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By garrettrossphotos on May 27, 2011

A few thoughts from the past week…

First, we are very happy that Carousel has been so well received. To see Carousel in the “New and Noteworthy” section of the App store as well as 2nd in its category is a thrill and I am really proud of all of the hard work our guys put into this product. We actually have some pretty good ideas on things we want to add to Carousel and we hope that those who have purchased it will continue to enjoy their experience.

Since this is our first desktop application, there were several things we wanted to learn from this experience. First, was what lessons from the mobile world could we take to the desktop. Second, was gaining a stronger understanding of setting up a cart system with Braintree (we’d always heard great things about them). Third, a better understanding of the App store. Throughout the process of this project, we have learned a great deal and we can truly say that the scope and approach to this project for us with our given time restraints, really ended up being the perfect side project. 

Thoughts on Mobile.

Our passion for design is deeply routed in the mobile world. It is what we are focused on. It is what we love. The amazing thing about such a relatively new market is already how much it is impacting and spreading to other mediums - like the desktop. The mobile influences in Carousel are very evident. The fact that it is based on Instagram, one of the best mobile photography platforms, speaks volumes in and of itself. The other key influences? That it has a small visual footprint. That it is built with technologies, like Chameleon, targeted towards mobile developers. That many of the design elements are influenced from mobile themes - like the polaroid. The main outcome though is that we feel our instincts were right. That there is a desire to change the desktop a bit. That more niche apps with mobile design influences are desired and needed.

Braintree

When it comes to selecting a cart system, there are quite a few choices out there. From Paypal to Amazon to Authorize.net… there are several very good alternatives to choose from. But the one that we’ve continually heard the most about from a development perspective is Braintree. They have great service, great integration capabilities, and a very reliable system. Having a seamless cart experience was important to us. Having a cart system that could handle different types of payments (never know for clients and for us), like monthly subscriptions, is important. The whole process took about 7 business days to get up an running. 

The App Store

The bigger question we had was what would be the impact of the App Store. Would we still need our own cart? Is anybody really using the App Store? How long would it take to get Carousel compatible with their requirements? In the future, would we do just an App store release for other products?

Now we know some of the metrics got influenced by both the 15 day trial and the fact that we stated we would be submitting to the app store. But we sold in 3 days on the app store about what we did in 2 weeks through our own site. The second big question was what did the rankings really mean? On that first day, you don’t really know what to expect as you see your app climb up the charts. We had our suspicions, but there is always a part of you that hopes for something more. Although we climbed to the top 100 in Gross Sales and the top 30 in Paid Sales, at the end of the day there really weren’t a lot of sales. Meaning? Only the top 10-20% of apps are selling well and making good money or maybe really only the top 3-5%. And the algorithms for the rankings is a bit of a mystery - although the process does seem to favor new applications a bit, which I feel really is a good thing.

So the App store does have an impact in a positive way. The process to get submitted and accepted is a lot quicker than the mobile store. (It took us about a week, including a fix and resubmission.) Now we are not sure if in the future we will do just an App store release. I can definitely recommend for most to do so, as it makes sense. 

Now we know that Carousel is not going to be our “retirement” app. It was never intended for that. It has taught us a great deal though and the desire to keep contributing to the desktop world has only increased.

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