Interview with an App Creator (part 2)

Dariusz Luksza, Engineering Team Lead Adaptavist Group

Q Congratulations! You mentioned the App Store and Google Play — which is more successful?

A Apple is really competitive, you need to spend a lot of money or time to get traction in the App Store. Apple users are used to paying for apps and this is why it’s so competitive. Also, Apple is a bit strict…your app must go through a review process that takes 2–3 days for every single release. Google Play is faster, after an initial review that takes 2 days, next releases go through within a few hours. So if you have a bug in your app it will take more time to release a fix on App Store, customers may be a bit frustrated about it.

Q Is there a way of getting your app to the first search item?

A The thing with the App Store is that you can pay for the ad, for the promotion for your app. But there is no built-in A/B testing. In Google Play you can A/B test almost everything — that’s one of the differences between the two (marketplaces).

Q So is it a better experience as a vendor on Google Play because of that testing element?

A Yeah I think so; you can tweak your images, videos, even the app name and description so that it fits better to your target group.

Q So it’s more flexible…there’s more fluidity about what you’re able to present?

A I would say there are more ways to tweak your app listing in a more reliable way, because you can do A/B testing (for example) per language…you can tweak a description for a given language, but in the App Store you cannot test anything without using a third party service and without a hassle…A/B testing is just built into Google Play.

Q Which is the easier marketplace to use — Google Play or App Store?

A Google Play is more overwhelming, the UI feels crowded and complicated. AppStore has a nicer, cleaner experience. But both give you similar functionality. Still, those are two different ecosystems, which means that you need to do everything twice. If you (for example) change your app’s home screen, then you need to create multiple new screenshots (because of different screen sizes) and upload those to two different services… it’s a hassle.

Q Have you created any other apps?

A Nope, not yet. I still have some goals and ideas for Habit Challenge. But I’m not investing as much time into it as I was before.

Habit Challenge

Q So what would you do differently?

A You know it’s hard to do everything on your own. I’d try to build a team around the app. You need someone that is interested in marketing — the same as I’m doing in software. It would be easier to share the work…someone that looks for partnerships and some paid promotions on Facebook or Instagram…I can do that by myself but then I wouldn’t be able to add a new feature or fix a bug in the app. When I started working on Habit Challenge, I wanted to do as much as possible by myself, right now I know that this won’t scale, and you need a team working on your product to make it successful.

Q Is it less fun to work on your own?

A It depends on the people fit, because you need to have common goals. Good ideas could be improved to get even better…take them a bit further…being a one person team means I can’t even validate my ideas.

Q That’s the risk I suppose; on one hand it can be more fun and you might get a good end result, but on the other hand it’s not guaranteed…?

A Yeah if you spend hours trying to convince the other party that your vision is the proper one or, you know, defending against their own ideas, it’s better to focus on work than discuss ideas forever.

Q So part of what Salable does helps you to build-in and think about your monetization, right from the start. It encourages you to start thinking about how you want to structure your products and pricing. Did you think about monetization early on?

A Yes I did, I had two requirements for myself. I didn’t want to have ad’s within the app…it should be free to use for everyone. But I also didn’t want to spend all that time and not get anything back. So I went with the freemium model with one time payment. But that was a bad choice — it should be a small subscription and not a one time payment.

Q People generally want to create something and then get it out there, they think about monetization after.

A Yes, you need to know where the money will come from — you don’t want to be working for free if it’s your main job. But I also think that you need to have a business reason — a business case — even though it’s free or a side project.

Q What advice would you give to anybody who is thinking of doing what you did?

A Some say that looks don’t matter, but it’s not true! You need to have the looks and usability right. I think that one of the reasons why Habit Challenge is so successful is because it looks nice and looks a bit different than the competition. So I would spend most of the budget on the UI.

Q …then it’s just your time you’ve got to find…?

A Even if an app is the best in the world and looks awful, no one will use it. If users don’t understand it from screenshots and don’t know how to use it just from looking at it, they will never even install it. So on the Play Store or the App Store we only have a screenshot or a short movie and text…if it’s not attractive in the store, nobody will choose it. And there are plenty of other apps doing similar things, so yours must look the most attractive.

Habit Challenge is available on Google Play, App Store

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