September 23, 2015

Retail Cyber Race

The days of real, brick-and-mortar retail stores are over. Sure, it is still more convenient to jump in your car and drive to the local Walmart or Home Depot and pick up the item you want "now", but that is going away soon, very soon.

Everyone among the big retailers is working on the next day delivery, same day delivery, or next hour delivery, if Amazon will have their way with PrimeAir.
Sure, there still will be the limited-real-estate Galeria of products stores, but they will only be driving online sales. However, I am getting ahead of myself.

A couple of years ago, I was an Architect for Mobile Innovation Group at Sears/Kmart, so naturally I will take that company as example.

Sears/Kmart stores are not doing well, however they could turn around, but how?

A short history lesson: many older Americans remember Sears as catalog business. Every year you've got your booklet from which you were able to select some goodies for your kitchen and for your husband for Christmas. It was great. Then came mega stores and they were great, too, people did not have to wait for weeks on delivery and could shop now. Sears and Kmart had their heyday. Then came Japan, then China and multitude companies started to compete. Then came computers and Walmart bought and used some, Sears and Kmart did not do as well. All suddently the prices got 20% lower in stores like Walmart and Target while offering gt better and nobody could understand what has happened, customers exodus followed.

Then came Amazon, they sold you a book, then another book, then they sold you a TV and then a movie. They also have bougth some computers and used them, used many of them.

Then came Google and the rest of the story will be written in the future, unless...

Let's start with the brand. I am sure there are still a lot of people who like brands like Craftsman, or Kenmore, but honestly it is hard to get a Millenial kid to enter the mall thru Sears entrance. It is hard to change image once the name is stained. Sears launched a program named Shop Your Way, it may work. At this point Kmart and Sears could be called "Red and Blue" and they might have better sales.
What is wrong with catalog business? Nothing much, except it has to be created for you, a single person, every day, and has to be short. People like to have a perception of many choices, but immediately they want to narrow it to a couple of choices. If they cannot, they go somewhere else, continue shopping.

So the next question is how do you narrow 10 million products Sears offer to a handful you want to buy today? Amazon knows it, that is why they kick butt, however they are not sharing. Google will know and that is why they may be the biggest danger for all retailers. Facebook is entering the game. Let me explain.

You post something online, Google learns, you like something and Facebook learns, you search, Google learns, you click, they know, you skip, they know. You do that many times, over 10 years. They build a profile of you, they know precisly what you are looking for today, they serve you search results, advertisements and products.

What can "Red and Blue" do about it?  Time for some pointers!

1) Sell everything under the sky, even at the break even, yes, no profit margins. In a sense Sears is doing it already with the offering of 10 million products via 3rd party Marketplace. You need to sell everything because you need to capture most Google product searches. I would go further and have competitors' offering, too. Explanation coming soon.

2) Know your client. By name. So I searched for something and found result, clicked on it and now I see it on "Red and Blue" mobile website. This is opportunity for Sears to learn about me. Me! But what happens, I add the item to the cart and Sears is asking me to log in, I might do that later when I am by the computer because I don't remember the password (OK, it will never happen). I go to, same product, the cart does not know me. Why not allow me to log in with Google+ or Facebook, I know it sounds counterintuitive as you compete with them, but that is what we do these days, we log in with Google+, Facebook, etc, no harm done.

3) Collect data and use it. So now you allow me to log in with Fb, great. I search Google and because you carry millions of products, sooner then later I end up on your mobile website, you know me by name. I am presented with this product, 4.5 stars (however no profit margin) and two other similar products cheaper and more expensive, both 4.7 stars (and nice profit margin). I click around and eventually choose something. I have done that 50 times before and you get to know me among millions other users that have similar tastes and interests.

4) Communicate. I get my daily doze of emails from Sears, Craftsman, Kenmore and Show Your Way - my intuitive opinion? You don't know me! I get $10 in points for oil change, I am not moved, when is the last time I used any offer? How about "How is your Astro van doing, we haven't seen it in a while and honestly we miss it! Come for oil change, we make it worth it! (offer here) You know we have great Carftsman tools you can pick from while we change your oil."

5) Crowdsource information. Engage the user, make it super easy to rate and tell you about the product, yours and your competition's. People buy in one place, tehn come to Amazon to write their product review. We need to ask ourselves why that happens and do better.

6) Make sure you can deliver. As I mentioned Amazon want to air drop your packages using drones and we all have seen on YouTube the Roomba robots turned into their warehouse busboys. Company has to invest in ability to know what your client wants, where they want it, in what quantity and how short the delivery should be to please the customer each time. The company should invest in their own software as using the same package only guarantees that consultants, once they finish with you will go to your competition and offer "improved" version.

