Dear Windows Phone App Developer

I’ve used a Windows Phone now for more than a year and I’ve tried out many different third party apps.  I’ve uninstalled lots of apps that weren’t ready for prime time use, and I haven’t installed several apps that sounded interesting, but didn’t offer some core functionality.

Here’s a list of the things I look for in an app before I decided to install it:

Provide a trial version: I’ve been burned in the past when I’ve purchased software without trying it first and I won’t make that mistake again.  My rule of thumb is: If I can’t try it first, I won’t buy it.

Windows Phone Marketplace

Let me buy an ad-free version of your app: I like software, and if I like your trial software, I most likely will want to purchase an ad-free version of it, so please also offer a paid version of your app.

Give me a way to import data into the app from the web: If an app is data intensive and the only way to get data into the app is by manually keying it into the phone, I won’t bother to download it from the Marketplace. Using the phone’s keyboard to enter data is just too tedious and time consuming. . . I’m a touch typist and prefer to use a full sized keyboard and screen to input data into applications.  Also, it’s entirely likely I’ve already built a database in Excel or some other software on my computer that I’m using to manage the data and I’d really like a way to import a .csv file into your app.

iMediaMan contact info

Let me back up the data that is stored in your app to the web in a format I can view and use: I’m not going to invest much time inputting unique data into an app that can’t be backed up any where.  This requirement is especially critical to me since Microsoft doesn’t provide a way to backup the entire contents of my phone.  I’d hate to lose my data if I ever have to hard reset my phone, and I also need a way to get my data back into your app when I install it to my new phone.

eWallet backup

Include support contact information in your app that is easy to find and use from the phone in case I need some support or have some ideas to share with you.

magikmail contact infothumba support info

Please provide detailed help that I can access from my phone, especially if your app has lots of features or is complicated to setup or use.  I prefer to access help directly from the phone, either by tapping a link within the app or by viewing help topics within the app itself.

eWallet support overdrive help

I’d like to review a change log whenever you update your app, preferably via a screen or link within the app on the phone, that documents the items that have been changed or added to the app.  If you’ve added some great new feature tell me about it! Then let me know how to get to it and how to use it.

thumba changelogthumba changelog1

Give your app a name that makes it easy for me to find after I install it to my phone. Clever names are cute, but when I’m searching through the long list of apps that are installed on my phone I might not remember your clever name, but I’m sure I’ll remember a functional name.

Assign meaningful and comprehensive tags to your app so I can find it when I search the marketplace.  You might have a really great app, but I’m never going to know about it or install it to my phone if I can’t find it.

Make an extra effort to include a well written description of your app in the Marketplace.  Highlight what you like about the app, tell me why I’d want to install it to my phone.  Give me a compelling reason why I’d like to try it out.  If your app doesn’t do something that you know I’d want because of a limitation in the SDK tell me about it so I won’t harshly judge your app for something that is outside your control.

Be sure to check the spelling and grammar in your app’s marketplace description. When I see misspelled words and/or poor grammar in the app’s marketplace description I can’t help but wonder how detail oriented the developer is which leads me to question the quality of the coding and testing of the app.  If you are writing an app description in a language that is not your primary language, ask someone who is proficient in that language to proof your description.

Please don’t stop at one app.  If I try out and like your really great app, I’m going to check to see if you’ve got more apps in the marketplace.  A good impression will make me want to buy more apps from you.

Ask for my help.  If you’d like more feedback about what a user wants in an app, please ask!  I’ve got some specific ideas about what I want and I’m happy to share them with you.  The marketplace now supports the capability of offering alpha and beta tests of apps to a select group of users, so let me know if I can help.

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