Guide for making perfect App Store Screenshots

Ok, so you are ready to present your awesome app to the world and to the App Store. Screenshots are the only visual elements that users see when they decide whether they should download the app or no. These pictures are extremely important to get the users interested in the product. Let’s see how to make them work.

App Store allows a maximum of five screenshots, as well as Google Play. If you think that is not enough, here are the statistics: 60% of users won’t see more than the first two. So, how can you make the most out of the first ones?

As you can see here, App Store cuts the second screenshot to provoke swiping. Here’s a tip: to enhance the urge to swipe, try using a panoramic screenshot gallery. Yes, splitting one design into two images, the thing that we hate so much on Instagram feed.

Image credit: Calm, Marco Polo

Here are simple steps you need to take to make a perfect App Store Screenshots:

1.       Decide on the messages that you want to convey.

The screenshots do not only serve to show fancy design. They are a great opportunity to explain to the users how your product will make their lives better. So, before even choosing the screens, think of the messages that you want to tell the users.

The first screenshot is about the main problem and how the app solves it. The rest will demonstrate the USPs (unique selling proposition), starting with the strongest one.

Image credit: Duolingo

2.       Choose the right screenshots.

Keep in mind coherence with the messages that you want to convey, but don’t sweat too much: nobody expects an image to speak on itself. If you struggle to pick five out of the dozens that you believe are important, follow these criteria:

  • Go for the screenshots with some compelling graphics and layout rather than the ones loaded with text.
  • Pick the ones that clearly show the visual style of the app, visible even in preview size
  • If you still have too many, choose the ones that are visually different one from another.

Image credit: Dropbox

3.       Add graphics. Here is where you can let creativity rule. However, there are some proven practices that work great on App Store:

  • Write your messages in a clear, short, and engaging way, keeping in mind the tone of voice of the product. Place no more than one message on each image. Make sure that the font size is big enough to be readable even in preview.
  • Use mockups. Screenshots look more real and professional on the latest model of iPhone (check if there wasn’t a new one released yesterday). If you don’t want to use a gadget mockup, you can get a similar effect by changing the perspective, placing screens in angle. Don’t worry about the size: the readability of the message is more important than the readability of the UX copy.
  • Add color. The minimalist monochrome design is great, but try to place it on the white background of the App Store and you’ll see that it needs a splash of color to capture attention. Mockups give us a great extra space for the solid bright background. If you don’t use mockups, color frames may help to separate blocks of white. No need to stick to the brand colors, here is your chance to go a bit wild.
  • Include other elements. Arrows, little details, emojis… Pick one or two elements to liven up the images.  Maybe there is a character or a distinct graphic element that is used in the design? You can place it on the side. Alternatively, you can use the app icon to add consistency to the images. Or try stickers, giving it the Instagram stories look (if that would fit your product). Everything that would make the images more visually interesting would work.

Take a look at this screenshot gallery designed for HabitSpace by Eleken:

Image credit: HabitSpace

4. Test the result beforehand.

First of all, check if the screenshots look good in preview size, as most of the users won’t enlarge them. Make sure that the text is readable in this size.

App Store does not let you change the screenshots in a moment. Updating the page of a product can take up to 9 days to be approved. Therefore, it is highly important to test the screenshots well and make sure this is the best option possible.

To sum up

Hope this guide will you to design effective visuals for the App Store page. Making screenshots for App Store is not like making regular screenshots. There is nothing too technical in the process, but don’t overlook any of these steps and tips. Make sure your design team is aware of all the nuances and knows how users watch screenshots.

Here is how we do it at Eleken design agency.