Category Archives: Analytics

My article on UX tools seems to resonate

Juliushuijnk.nl vs Medium article(s)

In case you where wondering why I wrote an article on Medium and it’s not over here. This site is for everything about me and my projects. The posts are often written and directly put online.

For my work at Jungle Minds, I write articles that are intended for a professional audience. While there is a grey area in between, it’s the difference between posts and articles. Either way, the article I wrote as gotten quite some views and tweets.

I figured that writing about those statistics is more something for over here on my own juliushuijnk.nl.

Growth in views, reads, recommendations

Medium gives you a nice panel that shows you how your article is doing:

MediumPanel

I wanted to track things a little bit closer, so I created a google spreadsheet and made updates by hand. This way, I was able to create this graph:

GraphMediumAttention

The recommendations in a separate graph:

MediumRecommendations

What kick-started the numbers

I posted the link on a number of websites: Reddit, slashdot, hackernews, a number of google plus communities and linkedin.

Also I posted a link in a relevant channel at a  slack  community for UX’ers. I didn’t do Facebook, because I don’t have a presence over there.

The reason for this uptake

RedditWebDesign

My first post on Reddit was at /r/userexperience/ I figured later on that perhaps there was a bigger subreddit where my article could still be relevant for. I submitted the link to /r/web_design/ and that resulted in the uptick you see in the graph.

Since there is a community revolt going on at the moment on Reddit, my link is no longer accessible. Still, it was up long enough.

The rest is non-self-promoted growth

After that the rest of the growth is outside of me trying to promote the article. It has gotten quite some retweets for instance:

Also the link has been included in the webdesignernews.com newsletter. This is obviously related to the number of upvotes the article is getting on their site:

webdesignernewsUxTool

I did not post that link, but as you can see on the screenshot, I couldn’t resist upvoting my own article..

Lessons learned

Nope, it’s not that type of post. There are no deep lessons on how you should do marketing or promote yourself.  If you want a formula, it’s something like:

  1. Write an article that resonates
  2. Submit links to the websites you visit
  3. Have some luck

Since tracking stats like these is my gamification weak-spot I thought I might as well share it with all of you.

Unless my medium article about the need for a true UX tool gains a ridiculous amount of extra attention, my next post will be about how I’m working on implementing material design for my Idea Growr app.

* And yet again Julius is pressing the refresh button on his browser *

Number of views is no up to 4.228, 1.886 read, 73 recs.

 

 

Side projects progress in 2014

I’ve been working on a number of projects in 2014. All of them are Android apps.

I’ll give you a quick update on how the apps have been doing in 2014 and at the bottom tell you about the projects I’d like to work on in 2015.

Idea Growr

With Idea Growr you can quickly write down ideas and add notes to them. The provided question sets help you take on different perspectives and grow your ideas. My goal for 2014 was to add online accounts to the app. That effort failed. What I did do is make lot’s of long term plans and wireframes.

So what happens to an app if you don’t do much development on it? It stops growing. I also didn’t do much promotion and there are some interface issues I should tackle. Still, there are about 11 thousand people who have the app on their device.

My Picture Books
With this app you can use your own pictures and sounds to create your own picture books.

I started this project in September and it went live in November. It’s now slowly growing.

MPBStats2014

Yes, we are only talking about 39 users at the moment. What’s interesting is that when compared to my other two apps, My Picture Books users are less likely do remove the app from their device so far.

stats2014

It’s too early to tell, but that could mean the users really value the app.

Personal Life Trackr

This app let’s you set goals on a specific date for your ‘future self’. You can also measure yourself on any moment on a scale of 5. I created this app after Idea Growr, and it is the app that has gotten the least amount of love from me so far.

In November I had launched My Picture Books and had a greater understanding of working with libraries and Android studio. So I thought it was time for an update. I made some interface changes, but for me the most important part was migration the database. In the new database I use the ActiveAndroid library and this makes it easier to maker future updates and I expect less bugs.

PLT Update Compare

Growth stats:

PLT_stats_2014

Just like with Idea Growr; if you hardly do any improvements, the number of users stop growing. It now has about 2.600 device installs.

Lessons learned

In the first half of 2014 I lost a lot of time trying to get Idea Growr collaborations working. When I started to work on My Picture Books it was more fun again and I was learning a lot of new things again. So I guess the main lesson is that I must keep coding in 2015 and build new things people value.

  • Technology
    • Working with libraries like Active Android makes creating an app a lot simpler.
    • I now have fully switched to Android Studio.
    • I have gained experience in storing and retrieving files and working with audio.
  • Process
    • Collaborating on a pet project with someone is hard. Since no money is involved, they don’t have the same commitment as I do. If their day job is demanding more time, I can’t really argue with that.
    • It’s still fun. I used to play all these sim games like Sim City, Civilization, Transport Tycoon, Football manager games, etc. Creating apps is just like that, but it effects real people.

