Do you ever just download an app based on the icon?

By camera531 on 2 Jul 2014 08:57 pm EDT
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Virtually all of the apps I download have a purpose (most are native), and whether for news, social media, gaming, productivity, etc., they add some real value to my Q10. There are a select few on there for a different reason, however. The sole purpose of their existence is to look good, because I really like the app icons. I've never even opened some, while others were briefly explored and then abandoned.

Unlike Kevin's infamous Cesar HQ Limited Edition Desktop Clock App purchase, which at least had a level of curiosity and mystery behind it (Something special must live within such an expensive app, or so he thought), my special apps are basically mindless eye candy. I had no intention of actually utilizing any of them. At least for me, the first impression of the icons was enough to initiate a download.

So let's take a quick look at these app icons and further explore the mind of a madman.

  • Halloween Skeleton Ragdoll by Nathan Caldwell: What can I say, the app icon is a skull. And an awesome, anatomically correct skull. This is a free app and apparently an interactive marionette of a skeleton, without the string. That's all there is to it. It's probably a fun way to kill time, but I've never actually opened the app and it sits on my phone like a genie trapped in a lamp. There's just something ominous about this skull and it's a door that will remain locked. Why open Pandora's Box? But it looks cool.

 

  • rad.io by radio.de GmbH: This is actually a very popular app and carries the "Built for BlackBerry" designation. It's also free and provides access to over 10,000 radio stations, podcasts and more. I even know people that use and love this app. And who wouldn't? I'm sure it's great, but for whatever reason, I just don't use it. Maybe I'm too lazy to start exploring 10,000 stations. The reason I have it on my phone is very profound, though. If Shrek had taken a radio into one of the telepods in the movie "The Fly", he'd come out looking like rad.io's app icon. That's a degree of awesome that I can't even quantify.

 

  • Recycle Bin For BlackBerry 10 by Miciniti: This also carries the "Built for BlackBerry" designation and allows users to protect files in a secure location, either on the phone or an installed memory card. There are a lot of features, including the ability to move single or multiple files, move files or folders from within an app, and so on. While not free, the $1.99 price seems more than fair for what it provides. So why do I have it? The icon resembles the Recycle Bin from my old Windows 7 computer. Maybe it's nostalgia or maybe I wish my BlackBerry ran Windows 7 (trust me, I don't), but whatever the reason, I like having it on my first page of apps. It just looks important.

 

  • Hungry Cat Mahjong by Wangpengfei: From what I can gather, this is a version of Lianliankan. It involves a cat or kittens and Mahjong tiles probably play a role. I don't think English is the first language of the descriptions author. "More than more than 200 points, the girls absolutely love, is definitely not ordinary Lianliankan!" is part of the description. I bet it's fun, but I'm completely lost. The official description is just over my head. The app icon has what appears to be a yawning cat head over Mahjong tiles, but it really looks like a drunk cat having a fun night in Vegas. And "the girls absolutely love". Well, that's good enough for my phone. It's also free, though the reviews are pretty bad! Still, awesome icon.

 

  • Wizard's Choice Volume 1 by D_Light Games: This is a free RPG (role playing game), is text-based and a "Dungeons & Dragons" style adventure. It's a story that the player controls, as "decisions are affected by earlier decisions". I'm not a real gamer (Angry Birds is more my speed) so this one will probably never get played, but I'm sure it's fun nonetheless. It's also part of a series with many volumes. The true genius lies in the app icon design, which has a cute girl in a medieval bikini holding a red light. And she looks like she's about to kick some butt. Maybe I just feel the need to have Xena: Warrior Princess on my phone. It's amazing what can happen when I'm stuck in gridlock traffic, like downloading Wizard's Choice Volume 1.

Of course, having these apps on my list doesn't imply that they aren't great and designed by hard working, dedicated developers. It does, however, indicate the importance of icon appearance, especially for lesser known apps. I'm sure Facebook, Twitter, BBM and Password Keeper could get away with icons looking like a used diaper, but when browsing around an app store, an icons appearance provides an important first impression. When you think about it, the majority of developers are hitchhiking as we drive around, so they better dress their apps in the best outfits possible. Even Apple's new icons were controversial when iOS 7 launched (many still hate them), further illustrating how important icon design is.

Developers work a lot harder than me when creating an app and they're truly the backbone of an operating system, but neglecting the app icon is comparable to pushing out a horrible trailer to an otherwise good movie. Many of you have probably also downloaded apps that are rarely, if ever, used based on the icon. If you haven't tried some of the apps on my list, give one or all a try. You just might find your next favorite. And let me know what "vanity" icons you have on your BlackBerry. How important is icon appearance to you?

