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Rocketeers address Deep Linking in iOS8

With the release of iOS 8 the app ecosystem is becoming more connected than ever before.  Until now, the only mechanism for inter-app communication was by using custom URL schemes. Other apps and websites that know about the custom URL scheme for your app are able to deep-link into specific screens within your app.  In iOS 8 this technique is still a viable way to actively control user linking into your application.  The level of effort for deep linking depends on the complexity of the problem but in general is a fairly straight-forward development effort per integration point.

In iOS 8 and Mac OSX Yosemite, Apple has introduced a user-empowering feature, called Handoff, that allows people to continue/transfer an activity between devices provided the devices have Bluetooth LE support and are using the same iCloud account.  For example, you could start writing an e-mail on your iPhone and finish the e-mail on your desktop Mac.  If you code to support this new feature you can support the following scenarios: iOS device to iOS device (for example iPhone to iPad), from iOS to native mac app, from webpage in safari on your mac to your native iOS app (though this requires some extra set up), iOS device to webpage on either platform as a fallback if a supported app is not installed on that device.  In order to keep the hand off as natural as possible many hand off points should be added to the app to avoid synchronizing outdated data between devices.

In addition to the above features, Apple has added additional ways that blur the lines between apps through a new feature called extensions.  Extensions allow you to surface app content through different supported extension types such as: widgets that show up in the today view of notification center, sharing widgets, and custom keyboards (to name a few).  Extensions will allow you to start surfacing your content outside of your application and opt in to using existing app data such as the database layer and secure keychain while maintaining the secure sandbox environment and protecting your application data.  Extensions will likely continue to be the way Apple allows you to extend your application beyond your existing app experience as they add more ways to interact with users outside of your app in future versions of iOS as well.  The level of effort around supporting extensions is larger than the other 2 methods since you will want want to create a framework for your app to share common code between your app and extensions.  Currently all extensions are only allowed to be used directly by apple so it doesn’t allow direct app-to-app communication.

Prepared by 


  David Palmer         Tanner Oakes        Kyle McGregor 


Rocketeer Charity: Minnie's Food Pantry

For our latest charity drawing, Rocketeers are supporting Minnie’s Food Pantry – a local non-profit that provides nutritional assistance to children and families in need.

Rocketeer Stefani Duke was inspired to enter Minnie’s Food Pantry into the drawing last October.

“I was watching The Food Network in October, and they were showing No Kid Hungry. They were talking about how many kids go without hot meals each day, and how simple it can be for them to be provided a hot meal. One of the organizations they showed was Minnie’s Food Pantry. The lady was speaking about how many families she feeds each year getting ready for the holidays. Since it’s a local organization, I decided to help close to home,” Duke said.

Minnie’s Food Pantry was founded by Cheryl Jackson in honor of her mother Minnie Ewing and is completely community funded.


Travel Channel App featured during Google I/O Keynote

After a high-energy week at Google I/O, all of our Rocketeers are back home and sharing what they learned in California (and reluctantly sharing their 'Cardboard'). 

We're excited to see where Material Design, wearables,  and other announcements from I/O will take Android Development, but one of the biggest standouts from the keynote was our work being featured during the Android TV announcement! 

Congratulations to our friends at Travel Channel and our team of Rocketeers who worked to help with the reveal. 

We're looking forward to more awesome innovations on Google's new platforms. 


Why is Speculative creative so wrong, but feels so right?

Doing speculative creative as part of a pitch has almost become an accepted practice within the advertising agency world. Within the industry, doing unpaid speculative creative is a controversial topic. Due to internal and external pressures, it quickly becomes a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.  Although we are not an advertising agency, the expectations of clients can sometimes be very similar. Often as part of a pitch, a potential client will ask for speculative creative as a sneak peak into what the app screens could look like. When that happens, we try to find some alternative options that can work to the benefit of both our potential client and Bottle Rocket.

First, it is important to help the client understand why speculative creative isn’t a good criteria in selecting a partner. Many of our reasons are similar to reasons cited in the past by others such as Function Fox and NO!SPEC. The primary reasons all relate to not yet completing a client discovery, it is unlikely speculative creative will correctly serve the strategic business, brand, and consumer objectives. In addition to those, there are a few reasons unique to mobile and app design. 

The cinematic nature of apps 

Nothing is static. The motion and timing of animations, transitions, screen morphing, and audio is all be part of a the brand experience. Those things can not be depicted in the usually static images done for speculative creative. It would be similar to pitching a movie based on the capture of a single frame from the movie.

Interactions and sensors

Gesture inputs and sensors built into the device for proximity, motion, light and a gyroscope can be used to affect the user experience. Static screen designs fall short of expressing the experience to the depth needed to judge the work.


Unlike most web sites, navigation within apps is less rarely based on a traditional menu and very hard to illustrate in the static images of speculative creative. Navigation through app content structures and functionality driven by gestures (multi finger swipes, taps and pinch zooms for example) often require prototypes to convey their magic and how they might work. Prototypes that require greater time and effort than static comps associated with speculative work.   

We feel a more important criteria for selection than speculative creative, is to see how we work and how we will work together. For that reason, instead of speculative creative we often offer to do a mini discovery session. These sessions are usually about 3 hours. They do not replace the longer and more in-depth discovery session upon hiring Bottle Rocket but do give the client insight into our approach, our people, and how we will interact with them.

Another alternative to speculative creative is speculative ideation. Usually fresh ideas are more important than the visual execution of the ideas at this point in a potential project. In the time it takes to put one idea through the visual design, we could likely put three ideas though a white board session. Most client’s would actually prefer three big ideas at a concept level than one highly detailed idea at an executional level. This is a simple and fast way to demonstrate our thinking and does not tax as many resources (no Art Director needed to build comps, no Project Manager, etc.). 

A third alternative to doing speculative creative is doing real research, and presenting the insights that would ultimately inform the creative. Rarely in pitch situations is there the time to do that level of research, so why not spend that time on the real and actionable research (vs. what is usually throw away creative). 

In the end, the client is trying to figure out which potential partner is the smartest, most innovative, and creative. There are many other ways to demonstrate that than speculative creative.

Prepared by Michael Griffith 



Recent News

Bottle Rocket App’s new 49,570 square-foot space, not only almost doubles the size of its current offices in Addison, it provides it with a more-conducive environment to a fast-paced tech company, founder Calvin Carter said.

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