Creating Compelling App Descriptions for iTunes and the iOS App Stores

When you submit an iOS application for review, you’ve got to make sure your ad copy is tight.  The app description may be the last thing holding back a tap to buy your app.

Apple doesn’t give much guidance on this important chunk of text. “Write your Application Description with a focus on what makes the functionality or design of your app unique.” was a tip from this past June from the App Store Tips blog.

We know that 4000 characters is the limit.  And App descriptions are made up of simple text, including unicode symbols like checkboxes (✔) and more (♣☢☂).  Apple takes your unicode text and formats it for display on the web via Web Preview, in iTunes and on the iOS devices themselves (the app store).

Since you probably have very specific points you want to get across, and users have a very short attention span, you need to pay attention to how Apple will format what you write.  In this entry I discuss how to create app descriptions that look great everywhere Apple publishes your app description.

Continue reading Creating Compelling App Descriptions for iTunes and the iOS App Stores

Using an HTML Web View with a Transparent Background in iPhone SDK's Interface Builder and Xcode

Something almost every iPhone application needs is an About and Help view that allows the user to learn a little bit about the application they’re using and  how it should be operated.  The problem with a UITextView in Apple’s XCode and Interface Builder SDK is that you can not use rich-text styling or even bold one line over another.

One solution to this problem would be to create image files containing stylized text and then rasterize them and allow the user to page through them.  The problem with this is that you can’t have tappable URLs or links embedded in the text.

David Peixotto, coding ninja and my business partner for Neutrinos, suggested we look at using a Webview or HTML view and put an imageview in the background.  The trick is telling the iPhone to display a UIWebView with a transparent background.  I looked around for the solution to this and came across this helpful post in the iPhone Developer SDK forums.

Step one of getting a transparent web view in interface builder is to create HTML in the controller.m for the view containing the webview that contains the CSS line: <body style=”background-color:transparent”> Inside the <head> </head> sections of the html.

Step two is to set the background color of the webview to clear or transparent:  myWebView.backgroundColor = [UIColor clearColor]; Continue reading Using an HTML Web View with a Transparent Background in iPhone SDK's Interface Builder and Xcode

Contact Us Javascript Form Validation and Custom Fields in SalesForce

The web Contact Us form serves as an important starting point for people interested in a product or service.  For a big company, handling inbound leads over the course of a long sales process requires a strong CRM.  SalesForce is a fully featured CRM plaform, however in my experience it has somehow ignored an important source for sales leads: contact us forms on the company website.

Salesforce does not explain how its clients should go about crafting a quality Contact Us web page.

What is a quality Contact Us web page?  

Generally you’ll find the same type of fields on Contact Us pages across the web.  You are asked for your first and last name, job title, complete address and something specific about your query, like Where did you hear about us? Or What model Range Rover are you interested in?

 What’s the use of having their name if you don’t have their phone number?  Usually, a company will want to set specific form fields to required. Checking whether a potential customer has filled out a required answer is called form validation. Continue reading Contact Us Javascript Form Validation and Custom Fields in SalesForce

Apple Touch Platform Applications Approval Process Stirs Concern

In the past I’ve written about the Facebook platform as being the wild west of software development.  The reasoning was that 3rd party developers like myself were watching the platform shift and change on a daily basis.  The result was that functions were being introduced in beta, or replaced and deprecated frequently.

Developers working on emerging software platforms are a flexible bunch.  They’re used to having theirapplications break so long as the platform overall is being improved.  A better platform means more users, which means greater opportunity for 3rd party developers.  One thing developers do not like, however is having their software tools gobbled up an encorporated into the core of the platform.

I wrote about how this was happening in my blog post, Nationalization or Expropriation? Independent Facebook Application Developers Continue to Face Uncertainty.  Something entirely different is happening right now on the Touch platform, however.

Continue reading Apple Touch Platform Applications Approval Process Stirs Concern

Developing within iPhone NDA Muffle aka The Cone of Silence

iphone application IQ Game Trivia

Neutrinos just wrapped its second iPhone application, it is a 20 questions trivia game called iQ.  It is great step from our first app, TipTotaler.  For iQ, I took on the user interface design for the application in addition to my normal website design and marketing.

The amount of graphic design and image handling in iPhone development is extensive and I’ve already blogged about a tool to assist in the 3d iPhone application icon design.  But the most interesting stuff is happening in Interface Builder and in xCode that I’m not supposed to talk about here.

Apple has an NDA up with all developers that they can not talk about their experience with the SDK.

Continue reading Developing within iPhone NDA Muffle aka The Cone of Silence