Help - Apple UI rules for my app

Hi there…

I wonder if I could get some help for my XOJO app…(I’m talking about the Mac version)

I am looking at getting an apple developer license and submitting it on the app store.
Any advice on UI improvements would be great!

My site is
and the download site is

EDIT by npalardy : I edited this to fink your URLS

all links go to ‘

192MB? What are you doing there? So I only had a look at the website. It’s an odd mixture of modern sliders and background videos while having an early 2000s look. Especially the background video is bad. You want the users to concentrate on the text and not the video. And why is there a different one on each page? On one page ( the transparency is so bad that the text isn’t very legible.

By the look of the the screenshots of your app (for instance the software looks dated, too. The fonts, the buttons, the image of the guitar. Of course, I can’t say anything about the functionality.

I read Beatrix’s post and wondered… ‘sounds a little harsh’
So I had a look at the website.
It wasn’t that harsh.

Those background videos are very distracting… it doesnt make the site look vibrant and interesting, it has the same effect as a television playing in a restaurant.
Your eyes are constantly drawn to the video (which offers nothing useful), instead of letting you focus on the text.
Do people need a tutorial on ‘how to buy’?
You should certainly get codesigned - ‘For Mac, to run Guitar SightReader for the first time, install, open your application folder and Ctrl+click on GSRT and select open. Thanks Apple…’

The guitar gfx are ok to me, but the buttons and fonts ‘feel’ like OS9 for reasons I cant pin down.

Why focus on the website?
If someone is going to download a 192Mb deliverable, they better be convinced it has a home waiting for it.
I’m a strumming guitarist - I would like to be much better and know how to play licks so Im probably your target market.
But I was put off by the website and havent downloaded the demo.
Hope that helps in some way.

Did you try your site on a slower connection ?

The image in the middle of the screen (there:, is displayed resized… it tooks time here. There seems to be a moving image in the background (a video ?) : because of the slow connection, it moves, stop, move, stop…

with my slow internet, it takes time to display an image in the laptop monitor. I also have We’re sorry, this content cannot be displayed. Please try again later. instead of an image (bottom left): do you use Flash ?

On the overall, your site looks like a music shop (the difference is in the advertising in a music shop site).

Do not dispair. Try to make this far more simple: you only have one chance to make a good first impression to the brower person.

Like it was said earlier, 192 MB ? Isn’t it possible to make a lower footprint demo ?

Unfortunately, I do not play music, I only hear (and delight) music, so I cannot comment more.

At last, watch the Apple’s OS X Human Interface Guidelines in their web site here . There may be a recent one.

Wow - I literally got motion sickness from watching that…

Ok, Ok, Ok… I got rid of the video backgrounds, went through and changed the layouts somewhat… The page backgrounds are all the same.
Going to the actual point of the post, I wanted to know what requirements were needed by Apple as to make sure it makes it onto the App Store. Obviously, I would get rid of the registration system. I think that the preferences would make a an appearance in the menu.

Why are the downloads so big you ask? Well, because this program covers everything to do with Guitar, Bass and musicianship. It as over 40 tools and is hands down the best software for those things. Also, it is the full program once it is unlocked (which can be down through registration. The updates are a fraction of that (about 19MB).

My own app Fonts Manager currently in the MAS is some like 278 MB. It is absolutely not a problem.

As for design, Emile rightly so pointed to the HIG (Human Design Guidelines) which are pretty much the only bible you should adhere to when it comes to Mac software.

Preferences should go as an Application MenuItem, as in all OS X software.

No registration whatsoever, this is forbidden for the MAS.

You also want to read the App Review Guidelines at to know what is permitted or not for MAS apps.

As a musician, guitarist, and general UI designer, here’s what I see:

  • On the website - review your writing and select a single voice. You currently mix first, second, and third person on single pages. Since the site is so text-centric, that update can make things a lot easier to read for visitors.
  • On the Options page, Change the note type buttons to CheckBox controls or the newer slider switch-type controls
  • Go to a standard ToolBar for the displayed page selections if you need to keep the images, or just use a TabPanel for simplicity.
  • Remove that 1990’s stepper editor metallic background on all of the pages and go with something more natural like wood as you’ve done with other parts of the app.
  • What is the purpose of the hardware / tool images? Are we fixing a plumbing problem, building a house, or playing guitar? They feel like they were added simply because you had them.
  • Consistency between app pages - I really think that this is my biggest issue with the look of the app. In total, the app looks like a bunch of disassociated apps that have been glued together. Review the UI and define a consistent theme between functions.

I’ll DL the demo and dig in later today in my practice session - Phrygian to Minor Melodic chord scale relationships.

I would spruce up the copy everywhere, both the website and the app.

Sometimes it’s okay to joke around and be funny, but you’re asking people to pay $80 for this, so joking about giving away their email address in exchange for some audio equipment is just not appropriate.

I’m surprised no one else has mentioned this. On your purchase page, you explain to users how to bypass GateKeeper and blame Apple. That’s not really up to the user. You should purchase a developer’s license and properly sign your app. Then GateKeeper won’t complain. You’ll have to do that for the MAS anyway.

I did.

Im concerned here that Sean has come looking for advice and is probably feeling a bit attacked at the moment.
If so , Sean, dont be… all the advice you’ve seen here so far has been good and will make your app more likely to sell.
No-one wants to do you down… we want you to do well.

Betamax tapes were a lot better than VHS but the VHS marketing won the day.
Make it easy to decide to use your app and let people discover it is the best once they have it.
Then word of mouth will begin to kick in.

Making sure the evaluation version is in the major software repositories is another way of getting circulation to your site, and direct sales.

See to create the Pad file that most repositories use to put your trial version in their site.

Word of mouth is great, but it is an excellent idea to create a press release and either send it yourself to major magazines, or at least put it on PRMac (listed in the thread linked above). Even if you do not have a new version, announcing your app enters the Mac App Store is a way to get it in front of journalists eyes.

Given its nature, I would send the PR to each and every music magazine and blog I know of if I were you.

Oh, and don’t be discouraged by constructive critics. Some companies pay a fortune to have their web site designed, or evaluated.

Finally, I STRONGLY suggest you read everything you can about App Store optimization. Most of material is targeted to mobile, but the principles remain, about choice of keywords, description, screen shots.


There are quite a few places where to learn more, Google is your friend. I did enjoy this, though :

+1 to Jeff’s last comment.

There are sounds ?

I have my sound always (or so) OFF. So I do not know when Xojo beeps (all the time), nor when there are other beeps… (OS or web or…)

Nota: on recent Firefox, there is a small loudspeaker logo that appears when sound comes with the web page. In that case, I click in it to close it.

+1 for Jeff last paragraph comment.

Sorry, English language constructs -

Voicing is the way the text is written. Using constructs such as “I can” (first person), “You will”, “they can” (second person) - that’s what I was talking about. Sean mixes voices in the text. There are also issues with passive voice, but that’s an argument for English writing professors since the information is about a technical product.

Hi Tim: sorry for the misunderstanding and thank you for the information.