Sears and Kmart are currently in process of selling the real estate and investing in the ecommerce, updating their mobile and chain of supply software and winning awards, so there is a real hope to turn the company around.

The summary of this story is that the companies have to learn about their clients and have to use that knowledge wisely to communicate with the client. When I walk in to the store, or enter the website you have to know me, by name and by my interests. You have to connect the dots and heavily invest in machine learning and profiling algorithims.

by Uki D. Lucas

you can find him on LinkedIn.


October 23, 2014

ChildrenTV story

ChildrenTV is a mobile app that provides an impressive collection of new and old classic cartoons that you can filter by language and age category.

“The original idea came to me while I was inspired by seeing my daughter search and watch her favorite YouTube cartoons.  So we decided to create ChildrenTV mobile app, a cute and useful application that makes the process of teaching foreign languages an interactive session for both parents and kids."- said Uki D. Lucas, ChildrenTV founder.

Over the past 3 years, his mobile development company has worked to develop the ChildrenTV  application and has continuously updated its content. Praised for its successful combination of beautiful graphics and educational content, the title gained a huge popularity on the Android an iOS markets and received positive feedback. The app integrates with the existing web site YouTube and streams live hundreds of safe videos that can be easily filtered by language and age category.

With more than 1,000 videos and growing, the app provides a fun way to keep kids both occupied and educated during long car rides as well as babysit them at home.  Cute and colorful graphics, an array of entertaining cartoons in 10 languages, together with a kid-friendly interface make ChildrenTV a great addition to a children’s mobile library. Also, as a parent you can brush up on a foreign language skills using this app, too!
We have lot of users from different countries, speaking MANY LANGUAGES, since it is almost impossible to find favorite videos in so many languages we ask you to help us, your and other kids will be thankful. Please suggest videos that your kids like, and we will do our best to make them available in the Children TV apps

September 15, 2014

CyberFit - Founder's story

Uki D. Lucas is a technology entrepreneur, public speaker, book author and UX expert specializing in mobile application development. He has been working with technology start-up companies since 1999 job at RollingStone magazine. Plus to all the tech experience Uki is an active sport guy, and after some gym workouts with a trainer the idea of the fitness app CyberFit was obvious.

I have talked to a gym buff who said,
- I know my exercises, why do I need a new app?
    - How do you track your exercises?
- Spreadsheet.
    - This is exactly why we created this app!
              ~ Uki D. Lucas, CyberFit app.
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Over the past 6 months, his mobile development company has worked to develop the CyberFit  application (,a new revolutionary fitness tracking app. His creation has been already released to the App Store and proven to be very unique, as we are working with the best trainers with various approaches, so user can find just the right "fit" for him/her. Each trainer should be able to create a program, post their videos, keep track of the clients' progress, make money. Training buddies should be able to share their progress and schedules. It's like a new fitness social network!

CyberFit is a video-based set of programs that are customized to user's goals, in addition the application includes all expected features like:

- complete set of body measurements
- front, side and back over time photo comparison
- schedule of workout sessions with notifications
- exercise history with progress indication
- heart rate monitor support
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To move this app to the next level Uki is currently looking for additional funding that will cover the marketing efforts and other app improvements.

August 7, 2014 is open to new projects!

CyberWalkAbout is a mobile development company based in Chicago. It is a proud owner and creator of over two dozen application spanning multiple platforms. 

We have worked in different fields. We have made 

  • app for children with kids’ videos (Children TV),
  • events apps for Chicago, San Francisco and LA,
  • fitness app with video-based set of programs customized to your goals (CyberFit),
  • taxi share app,
  • coupon app,
  • and many more. 

Now we are open to new interesting projects. If you have an idea feel free to contact us with any questions, and we will provide detailed estimate for your particular project.

We offer top quality development at very affordable rates. Portfolio of prior work is listed on our website  and here

For CyberWalkAbout, every project is critical and must be delivered on time and within your budget. Quality is something that we do not compromise on. With a dedicated team of developers and designers, we ensure each of our clients gets a first rated service and results.  - says Uki D. Lucas, Founder and CEO of

July 8, 2014

App: Lost in translation

From time to time, each of us working in the app development, be that an UI/UX designer, developer or project manager has to come up with user messages on the spot.
We all think: "Oh this is a temporary text, a placeholder, we will fix it later.. Question: How many times this never happens?" And you would be surprised to know that this happens a lot starting from major international product development, brands that we all look up to, to the small side projects we do for fun.

At CyberWalkAbout, having a portfolio of over a dozen apps, some of the small "just for fun"projects surprise by being more successful than some of those which required a big effort and were expected to become a hit. App analytics help then take those apps to the next level of success.
One of the big things to pay attention are the statistics of usage per country or language which might be the reason to consider translating the app into the language of the country where the app is most successful.

