We noticed yesterday that iTunes included a big change in the Apple Store. The page that includes all the application information has changed it's layout in quite a radical manner. Now the app view page has a white background that goes with the front page of the AppStore. That change was done weeks ago and went for bigger app icons, less text and a prominent rotating banner for four features apps that take more than one third of the space in the front page.
The new App page layout includes 86% bigger icons that allow you to see all the details of the icon in your desktop screen. Now more that ever, developers will need to take care of design. You know why an icon is important, so make sure that the quality of it is at the level of refinement of the app (if not more).
Another critical point, and this is more substantial, is the reduction of text in the description and update section. Yes, the font is larger and the helvetica is easier to read than before. Even the black over white helps. But what has happened is that the description text has been limited to three lines. In the past we have seen how much of the descriptive text was filled with ornaments, stars, quotes from review, promo about other apps, discount and price changes, … and very little about the app. Now with only three lines on display, we are going to see a massive change, removing unnecessary spaces and symbols. I'm sure we will see some great three liners similar to an elevator pitch. You can expand to see the complete description, but only if you click a "More" link. This is the current state of some of the top ten paid apps.
This seems to be a very popular app right now, everyone's talking about it.
Screenshots are displayed different, allowing the user to see two at the same time. The previous version only displayed one, and to move to the next one required you to click on an arrow button. Now you can simply roll horizontally, which I find much smoother and way faster. Magic Mouse users will rejoice.
On small screens like my 13" macbook's, this clearly benefits the apps with vertical screenshots. I can get to see two full vertical instead of one and a half horizontal. I believe the new trend in the AppStore will be to compare screenshots side by side. Developers must make sure that screenshots are ordered correctly to let the user see what the app is all about in a quick glance.
The information about the app goes to the left column, along with the price on a bigger buy button. It is remarkable that the name of the developer, that used to appear as title of the page in the first line, now has a small spot just above the Copyright information. You can still access that developer page clicking on the submenus. On the other hand, they have included a small section named "More by…" That gives you a list of four apps from the developer and a small icon of one of them. I don't know it it's possible to choose which app is featured there, but it has a very important cross promotional value to it.
Now, he polemic graphs with the numbers of ratings given is on the left side. You can compare current version with all versions side by side. The comment section remains unaltered.
One of the biggest changes, that is likely to upset some publishers, is the inclusion of a recommendation slide bar with icons of games that "customers also bought". In my first hour using the new iTunes view, I only saw three gameloft games and one EA.
I haven't come across any app with a customer background, like Illusion Labs apps used to have. App ranking are still waiting to be revamped, lets see if they enable easier sorting and statistical graphs. These changes do not affect the AppStore iPhone app, that remains unchanged.
The new update is pleasant to the eye and it is packet with some nice animations. The reviewing process seems to me more refined as well. I neat update in my opinion.