[This post was written by Erik Slaven, CrackBerry member camera531, as part of CrackBerry's Community Homepage Contributions initiative]

Reader comments

Do you ever just download an app based on the icon?

132 Comments

Great to see you again camera 531

Posted via CB10 on my awesome black Q10 or my white sexy Z10

BlackBerry really needs to streamline the look of their apps. This is where Apple shines:
CONSISTENCY.
Since Apple has just copied a bunch of BlackBerry concepts in their latest OS, I think BlackBerry owes them a touché by copying the flat look; oh yah! That is in 10.3.x.

Why do some of you people want everything to look the same? Apple is Apple, BlackBerry is BlackBerry, Android is Android, and so on and so forth. It's understandable that people want certain apps to work the same across the board when it comes to platforms, but when you start asking for icons to look the same, or to be "streamlined" like that of another platform, that's a bit much. Choice/difference is a good thing. You're not necessarily going to like everything about a certain platform, and if you do, good for you and that platform. BlackBerry's icons are fine like they are in my opinion.

Posted via CB10

Actually streamlining the design of app icons (at least setting guidelines for the design) is a good idea. Would create visual consistency and a more visual pleasing UI for the user.

Posted via CB10

You got it. My BlackBerry is better than my iPhone in most aspects, but sorry, icons on the BlackBerry are not one of them.

Spoiler alert: the 10.3.x icons are a BIG improvement.

I admit, at first appealing icon caught my attention but I soon learn not to be dependent upon appearance.

Posted via CB10

SuperTube is one of the best apps, but the icon design has had a lot of negative feedback here on CrackBerry and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, the app is awesome, I would NOT want to miss it. Purely going by the icon, I would have probably skipped it.

One of my favorites is Video Shrinker for BB10, awesome icon, a steamroller squashing an old-school roll of film.

Great app to get those videos under the limit, so I can BBM them (need that, Story Maker items are usually too large, even in 720p). Check it out!

Pasted via CB chen

I download so much random stuff lol. I certainly agree though, when making an app you should always have your icon look the best. If you don't care about the icon, chances are good the app isn't good either.

I agree, I am so analysis with my phone I make sure the icons are the same size as their closest partners. If not they get moved to a folder, useful or not. Not exactly the most productive route, but it makes the app area look cleaner.

Z10

I don't agree. If a app is made by a one-man-show like ClipMan, Talk2Watch or BaSA there is maybe a good programmer behind, but in the most cases a good programmer is not a good designer!
There may be exceptions out there, but rather rarely. :-)

Absolutely! Worth 10$ and 6 stars + bonus hug without discussion.

Created as it seems by a skilled developer but at the same time this guy is a poor designer. I don't like the icon, but I placed it at my first screen because in functionality it beats everything else at my device.

Hey bud this has nothing to do with you post lol but I was wondering is there a way to get the Google Voice SMS integration app to work on BlackBerry Q10 I've downloaded it and signed in but won't receive texts or send them. Any ideas bud??

Posted via CB10

A nice icon is part of a well-rounded package. It is often the first thing that a potential user sees. If the icon looks poorly done (sloppy or crude), the viewer might think that the dev also didn't bother putting the effort into making a quality product.

Posted via CB10 on Z10

I can't say I have downloaded an app based solely on the icon, but I regularly avoid trying apps simply because they have low quality icons.

Posted via CB10

I've seen many complain about the Super Tube icon being ugly. I personally have no problems with the icon, but you 'd be missing out on one of the best Youtube clients out there, if you go by looks.

On topic, I've never downloaded an app just for the icon.

I admit that the super tube icon and specially the cheesy splash screen is the reason why I prefer fast tube over super tube

Posted via CB10

I agree. There are some apps that I like I terms of how it works, but I cringe at their icons. Sometimes I mentally just go "WTF?!" when I look at the icon. It’s part of the marketing. Make it count!

Posted via CB10

Memory of which kind storage or RAM.

Those of us old enough to recall and live computer revolution know the difference and kind of scratch out heads and wonder seeing a passage such as above.

 BlackBerry Z30  If it Don't Make Dollars, It don't Make Sense 

Of course i downloaded the CrackBerry app for its icon.

After reading this article i downloaded the 'Recycle Bin', more so for its main feature though, and its universally known icon.

As i looked through my icons, 'Drugs Wars' wins this for me....shout out Bla1ze!

