App Previews are the New Screenshots

iOS 8 is easily the most exciting update since the App Store launched, and with it came some really great updates to the App Store — most notably App Previews, or what I like to call: 'the new screenshot.'

App Previews are the new screenshots. We can now embed short trailers along with the meta-data of our apps. This is a big win for both developers and customers. We already know that people don’t like to read app descriptions. App Previews are going to be huge. They make it extremely easy for a potential customer to get the feel for an app in 30 seconds or less.

I decided to take a “wait and see” approach with my apps (Wake Alarm and Quick Fit). Both apps have promo videos but App Previews are different, which is why I’m taking it slow and spending some time looking at what other developers are doing to get an idea of what’s out there and to gauge what Apple is expecting.

App Previews are the new screenshots. We can now embed short trailers along with the meta-data of our apps. This is a big win for both developers and customers. We already know that people don’t like to read app descriptions. App Previews are going to be huge. They make it extremely easy for a potential customer to get the feel for an app in 30 seconds or less.

I decided to take a “wait and see” approach with my apps (Wake Alarm and Quick Fit). Both apps have promo videos but App Previews are different, which is why I’m taking it slow and spending some time looking at what other developers are doing to get an idea of what’s out there and to gauge what Apple is expecting.

App Previews

I’ve been going through the App Store looking for well produced App Previews. I had a hard time trying to find some examples online. Sadly, you can only watch previews on the App Store with an iPhone or iPad, so my team and I did some digging and posted 20+ videos for you to peruse as you think about your App Previews.

You’ll notice that some videos show a basic screen recording of the app’s UI (Transmit iOS), others do it over a soundtrack without any accompanying text descriptions (Instapaper). To go a step further some have added transitions, text overlays and voice over. Apple doesn’t want you to turn this into an ad, so for now there’s a lot of restrictions on what you can do. This could and will hopefully change just like the initial ‘no text on screenshots’ restriction was eventually ignored.

Some key takeaways here are — the production value of your video should reflect the production value of your app, focus on what makes you unique and highlight it in a visual and engaging way — make those 30 seconds count.

A couple of the App Previews that really caught my eye were Clear and Scanner Pro. They do a great job of implementing two very key App Preview techniques — text overlays depicting the feature being shown, and finger-tap gestures to give the user an idea of how the app works. Along side these techniques, these App Preview feature very smooth transitions between screens, and guide the user through the entire experience of the app.

(Sorry there’s no sound on these videos)

SOCIAL

Twitter

PRODUCTIVITY

1 Password

UTILITIES

Transmit iOS

http://vimeo.com/106547786

Endless Reader

http://vimeo.com/106548214

WEATHER

Yahoo Weather

ENTERTAINMENT

Epic Zen Garden

http://vimeo.com/106547692

PHOTO

Replay Video Editor

http://vimeo.com/106547995

TouchFish

http://vimeo.com/106548128

Badland

http://vimeo.com/106547496

CSR Racing

http://vimeo.com/106547690

I would love to hear about any App Previews that you really enjoyed. Looking forward to sharing more tips. I’m sure we’re going to be seeing a lot more videos on the App Store!

Feel free to continue the conversation with me on twitter @robjama.