Friday, June 3, 2016

Fixing App Store Discovery

John Voorhees:

The App Store’s Top Free, Paid, and Grossing charts are probably the most effective aspect of the App Store […] The trouble is, without a good way to discover apps beyond the most popular ones, it is extremely hard for new apps to break into the charts. Instead, the very existence of the charts perpetuates the position of the apps already on them, making it even more difficult for a new app to break into the charts.


As I write this, Twitterrific is the fourth result if you search for ‘twitter.’ The search results also include many other relevant results, but still return games, alarm clock apps, and other irrelevant results.

In my own experience, I have found that search results are also often inconsistent between platforms. The results returned for an app search in iTunes are often different than the results I get from the App Store on iOS, which are both different than the results returned by the iTunes Search API, which are oftentimes the worst of all. In short, App Store search results have two main problems – relevance and consistency.


Another area that needs work is search ranking. Precisely what goes into the ranking of search results is unknown and changes from time to time, but the rankings seem broken, which is curious.


The App Store's ability to filter search results should also be expanded. This is something that Amazon does particularly well. If I run a search and it returns thousands of results, I can narrow the search by criteria like price, color, and rating.

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