With a web app, and a link directly to it, all 17000 visitors would have tried it. That's 170 times more. Staggering.
One of the reasons I prefer web apps and recently started adding the benefits of progressive web apps to my sites.
The web app is great, I don't know why they want me to fill up my phone's hard drive with another useless app.
This is partially why Android users have to be as careful about downloading apps as Windows users.
(Isn't that more than the entire original Linux distributions from the copyfest era?)
And Windows 95 was only 55MB install.
Give me a website though? I'll check it out. I also don't keep random tabs open either. Inbox zero applies to tabs too.
Under a window centric workspace like Windows and most Linux DEs, a window is good enough, but under macOS it’s not.
False. Chrome Shortcuts turn websites into web apps on desktop. Something similar should be available on other browsers, too.
BTW, you can make shortcuts to web apps from Chrome that open in their own window, and works like an app. Basically a single page, but with all browser controls removed. So it's a separate app on your window list, with the site's fav icon used as it's icon.
I do this with Whatsapp.
OP, please share the OS of those 17,000 users, if possible.
If the intention of the writeup was to discuss the process behind building the app, it apparently was successful in getting attention and generating discussion. If the intention was to get app installs, then this is a case that really could've benefited from a TLDR at the top, or at least a more direct, more obvious link to the app.
And I'm not convinced that it being a web app would have solved the issue, either. A writeup like this that linked to the webapp would face the same issues as described above. A direct link to the webapp would probably have me open it, spend 3-5 seconds looking at the splash page, and unless that splash page gives me a TLDR hook and a reason to actually stick around, I'd probably close it. In that case, your user engagement metric might include that as me having "tried" the app, but in reality all I did was open the splash page and then close it.
I’m not sure where that comes from, but I have to fight it constantly. My key piece of advice on wiki page design, for instance, is that the first question the person has is “am I even in the right place?”. The first or second sentence has to tell someone why they should care about (or not!) the rest of the page.
And I find myself violating that advice at least once a week. It’s hard but then most important things are.
all I did was open the splash page and then close it
I would expect over 50% of users to take that first step. That is what I saw in similar scenarios.
That's why splash pages (and writeups, like the original) are important. But as mentioned in my previous comment, those splash pages/writeups also have to be effective advertisements.
without any explanation of why I should use your app,
or even how I'm supposed to use your app, I would
close it immediately.
It wasn't until many months later, after experience with other sites with similar interfaces, that I actually started using HN because I then understood how and why to use it. The HN interface is intuitive enough and similar enough to other website to understand that you're being shown comments and a reply box when you click on a link.
That's not the case with this . If you linked me directly to a page that looked like this, without any explanation of what these boxes of text are telling me, where they are coming from, or what they are, I would not use it. The button next to them (a grey box with a plus symbol on it) doesn't explain to me at all what it does, and is not something you see enough in other apps to make a good enough guess as to what it does. After reading the blog post, my assumption is that clicking that button is supposed to send me an email, I think? But I would have absolutely no way of knowing that if you just linked me directly to the app.
edit: if you download the actual app, the first page it shows you actually is a splash screen that gives a brief explanation of what the app does and why. If that same splash screen content had just been shown and linked to at the top of the original writeup, I suspect he would've gotten a lot more installs.
The button next to them (a grey box with a plus symbol
on it) doesn't explain to me at all what it does
- Made it to #10 or thereabouts, and hung around on the front page for ~2 hours
- Got around 10 (free) signups directly from it on the day. At the time we were averaging 10 signups a day, so it doubled that day's attention
- Lots of encouraging feedback, which was great, and a good gauge of what (very) prospective customers might be interested in. No substitute for the learning from direct "sales", though (even when giving the product away for free)
- Harder to measure the long-term awareness effect, but people very rarely mention they saw Dependabot on HN (they're much more likely to have seen it working on an open source repo)
- Getting onto the front page was hard work! You can see from my submissions how many times I tried!
Overall my advice to anyone with an indie app would be to do the hard work of selling / building word-of-mouth referrals. Working on marketing-style blog posts looks easy and effective when you see others doing it, but very few people talk about the numbers that come out of it, and all of the "misses" where your content isn't picked up at all.
 Original post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15953694
 My submissions: https://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=greysteil
I posted a screenshot with a one line caption on Reddit one evening then went to bed. The next morning, I noticed that my project had a lot of stars (it went from like 10 to 500 overnight) and I noticed that the numbers kept going up every time I refreshed the page. Then I found out that all the traffic was coming from news.ycombinator.com (not Reddit as I was thinking).
When I got to work that morning, I asked my colleague what Hacker News was and I told him about my GitHub stars. He was shocked when he saw my project on the front page on HN. By his face I understood that it was like winning the lottery.
My open source project is still doing well almost 5 years later so I can say that it was a really big deal in my case. Getting all those GitHub stars helped to create trust at the beginning and gain adoption.
That new ratio has been the case for a few of my recent submissions as well. I wonder if something changed in the HN demo?
Still, I do wonder how it compares to other apps/sites advertised here. Personally, I'd guess that targeting Hacker News users in particular will get you more traffic/points/signups than advertising a normal app or startup here might. That seems to be the rule with 'companion' sites and apps these days.
The mobile app experience of a) downloading the app and b) going through a potentially lengthy registration process using a mobile keyboard - is a big turnoff imo.
8% of visitors signed up (goal 1). Numbers before were fewer than 5 visitors a day with ~0 signups.
What's more there are a lot of false positives in the comment sections from a demographic that isn't 100% representative of your target market.
It looks like part of the point of this post is to illuminate/explore that hypothesis. Or, is that how you're interpreting his findings?