• How to use 99designs for App Design

    99designs invites us over for a guest blog post on “How to use 99designs for App Design”. We give details on our newest iPad app, Convert Units Free HD.

    Free The Apps! is an independent application developer for both the iPhone and Android platforms. In their own words, they described their experience in using 99designs.

    “Many people ask how we design our apps. We’re not Photoshop whizzes – so unfortunately we can’t say we created the awesome designs you currently see on our apps. However, we often have some good ideas about what we want and we’ve been able to utilize 99designs to help us make that happen.

    Recently, we were creating an iPad version of our popular iPhone app – Convert Units for Free, which has been downloaded over 7 million times and generated over $275,000. The much larger screen of the iPad meant we needed a completely redesigned interface so we decided to use 99designs and run a design contest. If we were to hire just one graphic designer, we would have been limited by the talents of that one person. Instead, 99designs allowed us to benefit from the perspective of multiple talented graphic artists.

    The two key concepts that help us hold successful design contests are:
    1. Give designers feedback early and often
    2. Run a blind contest instead of an open contest

    The best advice we can give is that the designers don’t know exactly what you want so communication is key. Make sure to give feedback early and to give it often. Holding a blind contest will encourage designers to submit their entries earlier, which will allow you engage with them more often and get more iterations on their designs. If the contest isn’t blind, other designers will be able to see the earlier entries and this will keep most designers submitting their entries until the last minute.

    We received 42 submissions for our application contest and were impressed by each and every design. If you don’t have the design chops to create a user interface on your own, that’s what the folks on 99designs are for! We found our experience saved us both time and money in the overall development of our app. Below are some stats after we selected a winner and launched the app in the Apple App Store.”

    Post Launch Numbers:
    Launched: November 2, 2010
    Downloads 1st day: 9,030
    Rank 1st day: #29 Overall Free, #3 Utilities Free
    Downloads 2nd day: 16,904
    Rank 2nd day: #14 Overall Free, #2 Utilities Free

    *Convert Units Free HD went live on the iPad app store on November 2, 2010 and was ranked #14 overall and #2 in utilities by the very next day.

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