Archive for January, 2013

Recently, a number of clients have asked us about what the best way to get attention in the apps store is. It’s pretty well known that the following three pieces of information (in this order) is what helps a user determine whether to buy an app:

  • The icon
  • The title
  • The screenshots

It’s been said that the icon can make or break an app. For instance, after TapTapTap’s released ‘Faces’ with what they thought was a sub-standard icon, it flopped to #198 in the apps store, after a revamp and a quick change in name, it jumped 149 places to #59 in the entertainment section.

Your goal in designing a great app icon is to make sure it stands out from the rest of the icons in the apps store, or the user’s phone. 

One important tool in designing a great app icon is to try and get as much feedback as possible. There are a few options for doing this:

Colleague and Close Friends. Cost: $ Time: Low.  Put a few ideas together, get some feedback from a few colleagues via email, and get people to choose. Pros: quick and simple. Cons: small sample size can lead to a lot of personal bias.

Mailing Lists and Social Media. Cost: $ Time: Medium. Same as above, but post your designs onto a blog (e.g. wordpress) or somewhere like and send the link to a few mailing lists, facebook and twitter to invite feedback. Pros: quick and simple. Cons: not asking people that are interested in buying your app (i.e. at the point of purchase).

A/B Testing using quiz sites. Cost: $. Time: Medium. Upload your best designs to somewhere like HeyCrowd or Mechanical Turk which has a ready made audience for you to test. Pros: much larger sample and slightly more accurate. Cons: Can cost money to get feedback and still not asking people at the point of purchase.

A/B Testing using landing pages and adwords. Cost: $$$ Time: High. Create a landing page for your app. Place different versions of the icons inside the page using an A/B testing system (e.g. KISSMetrics or Mixpanel), buy some adwords related to what your app is about and link it to your landing page. Pros: the best way to get feedback since the people judging are the people that are highly likely to be your product audience. Cons: time and cost preparations are high.

How you approach getting feedback will depend on how much time and budget you have, as well as it being proportionate to the amount of investment you’ve put into the app. If you’d like to talk about this further, please drop us an email or comment here!