In this post, I asked 4 Developers of Top Grossing Apps to let me in on their secrets for making the list. There is one hidden nugget in the answers those developers gave me.

One that unveils a tactic we all know but a lot of us hardly ever use to make our app stand a chance to make it into the Top 10 lists.

Developers of “I am T-Pain” and “Chat Time” gave me these tips when I asked them to let me in on their secrets.

…”We take a lot of time on the details – the fit and finish, the overall aesthetic….”
– Jodi Ropert, Smule

…”The biggest factors that have contributed to our high ranking is the quality of the app…”
– Doug from Chat Time

This under-used tactic is design. We all know our app needs to look good to engage users.

If your app looks like a Windows desktop app with buttons all over the place, your app has no chance of being featured by Apple.

And as you know, being featured by Apple is the holy grail we indie-developers hope to get for our apps because it is synonymous with dollars in the bank account 🙂

I can bet that out of the half a million apps on the App Store, there are less than 50,000 with great design. So why aren’t we using this tactic to put our apps in the Top 10% (less than 50,000 apps)?

I know 2 reasons why and I will tell you these reasons in the next email.

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  1. Marcus Rumbohm

    I think one reason is… lovely and aesthetic designs ( or good designers ) are to expensive for small companies.

    …and we all know… programmers are not realy good designers 😉

    • Michael C. Larsen

      I believe (as a designer myself) that would depend on what you consider too expensive. There are plenty of us who don’t charge outrageous sums but love to design and certainly would welcome the opportunity to get paid even a little to ply our skills. I’ve been a graphic designer for over 30 years from traditional methods to digital, including interface items such as themes and icons. I am not a programmer and you are right – programmers and technical backenders are rarely good designers. The job market for a long time has tended toward unreasonable demands as far as qualifications go, asking for people who are graphic designers, photographers, programmers, and office managers with marketing and sales thrown in as qualifications for a designer position. It’s not possible to have a person who is good at all those things, even if the job actually required all of those things – quality suffers! Find a person who is good at the one thing you want and offer them something reasonable to be part of the team making an app or creating a business. Sorry for the length, but overall I agree with the sentiment of the article and want to say good design IS widely available at very reasonable and affordable rates – a few inquiries here and there will get you one of those designers.