I will not talk here about the importance of the design and platform guidelines. Let’s assume that you’re very well aware of that and how it affects the number of downloads, usage, conversion rate and overall user experience.
Hiring a designer can be expensive, especially for indie developers or startups. So you rely on your developers to “work something out”, and that seems especially easy with Windows Phone, since the “metro” design is so simple and flat. Well, from the apps we can see in the Store, it is not as easy as it looks like.
Good news – Nokia is doing something about it. I’m really happy to see this happening, because all we hear in the media is the number of apps, not how good (looking) they are. Ecosystems are playing that game as well, doing activities that vary from interesting to embarrassing, just to boost The Number Of Apps.
Bad news – all current activities are connected to Nokia’s DVLUP program, that is available only in a few countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Poland and Vietnam). But, I hope this will change very soon. (Please.)
So, this is what can you do to get help from a designer for your app:
Use your XP points to get consultation that will help you improve the visual appearance of your app. You’ll need 3.125 point for one-hour consultation, 7.500 for advanced consultation and 25.000 for total visual makeover (aka pro consultation). They’re quite “expensive”, I agree, but it can boost your app popularity and sales, and teach you a lot in the process. I’ve seen a few professional reviews of apps and they were all invaluable!
Go to a live consultancy event for free (UK only) that will take place in London on Wednesday, September 25th. All the details and registration form are here.
I hope that this is just a start – looking forward to see more activities in this area in the future!