April 18, 2017

How to Create a Click-through Guide for Your App

A click-through guide for a mobile app has the role to reveal the key functionality of that app to users and show them how to use it.

Some will argue that people should be able to figure out how an app works intuitively, just by looking at it, but click-through guides are becoming an increasingly popular marketing strategy as apps become more complex. In the same time, even in the case of relatively simple apps, users can benefit immensely from the ability to experience a straightforward interactive guide of an app right their browser, without the need to install it on their mobile device.

Mobile app developers are well aware of the importance of a landing page for app marketing. Including a click-through guide in your app web site or landing page is really easy and your users are going to be grateful.

This article explains how to create an interactive click-through guide like the one for the Evernote app embedded in this page.


1 Define the scenario you want to show

You can either show an overview of a few key features of your app or go for a specific use case showing users how to perform one particular task using the app.


2 Take screenshots

A click-through guide which shows people how to use your app needs to be as realistic as possible. So we'll use screenshots taken directly from apps running on mobile devices. As an alternative, you can also use app images generated from your design tool.

On iPhone and iPad, when you are on a screen that you want to capture, press and hold the Home button and then press the Power/Sleep button. Your screenshots will then appear in the Photo Gallery app. To find out how to take screenshots on other devices check this article.


3 Sign up to www.AppDemoStore.com

You can try our service at AppDemoStore for free - so go on an create an account.

You can sign in from your desktop or mobile device. Once signed in, you will be directed to "My Demos" page.


4 Create a new demo and upload your screenshots

On My Demos page, click the Create Demo button. Select a device frame from the gallery (you can choose from a variety of iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets). The frame will be visible when the demo is viewed on a computer and will be hidden when viewed on a mobile device. The frame can be changed later.

Upload your screenshots to by clicking the Upload Screenshots button and selecting the image files from your disk.

Scrollable Screens: To create scrollable screens, just upload a long image and then set its property "Image Layout" to "scroll". More details here.


5 Add interaction, animations and annotations.
Now it's time to bring the still images to life and make your guide clickable and interactive.
  • Use the Hotspot control to add interaction between your screenshots. You can choose the transition effect between screens (slide up/down, fade). More details here.
  • Use the Textbox, Callout and Link controls to add annotations, explanations, auto-typing and links.
  • Use the Timer control to simulate loading effects or show a screen for a limited time (e.g. splash screen).
  • Use the Arrow control to add customizable arrows. More details here.
  • Use the iFrame control to embed webpages in your demo.
  • Use the Image control to add small images on top of the screenshots.
  • Use the Video control to embed a YouTube video or a video stored on a server. More details here.
  • Use the Sound control to upload audio files or provide a text to be spoken with our Text-to-Speech functionality. More details here.
  • Use the User Input control to let users type information into a field that is carried over to the next screens. More details here.
The guide you've just created is HTML-based, so it runs in any modern desktop or mobile browser.

Common use cases for using your click-through guide
  • Share the link to your guide via Email or social networks.
  • Embed the guide into your website or app landing page.
  • Embed the guide into your Facebook Page. Learn how to do this here.
  • Embed the guide in your app. Learn how to do this here.
  • Download your guide as an HTML, ZIP or APK or PDF.
  • Capture leads and feedback with your guide.
  • Get in-depth analytics such as where did user click, interaction flow, exit screens, etc. More details here.
  • Use it as a starting point for generating an video guide for your app. More details here.

6 Reasons Why Console Gaming is Here to Stay

As the gap between gaming PCs and consoles widens, I've heard several people argue that console gaming is dead.

Not true.

The Playstation 4 has sold over 50 million units since launch. Nobody's quite sure about the Xbox One, but the estimate is about 20 million. Not to mention the Nintendo Switch sold like hot cakes once pre-ordering was made available. (That's a lot of people voting with their hard-earned dollars.)

No, console gaming isn't dead and it isn't dying anytime soon. Here are 6 reasons why.



Reason #1: Cost

Can you build a gaming PC for $400? Yes -- but it's nothing special. For a build that gets the most out of new games, you'll need to drop closer to $1,000. Plus you still have to factor in things like the mouse, keyboard, and gamepad (if you use one).

