When people think about “app stores” they tend to think about buying apps and browsing for apps, maybe even reviewing apps and rating apps. There’s an important step before any of that stuff can happen though, that’s developers submitting apps into the store to be bought, browsed, rated and reviewed.
As we move closer to the launch of Firefox OS, the Firefox Marketplace team has been thinking a lot about how developers submit their apps. I’d like to share some of that thinking today, as a preview of the submission process we’ll be rolling out soon.
It all starts with research Back in January, we ran a usability study on the existing Marketplace submission flow, to see how it was and wasn’t working for developers. We gathered a great group of developers from Brazil, France, The Philippines and Singapore to help us test the existing flow and identify places we could improve the experience. Here’s what we found:
- The submission flow on the old Marketplace homepage was hard to find
- The breakdown of platforms wasn’t clear, clicking all four platform options, they assumed their app would run with no problems on all supported platforms.
- Pricing information for an app was confusing, especially submitting a free app that has in-app purchasable content.
Bringing it all together
One we had identified problems with the existing Marketplace submission process, we went to work trying to fix them. We revamped the developer home page to make it clearer what was documentation and what was an entry point into the submission flow.
We worked with the Product Management and Engineering teams, who were already aware of the gap in the way we presented deployment platforms to users and the way the system actually worked, to create a more accurate more usable experience. This “Unbucketing” design replaced the four platform options that existed in the submission process (Firefox OS, Firefox, Firefox Mobile, Firefox Tablet) with a representation of the technologies, displays and input methods an app is compatible with, and then lets developers know which platforms their apps will run on. We also made the pricing information more straight forward with this redesign. You can actually play with a prototype of it now! Let us know what you think about it in the comments.