is the key to a successful app for kids.
Audio-visual enhancements that kids need in order to interact with the app should be obvious in the majority of cases, although, the sudden discovery of hidden features prompts kids to play and arouses curiosity in older children. This sudden discovery enhances the joy that preschooler kids need once in a while to delight their curiosity in fun ways and make them notice that there still some hidden areas waiting for be discovered.
Toy Story for iPad
In Toy Story for iPad, small details such as the glowing light in the middle of the image give kids a clue that they can tap on the image and release new actions, such as hearing the voices of the characters or watching a short clip from the movie.
And even though designing to make tasks easy is nothing new to UX designers, in the case of children using tactile devices, ease-of-use rules and practices must be simplified and re-interpreted. When it comes to develop an app, not all of the patterns defined in guides like Touch Gesture Reference Guide can be followed. For instance, when a child holds an iPad with both hands, usually his fingers are touching one of the corners. When the child tries to tap another part of the screen to activate an action in the app (e.g., move an object, turn the page, etc) the application may ignore the action. This happens because the device interprets child’s hand holding the screen as a long tap, and does not execute the action being requested with the other hand.
There is a high probability that kids will unintentionally constantly touch the screen to hold the device, or will simply put their hands on it. Apps for kids should be much more forgiving with these types of gestures in order to function properly.
Challenge and reward
Kids respond to being praised and rewarded; positive words give them self-esteem and let them know that they are doing something well.
Games and challenges should offer positive feedback to let kids know they are moving forward. A clap, a word of appreciation, or just a smiling face indicating success will make the child happy.
In the ABC Alphabet Phonics for iPad app, every time kids tap on the correct letter, the app encourages them with phrases of positive reinforcement such as “Good Job” or “Awesome.”
Kids get bored with apps very quickly. Unless they feel entertained or are challenged to win a game, they just switch from one app to another.
It is very difficult for children between two and three years of age to follow a game. They expect to be guided by the app, and expect that every time they touch the screen something will happen and, in general, they have no interest in competition. Children between four and five years of age enjoy challenges, are focused, and can have a lot of patience if an activity is stimulating enough. They like the feeling of being challenged.
Children six years onward strive for perfection; their idea of fun is winning. They do not simply want to achieve the goal, they want to achieve it first, make no mistakes, and do it better than their peers—they want to be number one.
During our tests with ABCKit, kids aged five and a half and over would trace the letters again and again if they were not happy with the result.
Educational or Recreational?
As per opinion, apps for kids should be both educational and recreational; one does not exclude the other.
It is long-proven that learning should be fun for children. Fun develops the child’s innate ability to comprehend while learning because the fun enhances the natural curiosity that all kids are born with.
When children (and grownups, too!) do something for fun, they will do it a thousand times just for the joy of it, and that’s when learning happens. This is learnt and comprehend when we’re repeatedly exposed to specific stimuli and information.
Fun and learn should be always in the same context; if not, learning stops being natural (and fun), and it becomes merely teaching.
Whether your background is in quality control, telecommunications, or product management, a project that has you testing mobile devices and their applications will surprise you. Here’s what you need to know to make it a success:
- Mobile devices are consumer devices;
- You need to test on emulators and real devices;
- Touch matters;
- Networking often works badly; and
- Usability testing will probably be more important for you than on any project you’ve done before.
To understand how these mantras apply in quality assurance, think through some of the implications:
Mobile devices are consumer devices
Mobile markets–cellular handsets, tablets, and so on–are different. Many of your end users will be people who don’t use desktop computers, or do so only rarely. They know nothing about keyboard shortcuts that your cells have memorized. They’re more likely to have chosen a device based on the color of its case than its CPU specifications. “Hardware refresh” cycles are around a year and determined by physical loss and service contract renewal rather than technology. Desktop computers might resemble furniture or dishwashers in their production and marketing; mobiles are more like shoes.
This has consequences both in technology and use. Mobiles incorporate rather remarkable engineering that can be updated even within a product release; software inevitably struggles to keep up, and often ships with substantial errors. Two examples of the same telephone handset–same brand and model–can easily differ enough in the details of their operating system (OS) releases that one simply fails in an application programming interface (API) that the other handles without a hitch.
You need to test on emulators and real devices
One of the consequences for your test plan is that you’ll need to schedule phases both for testing on emulators, and on model devices. You must take advantage of the emulators (and, occasionally, simulators) that are available for nearly all mobile devices to exploit the opportunities they offer for automation. Any “continuous testing” and comprehensive regression testing probably need to start on emulators.
It’s indispensable, though, to test thoroughly on real devices. With all the engineering variations in what reaches your end users, it’s unlikely that any emulator can keep up with what you truly require of it. However tedious it is to maintain a mobile inventory and tap away at it, there’s no alternative for “shaking out” the faults sure to turn up on your first releases.
