Lessons learned from our App Store screenshots redesign

Two months ago, while reading Girish Rawat’s great article about How to Design Scannable App Screenshots, it occurred to me that we haven’t refreshed our App Store product page for quite a while. I reviewed our page and decided to make some modifications and spice it up a bit.  I'm happy to share with you the process we went through, the changes we have done, and some preliminary results. 
But first - some data:

Phase 1 - collecting data I went through a few interesting pieces of research done by some app store marketing companies and reviewed some of the most popular apps. Here’s a short summary of what I found:  General InfoVisitors spend an average of 7 seconds on the store listing page (source: AppAgent)60% of visitors don’t scroll beyond the fold of each product page (Source: Storemaven).50% of visitors base their decision on first impression (Source: Storemaven).The product page should explain what the app does in less than 3 seconds (Source: Storemaven).Only 13% of visitor…

5 Unusual product management techniques

There are many techniques and frameworks to define a product, establish a roadmap and prioritize features.
From time to time I run into unique techniques that are a bit different than the popular methods most companies use.
Whenever I run into such a technique, I usually store it in one of my endless notes so I can use it sometimes to challenge myself or as a product exercise.
Here are 5 thought provoking techniques you may want to add to your product managment arsenal:

1. A page, a paragraph, a sentence  This is an interesting exercise that startup founders and product leaders can use to describe their products in a short and concise way:
Start with a page:  Write down all the important things about your brilliant product.
Limit yourself to one page.
Switch to a paragraph:  This forces you to filter out some of the details and focus on the most important parts.
Once you have your paragraph ready - try it out as an elevator pitch in meetings and meetups, and see how it works.
End with a …

My 7 unique ingredients for a successful mobile app

Mobile apps have been around for over a decade and even though it feels they are becoming a commodity - mobile products are still different than web or desktop products in many aspects. 
What does it take to create a true mobile experience?  What are the key ingredients required to build a successful mobile app?  And why is mobile still a painful challenge for so many software companies? 
After spending 15 years of my career, developing mobile products, here are some of my thoughts:

1. Make graphic design a priority It’s a war zone out there, with millions of apps competing with each other for the attention of users.
People have higher standards nowadays, especially iPhone and high-end Android owners.
They treat their smartphones as a piece of jewelry with that gorgeous giant screen and slick edges, and they won’t let any app come-in and ruin that perfect look.

Nobody cares about your tech. Make it look gorgeous.
If an app doesn’t deliver a slick, beautiful, VIP experience - the user…

Why do apps refer to singular users as ‘they’ instead of using ‘he’ or ‘she’?

Question: what do you do when you need to write a pronoun for a single person that can be of any gender?

For years, those were the alternatives:
Change the structure of your sentence (not always possible).Use the name of the person (not always known, might be weird when used in a few sentences).Use just ‘he’ or just ‘she’ (might insult the other gender).Use ‘he/she’ or ’he or she’ (sounds clunky and too formal).Use ‘one’ (makes the sentence sound robotic).Use ’it’ (as if they were objects). All of these options are either lame or potentially insulting, so UX writers and product managers had to find creative ways to bypass them.

Singular ‘they' Lately, more and more applications have started to use the term ‘they’ as a pronoun for a single person. Here’s one example taken form Uber’s arrival notification. Notice how the entire sentence is written as if the driver is a “they”.

As I’m not a native English speaker, I thought I missed an English lesson back in fifth grade, but it turns…

10 product development practices that will give you full flexibility and control on your mobile app

Product managers, startup founders and even software developers want to have maximum control on the products they build. Agile companies need to constantly change things and measure their impact, it's a pre-requisite to almost everything they build. 
The problem with mobile apps Native mobile apps are quite different than web apps: while web apps are refreshing themselves automatically whenever there’s a new version of the product, mobile apps are installed locally on each device. Upgrades require new versions to be submitted to the different app stores for review. This process can take a few days and even when the app is approved - the upgrades are not performed immediately (and in some devices they never happen because the auto-upgrade is disabled).
This is a cumbersome process and it makes it hard for companies to move fast and break things freely.

As a B2C startup, aiming to move fast and make frequent changes, we suffer from this problem a lot. Releasing a new version every …

Apple Watch - Trying to improve the Control Center UI in 15 minutes

If there’s one thing I really don’t like about the UI of the Apple Watch, it’s the Control Center.  Unlike most of the Watch user interface, the Control Center looks unpolished: the buttons are too big, there’s too little whitespace, and the status icons on the top seem out of place.  I decided to try my luck and improve the UI a bit.  Knowing how long simple design tasks might take - I decided to challenge myself:  1. Only simple changes (no redesign)  2. Limit my time to 15 minutes max.

The issues:  1. Status icons seem misplaced and feel a bit unrelated to the rest of the design.  2. The phone icon looks much bigger than the location service icon because it’s a long icon.  3. Toggles are too close to each other - there aren’t enough whitespaces.

The changes:  As my goal was to finish the changes within 15 minutes. I took some screenshots and used PowerPoint to modify some of the elements (without having to draw anything from scratch). This is a very simple technique and I use when…

Here's what we did today - a retrospect to Apple’s screen recording incident

Ahhh, the marvelous world of tech is so frenzied lately.
Everything moves fast, so easy and so… unexpected.
Today’s rising star is tomorrow’s abomination.
What’s working well this week, might get you in trouble next week.   There’s no better way to begin the day than this:

So much bold text and so many asterisks in one email - that can’t be good…
Especially when later that day this comes in:

The crime: screen recording Here's the original email coming from Apple, but believe me, it’s not very different than my interpretation above.
The trigger was set a few days earlier with this TechCrunch investigation that found that many popular iPhone apps secretly record the phone screens without asking for permission.
It didn’t take long for Apple to react.
Which means we now had 24 hours to fix our app, get rid of any SDK that is in “egregious violation” of the guidelines, resubmit to the store and hope for a fast review and approval of our apps.

Bummer To be honest, we saw this comi…

Beware of early adopters!

I’ve been thinking a lot about early adopters lately and how they can lead a product to the wrong directions.
Early adopters are the first to give your product a chance. They are the first users to download your mobile app, the first developers to embed your SDK or the first enterprise company to implement your B2B product.
A product cannot exist without early adopters, and yet, it’s crucial to understand that this group of users is different than the majority and may behave differently, provide biased feedback and in extreme cases, even lead the product to some wrong decisions in the quest for a product/market fit.

Here’s why I think relying too much on early adopters might put the product in risk:

Meet your early adopters: Based on Everett Rogers book: Diffusion of Innovations, early adopters are the first 5%-15% of your customers:

The early adopters belong to 2 small groups:
1. The innovators (2.5%) - tech enthusiasts who look for innovation.
They are excited about finding new ways…