Plans for 2015

As far as non-day-job plans go, here are the things I like to do in 2015:

  • A app that makes use of an online platform like Parse. It provides a relatively simple way to implement a cloud back-end. Plan A is an app that helps you keep track of what meals you like and what to eat for dinner today.
  • Make a first version of the Sugar Salt Fat concept. In the far future it could be combined with the dinner selection app.
  • Add online accounts to Idea Growr. Plan A is realizing this with a new collaboration with a good friend. Plan B is to use a platform like Parse.
  • Improve on My Picture Books. It depends on the feedback I’ll get and how much time I’ll have, what improvements I’ll make. It would be interesting to sell children books from publishers via the app.
  • Improve on Personal Life Trackr. At the very least I should improve how the notifications work.
  • Add in app purchases in one of my apps and learn how willing users are to pay for features.
  • A simple app that uses Google’s new Material Design. Plan A is a simple audio recorder app.
  • Make a simple web app that uses the same cloud back-end as an app, like Parse.  Plan A being a minimalistic mix of Twitter and LinkedIn.

So there are enough plans for 2015. All are a combination of two goals: create tools people value and learn new skills so I can create even better tools.

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.

NewInterfaceGooglePlayStore

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.

REdesignGooglePlaySTore

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.
http://www.nngroup.com/articles/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.

Loyalty

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.

IdeaGrowrGrowingMap

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!

Idea Growr usage so far

The last two months I have worked hard on Idea Growr and it now it is downloadable on Google Play. It is great to see that people are actually using it.

Google Play - Idea Growr

First let me first be super clear:

I can’t read your ideas and notes, they are only stored on your device.

You will always own everything you write in the app

So while I don’t know about what people write, I do have statistics on how the app is used. This is super valuable for me in order to improve the experience of the app. I’d like to share some of the statistics to give you and idea of how the app is doing.

New users

NewUsers

The bump you see in the statistics is most likely because of the link I put on Reddit in the AndroidApps section. The first two hours nobody responded or voted on the article, so I stopped paying attention and went back to coding. The next they I found out a number of people had responded and voted on it. If I had known and had responded to the comments those people have made, I guess I would have gotten more votes and feedback.

Lesson learned: Check your Reddit post every hour for the first day.

Device installs

DeviceIinstalls

Google offers developers of apps a console where they can do updates to the app, change the description texts and view some statistics. In another graph it is possible to view the number of uninstalls. For instance on June 8th, there where 15 uninstalls, while there where 103 installs.

Catching bugs

Google Analytics also gives reports on crashes (but it is a bit delayed). This is great, because they also give some information on what type of bug it is and where to look for in the code when I want to fix it. This helped me catch some bugs in version 1.14 that I fixed in 1.15.

Ranking in Google Play

It is unlikely the app will now show in the top 480 for Productivity. So I don’t really bother to check that, but I do check how my app does on different search words. I set up a simple spreadsheet and check every now and then on “Idea” “Ideas” and “Write idea”.

It is nice to see that for “idea”, (sort by relevance, free apps only) Idea Growr has the 53th position and last week it was around position 140, so there is growth. For the more specific “write idea” the app does great at a nice 7th spot. I am not sure if those results are different for people in different countries.

This blog post by Google Analytics promises that in the near future Google Analytics will show me this type of data so I won’t have to go and get it myself.

Location

World

I did some promotion of the app on Google+ communities. As a result to using Google+ communities, I now have people using my app from all over the world. I wrote a post and put it on the Android Development community, Small Business, Internet Startups and more like those. An nice feature of Google+ is that a link to an Android app is shown with an install button, clicking it from the website will install the app on your phone. And since a lot of people on Google+ have an Android phone this is a great feature for my use case.

Do they use the app?

I believe with the right marketing you can get an app like this installed on a lot of devices, but it is not really worth the effort if people don’t use. So the next weeks I want to learn if and how people use it. The first data is looking good.

For instance on June 9, there where 34 active users (returning users). Those 34 people had an average session duration of 1:49 minutes. That feels about right for this app. That would be enough time to add an idea, take a look at another one, perhaps add a note and close the app.

More

I recently found out about https://segment.io, if you use their tracking code, they act as a platform and distribute the data to (almost) all other analytic providers. I have to research it a bit more, but I think this can be very interesting.

Some fun facts

Galaxy SIII

  • Most popular device: Samsung Galaxy SIII
  • Number of deleted ideas last week (I track the button): 8
  • The number of countries the app is used in: 49

I must say that I am very happy with the results so far. Idea Growr is probably not yet a force that Mark Zuckerberg will discuss in the next strategy meeting, but it is a global player. I am working on plans to do more serious marketing (I’ll write a separate post on that later) and if the next few weeks show that people keep using the app and enjoy the experience I think the app has a bright future ahead.