Sunday, July 06, 2014

Introduction iPhone, iPad and Android App - Part 4

Go back to Introduction iPhone, iPad and Android App - Part 3

Choosing a category of App

The best policy is to ignore the statistics and just build an app you love. When a product is built from the heart, it’s usually the case that care, attention and love have been lavished on it – and that tends to lead to sales. However, the more shrewd designer can use the resources at App Annie (appannie.com) and Flurry
(flurry.com) to assess which app categories are the most profitable.

This varies from month to month, and don’t forget: most users do not discover apps via the App Store or Google Play, which are both something of a maze to explore. Most users hear about your app through word-of-mouth or press coverage.

What to expect when you launch your app

You’ve tested the app, your friends have tested the app, your parents have tested the app, your hairdresser has tested the app, and everyone thinks it’s great. Time to let the rest of the world have a go.

In order to get your app on to the App store or Google Play, there’s some mystical hand-waving to digitally sign the app for distribution. Once the gods have been appeased, you can upload the application to Apple or Google for approval. As far as we can tell, this process on the Apple App Store is taking about 10-14 days for most apps, but some designers report mysteriously long waits to get their app approved.

If it’s the iPhone you’re designing for, you’re now in the Kingdom Of Apple. The only communication you can submit is via email. Gallons of patience, and trying to find answers from other sources such as Internet forums, are key to getting through this stage.

Google are more liberal with the entry requirements for the Google Play, and there is a less formal app-approval process. However, Google are progressively becoming more Apple-like in their approach to app submission and are tightening-up store guidelines. Gone are the days when anything went on the Android Market (now Google Play). At the end of 2011, Google removed 22 ‘malicious applications’ from Google Play after they were tipped off about apps attempting to trick users into accepting fraudulent SMS charges. Google is also not above pulling apps for purely editorial reasons. The developer of Reddit is Fun found his app deleted from Google Play because it contained, in Google’s words “sexually explicit material”. The only problem was, the Reddit is Fun app did not actually contain any explicit material, it simply allowed access to the Reddit community website.

As Google seeks to share in the kind of massive success that Apple has seen with its store, it has become increasingly less-tolerant of any apps that might mire the company in controversy. If you’re thinking of picking Google Play because the submission process is more tolerant, be aware that times are changing. Having said that, Android is different from iOS in that users can ‘side-load’ apps – this means that users can install apps from any source. Android apps do not need to be officially sanctioned by Google. But, in practice, very few users will have any idea how to enable this feature on their phone, let alone find your app outside the store, or trust it enough to download and install it. Side-loading is great in theory, but the reality is you’ll be invisible to the majority of Android customers.

Along with the approval application, you can also submit screenshots and descriptive text for your app. These are all anyone will see when browsing through apps on the App Store or Google Play, so make sure to make them clear, descriptive, and enticing. You’ll eventually get a number of ‘free download’ codes you can give out to reviewers and influential websites so they can test out your app. It’s worth using these wisely to get the word out about your creation.

Good luck, and welcome to the exciting world of app design!

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