It’s not just that emulators don’t track subtle differences; they still largely fail to manage touch. It’s taken years for the testing community to figure out “best practices” for validation of all the behaviors mouse pointers elicit from applications. We simply haven’t advanced far enough yet to have touch interfaces right.
That doesn’t mean touch shouldn’t be tested–far from it! The point is that you’ll want to invest extra time in crafting your test plan to figure out how to address touch. Your end users certainly will be counting on gestural interfaces; in fact, many of them will regard gestures as the natural door to applications. Did your application originate on the desktop, with the conventions and idioms expected there? That doesn’t matter at all to your new mobile audience. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Mobile networking is erratic
What use does your application make of Internet networking? Maybe none. Maybe it’s purely a local application. Mobile devices–often endowed with accelerometers, GPS (global positioning systems), and an abundance of other features–certainly have the potential to do wonderful things on their own.
It might surprise you how often your applications “calls home,” though. Consumers expect applications to tell them the traffic conditions five miles ahead, which of their friends are currently visiting the local block, and whether it will rain tomorrow. Typically all those reports, along with a lot of internal “housekeeping” functions, rely on Web connections.
Those Web connections are better than what science fiction imagined just a few years ago. The engineering underlying them is quite marvelous. It’s also rather immature. In particular, the way the Internet Protocol (IP) and especially the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) are packaged for wireless 3G transmission leave them vulnerable to delays that simply have a different shape than even the most congested wired environment. It’s not enough to estimate that your application either can acquire a strong signal, or it will switch gracefully to a disconnected mode; you need to prepare and test carefully for long, long delays while nominally connected.
Usability testing will probably be more important for you than on any project you’ve done before
At one level, mobile devices are “just computers,” like the ones you’ve already managed and tested. Many of the details are different, though, and many of these different details will be more apparent to end users than they are to you. You must stage “usability tests” or otherwise watch and learn what your real-world audience does with your audience.
Even if your application is an unusual one, in that all the end users also use a desktop version of the application, you’ll find they have different habits with mobile devices. There’s no substitute for sessions with new real-world users.
Developing a mobile app? Cutting edge social media marketing techniques can be combined with classic marketing tactics to ensure your success in the App Store.
After scoring millions of downloads and millions of revenue, popular mobile apps like “Angry Birds” or “Tap Tap Revenge” have become the gold standard for independent mobile application developers everywhere, as every new app strives to reach the weekly top downloaded app ranking or to become featured in the App Store. Clearly, besides being superlative products, both in their ease of use and their entertainment value, these apps also owe their commercial success in no small way to successful marketing, especially through viral marketing and word of mouth.
However, what should mobile developers consider if they were to emulate those experiencing success with their own applications? Is there a surefire secret sauce of mobile application developments that only a few savvy companies know and utilize to their great benefit?
A successful mobile application marketing is all about a good combination of tried and true software/technology marketing techniques and creative, innovative marketing tactics that rely on the unique mobile application distribution model.
Here are some key takeaways:
- Pre-launch: To ensure launch success, mobile application developers should use a number of tactics to generate interest in their upcoming apps. These include word of mouth marketing, allowing sneak/exclusive preview, developing an attractive app website or landing page, distributing an app video, etc. Social Media place an important role, you get to advertise your app to wider genre of people.
- Just after Launch: Mobile application developers should focus intensely on user feedback gathering, lead generation (through paid advertisement), continuation of word of mouth campaigns, and immediate submission of the app to various mobile apps review websites. Websites like GetSatisfaction make your life so very easy during this time frame.
- Post Launch: Important tactics include app store listing optimization, submission to popular mobile app blogs, user generated content, creating user videos to maintain the marketing momentum and ensuring that the app continues to raise interests.
- On-going maintenance: Continue to grow the app’s presence online and in the app store by encouraging user generated content, considering the creation of a user community, pushing automatic updates, and maintaining blogs.
-Web marketing strategies can be used to help gain momentum for the application in the beginning. Paid advertisements, a launch website, and PR 2.0 efforts are all important in getting the app out of the gate.
- There are some tactics that are unique to the mobile application market such as App Store listing management and optimization (so that the apps can be found in as many relevant searches as possible).
- Cross-selling and up-selling are important since the mobile app, once in use, has a captive audience that is perfect for these techniques.
Developing a great mobile application is just half of the battle to App Store domination. Savvy marketing techniques and judicious combinations of traditional and new age marketing tools are important to the ultimate success of your application and your revenue from the app.
