Recently I created an XCF template for app marketing and wrote a post about how to use it.
Nokia Lumia 1520 is a gorgeous phone. So is your Windows Phone app’s hub in panorama. And you do know that a well developed app is just the half way. Getting the app to its audience is the second half. I created this layered GIMP image to easily sandwich a panorama hub between the layers and showcase your app with your own shining colors. You need to do following to create your app’s panorama with this template: Read more…
Some people wanted the template in PSD format. So, here you are.
Hope you find it useful.
[This post got a mention on Microsoft Channel 9 This Week]
Nokia Lumia 1520 is a gorgeous phone. So is your Windows Phone app’s hub in panorama. And you do know that a well developed app is just the half way. Getting the app to its audience is the second half. I created this layered GIMP image to easily sandwich a panorama hub between the layers and showcase your app with your own shining colors. You need to do following to create your app’s panorama with this template:
- Have all your panorama pages in a single image. 4 or 5 pages will work great.
- Copy aforesaid panorama image in this XCF.
- Adjust perspective, add your colors, and export!
With very little efforts you can have your app in your choice of colors.
Following is the detailed step-by-step of the process with example of Windows Phone Channel 9 app:
First, grab the GIMP XCF (PSD here). If you do not have GIMP, download here, it’s open-source and free. Prepare an image of all the panorama items of your app (a little help here).
Open PanoramaAppShowcaseOn1520.xcf in GIMP. Look at the Layers windows. There are multiple groups and layers inside. Some layers/groups are not editable. Their names start with [DoNotEdit]. So, do not edit them. The layers you will be editing are – “YourApp.YourAppGoesHere”, “UseBucketToolAndFillAnyColorHere”, and “UseBucketToolAndFillBackgroundColor”.
Bring Your App In
- Open “YourApp” layer group and select “YourAppGoesHere” layer.
- Copy or Open As Layer from File menu, your app’s panorama image. If you Open As Layer, drag it down to just above YourAppGoesHere and right click and merge down. If you copy, as you see in image, a floating layer will be created.
- Click on Anchor the floating button at the bottom. You will see now your panorama image is in the layer YourAppGoesHere
Prepare to Skew
- Make sure YourAppGoesHere layer is selected.
- Slide opacity to about 50.
- Select Layer > “Autocrop Layer” menu to crop this layer. You will see yellow marching ant line around the layer
- Choose perspective tool.
The layer now has a grid with 4 handles on corners.
- Grab a corner and drag it as close as possible to the corresponding corner on white base. Don’t worry about matching corners exactly, just keep close. Repeat the process for all corners. Look at black arrows in the image.
Now your image’s layout looks something like this:
Micro Adjust and Transform
You are still in Perspective transform edit mode. Here you will zoom-in to every corner and match every corner exactly with the corner of the white base.
- To zoom-in to the corner you want to adjust, take your mouse pointer on the corner, and ctrl+mousewheelup to zoom-in max. Match both the corners pixel perfect. Repeat for all the four corners. Zoom-in and out to make sure all the corners are matching.
- Click on Transform button.
Your image now looks something like this:
These steps are to easily change phone’s color.
- Select UseBucketToolAndFillAnyColorHere layer.
- Click on foreground color and pick a color from color picker.
- Select Bucket tool from Tools menu
- Click anywhere inside the image
More Color and Done
- If you want to edit background color select UseBucketFillBackgroundColor.
- Click on foreground color and pick a color from color picker.
- Click anywhere on image
- Open File menu and select Export As… Type “filename.png” in the File Name field and save.
If everything goes well, you will have a gorgeous image like this for your app:
And this is my app in the same template:
Asking for review in your app? It’s tricky. If not done with due diligence, on encountering your request to review, users might get annoyed and still worse, they could rate your app low even though they liked it. A simplistic solution of asking for review after N days from installation (or first use) and N days after user has chosen “remind me later”, is not an appropriate solution. Why? User might have installed your app, ran it, exited, came back after N days and they were presented with a review request message, whereas, they had only used the app once. This is not a nice experience. Asking for review when user is exiting the app is less effective because user already has something else in their mind when they are coming out of the app.
