Facebook this week announced the launch of its new apps directory, called the App Center. The App Center, says Facebook's Aaron Brady, "gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful." Facebook says people will be able to access the App Center on the Web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps in the coming weeks.
In anticipation of Facebook's App Center launch, there are a number of actions Facebook app developers must take in order to be eligible, and app quality is front and center. "Not all apps will appear in the App Center, and we reserve the right to remove apps that do not meet a high quality bar," Facebook says.
Each app will be reviewed to make sure it meets Facebook's eligibility, submission and quality guidelines. Here's a look at the four steps you need to take to ensure yours is featured.
1. Gauge Your App's Eligibility
To gauge whether an app is eligible for the App Center, Facebook says it must meet one of the following criteria:
- An app in a Facebook.com canvas page
- A mobile app built for the web, iOS or Android that uses Facebook Login
- A website that uses Facebook Login and has an immediately logged-in, personalized experience
- An App for Pages built to manage or enhance other companies' Facebook Pages.
2. Submit an App Detail Page
Creating an app detail page is mandatory for apps listed in the App Center, Facebook says. This will become the new destination when non-users search for your app on Facebook. Once your app detail page is created, your app will show up in search results.
To create an app detail page, visit the App Center section of the Developer App. This is where you can upload images, give additional details and configure the permissions your app requires. Facebook gives the following guidelines for what to include when creating your page:
Display Name: Use the exact name of your app, with no extra words or characters.
Short & Detailed Descriptions: Describe how your app works and what makes it unique. Be accurate, so people arent surprised when they start using it. Use standard spelling, grammar and capitalization. Don't include URLs, excessive punctuation, price information, keyword lists or non-standard symbols.
Category & Subcategory: Select a category that most people would expect.
Icons: Upload attractive, relevant, original icons. Icons should be simple and free of visual clutter (ex: buttons or additional info). Different-sized icons should be similar, with no distortion and pixilation.
Cover Image: Choose an image that conveys what your app is all about. Use simple imagery that people will easily recognize, with limited text, shadows, and distracting patterns. Don't use arrows or other references to the buttons below your cover image to encourage people to install your app.
Small and Large Banners: Drive people to your app detail page with visually compelling images that clearly show the name of your app. Don't include buttons, URLs, excess text, promotions, or price information.
Screenshots: Show off unique and engaging parts of your app, and demonstrate how the app is social. Don't use images that are unrelated, misleading, or dramatically different from what most users experience.
Images (general): Don't put calls to action (ex: "Click here" or "Play now") or arrows to Facebook UI elements in your images.
[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]
3. Ensure Your App is High Quality
App quality is key to Facebook, and it takes a number of measures to ensure it. This includes having an easy-to-use interface, clear content, value to users and no significant bugs. Apps need to show a clear distinction between ads and content, have high app ratings and a low negative feedback rate.
To help you monitor user feedback, Facebook is introducing a new app ratings metric in Insights to report how users rate your app over time. Facebook says that well-designed apps that people enjoy, according to the data, will be prominently displayed.
Facebook also places importance on transparency: That is, your app must set clear expectations about what user activity it shares on Facebook and when. It also must not mimic Facebook UI elements in a way that's misleading or counter intuitive.
For websites connecting with Facebook, users should not have to click a "Log in with Facebook" button again after the first time they do so. Facebook says the experience should be "somewhat personalized" so they know they are logged in.
4. Wait for Your App's Review
Once you submit your app detail page, Facebook will review it. If your app is rejected, Facebook says it will explain why and give you suggestions for what to change. Once you make the changes Facebook suggests, you can resubmit your app to be listed in the App Center, it says.
Do note that even if your app isn't listed in the App Center, Facebook users can still find it through search, bookmarks and social channels such as friend requests, the news feed and ticker, as well as Timeline.
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking, and enterprise collaboration for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. E-mail Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org
This story, "Facebook App Center: The Secrets to Entry" was originally published by CIO.