Over the last few weeks, you’ve been reading Lori Lalonde’s (@LoriBLalonde) posts on building out your Windows Phone app (the one on time saving tips is definitely worth a read). While you’re working on your app, I wanted to share with you a little something so important to your app and relatively quick to do, so that you can go ahead and add it to your app now before you forget – an About Page.
Before finishing off the app and sending it for certification, add an about page that contains at least three sections:
Throughout this post, I’ll refer to an app that I just finished, DualShot, that has, so far, been doing really well in the store (in case you haven’t had a chance to check it out, please do and make sure to rate it so that I can capture your feedback for future versions of the app).
The first goal of an about section is providing a way for your users to connect with you. The most important one is Support & Feedback. It is configured to open the mail editor. Take the opportunity to enter information that might help troubleshoot problems like the current version of the app, language and the phone model.
Providing a way to contact you won’t prevent all bad ratings, but it will save you some if you respond accordingly.
In the list above, there is another interesting link called User Voice. User Voice is a website that provides a (free) service where user can enter anonymous feedback or bugs (just one option, but one that I have found to work well). Their website is very easy to setup and use. I have seen a lot of apps that have a User Voice link. Even the Windows Phone developer team has a User Voice page.
There are a lot of applications that provide updates, but often we are not aware of what’s new. Sometimes, they put the update description into the app’s description, but the second you click update you don’t have access to the description in one click. You need to find the app into the store again and read it there. Provide a What’s New section for in your app. Not only does it tell the user what’s new, but it can help the user to discover features that may not be obvious at first sight.
Open your Windows Phone solution and check the references for each project. Do you see a lot of 3rd party libraries? The answer is most likely yes. Would you be able to release your app without using any free 3rd party libraries? I’m sure you can, but it would take a lot more time. Reinventing the wheel is probably not your motto neither. That being said, take the time and screen real estate to thank the people behind the libraries. It doesn’t cost a dime to give a two thumbs up for the creators. For each library and translator, put a link to their website or Twitter handle.
I also take it a step further (though completely optional). After I release my apps, I tweet each of them and 80% replied back. Always good to have good relationships in the developer community. You never know what you can expect: four gentlemen offered us to translate the app for free. It was my pleasure to put their names into the credits section.
Don’t worry, you won’t get hurt in the rating for putting a credits section. I have receive a lot of good and very bad reviews, but I never receive something related to: “Huh, your app sucks and your credits too.”
Take the extra 2-3 hours to provide a way for your users to connect with you. Thank the people who helped, one way or another, build your application, and lastly, provide what’s new section to help your users discover new features or updates to existing ones.
I completely agree. When I want to provide feedback to an app author and cannot find their information on an about screen or something similar, I usually don't bother digging deeper - I imagine many people do that, and authors are losing a lot of potential feedback because of that.
By the way, with a project like my "Your Last About Dialog" it doesn't even have to take 2-3 hours ;). See www.nuget.org/.../ylad or https://ylad.codeplex.com
I love the idea for the credits section. Definitely worth adding in to my apps. And I love the DualShot app too by the way! Great work!
I created some app templates that start you out with an about page (although it doesn't look as nice as these!) - see gregstoll.livejournal.com/427979.html to download them.