#ProTip: How to get users in the habit of using your app

Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.
Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf fishing for ProTips. It’s a rich hunting ground — it’s the world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers, the alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

It sounds counterintuitive, but for many iOS developers, the easy part is getting people to download their app from the App Store. The hard part is getting people to use the app. Ideally, developers want them to use the app regularly. They want them to get into the habit of using it.

How do you do that? Sally Shepard, an app consultant who spent many years working with big publishers, has a great little tip.

My awful life inspired Law & Order, Gamergate dev says

Game developer Brianna Wu
Brianna Wu, a female game developer whose life was turned upside down by Gamergate.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Game developer Brianna Wu’s life became the inspiration for an episode of the hit cop show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

While she was kinda flattered, she wasn’t entirely pleased. To get Law & Order: SVU‘s attention, your life has to be messed up one way or the other.

“There’s no good way to be on Law and Order,” she joked.

This year’s WWDC keynote was a mere ‘S’ upgrade, but that’s OK

Apple maps out its future each year during WWDC at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
Apple maps out its future each year during WWDC at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Every other year Apple releases an “S” version of the iPhone. Later this year, we’ll see the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The “S” models generally deliver modest improvements — better cameras, better networking, faster chips. But the basic design remains the same. The “S” suffix means the same, but better.

And so it goes with this Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. In terms of announcements of import, WWDC 2015’s kickoff was an “S” upgrade. It built on the spectacular announcements of last year, but didn’t break huge new ground.

And that’s OK. “S” upgrades are often underrated.

What if Apple’s Beats 1 turns out like BBC’s Radio 1?

dj
DJ Zane Lowe is heading up Apple's Beats 1 live radio station. If it's anything like the BBC's Radio 1 -- where Lowe made his name -- it could be the great music discovery mechanism that digital music's been looking for.

Please, please, please let Apple’s Beats 1 radio station be good.

Of all the announcements at Monday’s WWDC keynote, that’s the one I personally am most excited about. When it launches June 30, Beats 1 will be a 24-hour global radio station run by three DJs from three different cities around the world.

I’m a music junkie. I listen to music radio all the time, especially Radio 1, the BBC’s flagship radio station in London. To be honest, a lot of it sucks, but a lot of it doesn’t. It allows me — an expat Limey living in California — to keep tabs on Britain’s awesome musical culture.

And that’s what I’m hoping for — that Apple’s billions will privately fund a radio station that’s like the BBC’s publicly funded Radio 1 — on a global scale.

Apple hinted at such ambitions in the launch video played during Monday’s keynote. Done right, it could be the great music discovery mechanism the entire music industry’s been looking for.

Take a peek at the new version of OS X, El Capitan

Hair Force One rocking the El Capitan reveal.
Hair Force One rocking the El Capitan reveal.
Photo: Apple

Named after a giant granite cliff in Yosemite National Park, Apple’s latest version of OS X looks pretty good, with new ways to manage windows and better performance. Most importantly, it’s now easy to mute annoying audio in open browser windows!

Unveiled during the Monday morning keynote at Apple’s big WWDC programmers’ conference, Apple’s OS X version 10.11 is called “El Capitan.” It will be available to the public as a beta in July and a final release in the fall.

OS X El Capitan looks pretty nifty. It has several new window management features — including a split-screen mode — that make it productivity nirvana!

Here’s a recap of everything that was shown off Monday.