How to invite users to your app

The artsnapz invitation flow

“Nothing annoys people so much as not receiving invitations.” - Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

We have spent the last 10 months designing and building artsnapz, an app that we built for parents (including us!) who want to capture and share all of the great artwork their children bring home.

As we designed artsnapz, we had to figure out how users could invite friends and family to view their child’s art. Designing a flow that allows the user to easily invite others is key for any app that cares about attracting and growing its user base. With that in mind, we’d like to share our approach.

Inviting another person who already uses artsnapz is pretty darn simple: Just enter their email and the recipient will be notified and given the option to accept the invitation. Now, whenever you snap a photo of Junior’s artwork, this person will be notified instantly.

But what happens when you’re trying to invite someone who doesn’t have artsnapz installed on their iPhone? That’s trickier because we can’t send an invite notification to a user if they don’t have our app installed. So the user must send an invitation email that we pre-fill.

Here is how we mocked this up:

And the final product? Well, this is what the recipient sees in their email inbox:

There are two interesting bits here:

  1. Your children’s profile photos and names (added during registration when the app is first installed) are included in the email. Isn’t that cute? This immediately grabs the interest of the recipient.We think this makes it incredibly more likely that they will use the app.
  2. But when the recipient downloads the app, there is no way for artsnapz to know that they were invited by you. And this is where the Invite Code comes in - that’s the alphanumeric code ‘123ABC’ above. This code is generated uniquely to track each invitation you email out.

Whenever the person that you invited downloads artsnapz, they will be asked to enter an Invite Code during the registration process. And when they do so, they will be linked to you, ready to receive whatever artwork your child creates.

While this required some thought and extra design on both the client and the server, we think that the effort was worth it, because it simplifies the flow from the user’s point of view.

Hopefully this post gives you some ideas for how to create an engaging invitation flow!

Let us know what you think - we’re on facebook and twitter. If your children bring home artwork,you need artsnapz for your iPhone. Get it here.

Follow the discussion on Hacker News.

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