I think it’s fair to say that we could also use another ten thousand people using our apps, that’s why we make them right? But how do we make those installs happen? How do we translate the effort we put into our apps on Andromo.com into downloads in the Google Play store? There are over 500,000 apps in the Google Play app store, how are you going get noticed and stay noticed?
There are a lot of different ways to do this, advertising; review sites; twitter and Facebook promotion; screen shots; and relevant and compelling app descriptions to name a few. But the one I want to focus this blog post on is improving the way your app looks. If you don’t take the time to think about the appearance of your app it will be apparent to your potential users. Your content might be the best in the world, but if your users can’t get passed your ugly screenshots it doesn’t matter.
Your app is important it should look good. Pick a cool theme for your app and make it consistent throughout, design some nice looking activity icons, choose a funky application icon, always use mobile friendly websites, and maybe add a background to your dashboard. In a nutshell: make your app visually appealing.
Don’t forget that first and foremost you are creating an Android app it doesn’t matter that you created it online, your app is real. Given that, you should be putting the same effort into the look of your app that other Android app developers are. If you can’t be bothered to take the time making your app look good, what makes you think that your end users are going to take the time to install your app? How many apps have you passed over because of the way they look?
You don’t have to be a graphic designer or a Photoshop wizard to do this either, there are plenty of free tools available that can help you create a great looking app. Here’s a quick list of some of the tools that I’ve found helpful in the creation of my apps:
1) Android Design
As I mentioned earlier it’s important to remember that you are creating an Android App, and when you create your app you should try to follow the Android design recommendations. Thankfully Google has put together an entire website dedicated to the proper design of Android apps. Use it.
2) Open Clip Art Library
Having trouble creating icons for your activities or your app? Then take a look at the Open Clip Art Library. All of the icons on that site are free from copyright which means that you’re able to use it any way you want.
There are over 30,000 images on the site, all searchable and available in PNG and SVG formats. If you are not an artist, and don’t know anyone that is, this website will help.
3) The Gimp
Not everyone has the money to buy a professional image editor like Photoshop, and that’s where the Gimp (GNU image manipulation program) comes in. The Gimp is a free image editor that has more than enough power to solve all of your graphics needs. The Gimp is available for Linux, Apple OS X, and Windows, so unless you are running a DOS Box your graphics needs are covered.
I’ve been using this as my go to image editor since I was in University, so trust me when I say it works. There are many tutorials around to help you get whatever you want out of the Gimp in case you get stuck.
4) The Android Asset Studio
The Android Asset Studio is a free and easy online website that may help you with your activity or application Icons. In my application creation process I’ve found the Android Asset Studio to be invaluable, specifically the Launcher Icon creator, which I have used to create the activity icons for almost all of my apps.
It also has some built-in clipart that you can use if need be. I think you just ran out of excuses for not having good looking icons in your apps.
5) Choose Pretty Colours
Another way to improve the look and feel of your app is to choose a nice colour scheme. This will make your application look attractive and feel consistent. There are a lot of free tools available for this purpose, and here are a few, if you need more Google is your friend:
- Color Palette Generator – Generates a palette based on an image. Handy if you have a logo.
- ColourLovers – Having trouble picking a colour scheme? Browse over two million user generated palettes at this site for inspiration.
- Color Scheme Designer – Create your colour scheme easily using the online tool. It also uses some colour theory to help you find some matching colours.
6) Android Niceties
Sometimes the best inspiration is looking at what other developers have created, enter: Android Niceties. According to the website Android Niceties is:
A collection of screenshots encompassing some of the best (IMO) looking Android apps, and / or apps with interesting user interfaces, hopefully providing some inspiration and insight into Android UI conventions.
Pay attention to the colours and icons these apps are using. You know what? You can use the same colours and icons in your app as well. Go do it.
That’s it. Hopefully some of the ideas and tools listed in the blog post were helpful to you. If you have any more suggestions feel free to leave a comment. Disagree with anything I said? Think I’m a fool? Have some competing data? Leave a comment. I read ever comment that’s posted so you can be sure that you will get to me.
Think you have a sexy Andromo app? Leave a comment with a link and I’ll check it out, who knows maybe I’ll review your app in the future.
Please note that I’m not a graphical artist either, every time I create an app I probably spend twice as much time creating icons and choosing colours as I do finding my content. It’s not easy, but I think it’s worth it in the end. I can’t promise that having a sexy looking app is going to get you more downloads, but I can promise that it won’t hurt, and I’ll be more likely to use your app.