Since most of the app was done, we had to start thinking about what the initial user experience was: from finding the app in the iTunes App Store to starting to add your first toy to your wish list.
We decided to ask the user for the following information when the app was started the first time:
- Their username
- Their icon
- A color scheme
- Their parent’s email
- A password
Then we moved onto how to get the word out about the app. I explained that the app had “viral spread” built in to it – you can invite your friends to get the app via texting, skype, email and so on. The more friends you invite, the more opportunities you have to share your list with your friends, and see what they are wishing for.
The students wanted to advertise the app on other apps.
This was a great opportunity to discuss the cost of advertising, and the Apple business model. If an app is free, Apple doesn’t keep any money when someone downloads your app, but if you charge for your app, Apple keeps 30%. Since our app will be free, we didn’t have an advertising budget.
iPhone/iPod advertising requires a commitment of at least $2,500/month, and is usually done for either branding purposes (such as by a Ford or Coke), or to promote an app that is not free. We went through the “return-on-investment” concept of advertising, and building out a spreadsheet that analyses the most effective forms of product promotion (ads, PR, etc.) but since our app is free, the teachers who sat in on the class gained more than the kids.
Finally we discussed the Rate This App system that lots of games use. After you use an app for a few days, the app asks you to review the app in the iTunes App Store. The students felt that our app should ask this question after a week.