Again, gaming accessories for the PC aren't cheap either. You'll probably drop another $50-$100.

But a console comes with everything you need for $500 or less. Not even a contest.

"Oh YEAH?! Well, Steam sales let me get games for pennies on the dollar!"

I can't argue with that. I've bought dozens of games during Steam sales for next to nothing. Unfortunately, most of them sucked. But that's besides the point.

Microsoft and Sony have caught on. They realized they had to do something to compete, so they always have some kind of sale going on. During the holidays I picked up several great games for less than $10, and just last week I got some more good ones for less than $5.

Besides, if you buy a physical copy of a console game, you can always resell it to recoup some of that investment. So no, it isn't cheaper to game on PC. But you can keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.



Reason #2: Consoles Allow Borrowing Games

Remember when the Xbox One was first announced? Games were going to be Licensed, meaning you couldn't let your buddy borrow it.

When Sony announced that borrowing would be easy (and allowed) on the PS4, the crowd went crazy. Microsoft had to admit their mistake and change that feature.

Borrowing makes sense. If my brother buys an RPG that I can beat in 5-10 hours, there's no reason for me to buy it myself. I can borrow it, beat it over the weekend, and move on.

The same goes with Redbox games. I can rent a game for a few days, for a maximum investment of less than $10 -- sure beats dropping $60 for a digital PC copy that I only play through once. Services like Gamefly are even better since a relatively small monthly fee lets you rent games for as long as you want. If you put a lot of hours in front of your console, you can play a ton of games without much of a financial investment.



Reason #3: Less is More

...yeah, I dunno what's going on with that picture. But this is what PC modding is like.

I was so excited when I got my first gaming PC. Friends had always bragged about how superior they were to consoles for this and that.

Personally, I was mainly excited because my favorite game of all time is Skyrim. PC has a ridiculous number of mods, whereas (at the time) I'd only played on Xbox 360 with zero mods. 

But it didn't take long before I got overwhelmed. I spent more time modding than I did playing the game! 

Something else happened too. I started spending a lot of time researching hardware. I'd compare different GPUs, cooling systems, etc. I knew my computer could be better, so I was always on the lookout to upgrade it.

All of that was essentially lost gaming lost. Researching GPUs isn't nearly as fun as shooting ice spikes through Bandit's heads, or hiding behind a riot shield in Call of Duty while I throw C4 everywhere like a pyromaniac.

Yes, playing on a PC gives you a lot of modding and hardware options. But the simple life of a console gamer -- where those things aren't even options -- is nice. Ignorance is bliss.

Reason #4: Consoles are Easy

Websites like Can You Run It exist for a reason. I can't tell you how many times I've logged on there, only to be told that my PC didn't have the requirements needed for a hot new AAA game.

Bummer.

Luckily, I've never had to worry about that with my Playstation 4. I know it can play the game well. I know it won't overheat because the cooling system isn't sufficient for all of the power being generated. I know the power supply can provide all the juice necessary. I know my Dualshock 4 will work perfectly, whereas using it on the PC required software that would be finicky sometimes.

My console is easy, and I like that. I've always liked that -- ever since I had my original Nintendo Entertainment System.

Reason #5: Portability

Okay, okay. I know there are some things like the Alienware Steam Machine that are more portable than a full-sized desktop that most PC users use. But for the most part, consoles are much more portable than PCs. 

And if you're a hardcore PC gamer, I doubt you'll be investing in a Steam Machine. They just don't have the upgrade-ability or power you can put into a much larger machine. 

I like to play Call of Duty with my brother. Like, actually sit with him. It's just a lot more fun to talk about funny/intense/frustrating moments when he's in the same room than through a microphone.

Am I going to unhook my desktop and carry it, my keyboard and mouse, and all of the cables up to his house? Maybe- some people do. But I'd much rather take my console which is smaller, lighter and requires less hardware.

Reason #6: Exclusives

 My wife and I will probably buy the Switch just to play Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I love open world games and she loves the Zelda series. It's a no-brainer.

Sonys is killing it with exclusives. Bloodborne was a huge hit and still remains exclusive to PS4. Nioh is only PS4, and was another big success. And this year there are a lot more exclusives coming to my favorite console.

