Developers muzzled in App Store makeover

Apple revised the layout of app pages in the App Store in iTunes, truncating developers descriptions down to a paltry two lines. Finally!

The App Store got a major visual overhaul on Friday night to include more and larger screenshots and less yammering by the developer.

You can view the new design by launching iTunes 9.0.2, clicking on the App Store, then clicking on any app. Previously you'd see a gray background with a long-winded (sometimes several scrolls worth) description by the developer on the right and a single screenshot that had to be clicked to see the next.

Now individual app pages feature a clean white background with a larger app icon to the left of the developer's description which has been (thankfully) truncated to two lines followed by a small "...More" link to the lower right. Previously developers monopolized that right column with too much overt selling and gaggles of quoted reviews instead of focusing on what the space was intended for, a description of the app.

Now Apple's taken the developer's bully pulpit away and left them with two lines to make their pitch. Sure, there's always that tiny "...More" link, but I suspect that most shoppers won't bother to click on it instead relying (like I do) on customer reviews.

Immediately following the description and Web links are the new supersized screenshots of the app. Up to three portrait screenshots can be viewed in a standard iTunes window, but the second shot gets truncated when landscape screenshots are used. This is mitigated by the addition of a new horizontal scroll bar which replaces the left and right arrows and dots that used to indicate that more screenshots are available.

On the left, just below the new, larger app icon is the vendor/app information, ratings and requirements followed by the customer ratings summary. The customer reviews remain in their previous location, under the screenshots.

Apparently Apple thinks that larger icons and screenshots will sell more apps. While both are steps in the right direction, for me it's all about the reviews. I use a 20/80 combination of screenshots and reviews to make my purchase decisions.

If I missed anything, please post it in the TalkBack.

What do you think of the new App page layout? Are you likely to buy more apps as a result?

Tip and Screenshot: TUAW

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