Archive for the ‘Hints’ Category

Get homemade iPhone design sketchbook 4 free

iPhone-Sketchbook_02-ui-designAs an iPhone developer I have learned that it is wise to make the first steps in planning and designing a new iPhone application with a pencil on paper. It is feeling even more natural to sketch an idea by hand instead of creating complex GUI with Photoshop. The classical way of designing also supports the creative process.

Thanks to the test at TUAW I met some helpful tools for designing applications on paper. But there are two problems: First they are not easy to get for a German developer (today I had to fetch my Notepods at the customs duty office), second they don’t meet my demands.
So I’ve created my own sketchbook templates to fit my needs. And I’d like to share it with you.

I’ve created four parts to plan and design an iPhone application:

  1. A feature list with ToDo to collect all necessary features for an app and to decide, which feature is a must have, a nice to have or should be developed already for version 1.
  2. A page to design the UI with the original dimensions of the iPhone.
  3. A page to design navigation bars and the UI with iPhone Stencil Kit by Design Comission and also the app icons.
  4. A navigation flow chart to plan the workflows within the app.

Feel free to download the ZIP-Archive (4.4 MByte) of my iPhone Sketchbook and tell me, what you’re thinking about it.


iTunes Connect running again?

itunesA few minutes ago I’ve submitted a new application via iTunes Connect, the whole stuff: app description, keywords, screenshots, binary and the texts for other languages.
Having railed at ITC a few days ago I now have to say, that I’ve never seen ITC running that fast! It has nearly 😉 been a delight to work with.

Does that mean that Apple has been able to solve the problems within iTunes Connect? I hope so and I’ll report my further experiences with ITC …


Daily struggle with iTunes Connect

itunesThanks to Apple for giving us the App Store – a great opportunity for developers to publish their applications.

But like I’ve stated before iTunes Connect (ITC) isn’t probably the best tool to administrate the own apps. I’d like to post a few other problems beside the low speed and the temporarily unattainability of the service.

Localization without a standard language

If you’ve made the same mistake as I’ve made you’ll be the dweep. As a German developer (therefore: excuse my horrible English!) I have chosen German as the default language when setting up ITC for the first time. Now I have to give the informations for the app in German (app description, keywords, screenshots) and the informations for all other languages have to be submitted singly. That means I have to enter app description, keywords and have to upload screenshots for English (USA), UK English, Australian English, Canadian English and so on. If I do not all app stores beside of the German, the Austrian and the Swiss store will display the informations in German language!


Remember: Chose English as the default language within ITC, otherwise the localization will cost you an hour for every app!

Keywords as a great defiance

In former times the app description has been the most important part for finding an app within the App Store. Customers could find your app very easily with a wisely chosen description text. Apple changed that two months ago. The search within iTunes or the iPhone now is only looking for the search term within the app title and special keywords. Those keywords have to be submitted when submitting the app or the update for an application to the reviewer team. But Apple isn’t generous: Only 100 characters are allowed! Now try to submit the most important keywords without infringing the magical limitation of 100 characters!

Remember: Make great effort in finding the most important keywords, otherwise your app won’t be found easily within the App Store!

Prudery and other oddnesses

hottest-girls-app-iphoneA lot of articles (like Cult of Mac, …)have been written about the problem of the age rating within the app store. Most famous is the banning of an applications where the users could see bikini girls without bikini 🙂 Ok, Apple doesn’t seem to like nipples, all right. I have no problems with that (or just a little problem – sex sells millions). But what about the ratings of some applications which comes completely without nipples, asses or even genitals (yikes!)?
Why does an application with Wikipedia informations have to be rated by age of 17+ like the app Wikipanion by Robert Chin (iTunes link)? Because also a nipple is part of an encyclopedia or because it has informations about a poison? Smells like absurdly censorship. Or what about the weather application by the German television station RTL (iTunes Link)? I swear, no woman is showing her nipples while explaining the upcoming weather!
Otherwise one can find games with great brutality just with a low rating like Resident Evil 4 by CAPCOM (iTunes Link) at a rating of 9+! I wouldn’t let my 12 year old son play this game, truly not. The brutal shooter Doom Resurrection by id Software (iTunes Link) is at a rating of 12+, in Germany the original game Doom has no approval for people below 18 years. (But nipples can be seen in German TV advertisements for shower gel already at 6 pm.)
I’m sorry, but the stance of Apple is in that point a little bit hypocritical: Every iPhone or iPod Touch comes with the Mobile Safari. So sites like an other porn sites are just one click away! I have an understanding for disallowing porn within an iPhone application. I have no understanding for rejecting apps because of offensive words like happend with an update for Tweetie.

Remember: Verify exactly the content of your application so that Apple won’t find nudity, offensive words of your community like “fuck” or a recipe for a poison. But use splatter brutality as much as you like and you won’t get into trouble!

Daily adjustment of availability date

I’m ashamed but I have to admit: When we have an app or an update in review process we’re adjusting the availability date every day! You might ask because of what reason … that’s easy. When an app or an update comes online into the App Store the release date won’t be set automatically, criminy! When entering all data for an app the availability date will be set to today. If you’re not looking after the date it will remain to that date – even when the app goes online after 10-20 days of review process.
Currently about 80,000 apps can be found within Apple’s App Store … or *can’t* be found, because there are already to much applications. You have nearly no chance to get on the home screen of the App Store and you won’t be featured, don’t even think about that. When your app isn’t reaching the Top 20 of a genre immediately your app also can’t be found within the hit lists. So your only chance to be found is about the lists with new releases.
But to do so you have to adjust the availability date  for your app in review every day, because you don’t know when it will be released by Apple. If it’s released you can be sure that it will appear within the lists with new releases. Annoying work, but important.

Remember: Adjust the date of availability every day to make sure that your app will appear within the new releases. That’s your biggest chance to be found!

There are of course even more points of criticism but its enough for today. Let’s make a conclusion:

We’re demanding humbly

  1. Apple, please provide us a check-box like “Use this for every app store”, so we do not have to localize for every App Store with always the same informations.
  2. Apple, please revert to the former functionality of searching within the app description or alternatively donate us at least 255 characters for the keywords.
  3. Apple, please reconsider the ratings respective ban porn but don’t censor apps with encyclopedic informations or apps wherein the community uses demotic words.
  4. Apple, please set the date automatically to the date of release so that an application will be shown up correctly when it’s released.

Thank you in advance!