Do something. Real quick. It will just take a sec.
Open the App Store on your iPhone or iPad.
You there? Ok. Search the term “to-do” and hit “search”. A bunch of stuff pops up right?
Ok let’s pretend we want to buy a “to-do” type app. Now follow your typical app buying process:
- Step 1 – your eye totally ignores the apps with 3 or less stars
- Step 2 – you visually weed out the crap icons thinking the app must also be crap
- Step 3 – you tap into comparably priced and reviewed apps to see which one looks the best
Did you catch that?
I’ll repeat it
“You tap into comparably priced and comparably reviewed apps to see which one looks the best.”
Which one “looks the best”.
They are not reading your app description.
They are not reading reviews.
They are looking at your SCREENSHOTS.
Watch how people shop
See the below image? This is how people sort through apps in shopping mode. Some do this, but lots of other people go to This comparison site instead.
3 out of 12 apps make it past this review cycle, then the screenshot comparison begins.
iOS6 Loves Screenshots
On the newly released iOS 6, comparing screenshots has become a LOT easier. Are you rethinking your screenshots yet? ;)
Don’t Miss a Selling Opportunity
An app with a fantastic interface design will definitely increase sales. However, if all you publish are plain screenshots sans description of features and benefits – you’re missing a HUGE selling opportunity.
Apple’s new Screenshot Specifications
If you haven’t already, make a note of the screenshot sizes Apple now requires for developers to provide:
- 640 pixels by 1136 pixels (portrait)
- 640 pixels by 1096 pixels (portrait)
- 1136 pixels by 640 pixels (landscape)
- 1136 pixels by 600 pixels (landscape)
Now let’s take a look at some practical examples of screenshots that are doing a great job of promoting their app.
Examples of Excellent Screenshot Design
SpaceEffect – What I love about these screenshots is it gives you a very clear picture of the exact functionality of the app. Go from “this” to “this”.
QuickMark – This isn’t a great example, because I can’t decipher exactly the value of “deciding images from photos” however something to keep in mind is the blurred finger which is another way to visually explain how your app works.
Chameleon Clock – This screenshot says exactly what the app does, and then shows you an image of the app doing exactly that. Aim for this kind of clarity. Confused people don’t buy.
Contact Paranormal – A few cool things going on here. Creepy background image evokes emotion. It makes you want to look at the image. So does the image on the screen, the spiderweb and the word “murder” scrawled in the app interface. Coupled with the “This is crazy!” testimonial it all just works.
Color Keyboard – Below is a technique that is popping up where the screenshots are sliced out from one panorama image. When the images are uploaded in the proper order, it gives the illusion that it is one large image.
Bump – Same technique as above. This is a great technique to use when you can’t fit all of the text and copy you need to properly communicate an idea on one screenshot.
Safe Slide – This screenshot is just clean. Something to remember with your screenshot designs is sometimes less says more. Below is a great example of that.
iHeartRadio – Don’t be afraid to cut off part of the interface if it doesn’t keep the potential customer from understanding the value provided.
Any.Do – An example of using a blurred background image to give the image depth and also imply that the app is being used in a real environment.
Clear – Nice image of hands manipulating the interface.
Babycenter – These screenshots are clear and have very succinct copy that describes the benefits of using the app.
Examples of Things to Avoid in Screenshot Design
The below examples aren’t meant to pick on anyone’s design skills, but to sincerely help you spot areas of concern when designing your screenshots.
Gossip Junkie – There are too many screens shown on this one screenshot. When you’re previewing it on the iPhone, iPad or browser it is difficult to see what they are trying to illustrate.
Calendar Importer – Avoid using stock photography that looks like fake stock photography. For this example it would be more impactful to show a screen of the app that shows HOW the app helps you remember important events.
Calendar iBirthday – This screenshot is trying to illustrate that you can send your greetings to a loved one via Facebook. Rather than having the “hi sweetheart” text at the bottom, it would be more clear if it simply described the actual functionality. The way it looks in the example below you have to guess the functionality based on the imagery. Also, if you ever find that your text needs a white outline around it, you’re trying to put text in a bad place on the image. In this example they could put text above the phones and not need the white outline.
Simple Photo Note – This app uses all cartoons to describe the app’s functionality. Be sure to include images of your app interface.
NoteDown – This example has so many description bubbles, it covers the app interface.
Task – This is a fantastic photograph, minus the long fingernails. Make sure any photos of hands or fingers are incredibly well groomed. Like head to the nail salon and spring for a $20 manicure. It’s worth it. :)
Craigslist – If you’re using a hand or finger make sure that the image is carefully “cut out” or silhouetted in photoshop. Below you can see this hand has two problems: 1. It’s very low resolution and grainy 2. it was not properly silhouetted and has a chunk of white is showing on the left side of the pointer finger.
So what now?
Well if you haven’t already, click here to download a set of screenshot templates I put together for y’all :) And after you use them to spruce up your screenshots, please leave a comment below to share your work with others!
Check out these related posts:
Think your app idea has what it takes to be the next Instagram? Think again. As of January 2013 there were 775,000 apps in the iOS app store, yet nearly 60% of developers report they never broke even on their development costs. Even worse, almost 70% report their most successful app never made more than $5,000. […]read more >
“What would it feel like if our phones were designed around people, not apps?” – Mark Zuckerburg on Facebook Home You may have heard the news already, the “Facebook Home” is being released today. Technically, Facebook Home isn’t really an OS. It’s also not a “fork” of Google’s Android software. It’s an App layer […]read more >
You can’t stop thinking about how awesome your new app idea is, can you? If you could just get this thing out of your head and into people’s hands, you could change the world. But what’s the process to take a good idea for an app to a five star feature at the top of […]read more >