Sessions at this month's iPhone Tech Talk in Seattle revealed differences in usage by age groups, according to a developer report from the conference.
Developer Brian Lane, posted a rundown of the sessions he attended, including sessions on UI design, application purchasing, networking and database handling. He pointed to a number of interesting stats about iPhone use.
At the UI Design Essentials session, Lane was told that a majority of users purchase new apps from their phones. He was surprised by this and so am I since I never buy on the fly and instead check out on iTunes reviews and other editorial before buying.
Because of this buying behavior, developers were told to refine their icons and app titles.
Your icon is your business card and it will make or break the success of your app. Most users buy with their phones (this surprised me, I buy with iTunes) so all they see is your icon and the name of your app in their search results. The brain processes shapes and colors first, then texture and smaller details. This means your icon should have distinctive colors and a clear outline, not a complicated and cluttered design.
Landscape mode support was recommended, he said. Duh! However, it appears that Apple user studies show that iPhone owners under 35 prefer landscape, while older users use single-finger entry. Perhaps this usage behavior will change over time as older users become more familiar with landscape mode; younger users perhaps have already used other, non-iPhone devices that encourage two-handed entry.
In addition, Lane commented that many iPhone developers haven't really read through Apple's User Experience Guidelines for the iPhone.
I was also interested in his discussion about In-App purchasing support. He called it a "game changer." There are three types of purchases: Consumables, Non-Consumables and Subscriptions.
Lane said Apple leaves it up to each developer to track subscription information and expiration dates. Apple suggested that users be given the option of restoring everything they have bought, for cases where they are setting up a replacement iPhone. However, consumables will not be restored.