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VelaClock update

by veladg on February 3rd, 2011

On January 24, 2011 (10 days ago) we released VelaClock 2.0 with a dramatically new user interface (UI). Immediately after the update, a number of users emailed us saying that they preferred the old user interface. The app rating dropped to 2 out of 5 stars (with 5 reviews) from about 4.5 stars. Some users were upset. We also received a number of emails from users who liked the new interface. Given the small number of reviews and emails we received, it was difficult gauge if more users liked the new interface or the original interface. It was clear that some users strongly preferred the original interface.

How can we keep everyone happy? The App Store doesn’t support an optional upgrade. The only feasible solution is to have two apps. We’ve renamed the original VelaClock to “VelaClock Classic” (VelaClock1 in the App Store) and introduced a new VelaClock app. [Please note that we started writing this blog post on the same day that we submitted both apps to the App Store.]

VelaClock Classic v2.1 (free update for existing users, original UI, named “VelaClock1″ in the App Store): What’s new:
- Added an enhanced photographic image of the moon accurately depicting the moon’s phase and tilt.

VelaClock v1.0 (new app, new UI): introductory pricing of $0.99 USD for the first three days, then the price will be moved towards the normal price over the next couple of weeks. iOS 4 is required (for importing custom locations). Changes to new app (if you previously used it):
- Added ‘change in minutes of daylight from the previous day’ after daylight duration in the Sun/Moon detail panel.
- Fixed serious memory bug that caused a crash.
VelaClock v1.0 in App Store

Note: If you purchased VelaClock 2.0 with the new interface, and understandably do not wish to re-purchase the app, please contact us. Fortunately, VelaClock 2.0 with the new UI was only on the market for less than two weeks.

The original VelaClock app first appeared in the App Store on July 11, 2008, the day that the App Store opened. On that day only 500 apps were in the App Store and we were honored to be there! This version of VelaClock, now named VelaClock Classic, divided the screen into two panes, the upper pane which contains a list of cities and a lower detail pane, with three horizontally scrolling panels. The simplicity of a single screen interface is appealing, but VelaClock only displays a very limited amount for information. To provide more information, VelaClock needs a different format.

The new VelaClock app delivers much more information (data and graphics) with a new user interface. To create this highly usable and functional interface, we had many, many design iterations, and we think that you will like the results. The initial screen contains the list of cities and corresponding local times. Tapping on a row in the city list will transition to one of the four new full screen detail views. These new full screen detail views allow much more information to be displayed. A full description is on the new VelaClock web page.

Importing Custom Locations
To import Custom Locations from VelaClock Classic (VelaClock1) to the new VelaClock app, both apps must be on your device. To perform an import, navigate to the Custom Locations list in the new app and tap on the “Import from VelaClock1″ button. Having this feature was critical to being able to release a new VelaClock app. This feature required iOS 4.0 or newer.

Update on February 18, 2011
Further explanation is in a blog comment and response below.

From → Releases

10 Comments
  1. Martyn permalink

    Hooray! Thanks people.

  2. guy permalink

    I liked the increased info of the new app, but found accessing it tedious & frustrating. very happy you provided an option to revert to the original. but is there really no way to give those of us who are using the orig ui some or all of the additional panels of the new version? thanks, /guy

  3. Michael Sternberg permalink

    Good work with the new interface!

    I understand that some users may like the old interface, but I do prefer the new one because it presents a great deal of information very well. I particularly like the 2D navigation through panels and locations.

    I did have one puzzling moment: I was looking for an Edit button in the locations list. I figured out the solution, but it’s mildly confusing. How about to re-label:

    The List tab to “Places”
    The Places button to “Edit”, and have it show only for the Places tab.

    Best regards,
    Michael

    A user since early on.

  4. asasuzu permalink

    Why is not it sold for introductory pricing $ 0.99 (JPY 115) in the Japanese store?

    • This was a mistake that we just fixed. We had not set the correct price for tomorrow yet, but in Japan it already is “tomorrow” relative to Apple in California. I just just extended the $0.99 pricing two additional days until 2/19. The correct ¥115 JPY pricing is now visible in the Japan App Store. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

      • asasuzu permalink

        Thanks!
        I purchase this application now.

  5. Jim permalink

    I understand the reason you’re having two versions.

    It’s just strange, after having VelaClock for quite some time and recently upgrading to version 2.0, that if I “Get Update”, in the App store it’s actually a downgrade to the prior version (with some bug fixes). I love VelaClock and will probably go ahead and pay again to keep my 2.0 version.

    …it’s just strange.

  6. Mark permalink

    Am i getting this right? The update from 2.0 to 2.1 is a retrograde step and I have to repurchase the app to get the new interface I’ve already got? This is meant to get the app better ratings? Really?

    • We released VelaClock 2.0 with a new interface as a free upgrade for everybody. We had expected a strong positive response, with a lot of positive reviews in the App Store. We never expected that 80% of the app store reviews would be strongly negative (1.25 star average), when we were doing our best to produce a much improved product. It is very difficult for an app to survive with a 2-star rating. We could not simply continue to get 80% of the App Store ratings at 1.25 stars. Something had to be done.

      The App Store does not have a mechanism that would let us give every existing customer a choice between the old app and the new app. With two apps, each customer would get the interface they want. A two app approach would keep the largest number of users happy. This has worked. In the US App Store, VelaClock1 v2.1 (updated app with original UI) currently has three reviews, all 5-stars, titled “Excellent!,” “Thank you!!!” and “Delighted.” These reviews represent users that prefer the original UI. This group of users are happy. For the most part, users that prefer the new UI understand that within the confines of the App Store, a separate app was the only feasible solution. In the US App Store, VelaClock v1.0 (new app with new UI) currently has three reviews, all 5-stars, titled “Outstanding app and update,” “Fun and useful app” and “Excellent.”

      The strongest complaints have come from users that prefer the new UI and cannot relate to users that prefer the original UI. These users find that paying any amount of money for the new app with a new UI that they briefly had is unacceptable. If you are one of these users, please contact us before purchasing the new app.

      If our intention had been to get money out of customers, we would have had two apps from the beginning. But we did not; we gave everybody a free upgrade. The problem is, customers voted with 80% negative App Store ratings. We believe that having two apps was the best solution, and the majority of responses (emails and reviews) that we’ve received from users confirm this.

      • Mark permalink

        Thanks Chuck, appreciate the detailed reply and the options as an existing customer to go with either version. For me that will be the new UI.

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