To be honest, this is probably the strongest reason why PC gaming won't kill consoles. As long as these types of contracts exist, there will be a reason for consoles to be around. “Because Nintendo has always been exclusive with some of the most popular games in the industry, I can't see how PC gaming will overtake this pocket of the universe,” says John Smith who works at Game Period.

Conclusion

Will video game consoles ever die? Maybe. Things are always changing. 

For example, the Steam Machines I referenced earlier now can now be had for just $449 brand new with a Steam Controller. It wasn't too long ago that the same machine was going for much, much higher. As technology gets smaller and less expensive, it may not be long before PCs overtake consoles.

But at the same time- Microsoft and Sony aren't just twiddling their thumbs. They're also innovating and designing new, more powerful systems all the time. And as the costs of technology go down and they leverage the power of buying in bulk, they may be able to compete. 

Consoles may die one day. So might gaming PCs as mobile technology continues to explode. But one thing is for sure- consoles are here to stay for the time being. 

This post is written by Gabriel Price, he works at Game Period.

May 10, 2016

HOW TO: Create a Demo or Tutorial of your Apple TV App

Spread the word

Starting this week, you can create demos of your OS TV app on AppDemoStore platform. Demos are a great way to promote your app or show how it works - especially for apps that are not free. It is a fact that people are more willing to buy a product if they have the change to "try before you buy" it.

This guide shows you how to create an online interactive demo of your app - like the one on right-hand side - in just a couple of minutes, for free. Your demo will be interactive, guided, online, easy to embed in your website or blog, and will run in the browser or on mobile devices.

1Make up your mind about the scenario you want to demo

One of the best selling scenario is showing your potential users how your app solves one of their problems.

2Take screenshots of this scenario, screen by screen

To take screenshots of the Apple TV App, follow these steps:

  • Install Xcode from the Mac App Store
  • Connect your Apple TV to your Mac with a USB-C to USB cable
  • Open Xcode and go to the Window menu
  • Open the Devices window
  • Select your Apple TV
  • Click on the Take Screenshot button
3Sign up to www.AppDemoStore.com

You can sign in from your desktop or mobile device, with your Google or Facebook Account or create an AppDemoStore account. You can create one demo with the FREE account.

4Create a new demo and Upload your screenshots to it

In the section "My Demos", click the "Create Demo" button. Select the Apple TV frame for your demo (available in the Others tab) and give your demo a relevant name. The frame will be visible when the demo is viewed on a computer and not visible when viewed on a mobile device.

Upload your screenshots to your demo by clicking the button "Upload Screenshots" and selecting the files from your disk (multiple file upload is possible).

5Add interaction, animations and annotations.
  • Use the "Hotspot" control to add interaction between your screenshots. You can choose the transition effect between screens (slide up/down, fade). More details here.
  • Use the "Textbox", "Callout" and "Link" controls to add annotations, explanations, auto-typing and links.
  • Use the "Timer" control to simulate loading effects or show a screen for a limited time (e.g. splash screen).
  • Use the "Scrollable Area" control to create horizontal or vertical scrollable areas. More details here.
  • Use the "Arrow" control to add customizable arrows. More details here.
  • Use the "iFrame" control to embed webpages in your demo.
  • Use the "Image" control to add small images on top of the screenshots.
  • Use the "Video" control to embed a YouTube video in your demo.
  • Use the "Sound" control to upload audio files or provide a text to be spoken with our Text-to-Speech functionality. More details here.
  • Use the "User Input" control to let users type information into a field that is carried over to the next screens. More details here.
The demo is HTML-based, thus runs in any desktop or mobile browser. We support the free account with Google-ads, but we try to keep them at a minimum. You can remove all the ads by upgrading to PRO.




Common use cases for using your demo
  • Share the link to your demo via Email or social networks.
  • Embed demo in your website or HTML email. Get the embedding code on the demo page by clicking the button "Embed". Your prospective users will be able to click through your app demo right on your website or email.
  • Embed the demo into your Facebook Page. Learn how to do this here.
  • Embed demo in your app. Learn how to do this here.
  • Download your demo as an HTML, ZIP or PDF and use it as you wish.
  • Capture leads and feedback with your demo.
  • Get in-depth demo analytics such as where did user click, interaction flow, exit screens, etc. More details here.
  • Use it as a starting point for generating a demo video for your app. More details here.

