Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Long Tail of the App Store

Today, there are 1321 iPad Apps in the US App store in the Business category. Massage Therapist Notebook is in the top 200 ranked by popularity and by Gross. At times this month it's been in the top 100. The chart below is the chart for the US based on Gross.
Here is how we know that the tail is long, very long. We have settled down to between 2 and 5 purchases in the US per day and have not yet sold 100 copies in the US. Still, we are ranked higher than over 1000 of the apps in our category (we are easily in the top 20%).

In some countries where we have sold only a handful of copies, a single purchase can move our app store ranking by almost a hundred points.

We're not disappointed by our adoption rate yet. We have found a few customers who have reached out to us offering improvements. We knew that the app was not feature complete when we released it. The strategy is to release the app and then reward early adopters by adding features they want while slowly raising the purchase price for later adopters (once you buy an app in the App store, the developer cannot charge you for upgrades to that app).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Google Translate Saves the Day!

The Massage Therapist Notebook has been selling in other countries and we have been getting it translated into German, Japanese and some other languages. A different post on that process. Today we got this in our ticketing system:
He adquirido la aplicación, y desconozco como poder borrar un cliente una vez se ha creado. Podrían indicarmelo por favor.
Since we don't speak Spanish we were a little nervous. Thankfully, Google Translate has gotten very good over the years. So, we were able to see that the person wanted to know how to delete clients. This is actually the third time we've been asked this question, so we need to improve that part of the UI clearly.

Then we typed out our answer to the question and sent it back
Busque en los nombres de cliente pulsando en el botón 'Clients'. A continuación, deslice el dedo hacia la izquierda en el nombre del cliente. El botón 'Delete' debe aparecer.
Yo no hablo español muy bien. Por favor, hágamelo saber si tengo que hacer un video o algo más para ayudar a explicar.
One trick we use is that we always translate to the language and then open a separate Google Translate window and translate it back to English. It is a good way to catch idiom mistakes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MapKit Custom Images and Offset Issues

Much thanks goes to user Georg who sent us this image of how he was trying to use our TA_MapKitPlugin for TapLynx in his app. He noticed that if we zoom out to a world view, that the custom pin images are no longer in the correct positions.
Georg's Map Showing the Pin Error
The pin he has highlighted actually points to a location in California (Colton) though if we zoom out, it appears to be pinned to a location out in the Pacific.
After we stopped panicking we did some testing and discovered that if we used the system supplied pin images the pin was on the map in the correct location. In the TA_MapKitPlugin the default iPhone pin images will appear if there is no entry for the pinImage key in the NGConfig file. This meant that the location is correct, but there was something wrong with the image.
Next we went over to the Apple documentation and demo code to look at how they implemented custom images. We noticed that that code also has this issue. When using Apple Map Callout demo code, if you zoom all of the way out, the custom pin will appear offset from the proper location.

The Original Pin graphic with lines to show center.
We finally realized that the MapKit code CENTERS the custom image on the map location. So, we added some padding for our custom pin images and, voila, they now stay in the correct location.
Improved Pin graphic with lines to show center.
While initially confusing, this now makes clear something we have always misunderstood: pin shadows. Since the image for a pin is actually much larger than it appears, adding a shadow (or any other shading to improve the 3d effect) to the image is quite easy to do with image editing software. We were always confused by this as we thought it would throw off the pin location in the graphic. However, now that we know the image center is the pin location we understand.
We have updated the TA_MapKitPlugin in github with new versions of the graphics. Additionally, we have found and fixed a bug in the rendering code that sometimes caused a crash, so if you are using an older version of the code, please update.