Annotated Screenshots

So are you still being a good instructions-following developer and when you’re submitting your screenshots actually listening to Apple when they say:

Show the actual pixels of your app, using the full screen, without graphics or borders around the image…

Rather quaint when you look around at how many people casually disregard those instructions, isn’t that? Well, seems like we can pretty much start considering those instructions officially obsolete, as look who’s setting the pace (h/t: iOS Dev Weekly!):

With the introduction of the Apple Store for iPad app, Apple decided to go with annotated screenshots for on of their own apps for the first time. They did it in an interesting, and unusual way, by showing an image of an iPad running the app below a headline that explains the benefit or feature shown in each screenshot.

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So apparently the rules on both device images and annotations in your screenshots have achieved the status of Officially Disregarded. At least if you’re Apple, anyways. But hey, since everybody else is getting away with it, why not you too? (h/t: iosdevelopertips!)

Apple’s guidelines suggest using non-edited screenshots of your app, but by doing only this you’re really giving competing apps a big advantage. As we’ve seen already, App Store images don’t have to be plain old screenshots. Instead, you should think of them as a spot to advertise your app and its features.

I personally like to do one of two things; either include the device within the screenshot or actually photograph the app in use, similar to a lifestyle photo. Both of these options give extra space to describe and sell the features of an app… If you want to munge up shots yourself, here’s some tips.

Need some examples with more good ideas? Check out Designing App Store “screenshots” and How to Design App Store Screenshots that Sell.

Seen any other particularly creative uses of “screenshots” as little billboards? Let us know!

And just in case you missed this, soon as you get comfortable with the now apparently pretty much official lack of rules for “screenshots”, get ready for adding App Store video trailers to your necessary productions budget…

UPDATES:

How to Make Great App Store Screenshots

frameit: “Want a device frame around your screenshot? Do it in an instant!”

Handy iPhone App For Quickly Adding Frames And Descriptions To Screenshots

A Sketch Plugin For Exporting Customized iPhone App Store Images

Why The iOS 8 Scrolling Results Will Change The Way You Make Your App Screenshots

Scenery: “Showcase your designs with premium mockup templates.”

How to Photograph and Retouch iPhone Mockups

How to Eliminate Drop Shadows in OS X Screenshots

App Store Screenshots Of The Rich And Famous

Creating perfect App Store Screenshots of your iOS App

Everything You Need To Know About App Screenshots

DaVinci Apps: “We make your app screenshots awesome.”

Automating App Store Screenshots

20 App Store Screenshot Examples

ScreenshotFramer: “Create localized App Store screenshots.”

How we create our App Store Screenshots

Alex | December 11, 2013
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