16 Aug

iOS Design Weekly: Launch Story and Statistics

Introduction

iOS Design Weekly was inspired by Dave Verwer’s iOS Dev Weekly. After receiving his first issue I thought that the design side of iOS needed something more. So much of the iOS community is focused on development, that design doesn’t get talked about as much. Everyone knows the importance of great design in iOS applications, but not as many people are explaining how to achieve it. Especially when you compare it to how many developers are sharing their code examples and knowledge through blog posts, tutorials and Stack Overflow answers.

Planning & Design

I started thinking about all of this Sunday afternoon and decided to move forward with it later that evening. First I needed a domain name. Quite a few domains were available including iosdesignweekly.com, iosdesign.org, and others. Plenty of decent options to choose from. I ultimately went with iOSDesign.co (I’m curious what other people think of .co domain names). The reason I didn’t go with iOSDesignWeekly.com is I may want to expand it into a full blog or other site in the future and didn’t want a domain name that would limit my options.

With the domain name taken care of I moved on to design. I spent about an hour with different design concepts before finally coming up with the one you see here. On the right you can see an earlier concept that I didn’t go with. After completing the design in Photoshop I took a break and spent time with my wife (always recommended!).

Markup & MailChimp

Monday morning I got up early and started to implement the design. I had already decided on MailChimp for my email provider for a couple reasons: a great free plan and their interface for designing emails is very easy-to-use. The free plan goes up to 2,000 subscribers. When I reach that number I can start paying.

Coding the form was fairly easy (I used the provided code, then heavily customized it). The only real issues were around getting the form validation to look right. Also there were a lot of inline styles to strip out.

Then it was time to go into work.

Permission & Launch

With the site up and running I was ready to launch. But then I thought: “What if Dave Verwer didn’t like what I was doing?” Not that he had exclusive rights to iOS newsletters, but I really like his project and never plan to upset someone if it can be avoided. So I asked. Sent a quick email, which he responded to in minutes saying he thought it was great and would link to it in the next issue of iOS Dev Weekly.

Now time to launch: I posted to Hacker News, Dribbble, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Hacker News produced the most traffic by far, with Dribbble next, but not anywhere close. Surprisingly it didn’t go anywhere on Reddit where I have previously picked up quite a bit of exposure. I’m not sure what I did wrong there.

Below is unique visitors and subscribers for the week. August 8th was the launch day, and almost all of that traffic is from Hacker News. At the peak the story made it to the middle of the second page (which only required 7 up-votes) and received over 400 clicks.

The second spike is from the link in iOS Dev Weekly (thanks Dave!). Overall the conversion rate is very high (very targeted traffic!), but look how much higher the conversion rate is from iOS Dev Weekly.

Here are some stats:

  • 279 Subscribers in the first week.
  • 732 Unique visitors in the first week.
  • 18 hours from idea to launch (3 hours of time actually working on it).
  • 7 Up-votes on Hacker News.
  • 7 Likes on Dribbble.

What’s Next?

Now I have to actually create the newsletter. Each issue will go out on Wednesdays, starting tomorrow. From there we’ll see where the site goes.

If you are interested, signup here: iosdesign.co. Also please send me any article ideas you may have.

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