Here are 7 eye-opening statistics why this could be a changing point for your app.

70+ languages are supported by Twitter and Facebook
90% of customers CHOOSE their native language when it’s made available
78% of customers are more likely to BUY if user instructions are in their language
81% of customers are more likely to BUY if technical documentation is in their language
60% of customers in Japan and France will not buy from an app in another language
(Sources: The Economist Intelligence Unit, Common Sense Advisory)

Below, you will find some guidelines to consider when writing the messages to the users that will help sending a direct and clear message as well as avoiding embarrassing translation mistakes.

Correct Content

  • Run the message through a check spelling software i.e. MS Word, or even browser for that matter.
  • Use Commas to separate subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence and elements in a list:

Could be rewritten to "Slow, children."or even better, "Slow-down, children." 
  • Add hyphens - when you use the appropriate prefixes, to avoid double vowels, to avoid tripple consonants, for clarity, with certain compound phrases
  • Use that for restrictive clauses, use which for for non-restrictive clauses

Clear content

Use short sentences with just one topic

Bad: "This is a list of the current status of all event monitors for this process"
Better: "This lists the current status of all event monitors for this process."

Use simple tenses

What does "studying plans could be useful" mean?
  • Plans that discuss studying could be useful.
  • Studying the plans could be useful.

Use active voice, avoid passive voice

Include all the articles and all other necessary parts of speech

What does "Print control file list" mean?
  • Print all the files that contain controls.
  • A list of files that contain print controls.
  • Print a list of control files.
  • Print the controls and file the list.
  • Control the print and list the files.
  • Print and control a list of files.

Repeat nouns and repeat modifiers, do not use ambiguous pronouns

Bad: The developers agreed to discuss the issue, but it took too long.
Better: The developers agreed to discuss the issue, but the discussion took too much time.

Omit any unnecessary words

Wordy:          In the event that
More Concise: If

Do not use "and/or"

Example: When you say Close and/or lock the door, the translators have to choose among the following possible phrases:
Close and lock the door.
Close or lock the door.
Close or lock the door, or close and lock the door.

Avoid idioms and jargon

Bad: in the ballpark
Better: estimate

Consitent Content

Use US Standard English

Use only one unvaried term for any given concept

when asking the user to press on something all the following words mean the same:
  • Depress
  • Enter
  • Hit
  • Press
  • Strike
  • Tap
  • Type

For delete:
  • Clear
  • Delete
  • Discard
  • Erase
  • Purge

Keep the use of numbers and digits consistent
Use Family Name and Given Name instead of First and Last Name

How to proper format your strings

  • Place all your Strings into a separate resource XML file - the strings include titles, names, error messages and any other text the user might see.
  • DO NOT concatenate strings, it almost always results into a localization bug. i.e. red pencil will be translated to crayon rouge in french
  • Set up the rules for ellipsize - As a rule ellipsize at the end for 1 word button texts and in the middle for 2 word. If the translation is long, then the user might never see the second word if you cut the strings at the end.
  • Allow for string expansion 

Test the strings at early stages, google translate and other services will give you an idea of the length of the strings.
Possible solutions are to either leave room between the text and the field or place the label above the field.

In the table below are the IBM recommendations for planning for UI text expansion:

  • Never put hard enters in the code.
  • Avoid text in icons and other image assets

March 12, 2014

Children TV ~ videos for kids

We developed Children TV app to create a SAFE app for our children. We REVIEW all videos and mark them AGE appropriate.

We have lot of users from different countries, speaking MANY LANGUAGES, since it is almost impossible to find favorite videos in so many languages we ask you to help us, your and other kids will be thankful.

Also, as a parent you can brush up on a foreign language skills using this app, too!


Please suggest videos that your kids like, and we will do our best to make them available in the Children TV apps.

January 21, 2014

CyberFit app

CyberFit is a video-based set of fitness programs that are customized to your goals.


I have talked to a gym buff who said,
- I know my exercises, why do I need a new app?
    - How do you track your exercises?
- Spreadsheet.
    - This is exactly why we created this app!
              ~ Uki D. Lucas, CyberFit app.

Why do I need it?
  • many different training programs 
  • new trainers with innovative programs
  • history of your exercises: no more spreadsheets and notepads
  • don't forget important exercises we tend to skip otherwise
  • exercises are sorted by your goals
  • exercises are sorted by frequency you do them
  • keep track of you friends and clients' progress
  • complete set of body measurements
  • photos comparison of your body taken in time intervals 
  • schedule of workout sessions with notifications 
  • run, bike and hike with map and detailed stats
  • much more!

Uki's Google Java Technology blog