My First App had 524 downloads in 16 days

I’m pretty happy, the first app I ever developed all by myself has over 500 downloads in just 16 days, with ZERO marketing. This app is the very reason I started this blog, I wanted to keep track of everything I have learnt. Although I have worked on numerous mobile app projects, never have I personally took it from idea all the way through production all by myself. It has been a long and sometimes frustrating journey, but at the end it was worth it. Below is a quick summery of what I have learnt from the launch so far.

The App

My first app is called Hand Massage Acupressure Health, currently only available on Google Play. It is essentially a reference guide to how to use traditional Chinese medical massage techniques called Acupressure to improve health and aid minor alignments such as headaches and sore throats. More information can be found at www.acupressureapp.com. I’m aiming to complete the iOS version within this month. Since I used Adobe Flex to develop the app, this in theory should be fairly straight forward.

Even though the app is out on the Android market, there are still so many things I would like to do to improve it, but reading the Lean Startup by Eric Ries I really wanted to test the idea of developing a Minimal Viable Product (mvp) and just push it out to the market to test customer responses.

If you are using an Android phone, please download it now and let me know what you think, I would love to have some more feedback.

Get it now at Google Play

Fun and interesting data

I’m strangely fascinated by the data from Google Developers Console. The graph below shows the general active install since it was published. The most surprising thing I’ve learnt from here was most of the downloads were from Android 4.0.x (Ice-Cream Sandwich) devices, I was convinced it would have been 2.3.x (Gingerbread) considering the market share of 57.2% vs 21.8% for 4.0 devices. My only possible answer is those with new devices (with Android 4.0 preinstalled) are more likely to browse Google play for new Apps.

Considering the popularity of Android 4.0.x devices, I wasn’t exactly very surprised to the top 3 most popular devices were Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy S2 and Samsung Galaxy Note. What I was surprised about is the difference in download from other systems. I was very surprised there were some interest from Asus Nexus 7 devices. When I designed the app, I was thinking solely for Smartphones and didn’t want to spend too long with adapting the app for tablets. Even after my update on 6th September, I know the app would not look 100% right on Tablets, but at least its more usable. One thing I was hoping the update would address is the high level of uninstall for HTC desire Z devices, I suspect this was due to the poor home screen arrangement for low res screens.

What I have learnt

I have learnt so much through out this app, but some of the most important lessons I have learnt are surprisingly not so much regarding the technical side of the project but more things to bear in mind for my next project

1. Do not trust the Flash builder emulator

Things will LOOK and PERFORM very differently. Most importantly in my case was the 3D view for the hand, even with a dual core HTC sensation there were obvious lag during rotation

2. Read the freaking documentation

when I started this app, I was very stupidly unaware that to use a flex app, the user would also need to have Adobe Air installed on their Android devices. I can’t help think maybe the app would do a tiny bit better if they didn’t have to do that much more work.

3. Test early with actual users

Find someone who is roughly your target audience, without explaining what the app does, ask them to have a play around and tell you what they think the app does and how they would the whole experience. This was very valuable!

Search Performance

I was also pretty pumped to realise if you type in “Hand Massage App” into Google Web Search you would get my app on third and if you type in “Hand Massage” into Google Play it would come second! I’m hoping this is Google’s way of saying I’m doing things write.

Next Step

Naturally with this level of interest, I am very excited to carry on developing this app, so my coming steps are as follows:

  1. Develop Chinese Version
  2. Resolve Tablet layout issue
  3. Publish to Amazon Market Place
  4. Publish to Apple App store for iOS devices
  5. Start learning Phone Gap, there will be a post of this very shortly

All and all this has been a fun experience, just a shame the app is free. Oh well, another lesson for the next project.

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