Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Zim Development Studio Edges Towards Half A Million Downloads On The PlayStore; Here’s How They Did It

Google Play

Age-X Development – a local software company recently announced that they had reached 400 000 installs since inception back in 2016. The special milestone is amazing because once again it shows how the internet can be a powerful tool to reach thousands of people on the globe from your office.

We reached out to Van Lee Chigwada, the Lead Developer at Age-X to congratulate him on the milestone and also get more insights regarding their progress over the past 3 years.

Back in 2016, Van Lee made a decision that they would only publish applications on Android and since then they’ve published 40 on the Google Play Store.

I’ve always wondered whether developing for the iPhone makes sense in Africa and after chatting with Van Lee, I think it only makes sense in certain situations since the cost of developing iOS apps is prohibitive and there are simply way more Android devices on the continent – a sentiment Chigwada shared:

I really doubt they [people developing for iOS in Zim] make that much cause targeting the American market is difficult. We have a huge culture barrier… And iOS development is very expensive.

Van Lee

Apps for Africa…

A week ago, we talked to Likhwa Moyo whose Business Builder app is on the verge of a 100k downloads. Unlike Business Builder, Age-X has most of their user base in Zimbabwe and Africa. 70% in Zim if we’re being exact. South Africa, Zambia and the UK have 20%, 9% and 3% respectively.

The UK’s significant presence among Age-X’s user base caught me by surprise because most of their apps are made for users in Zimbabwe and Africa.

South Africa holds a high user base even though we do not have specific apps targeted at South Africa. Our working theory on this is its because of the high number of people moving from Zimbabwe to South Africa. We have apps localized, with content created for Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and the U.K

The importance of ratings

When scrolling through Age-X apps something becomes very apparent. The users who download their apps love them. None of the apps (at the time of writing) had a user rating lower than 3 stars and Age-X is among the top 1% highest rated developers on the Play Store

How much of an effect do these ratings have? Chigwada says they are a first impression of sorts and could decide whether or not a user downloads:

User ratings are the first layer of interaction between our apps and potential users before they download. Most people have said if the ratings are low/negative, they do not download the apps.

Van Lee

Apart from ratings, any developer would want to ensure that their application is reaching as many people as possible and for Age-X this wasn’t always plain sailing. Their attempts at using platforms like Facebook and Twitter didn’t result in conversions with most liking the post but not proceeding to download. In this regard, Age-X could do more and Van Lee’s comments regarding their traction with their suite of education apps suggests he feels the same:

Right now, we are focusing on Educational Apps but our user-stats are low compared to students who have access to smartphones.

Lessons abound

There is something poetic about the lead developer at a development team which has educational apps at their core, giving out lessons. It seems like a no-brainer that Van Lee Chigwada would obviously have advice for up and coming developers who have dreams of having their apps gain 500 000 unique installs;

For new developers, I would say don’t try to make apps for you as nerds, make apps that people will look for and download.

Van Lee Chigwada

Chigwada suggests that trial and error will be the only way to improve and even after uploading apps, developers should be able to go back to the drawing board and see what needs improving.

The most important thing for developers is to be able to have the foresight to make the right decisions that ensure they can continue developing and for Age-X’s Lead Developer one such decision is abiding by the rules of the Play Store:

And lastly and most important, abide by the Google Play rules and policies. They are strict but worth following because waking up and seeing a message that your account has been banned is painful.

Van Lee Chigwada – Age-X Lead Developer

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