Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

Our user Marianne wrote to me a message with the above title, and she kindly explained what it meant.

This saying is from Dr. Seuss, a very famous children’s author.  While he writes for children, his message is universally meaningful to all people.

This quote means;  why be ordinary when you can be spectacular; why follow the crowd when you can be a leader; you were put on this earth to be the best, don’t settle for anything less.

It basically means do your very best in life, because you should, and because YOU CAN.

The saying above made me think of so many thoughts, it also reminded me of some of my past experiences. Before I founded Pinssible Labs, I was a manager at a world leading security software company. The salary was high and the manager was totally great, it sounds like too perfect to be true and that it was comfortable for me to stay there, but something was missing, what I always hoped for, what my heart always wanted was to lead my own team, create things that I am interested in. I always wished for that as I hope my kids can be proud of me when they grow older. I can proudly tell them “Hey honey, this was created by me, oh yeah your dad, it’s cool isn’t it?”.

That’s why I got inspired and founded Pinssible Labs and created Padgram.

When it comes to Padgram, we weren’t the first Instagram iPad app. Our competitor had released its app 8 months before we started coding. we started asking ourselves questions such as: How do we compete with them if we offer another option? how can we be different? how can we be born to stand out? To find out the answers of the above questions, we had to try all the Instagram apps out there, and we found some flaws in them such as; not fast enough, not simplified enough and not intuitive enough. By creating Padgram, we brought a difference in the sense that we made it faster, simpler yet most powerful among all the other options.

We are proudly announcing that Padgram is the No.3 photo app in the US, and has got No.1 position in 60+ countries.

Our mission was to reach the No.1 Instagram iPad app in the world. To achieve that, we created interesting features, like the Emoji keyboad and self/cross promotion button. We also keep listening  to our users, as their feedback and opinion matters to us. We’re the first Instagram iPad app with portrait mode supported which was suggested by one of our users.

We’re so excited about Padgram’s rapid growth , so far we are No.3 photo app in the US, that won’t be the end of our great achievements. We will keep going further and further.

To end this post I would like to say , ” When we start a journey we always start it slowly….but then it gets faster and faster, the important thing is to start the journey and then you can head further than you thought you would…”

Download Padgram here, any comments are appreciated.

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.