BBv.10

Icons are certainly important, I've bypassed probably plenty of good apps because they had lousy icon.

Z10STL100-3/10.2.1.3247 | Bell | CB10

I make the judgement call as to whether to go for the app or for a competitor based upon the appearance of an app icon that's for sure

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

The icon for the app Body Buddy (which is supposed to be awesome) annoys me so much I won't even click on it.

Posted via CB10

Na, space is really valuable to me. The app has to be one that I really need and use a lot.
Appearance of the icon has never played a role in whether or not to download it.

Posted via CB10

I 100% download an app if I like the icon, just like I'd ask a girl out if I like her face. Not anymore though, I've got a giiiiiiiiiiirrrlllfriiiiieeeeeeendddd. Boooooooo. I also organize apps based on icons on the second page, derrr who doesn't.

Posted via CB10

I give icons a huge importance but it's not mandatory. I don't keep apps on my phone if I don't use them (actually just deleted 12 unused apps from my Q10).

BlackStar on legacy devices had a horrible icon resolution but I kept it on my 9930 because it was a very useful app.

 BlackBerry Q10  Keep The Faith 

An icon has definitely been a deal breaker in some instances. Conversely I would not keep an app around just because it has a cool icon.

Triptastic!

I have to admit, the icon does make a difference. I like my phone to be visually pleasing, so the icons matter. Then again, I also have OCD... so it may just be me. but still, A higher quality, original icon may lead me to believe it's a higher quality app and be just the push required to purchase it.

Posted via CB10

When I got my first BlackBerry (it was a storm 2) I was all about icons I didnt even looked what they are, it really was all about ICONS. Lol

But then when that fever went well I started to look at the icon, try the app and then decide if it stays or delete. As someone mentioned because of the memory ,and also I think it keeps the phone faster I don't know just my guess!

Posted via CB10

Ugh, The Blackberry Storm. What a horrible, horrible, horrible device. Still haunts my life.

Posted via CB10 on Blackberry Q5

That thing is the reason my brother switched to iPhone. And took his family with him. There go five BlackBerry users who are never coming back. The whole phone clicks... what could possibly go wrong... he mocks it to this day. :/

Posted via CB10

No, never. I check, re-check and check again whether I really need an app before I purchase /download an app. Gotta keep the Q10 a lean machine.

OTOH, I completely agree that the icon has to be impressive. I spent a month once to get a corporate app icon just right. And, I had a captive audience, who had no choice but to use it.

It's the principle. A clean icon means the developer cares about the details.

Posted via CB10

For known and widely used apps, the icon doesn't matter at all to me. However fore little known apps, a bad icon conveys a cheap and unpolished image that will make me stay away from it.

If you didn't take the time to creaft a good icon, you probably cut a lot of corners with your product!

Posted via CB10

How about an app that does something useful and has a decent icon. I find apps fall into about 5 areas.
1, calendar/contact/diary
2. Weather- apparently we need 50 of those types of apps
3.travel/shopping/maps
4.business/messenger/phone
5 games/movies/music /photo

Their might be other niche categories but for the most part they fall within these. I actually fail to see how adding more of these types unless they are greatly superior to any of the established apps already out there. Can someone at least come with some original ideas?. I think if you took the top 3 from each category or even the top 5 that leaves about 30-50 apps so why do we need 1 million to choose from. My guess is that only about 1 percent are actually popular the rest is just pointless. Sure the icon can make a difference but having some originality makes for a much better chance of having something people use.its like a live band you can try cover tunes all you want but you won't make it big until your original. That's what developers should be thinking about

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

I've never downloaded an app simply because of its icon, but icon design has affected my decision when picking between two apps that had the same feature set.

Wow that is weird... Like really, really weird. Can't say I've ever even considered downloading an app just to have a "cool" icon on my screen, haha

I can't say whether or not I've downloaded an app based on the icon, but I can say that if the icon looks like someone used Microsoft Paint to create it I've avoided it.

I believe that if you don't have a professional develop your icon you are probably missing out.

Posted via CB10

this is an interesting question, it looks like you (who wrote the post) already did it! Yeah, it happens, but if the app is not well coded or doesn't suit my needs I erase it of course.

 does it better!

I am more curious to the apps that you do use, especially those for 'productivity'! Could you tell us that? If BlackBerry wants to aim its phones at prosumers, what are those so called productivity apps?

Downloading an app just because the icon looks pretty? People really do that?

