Developers of award-winning Pikura app share their tips for success

By Jason Black

May 28, 2014   Comments

windows phone 8.1, windows phone, universal, ui, tools, sdk, porting, nokia x, nokia, imaging

Last fall we introduced you to Joe Fernandez and Pablo Moncunill, developers of Pikura, the Grand Prize winning app in the Nokia Create contest.

Back when they won the first Mini Mission of the contest, they were already seeing ten times as many downloads on Windows Phone Store than on Android. Since that time, their app has continued to perform exceptionally well in the Windows Phone Store, and the duo are continuing to find ways to evolve Pikura.

This award-winning app brings a gamification model to the notion of photo sharing - they call it a “photo challenge app.” Any user can create a challenge, and anyone can complete a challenge - the photos can be voted on, and the photo with the most votes wins the challenge.

In this new video, which we produced as one of their prizes for winning the contest, you can see Pikura in action:


We also caught up with them during the shoot in Madrid and asked them a few more details about their experience. Here is what they said:


Developing on Windows Phone first

“Pikura is an innovative concept in the photography app space, one we wanted to test with a high number of users, and especially with fans of mobile photography. Getting noticed on the iOS App Store or Google Play can be especially hard. We saw on Windows Phone the opportunity for new, quality apps like Pikura to stand out,” Joe said.

Pablo added, “We have a large number of quality users on Windows Phone providing us with some really valuable feedback”.

They are also very happy about the engagement rate seen by Pikura users on Window Phone. A large percentage of Pikura users use the app many times per week, and some have really long sessions browsing all of the challenges created on Pikura.

“We see higher engagement rates on Windows Phones compared to other platforms. Windows Phone and especially Lumia owners do really love photography!” said Pablo.

“The hardware is exceptional, especially for photography lovers, and the software and tools also make it really easy to create great experiences”. Pikura makes use of the Nokia Imaging SDK, which made adding filters really quick. “The filters API offers so many possibilities that you customize and really tailor it to your apps,” said Joe.

Advice for other Windows Phone app developers?

Clearly, Joe and Pablo see the advantages of publishing their app to Windows Phone - and now they want to make sure others know about the opportunities, too.

“Don’t stop until you publish your first app on the Windows Phone Store! We believe now is the perfect time to test your app idea on Windows Phone,” said Pablo.

Are there any secrets to the success of Pikura on Windows Phone?

Joe and Pablo offer some interesting tips to any developer who is working on apps or games for Windows Phone:

  • Keep your app simple and focus on the quality; and don’t stop improving it until you become the best at what you do.
  • Present the user with gentle reminders to rate your app in the Store. That helps to be noticed and to go higher in the charts.
  • Ensure you have an app icon that stands out from the competition; and make sure you use a good description and keywords that will help your potential users find you.
  • Make sure you measure your user engagement, and provide easy to use feedback channels for your users.


Taking Pikura in new directions

Joe and Pablo tell us they are considering a Windows 8 version of Pikura for tablet use, and they are excited about the prospect of it being a Universal app for Windows platforms.

Additionally, they recently launched a version of Pikura for Nokia X devices (they tell us the porting process was easy), and they are eager to see how it performs in the marketplace.

“What I love about being a developer is that there are no limits. You just need a computer to do whatever you want,” said Pablo. “With just a laptop you can create something that may change the world!”

Do you have what it takes to be the next winner? Make sure you submit your app to the //publish/ contest by June 1st.