Jul 22, 2013
Android’s more liberal app permissions mean that apps can do things like save battery life on a phone by managing settings intelligently to preserve every last drop of juice to make that phone last when it needs to be there. But what if the battery-saving apps are too complex? Who watches the watchmen? It’s what Jeffrey Becker, director of international marketing for Du Battery Saver, which recently announced that they had surpassed 11 million downloads in 8 months, says is the goal for their app.
He related to me a tale from his personal life of just who they’re trying to target with their app: “I sit next to my wife who’s got the same model of phone that I do, and I will sit there for when we go somewhere, I’ll sit there for two minutes and turn of Bluetooth and turn off my wifi, and do all those things manually, and she will never do them. And she’ll suffer toward the end of the day, y’know, she doesn’t have any battery left and I do, but she’s the exact kind of user that we’re really targeting. Someone who uses their phone all day long, who needs it or wants it with them all day long, but isn’t comfortable diving in to those specific details that give her the result that she wants.”
So, how does Du Battery Saver’s team try to accomplish this: first, Becker says that the app actually does keep international users in mind. “…I think that the UI and just the way that the app works is so simple for people that it’s really been, I think, an easy adoption for a lot of people, and we’ve gotten a lot of notice very quickly.”
In terms of using the app, it tries to be simple to understand: “I think we try to be very visual about what we’re displayingâ€¦every time you make a change in your settings, you get this feedback of both audio and a visual that shows your time growing again as you add more power savings. And I think that sort of feedback was a really smart move just to get people kind of engaged in the product.” This sort of experience-based feedback is something that many designers try to tackle in localization: experiences translate easier than words.
As well, targeting users who may be less-savvy has helped as well. “I think thatâ€¦we don’t want to dumb it down…but it is important for us to communicate what we’re doing without requiring users to know exactly the technical details behind what we’re doing. So it’s a real balancing act. And that’s where that instant feedback comes in. Did we just accomplish something for you, or did you, in mangaing your settings, get something out of it? We’re going to keep working on that to make sure that people are really feeling that benefit every time they open the product.”
While they claim that other technical features like algorithms to help create more accurate battery time remaining are part of the app’s quality proposition (Baker claims that time estimates are 50–70% more accurate than Android’s own estimates), along with trying to keep users happy by giving away more features for free, there’s a lot of little design notes that go in to an app’s success as well. It’s a global world, especially with Android’s vast reach, and we can all agree: our battery life stinks. Du Battery Saver’s international approach may just be doing them and other users well.