Can't say I should be all that surprised because a lot of people base their decisions simply on how something LOOKS, rather than actual quality (cars, phones, clothes, significant others, etc)

I admit sometimes i'm disappointed if an app's icon is lame but if the app serves its purpose I don't care. I organize my apps so they aren't displayed on the main screen anyway

Posted via CB10

I'm on the same page when it comes to app icons, except for one called CascaRun, it is an awesome app for working out and exercises of different types, but why why why the icon, a running yellow sheet of paper, it deserves better.

Posted via BlackBerry Z30!!!

App for the icon? Why would I do that?

I get apps when I have a use for them or consider them useful enough to have. (there is an ocr app that I have but don't use - but I want the ability, I do use the photo -> pdf app every now and then)

Apps that I don't use or do not have a use for just waste my space on the phone.

Posted via CB10

I don't download for icon, but I hide apps when I don't like the icon. For example, I can't stand orange so I always have crackberry on another page instead of main app page).

Posted via CB10

No. I won't buy anything based purely on looks. For me usability is important. That's why I got a BlackBerry in the first place.

Posted via CB10 from my Z30

I use rad.io quite a bit. Because it's searchable, I've found many stations which play music I like.

Its icon doesn't do anything for me one way or the other. But it's unique and I can always find the app on my phone even if I've rearranged things.

Posted with my Q10, SQN100-2, 10.2.1.2947/2274 Radio

Hungry cat is a great Game, but I never looking at the icons so often :D

Wenn du das Weinen verlernt hast, bist du bereits tot (Sayumi Whisp)

Delight Games' interactive novels are awesome.. I have read the most of them on my lumia 520. Wouldn't mind reinstalling them on my Z10 :)

I install apps IF they serve a useful purpose. The appearance of the icon does not factor into the equation at all.

Posted via CB10

Fun article and well written. I'm enjoying your contributions, camera531.

I downloaded the skeleton app but it wanted access to my phone number and shared files so I bailed out of the installation. Can't imagine why a skull would need to see my photos. The icon can sit there harmlessly and look good, but I had wanted to try it!

Posted via CB10

Premium looking icons DO get the fancy, i agree. I download loads of apps everyday and delete them too.
Usually most of them are the bad(nice looking useless) ones.
I really like the crackberry icon. Keeping it on the first page makes my Z30 look pretty good must say.

I never download an app based on how the icon looks. What the app does is what matters.

Posted via CB10

No. I only download something I need or use. Personally I could care less what the icon looks like; as long as the app does what I need it to do, nothing else matters, app name, icon, etc.

Posted with my  Q10.

Good point @camera531. The app icon needs to look good as well! Developers should put some extra effort into it.

Yes I have downloaded for the icon.

Posted via CB10

No. I only download apps that I think I will use, and I prefer them to be Built for BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

Yes I did with. "TubeMate" (android) and "Secure browser" (BB10). TubeMate is not only good looking Icon, it is an amazing App also :)

RedBerry Z10 #00167 10.2.1.3247

I love the discussion this article is generating! I'm in the camp of people who may not download based off the icon only, but it will affect whether I try an app, and will affect my choice if I need to choose between a group of apps that do the same thing.

It would be funny to do a part 2 of this article where apps with less than ideal icons that we still have downloaded are discussed. Keep up the great work!

Posted while peeking and flowing on my incredible BBQ10! 

I like the Snap icon although it's used often. I'd keep it if I didn't use it though.

Double typed without the help of AutoCorrect. Q10, 10.2.1.2174

No but i will refuse to download an app if i don't like the icon especially in cases where there are multiple apps that perform the same function.

Mostly YES, it's called Marketing or Advertising. The flashier, easier to see, the more effective for sales marketing...

" Initiated from my QNX10 "

I'm a folder guy, but I do rearrange the apps within the folder so that the best looking ones show on my home screen.

Posted via CrackBerry App

Actually I'm one of the suckers that must try/download and oggle featured apps.
If BlackBerry World features it then my curiosity is perked and it's chances of it being downloaded by me are very good, especially if it's free. Granted not all featured apps get dled - just if they look useful / interesting enough. Ugh - I have to go through and erase some more apps though - I'm out of space again.

Posted via CB10

Also if paid apps go for free for a limited time, I must download them in case someday I want to use them and don't want to pay for them. (EA games was a big example of this, and the x days of Christmas apps too.)

Posted via CB10

Personally I don't consider how good an app's icon is when I get it. If it looks super cheap though, I will think twice

Posted via CB10

Anybody else have OCD with icon placement / balance issues? E.G. If I download another app, I will have to download another for balance or do some re-organizing. >:]

Posted via CB10