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How a stunning icon and polished UI boosted my app's downloads (stats inside)

paulyanpaulyan Posts: 35New Users @
edited September 2012 in Mobile Marketing Techniques
I've not found a forum that best suites this topic. But when it comes to promotion, a good-looking product is the key. Polishing the UI, especially the icon is the most effective way to drive downloads. So I guess it's the right forum to post... My app is not perfect, any comments are appreciated.

The original post is here.

A lot of people has suggested UI design (especially app icon) is important for an app. And it’s well proved in Padgram.

In Padgram 1.0, the design uses wooden texture:

image

Wooden texture is a fashionable design in 2012. It’s said to be good for photo viewing app. Our design combines wooden texture with transparent glass. It has the metaphor that your iPad is a wooden table, you put glass on it and photo over the glass. It’s good, isn’t it? While it’s hard to control from design perspective as it’s used in large scale. Using the app for long time easily causes aesthetic fatigue – it’s the case for our team members, and i bet it also happens on user end.

We realized wood texture might work its best when using only small pieces as decorator or some components like buttons, title bar or tab bar, but if using for the whole background, it’s not easy to control. The most stunning design with wooden texture is from App Design Vault. But after purchased and tried the template, it’s still not suitable for Padgram. And we did the refund (Thanks for App Design Vault to make the refund so easy).

And looking at the icons:

image

image

None of them are attractive enough, even for team members ourselves. Then it’s not surprising the download count is not good enough. For the first one month, we average 70 downloads (see below for stats). That’s really shame for a free app!

So we decided to redesign the app. It was painful, we didn’t add features, actually we remove many features. We dropped waterfall view (the reason is written here). We dropped portrait mode support. And we dropped wooden texture, replaced with a simple and light-weighted texture. Below is the new design:

image

And we hired a designer on Elance to design an icon. It costs us $50, but absolutely worth the money.

image

Since Padgram 2.0 released, the app downloads are increased for 3.5 times!

image

The soar was achieved under exactly the same condition: no promotion, no PR. For the reason why downloads are increased so much, the icon counts 70%. And of course the app itself, with unique value, is the key.

As a conclusion:

- Good design really works
- Simplify the app, make the core features work the best!
- App Design Vault can be referred if you want to try some designs. It’s refundable, that’s important!
- Icon is super important. Make sure you hired the right talent
- Refer to Elance or Freelancer if you lack of design resource

After receiving many positive feedbacks, we’re more confident with what we’re offering. We will start next stage to do more PR and promotion. I’ll write down what we learned as time goes.

Check out Padgram App Page, or download it here.

Appreciate for any comments or review for the app.
Post edited by paulyan on

Replies

  • mediaspreemediaspree FloridaPosts: 901Registered Users @ @ @
    Your new icon and new design indeed look incredible compared to the wood. Congrats on the success!
  • sylvainwwsylvainww Posts: 158Registered Users @ @
    I'm totally not surprised by the results but that's some pretty good insights, thanks for sharing. Always nice to see some stats!

    New icon looks great!
    <a href="http://www.apptamin.com/blog/"; target="_blank"><b>The Apptamin App Marketing Blog</b> - app promotion techniques</a><br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.apptamin.com/"; target="_blank"><b>Cool app promo videos and trailers.</a>
  • paulyanpaulyan Posts: 35New Users @
    @mediaspree @sylvainww, thanks for your nice words. I posted this stats somewhere else and received criticism like "this is not design", "$50 insults design industry", "if you get a cheap deal, you should not show off it" balbalbalbalba, sad...
  • sylvainwwsylvainww Posts: 158Registered Users @ @
    @paulyan I guess it depends on the point of view. A lot of designers hold a grudge towards sites like 99designs or templates, and I can understand why. But they have to understand that for some devs, it's either that or crappy design.
    <a href="http://www.apptamin.com/blog/"; target="_blank"><b>The Apptamin App Marketing Blog</b> - app promotion techniques</a><br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.apptamin.com/"; target="_blank"><b>Cool app promo videos and trailers.</a>
  • raymngraymng Posts: 2,049Registered Users @ @ @ @
    paulyan said:

    @mediaspree @sylvainww, thanks for your nice words. I posted this stats somewhere else and received criticism like "this is not design", "$50 insults design industry", "if you get a cheap deal, you should not show off it" balbalbalbalba, sad...

    This forum is very good, but I just think it is too quiet..
  • sylvainwwsylvainww Posts: 158Registered Users @ @
    Hey we talked about app art & design on the #appdevchat yesterday, and there were some pretty cool design resources mentioned. You can check them out here: http://tapfortap.com/blog/app-art-and-design-resources-from-appdevchat-sept-20-2012

    @raymng: it's just busy enough so I can keep up ;)
    <a href="http://www.apptamin.com/blog/"; target="_blank"><b>The Apptamin App Marketing Blog</b> - app promotion techniques</a><br />
    <br />
    <a href="http://www.apptamin.com/"; target="_blank"><b>Cool app promo videos and trailers.</a>
  • iSpreadNewsiSpreadNews Posts: 359Registered Users @ @
    The new icon is awesome. The design is better. But you've changed the name of the app too! So it's incorrectly to assume that increase in downloads was caused only by redesign.
    iSpreadNews.com - VERY CHEAP (from $50) way to send your iPhone/iPad app announcement to hundreds of blog & news sites owners over the globe.

    Just remember that there other countries besides US!
  • raymngraymng Posts: 2,049Registered Users @ @ @ @

    The new icon is awesome. The design is better. But you've changed the name of the app too! So it's incorrectly to assume that increase in downloads was caused only by redesign.

    @iSpreadNews I am interested about your service, are you using any tools to automate the submission process? Since there are hundreds of review sites, I think it is not possible to do this by hand, right? But some important sites, like AppAdvice, MacLife, etc., should be done by hand carefully.
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