Here is the story about the “Actu Foot France Ligue 1” application, built on Make me Droid in 2013, and which now has almost 5000 downloads. The app lists the main french football teams and for each team, shows its Facebook page, Twitter page, its RSS news, and more. For that, we used the Make me Droid “data sources” a lot, for getting RSS feeds from the teams main websites, or from their Facebook page feeds.
Screens & Design
For the design, we wished to have a dark atmosphere. We chose a dark background image, representing a football grass. With a low opacity, to make sure the front content will be clearly visible. Caution with the picture size, it should not be too large to not make the app slow down: around 600×800 JPG or PNG, that’s fine.
Transparency, a lot of. Both for screen headers and footers, black with transparency, to let the background image appear. But also for the horizontal and vertical containers in the middle of the screen: white, with 70% transparency.
A custom font. Found on the 1001 fonts website. Most of texts use a custom font in order to create a great visual effect.
Icons, to illustrate the textual content. Found on icon websites such as Icon Finder, or Google Images. Use the PNG format of course, to get a transparent background. Forget the white-background dirty JPEG pictures !
That’s it. Nothing really complicated, the hardest part being to find the design ideas…!
Content & data
Content is dynamic. We used the Make me Droid data sources. But nothing very complex. We first looked for the RSS feeds (news) from the football teams websites. When it was not possible to find them, we used the RSS feed of their Facebook pages, as a backup. Those data sources are used in dynamic list screens, when we want to show a full news flow. Or sometimes in galleries, to show a horizontal scrolling news feed. And when we wanted to show only the latest news of the feed, such as on the main screen, we used the data source on a custom layout screen type.
To setup those data sources, that’s quite simple. Select the item on the screen (the screen itself, the gallery, etc) and change the data source from the properties.
In addition to this content, we also show the Facebook and Twitter mobile web pages of the teams, using HTML screens. We just had to find the links for those pages, and to put them into HTML screens on Make me Droid. A messaging screen was also added, in order to let users talk to each other.
Nothing special was done on this part. We simply chose a good app title, and a good app description on the iTunes and Google Play app stores. “Good” meaning that they have to use some terms and keywords that are often searched by users. “news”, “football”, “ligue” or “Paris football team (PSG)” are quite popular keywords on the app stores. So quite naturally, without a lot of efforts, people found the app. Furthermore, once an app starts to be installed, and liked (good rating), it also starts to appear in better positions in search results (leading to even more downloads)