Finding Triviata on the App store: a discoverability quagmire

Triviata went live overnight, so today, I thought I’d explore how hard it is to find. Thanks everyone on Twitter who helped out as well.

Obviously the best way to promote discoverability is going to be through a partnered app on iOS but I thought I’d explore things from the perspective of a tvOS-only app.

Following Links

iTunes Connect does provide “View on App Store” links. For example, you can try following this Triviata link but if you open it on a Mac, you get this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.34.47 AM


Talking to Siri

Since I anticipated that Apple TV store discoverability is pretty low, I decided to try working first with Siri. And, unfortunately, Siri is not going to help. Can Siri find a trivia app? No, she can’t.

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To get this far, you must say”Siri, what can you help me search“. This is the magic phrase that pays. You cannot say:

  • What kinds of things can you find?
  • Can you help me find a trivia app?
  • Search for trivia in the app store

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.15.19 AM

Nor can you try to go in sideways by searching the web:

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But you can say “Find Trivia” and it finds you this.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.16.44 AM

Great, Siri. That’s exactly what I was looking for.

Update: Hunting around through the Apple TV internals, I found this:

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.20.58 AM

So clearly App searching with Siri is something that has been thought about if not implemented. (Right now you can use Siri to launch apps but not search in App Store as far as I can tell.)

Searching in App Store

So I hopped into App Store to see what it took to find Triviata. You’re met with the horrible, terrible, miserable, no-good text entry field.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.18.05 AM

Tip to the wise? Start your app names with ZZZ. Just do it. Because.. ugh. Regardless, I stupidly named mine Trivia. Let’s start typing.

“T”. Nope. Nothing there.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.08.39 AM

“TR”.  Nope.Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.08.44 AM

“TRI”. There’s now lots of trivia. But none of these are mine. How many people do you think are going to go for another letter? Nope, me either.

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“TRIV”. Oh there it is. Kind of. Bottom left corner. Hi there Triviata-if-you-scroll-down.

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And here’s its listing on the store:

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.31.02 AM

So it’s there if you can find it. Good luck finding it.

Hopping in Sideways

Next, I thought I’d try to use some lateral thinking. What, I thought, if there were an indy group helping to promote apps. Yeah, I know this has a zero chance of getting through Apple approval, but what if… So I wrote an app to test the concept.

Here’s the code:

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 9.54.51 AM

And here’s it running on Apple TV:

Not too shabby, right? Pity this has a zero percent chance of being a reality because it would be nice to be able to search on a Mac, send over a few URLs to a server, fetch them and navigate to them on Apple TV.

It is impractical, isn’t it? Let me know in the comments or a tweet/email.

I’ll be posting more about design philosophies, the limits of remote-only interaction, and how to generate promo codes in following posts. This one is already getting too long.

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