Near Field Communication, or simply NFC, is shaping up to be one of the hottest tech trends of the next few years. Mobile payment systems backed by major financial institutions are either already being tested or in plans to start tests, while smartphones with built-in NFC chips are making their way into the U.S. and Europe. But beyond payments, NFC has the potential to reach many other industries, from location-based services to ticketing and public transportation.
What Is Near Field Communication?
Let’s start with a basic definition: NFC is a wireless technology that makes use of interacting electromagnetic radio fields to transmit small bits of information between an “initiator” and a “target” — a key card and your hotel room door, for example. It’s similar to Bluetooth in the sense that both are short-range communication technologies, and is considered a subset of existing RFID (Radio Frequency ID) standards given that is uses radio waves for identification purposes. But NFC has its unique set of characteristics that will determine how it’s used in real-world practical applications.
For one thing NFC transmits data across much smaller distances, typically between 4 and 10 centimeters, compared to Bluetooth’s 10-meter range. This by-design limitation reduces the likelihood of unwanted interception and makes NFC particularly suitable for crowded areas where correlating a signal with its transmitting physical device becomes difficult.
From security perspective applications have to use higher-layer cryptographic protocols like SSL to establish a secure channel.
Another differentiating factor is that NFC sets up connections faster than standard Bluetooth and its low-power variant, Bluetooth 3.0. Instead of performing manual configurations to identify devices, the connection between two NFC devices is automatically established quickly in less than a tenth of a second. In fact, NFC could even be used to speed up the process of pairing two Bluetooth devices, acting as an initiator by simply bringing them close to each other.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned before, NFC involves an initiator and a target, where the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target without an electricity source. See it as simple as only one of the devices ‘needs’ to be powered. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.
A simple example would be holding a NFC-equipped smartphone near a tagged movie poster and getting all relevant information in seconds — trailer, reviews, schedules at the nearest theater and the option to buy tickets online. The smartphone would be the initiator and the tagged poster would be the passive target.
- Public transportation. This could arguably be a subset of mobile payments but it’s worth mentioning on its own. In fact, in urban areas with high population density and good public transportation this can be a major driver of NFC adoption. Pilot and commercial programs have already been deployed in many cities of the world — including my current city Nice, France — where you can pay the bus, metro or tram with a tap of your phone.
- Ticketing. Take the movie theater example in the previous section and apply it to any kind of ticket: concerts or live shows, conferences, sporting events, theme parks, checking into a flight and boarding.
- Keys. Imagine getting rid of that extra weight in your pocket by replacing your entire keychain with your mobile phone. With a NFC-enabled phone you could potentially tap your way into your apartment, office or hotel room, start your car’s engine, and access anything else that requires a key with one single device.
- Comparison-shopping. Whether you are doing groceries, buying clothes or getting something from the local electronics store, with a wave of your phone you could have access to reviews, additional product information, or prices from other stores. Much like you can do today with barcode scanning but faster.
- “Check-ins” and venue reviews. Google recently began pushing this by putting NFC-enabled Places stickers just outside some restaurants and businesses in the Portland, OR area. With your NFC-equipped phone you can easily rate places or read reviews so you have an idea if the food or service is any good before going in. It’s also useful for getting ‘point of interest’ information in cities or location-based social networks like Foursquare.
While the poster can only be a passive target, NFC-equipped devices like smartphones can act as initiators, targets, or both combined in an active peer-to-peer mode. Elaborating on the same example, say you purchased a ticket to that movie from the poster, now you can bypass the line at the box office and redeem the ticket on your handset. The NFC reader at the movies is the initiator and reads the information from your phone, which acts as the target.
I’ll discuss other possible uses next but at this point I want to note that some of this is already possible with current technologies like QR codes. You can buy a movie ticket online and get confirmation with a QR code attached by email, which you can print or simply flash from your smartphone screen to be scanned at the theater. So, despite all the hype about disruption, NFC is more about increasing convenience than enabling something completely new. Instead of swiping a credit card or scanning a barcode just tap the NFC reader with your phone and off you go.
Courtesy : http://www.techspot.com
Plantronics Simplifies Conference Calls with InstantMeeting App : One-Touch Conference Call Connections
The Plantronics InstantMeeting(TM) app eliminates the frustration and time lost when trying to dial-in to a conference call, a cumbersome process that requires entering a myriad of numbers, ID codes and passwords, and # and * signs. The mobile app allows today’s mobile professional the most convenient way to dial into a conference call from their Android or BlackBerry phone.
Soon to be launched as an Enterprise version too for Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Outlook.
The app automatically syncs conference dial-in numbers from leading providers, requiring no advanced setup of access codes and calendars with one touch. The application removes the worry of having to remember a moderator ID number, eliminates the frustration of miss-dialing a conference line and joining a call five minutes late. If a user gets disconnected from a conference call (e.g., poor reception), they can reenter the meeting with one touch.