Monthly Archives: July 2013

Review redesign Google Play Store

Google just redesigned the Google Play store today. Here is my quick review.

No more header. Or ‘feature image’ as Google calls it. Leaving that out is a good thing for small developers, who now don’t have to spend time and effort on this. The disadvantage is that the app overview page looks a bit more boring.


My pluses (Google’s ‘likes’) are gone [update July 19th: Google Fixed this bug]. The URL is the same, but the 300 pluses the app had are no longer there. Also clicking the plus gave me a strange error-like message. I hope this is just a bug, and Google will fix it..

Continuous scrolling discovery. This makes it easy to browse apps. It is also quite made to take into account different screen sizes. It follows the trend of responsive design. This is good news for app developers like me, because it is easier to get noticed. For instance my app now shows up ‘on the front page’ if you search for ‘idea’ on a big screen.


Speed. It is supposed to be quicker, and that is probably true. Here is a great article by the Norman & Nielssen group on the importance of website response times.

As you can learn from my last post, I’m quite on top of the statistics of usage for my app Idea Growr. It will be interesting to find out how the redesign will effect downloads.

Idea Growr is a free Android app that helps you keep track of all your ideas. Themed question sets help you take on different perspectives.

Google Play - Idea Growr


Idea Growr growing

Let me quickly state (again) that I can’t read ideas or notes people write in Idea Growr. I collect data on usage so I can learn from it and improve the app.

Here are some new stats on how Idea Growr is doing. All coming from the period June 16 – July 13.

Active users per day (includes new users)Active Users 14Juli2013

  • July 13th: 263
  • June 16th: 49

Active device installs

Active Device Installs 13 Juli 2013

  • July 13th: 2.752
  • June 16th: 537

This quickly shows that the number of active users is roughly about 1/10th of the active device installs.


Continue reading

Idea Growr world map & Plague inc.

Looking at the analytics for Idea Growr, it made me think of the game Plague inc. Not only for the visuals, but also about how it works.

Plague Inc.


Game – Severity, infectiousness, deadly
My app – App quality, viral (can’t find a better word..), profit

The best strategy to play the game on the hardest level, is to spread the disease in every country, but make it not so viral and not deadly in the beginning. Just be super patient. If your disease is not spotted by authorities, they will not start to develop a cure or set up restrictions between land borders. Then, once the disease is in all countries, and you have enough resources, you quickly make it super infectious and while it’s spreading, you also quickly increase how severe and deadly it is.

It’s actually quite educational to play this game. It makes you think about the strategies real diseases have evolved to be effective and if you understand those strategies it is rather obvious what remedies will counter this and what will ‘play into the hands’ of the disease.

For Idea Growr it sort of feels the same as playing the game. It is very difficult to directly influence how your app spreads, but you can influence the quality of your app. You can also ‘infect’ a single person on a forum or via e-mail. But the app has to have certain qualities to be able to spread on itself to go beyond those few people.

Idea Growr is spreading in a lot of countries, often still in low numbers. For instance, there are about 20 of users are in Egypt. So there is a presence to build upon. But the app needs some improvements for world domination.

For the app to be more ‘severe’, for instance the online backup & sync feature can be added. It would make it more attractive to more users.

For the app to be more ‘infectious’ it can be interesting to partner with a platform that deals with ideas (for instance a crowdfunding platform). This would enable the app to be marketed more and seen by more people.

For the app to be more ‘deadly’ (read: profitable). The app should be more attractive to the creative professional. And a neat way to make it more attractive for this target group and increase the ‘severity’ and ‘infectiousness’ is to add real-time collaborative features.

If these features could be added and it is done right, I think it could be 5 times as ‘severe’, 5 times as ‘infective’ and 100.000 times as ‘deadly’.

I was quite addicted to that game, and I must say I also enjoy this Idea Growr adventure. I’m curious to see if I can increase the relevant qualities and see the effects on the statistics..

Let me check the stats one more time before I go to sleep: It’s 1:38 and there are 9 new users and 16 active users. That would project something along the lines of 125 new users at the of the day and 225 active users. Nice!

Follow up on researching use of StackMob

I wanted to find out if I could use Stackmob ( to create a back-end for Idea Growr and other future projects. I did some tests last week and decided not to go for it.

4 reasons I will not use StackMob

  1. Not a lot of good (Android) tutorials for what I want to do. The tasks tutorial was nice, but the only other real Android tutorial SnapStack, required you to have an Amazon Services account and incorporated Google Services API. This added to the complexity while I was only trying to learn StackMob not two other things. I guess I’m more of a beginner then they have in mind for their clients. In the end I could not even recreate the app in the e-book, because (among other reasons) they failed to include the layout’s, that made it unclear how to set up the app’s login, sing-up, forgot password pages.
  2. I used a contact form on their site because I wanted to e-mail them. Their auto-emailed me with a “Thank you for your interest in StackMob. Do you have time this week or next for a short call to discuss your requirements?”, I replied that this was not needed and that I could save both of us some time by just asking some quick questions via e-mail. So I included those questions and a couple of other remarks on their website. I never got a reply back. I understand they are busy, but if you want to call me at first, it doesn’t feel right if they don’t even reply with “can’t help you, too busy”. In the comments a reaction from StackMob.
  3. No local cache. I want the online part of the app to be optional, and the app should also work offline. It doesn’t seem StackMob can help me there. Maybe Parse would have been a better option for this.
  4. I had the feeling time was slipping away last week, and I was hardly making any progress. Making so little progress on StackMob made me realize even more I need a development partner for this and I should focus on what I’m good at.

The whole reason I wanted to learn some development skills is that I want to be able to show the potential of an app (/tool) in a real life working prototype. I can now to some extend do this, so I should focus on finding partners, coming up with interesting ideas for the app for marketing and business development. Also I can create more working prototypes and put some extra effort in how I present myself as a freelance interaction designer. So, aside from some interaction design work for a client, I will be busy with those things in the next weeks.


Update on marketing experiment 2. In-app purchases

Two weeks ago I wrote about a new roadmap with 3 marketing experiments. Here is a quick update on the in-app purchase progress.

In-app purchases are implemented, but not as I planned in the post I wrote earlier.

I succeeded for the first criteria:

  • Non-marketing criteria: if the in-app purchase process is implemented and has been shown to work at least once.

Ovidiu has donated 1 dollar, and after Google takes 30%, that gives me a nice 70 cents. I’m rich!

I'm rich!

The challenging part was in testing everything. Because for some reason you cannot test with you own account. Luckely my girlfriend also has an android phone, otherwise it would be much more difficult to implement this feature.

The second criteria was:

If user feedback and statistical analysis of the usage of the buttons give a better understanding of what people want to pay for. It’s not about how much money, but about what motivation is the strongest.

At the moment I have only implement a donation purchase. The page with these buttons was only shown to people with 3 ideas. In the next update I’ll change this to 2 ideas.