How UI design affects Padgram downloads (stats inside)

A lot of people has suggested UI design (especially app icon) is important for an app. And it’s well proved in Padgram.

In Padgram 1.0, the design uses wooden texture:

Wooden texture is a fashionable design in 2012. It’s said to be good for photo viewing app. Our design combines wooden texture with transparent glass. It has the metaphor that your iPad is a wooden table, you put glass on it and photo over the glass. It’s good, isn’t it? While it’s hard to control from design perspective as it’s used in large scale. Using the app for long time easily causes aesthetic fatigue – it’s the case for our team members, and i bet it also happens on user end.

We realized wood texture might work its best when using only small pieces as decorator or some components like buttons, title bar or tab bar, but if using for the whole background, it’s not easy to control. The most stunning design with wooden texture is from App Design Vault. But after purchased and tried the template, it’s still not suitable for Padgram. And we did the refund (Thanks for App Design Vault to make the refund so easy).

And looking at the icons:

None of them are attractive enough, even for team members ourselves. Then it’s not surprising the download count is not good enough. For the first one month, we average 70 downloads (see below for stats). That’s really shame for a free app!

So we decided to redesign the app. It was painful, we didn’t add features, actually we remove many features. We dropped waterfall view (the reason is written here). We dropped portrait mode support. And we dropped wooden texture, replaced with a simple and light-weighted texture. Below is the new design:

And we hired a designer on Elance to design an icon. It costs us $50, but absolutely worth the money.

Since Padgram 2.0 released, the app downloads are increased for 3.5 times!

The soar was achieved under exactly the same condition: no promotion, no PR. For the reason why downloads are increased so much, the icon counts 70%. And of course the app itself, with unique value, is the key.

As a conclusion:

  • Good design really works
  • Simplify the app, make the core features work the best!
  • App Design Vault can be referred if you want to try some designs. It’s refundable, that’s important!
  • Icon is super important. Make sure you hired the right talent
  • Refer to Elance or Freelancer if you lack of design resource

After receiving many positive feedbacks, we’re confident with what we’re offering. We will start next stage – promotion. I’ll write down what we learned as time goes.

Check out Padgram App Page, or download it here.

“InstaPin” is now renamed to “Padgram”

We named the instagram app as “InstaPin” as we wanted it to be a combination of Instagram and Pinterest. Now we rename it to “Padgram” as we think the Instagram-Pinterest combination is not a perfect solution on iPad.

Pinterest waterfall view is basically composed of image, comments, author info. It brings in perfect UX on PC as the screen is big enough. People like the UX to view all info within the same page and add comments without leaving. While on iPad, even its screen is bigger than iPhone, the screen estate is still limited. It can’t even hold one image info in one screen using waterfall view! And when it comes to commenting, as to the nature of Object-C programming, it’s much harder to implement in technical. Pinstagram tried it, but the result is not perfect.

So we decide to give up waterfall view. The app in the store is still in waterfall view, but next version the waterfall view will be gone. We rename the app just in preparation for next version.

Next version would be an important release. Stay tuned! [Update: it’s online now: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id539297584]

InstaPin – Creatively Explore Instagram

InstaPin is now on App Store. Check it out here.

What’s InstaPin

InstaPin is an Instagram app for iPad, not only can you enjoy Pinterest waterfall view in the app,but also like,comment,share photos and check profiles simply with one tap.

We view iPad differently from iPhone. On iPhone, people take photos, check friend’s activities and stay connected with friends by liking or commenting photos. On iPad, we cannot take photos as Instagram hasn’t opened this API. While iPad is much more powerful in viewing and exploration. It is a fun to check out interesting photos and people on iPad. We designed InstaPin to make liking, commenting, checking profile much easier. In InstaPin, people can finish following features within 2 taps:

  • Like a photo
  • Comment a photo
  • Check others’ profile
  • Follow others
  • ( Let us know if you have other features to add to the list 🙂 )

Why we want to make InstaPin

After completing EasyPin, we sat down together to think about our next product and our idea was how to join Instagram with Pinterest. At that same time some media started to report Pingram.me, where Pingram.me was only providing web services not apps for mobile or any other platform, so we got the inspiration and decided to start our project.

How different we are from our competitors

During we make InstaPin, media reported Pinstagram web service, followed by its iPad app. we made an evaluation of the app’s fluency, experience and integrity, we feel that InstaPin is more superior in interaction experience. Some actions cannot be easily done in Pinstagram needs a single tap in InstaPin. The typical example is checking user’s profile.

Pinstagram is the first app integrated the Pinterest waterfall view on iPad for Instagram. But the first one is not necessary the best one, with our confidence and courage we believe that InstaPin has a very good perspective.

We want to differentiate us from other apps in exploration features. “Creatively Explore Instagram” is our slogan, there are several features in the works, such as:

  • Auto complete tags or users during searching or commenting
  • Photos nearby
  • Subscribe an interest tag
  • Subscribe an interesting place

Stay tuned!

(We do recognize and respect Pinstagram and its founder Pek, they moved really fast and did a really good design and promotion. We started at similar peroid as Pinstagram but late in schedule for almost 1 month, shame… We have a lot to learn…)

Feature list

  • Explore popular feed and your following or liked photos in Pinterest waterfall view. View just by a glance while it smoothly loads by scrolling down
  • Share photos to 6 social services: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Pocket (formerly Read It Later) and Sina Weibo
  • One tap to like and comment photos
  • One tap to check others’ profile (photos, followed and following users), follow them with another tap
  • View photos in fullscreen mode, and save them to Camera Roll
  • Search by tag or username
  • Portrait / Landscape support, so you can place your iPad in any orientation you like
  • Retina Display support for new iPad users

For any feature requests or comments, you can leave message on our Facebook App Page. Thanks~~~~