Though there is no one solution that fits all, but this is how I try to tackle this scenario in my app. It’s not the “number of days” but “total minutes user has used your app” is my criteria to decide the interval of popping review message. I keep a record of overall usage of the app, and after a designated number of minutes, I pop a request to user. You might have to go through some trial and error to come up with the right “number of minutes” when you want to request. Determine whether your app is highly immersive or a quick open and shut type of app. In an immersive app|game you might want your review requests at longer intervals. In a less immersive app, you would rather ask earlier and at a less frequency. Then, you might want to gradually decrease the interval between requests during session. Don’t forget to code your logic in such a way that you could easily tune request intervals and accumulative usage time and update your app as soon as you realize that a change in the times is required. Here is pseudo-code for indication purpose:
[THIS IS PSEUDO CODE FOR INDICATION ONLY]
constant int POP_REQUEST_AFTER_ACCUMULATIVE_USAGE (adjusting knob)
constant int POP_REQUEST_INTERVAL (adjusting knob : Initial interval between requests in the session)
constant int POP_REQUEST_INTERVAL_DECREASE_BY (adjusting knob : Decrease interval after every request)
constant int POP_REQUEST_INTERVAL_MINIMUM (adjusting knob : interval should not go below this)
int AccumulativeAppUsage (persist this info in storage)
Int ReviewRequestInterval = POP_REQUEST_INTERVAL;
App.Start | App.Activate
LastReviewRequest = DateTime.Now //reset
App.Stop | App.Deactivate
AccumulativeAppUsage += DateTime.NOW – AppStart
Page.[identify the event which triggers PopRequest method]
totalUsageTillNow = AccumulativeAppUsage += DateTime.NOW – AppStart
if(totalUsageTillNow >= POP_REQUEST_AFTER_ACCUMULATIVE_USAGE)
If(DateTime.Now – LastReviewRequest >= ReviewRequestInterval)
Show review request
LastReviewRequest = DateTime.Now
If(ReviewRequestInterval > POP_REQUEST_INTERVAL_MINIMUM)
ReviewRequestInterval -= POP_REQUEST_INTERVAL_DECREASE_BY
(An improved one with perspective)
If your app has a panorama hub, an image showing all the pano items with device could be a very impressive marketing image. I have created this template which makes your life a bit easier, if you want to create such image. You can download the template XCF image file here (yes this is a GIMP template 0_0. I may create PSD edition if you insist). Currently the device image in this template is Microsoft Windows Phone stock emulator image, Nokia Lumia device images could also come in future. When you open this XCF in GIMP you get something like this:
Take snapshots of your app’s pano items from emulator and replace screen 1, 2, 3, and 4 in GIMP with respective images. Once you are satisfied with the image, export it to JPG/PNG with File > Export option. You might want to scale the image down before you send it out. Open the exported JPG in GIMP and use Image > Scale option to scale the image to desired scale.
- This is 1080P edition (480X800 version is on its way, see below), so your emulator/device screen shots should also be 1080P.
- If your pano has BG image, disable it before you take screen shots and give it a plain #00ff00 color. After copying the screens in GIMP, select #00ff00 color in layer and replace it with alpha. Repeat for all pano items. In the end have a stitched, single background image, and copy it on the background layer in GIMP. You are doomed if you have #00ff00 color in other parts of your pano images, other than BG :-D. (Just kidding, choose some other color for BG which is unique).
- Because of parallax effect in panorama, you will get repetitive panorama title in your app’s screen shots. Initially, copy the screen as they are. Then, in GIMP, with Rectangle selection tool (R), select the title part, Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V to make another layer. Do same with all the pano items. Select Move tool (M) and move pano item 2, 3, 4’s title sections to left to adjust with pano item 1.
- Watch this space for a 480X800 version. Or follow me on Twitter @sanjayAtPilcrow.
I thought Normandy etc were rumors and Nokia+MS will never make the mistake of trying to cross enemy lines (yes, i know there are no enemy lines for businesses. but…) to win some battles on a tough to fight ground. I say Nokia+MS because I am not for believing that at this juncture of the deal Nokia could have gone and built Android devices on its own when it could not do it back then when they were an independent company. Tough fight because, Android scene is totally dominated by a much larger player than Nokia in hardware and much larger player than Microsoft in mobile OS. But, they did it. And, boy, if this is a strategy (as our Daniel Rubino of WPCentral suggests in his post here – Nokia’s shrewd move with the Nokia X undermines Google, bolsters Microsoft), are they really thinking! Are they thinking about those phone buyers who want a simpler Nokia path to stay on? Are they thinking about the confusion they have created for new buyers? Are they thinking about the dent they have made to the psyche of early adopters and loyal Windows Phone users, who did not come to Windows Phone because they couldn’t leave without, but they came to it because they could not stand other platforms? Are they thinking about the developers who helped built an ecosystem of healthy numbers of apps around a new, fresh, and promising platform, i.e. WP? Are they thinking that Windows Phone developers need to reap from their hard efforts they have put into WP? Are they thinking that this move is like shooing away developers from WP development? What are they thinking about? With NokiaX they have confused consumers. With NokiaX they have confused developers.
Just for the sake of argument, have a look at the impact of this strategy, if it is one, on phone buyers’ decision making. Decide for yourself, if this is a helping strategy or confusing strategy.
New Buyer’s confusion: Should I buy Nokia Asha or NokiaX?
Nokia Asha Users’ confusion: Now, should I buy NokiaX+ or Lumia 520?
NokiaX users’ confusion: Should I buy NokiaX+ or Lumia 520?
NokiaX+ users’ confusion: Should I buy Lumia or NokiaXL or some other high end Android?
WPDev’s confusion: Should I continue investing in WP ecosystem?
I am hoping Microsoft will soon do something to elevate WPDevs’ confidence in one of the best smartphone platforms, Windows Phone. WPDevs are your own devs, Microsoft. We know you are device and services company now but do not leave the technology and its developers in a fix. Let us know. We are also doing business. Hoping for the best!
As Terry outlined in his post, today we’re announcing support for a new series of lower cost devices like the affordable Nokia Lumia 610. These phones will open the door to new price points and customer segments in several high growth markets. We’re proud of the great experience consumers (and devs) are having with Windows Phone. This spring we’re going to bring that experience to a lot more people!
Growing the Developer Opportunity
We recently enabled Windows Phone Marketplace in Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines. Today we’re announcing that in the coming month we plan to extend Marketplace to customers in 23 more markets, including; Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.
That’s 28 new consumer markets this year alone, for a total of 63 markets worldwide where your Windows Phone apps may be sold. In terms of actual potential app customers, the addition of new price points and customers in China and the other new markets represents a near 60% increase in the total addressable market for Windows Phone. I told you it was a big step!
Keep reading here…