Yesterday on Cult of Mac, Leander Kahney wrote The top 5 secrets to designing a killer iPhone app site, citing the importance of a decent web page for marketing your app or game. He suggested: make the site a single page; use an iPhone image with your app inside as the main image; include an instantly recognisable App Store badge; use animated screenshots showing the app in action; and display the price up-front.
I rather grumpily commented that tip six should be devs including some kind of downloadable media kit, and, surprisingly, a dev just emailed me for some advice on this, and so I figured I’d share it with the world at large.
First, some reasoning for me being grumpy about a lack of press pages. I write about iPhone and iPod touch apps a lot, but many of the articles are round-ups. Commission rates are such that you don’t get a lot of time with each app, and so you need to maximise the amount of time you spend using it and writing about it, and minimise everything else. Time I have to spend faffing about taking screen grabs, syncing my iPhone to send the grabs to iPhoto, and then extracting them to Finder, is time I could have instead spent using your app or your game.
Furthermore, although Apple intelligently provided a means to take grabs on a device (hold the home and sleep buttons), this is, at best, awkward. I often end up back on the springboard, because I pressed the home button too early, or ‘missing’ the right moment in a game, because my fingers were otherwise engaged on the multi-touch screen, and requiring two of them to take a trip to the iPhone’s tactile buttons was a quest too far.
What makes me happy is when developers deal with this themselves. You know the best bits of your own game or app, so should provide insight into such things for people writing about it. And you shouldn’t be saying “just go to the site and grab something there,” unless the site has appropriate material. Two companies that utterly get this are GymFu, whose press area is fantastic, offering PNG grabs, icons and press releases, and Madgarden, whose Saucelifter website provides succinct info, a bunch of PNG grabs you can drag to Finder or Windows Explorer, and a downloadable press pack.
If you’re thinking of revamping your website for an app or game, take note of the Cult of Mac article, but also ensure you include a press page or at least some basic assets for download:
- As a minimum, ensure your app or game grabs are full-size PNGs, which are not lossy. Compressed JPEGs are not usable in print, nor are resized images and those with watermarks.
- If there are specific points about your app you want to share, include these in a succinct text overview.
- To seriously make friends with hacks, provide everything as a downloadable ZIP.
- And always make sure you provide an email address for media enquiries—otherwise people like me sometimes give up and go and write about someone else’s creation instead.
It’s not necessary to have all this in a separate press section, although you can if you choose. Just having usable PNGs on app info pages is enough. The important thing is you do something, rather than just bung heavily compressed grabs online and avoid telling writers how to contact you.
Update: As a couple of people have already said to me, this information is largely good for anyone developing apps and games. Ensure people can contact you. Provide info about what you create. Provide uncompressed screen grabs for download.