March 7, 2016

How to install an APK demo app on your Android device

Quick intro

Once you have an APK demo app it's really easy to install it on your Android device.

This will allow you to run your demo as a native app and it will even work without an internet connection.

To learn how to create the demo app APK follow this guide: How to build a native Android app demo

How it works


1 Enable Unknown Sources in your phone's security settings

Go to:

Settings -> Security -> Unknown sources

2 Connect your phone to your computer using a USB cable

3 Enable Transfer Files

On the phone you should get a notification like USB for charging - touch for more options.
Tap on it and enable Transfer files.

4 Copy the APK file

On the computer open the File Explorer tool (like Windows Explorer on Windows and Finder on Mac), locate the phone and copy the APK file to the phone's memory (for example in the Downloads folder).

5 Use a File Manager app to open the APK file

There's no default File Manager in Android so you have to install one - our favorite is from Asus: File Manager - but any other one would do the job.

6 Install the APK file

Open the file manager app and tap on the APK file. It will request your permission and the App will be installed on your device.

That's it: you now have your app demo installed on your Android device as an APK file.



How to build an Android demo app and export it as APK file

Quick intro

This guide explains how to build a native Android app demo and export it as an APK file.

All demo resources are packaged within the app, so your demo will behave as a native Android app and it will work even without an internet connection.

In order to create an Android app you need to have Android Studio installed - check out this guide for details: How to Install Android Studio.
You also need to have your demo downloaded as a ZIP file and unzipped on your computer.


How it works



1 Download the Android app project

The first step you have to perform is to download the Android app project template from AppSemoStore.com: AppDemoStore_Android_App_v1.2.zip

This is a ready-made app project which you can import into Android Studio. It containts a simple Android app which loads a demo html page in full-screen mode.

So, download the zip file and unzip it somewhere on your computer - for example on your D: drive.
2 Launch Android Studio

Launch Android Studio and, in the Quick Start panel, select Open an Existing Android Studio project.

Locate the folder where you have downloaded the AppDemoStore app project and open it.
Select the app project folder:
Loading the project takes a while - give it some time.
Click the vertical 1:Project tab to open your project:
3 Copy your demo HTML files

In Android Studio, locate the demo index.html file in the folder: app/assets/demo/

This is just a sample file which you have to replace with your demo files - you can safely delete it.

Copy your demo files inside the app/assets/demo/ folder. Of course, you need to have your AppDemoStore demo downloaded (as a ZIP archive) and unzipped into a local folder - for info on how to do that check this FAQ.

Tip: Copy all your demo files from Windows Explorer with Ctrl+C and paste them inside the app/assets/demo/ folder in Android Studio with Ctrl+V.

The app will specifically look for the demo html file app/assets/demo/index.html - so make sure it's there before moving further.
4 Test the app with the Android Emulator

Android Studio allows you to run your app on the Android Emulator which is a software that simulates an actual Android device on your computer.

Click the green "play" icon in Android Studio to run your app.

At the beginning you'll have to create an Android Virtual Device like in the images below.
Select Nexus 5X:
Select Android 6.0 with Google API:
Use default setting:
Your Virtual Device is created:
5 Run your app on the newly created Android Virtual Device

Select the Android Virtual Device you created to run your app on it.
6 Run your demo

Make sure everything runs as expected.

The image shows the default html page that comes with the AppDemoStore Android template. But you should have replaced that with your own demo, so you should be able to test it on your computer, before installing it on the device.
7 Generate the signed APK file

To be able to distribute your app as an APK file, you have to sign it first.

Follow this quick guide from Google: Signing Your Applications - you can jump straight to section Signing Your App in Android Studio.

If you copied the app template to your D: drive you'll find the signed APK file in the following folder:

D:\AppDemoStore_Andriod_App_v1.2\app

You can copy the app-release.apk file and rename it - you can give it the name of your demo for example.

Install APK file on Android device

So, you've got your demo as an APK file which you can install on Android devices as a native app. This article explains how to do that: How to install an APK demo file on your Android device.


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