How not to submit an application to the Ovi Store

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Without word of mouth, the success of an application depends on getting into an App store, and making it easy to find. The approval process of application stores is a frequently complained about issue in the developer world, and the Ovi Store is not immune from these complaints. Therefore, if you are a developer looking to get into the Ovi Store, there are a few things you should bear in mind... Read on to find out.

To start with, developers wouldn't go far wrong by reading an interesting blog post entitled, "28 days later - an Ovi Store survival guide". In this post, the author highlights the pitfalls that they have faced in getting their applications submitted to the Ovi Store. Primarily they focus on the issues faced with entering correct descriptive (meta data) about their applications, and how these issues take a long time to be spotted due to the manual quality assurance procedures used in the Ovi Store.

When submitting a .sis file you tell which languages it supports, and also which countries it should be published in. There is a correlation between these two, and if you haven’t guessed it right – your app will fail. To exemplify:  If you put as countries: Worldwide, and languages: American English, Norwegian – it will fail. You are not allowed to publish an app worldwide if it’s only in American English and Norwegian.

Something that is not mentioned in the post linked above, is that of device compatibility. As reviewers, we have often been frustrated while trying to review Symbian^3 applications. As part of the Ovi Store filing system, developers must flag up which devices their applications are compatible with. As we all know, the current crop of Symbian^3 phones are identical when it comes to fundamental hardware, and due to the technical requirements of Symbian^3, this will not change.

However, we here at All About Symbian each have a different phone with which to test, and we often find that an application that comes out for the N8-00, is unavailable to the C7-00 or C6-01. As a reviewer, it is certainly frustrating not to be able to test something when our devices are compatible, but just don't have the right name ticked by the developer!

However, it is even more serious for consumers, out there willing to buy apps (and games - a particular offender here), but are presumably oblivious to some of the titles compatible with their phone, as the store will filter content to their device. This is simply because the person who submitted the title to the Ovi Store didn't tick all the boxes!

When it comes to discovery, the fundamental tool for consumers is the humble search box. In my experience however, both the Ovi Store and Android's Market Place have very limited search capabilities. Particularly so when dealing with spelling errors; these can come up either due to typing errors, or because the user has only heard the name of an application without seeing its spelling. In such cases, I have often found that an app store search will fail. The more resourceful consumers will probably then turn to the fuzzy, typo-tolerant, search capabilities of! Some users, newer to the application scene, may not be so persistent, which again means lost sales.

Summing up

If you are a developer looking to submit your application to the Ovi Store, here are some things to remember:

  1. Make sure your application is marked as compatible with every device it should work with - better to get error reports from the public if you can't test for yourself.
  2. Make sure your language support and region support are matched.
  3. Make sure your vendor and publisher names are matched.
  4. Find out as much as you can about the Ovi QA process before you submit your application.

To the application store developers - Please improve your search algorithms!

David Gilson for All About Symbian, 2nd February 2011.