Being a standalone app developer in India is freaking hard! If you have a successful web service, you can only then afford to introduce mobile apps. Not many companies/startups want to even test the murky waters known as ‘mobile first’. Even if we are witnessing an increase in the amounts of Indian apps being developed, we still have some way to go before the scene lights up in the country. A critical aspect being missed by most Indian apps today is design. Design, they say is not just about how it looks but also about how something works. Even though this might be the case, I think Indian app makers should at least look at the skin-deep aspect of design and make it better because trust me, our apps do suffer because of poor design implementation.
Let us now take the case of this app called #nwplyng. A fairly youngish mobile-first app in the niche segment of music recommendation and sharing, it has been trying for a year to test its concept and see traction. We carried a review of the app when it launched and the app worked well enough for us. However, the traction from this first version of the app wasn’t significant at all, according to founder Utsav Aggarwal. Even though they had a functional app (v1.0) which was good (barring a few crashes here and there), the low number of users made him realize that there was something missing. He trusted the music sharing and gamification features of the app so it had to be the other important pillar – design.
Coming across progressive designers in the country is a bit of a task. it seems. Here’s what Utsav has to say about their hunt for designers and the current design aesthetic.
“We initially tried experimenting with a few freelance designers, all of whom failed miserably. Some would ask me to fly them out to Bombay, some would talk in USDs, and others just failed to understand basic design concepts while working for well known service companies.
After the process of bringing on multiple freelance designers, and firing all of them, we knew that we needed someone full-time & in-house. Once we had that, we got back to the drawing room and talked about many themes that we could go for. At that point, I was really into the Mailbox design & Google apps on iOS & Android; so that subconsciously played a role in the final theme.
We wanted music sharing to be an extremely rich & elegant experience. Also we wanted to focus on the album arts; something we lacked in V1.0. The real challenge was to reach the simplicity & minimalism of apps like Mailbox, the elegance of Rdio & Songza and highlight the album pictures at the same time. I feel we tackled that problem pretty well with the current version of the app, and it’s only going to get better from here! :)”
What they have ended up with is a front-end which is absolutely clean, good looking and deserving of much more attention. The design refresh is getting them some good attention already.
They are now at 3000+ users, definitely not much by any standard but you will be surprised to know that 2400 of those users have just boarded the ship recently after the design refresh. They are seeing an inflow of around 200 users per day. The number of daily music check-ins has jumped from 100 to 1000+ . The design refresh and the resulting attention has led their iOS app to be featured on the New and Noteworthy section of the Apple app store. If they can continue to add some great features and improve the experience further, the only way to go is up.
The use case for the app may be stronger abroad. Twitter Music, whose sharing features follow the same principles as #nwplyng, is apparently not doing too well in terms of app store ranking. As far as I can see, there is a need for easy music sharing and discovery but it should be a compelling product. #nwplyng has potential but it is not there yet. If it follows a similar trajectory, it will definitely fill the huge gap there is in the segment.
Website | #nwplyng
Top Image Source | Shutterstock