Increasing The Perceived Value Of Your Software

So you wrote the perfect piece of source-code. It’s elegant, it’s efficient, it validates and it’s just… perfect. But like a rolls royce’s engine, it’s not enough – you need it to look sexy on the outside as well.

Most users (even if they are developers) judge your component by it’s ‘cover’, will assume the code sucks if the ‘package’ sucks. If your package looks shiny and cool, however, they will trust you and assume your code is better – sometimes better than it actually is. That is what we call perceived value.

Here are a few ideas that could increase your component’s perceived value, which in turn could increase your sales significantly.

1. Sales Page.

It is recommended that you dedicate a complete page for your product, rather than just mention it in a regular post in your blog or just publish on github. A well designed page, with all the information a user needs in order to make a decision will give the impression that you spent a significant amount of time creating the product, rather than released just a bunch of functions you had lying around.

A cool alternative would be to publish your component on Binpress, where you get a great design that’s constantly being optimized to increase conversions.

2. Show you made an effort.

Don’t just write about your component from your point of view. Try to make it easier for the user to understand what your software does & why he should be using it as quickly as possible, so he can move on and get to buying it.

Developers often tell a whole story about how and why they wrote their software. That’s not necessarily bad, because it make people relate to the person behind the product, and it makes it clear that a lot of thought and hours went into the code. However, try to leave the stories to the end, and focus on things that might be more important for the buyer. If you chose to write about the journey you went through – make sure it’s relevant and that the users may find it useful. Otherwise, you can always put it on your blog.

For example, when possible it’s important to show how quick & easy the code is to implement and use. This jQuery plugin is a good example, as the code example demonstrates how quick it is to implement and understand the usage of the component:

jQuery TextBoxList

Another good example is this component page, which uses our interface to the fullest in order to help users go through the features of the component: AJAX Form Pro: Easily Create Unlimited Secure Forms. It’s also a good example of stressing the benefits to the user (in the description and titles) rather then focusing on your own point of view or just being informative.

Read more about writing better headlines & descriptions.

3. Logo.

Adding a cool logo (or avatar/thumbnail on Binpress) can also increase the perceived value. It’s the first thing users notice, even before landing on your page, and give them the first impression, which is, as you know, hard to change. The more polished the avatar, the more polished people will assume your code is.

I’m not saying every logo or avatar should be a shiny, professionally designed work of art, but try to give it a little thought. We’ve made a little Photoshop template you can download from here and use freely for you Binpress components.

Another tip is, while you’re probably eager to release your component as soon as possible, it is recommended that you wait and upload it when your avatar is ready, as your component often will be featured on our Facebook page or Twitter account (and other places), and it makes a weaker impression when it’s up there with a default Binpress icon.

4. User Interface.

If your component has a User Interface element to it, make sure it’s slick, sexy and trendy as possible. A good approach to usability might help as well. People often buy source-code packages for the sole reason of not messing with the User Interface design. Others will just prefer buying something that looks good for no logical reason – it’s human nature.

What if I can’t design?

No worries. If you know a designer that might we interested in helping you out and get some of the profit in return, I think it’s a good idea.

If not, here are a few links that might help you create better looking component:
A. UI elements stylesheet:
Add this stylesheet to your demo page, and assuming you use standard HTML elements, it will already look better.

B. Modern UI Pack Photoshop PSD
The guys at devGROW made a Photoshop file you can download and use in your projects, with all sorts of buttons, tabs and other UI elements. Very cool.

C. UI elements for download
More ready-made UI elements like buttons, forms, and more that you can use freely in your project (please check the license on each of those before using it on a commercial release!).

D. The Binpress stylesheet.
This is not yet available, but if there’s any interest from our community, we’ll make sure to create a free open-source stylesheet you could use for your apps & demos. If you’re interested, please leave a comment!

5. Demo.

A demo is perhaps the most important thing you can provide, and while it seems obvious, many developers expect users to figure out what their components does. Even if your component is a server side source-code package and you think it’s hard to demonstrate what it does visually, try to provide a working example – preferably one the looks good, since this is where you actually “make the sale”. A visitor looks at a cool example and thinks “I want my app/site to be able to do that too”.

A good demo gives your users idea for using your component and creates an urge to buy it. That is why it is also recommended to use images and screenshots. If you can show the user an example of the results he can expect using your code or software, they will understand what it does better and would be able to imagine themselves using it – which is the best way to sell any product.

How design opens doors for source-code

While apps & source-code packages can get you mentioned on script sites & development blogs, a cool design or logo opens up new doors for your stuff. A minisite can get you listed in CSS galleries (here’s a site that will let you submit to over 200 sites for $12), logo galleries, sites like Dribbble, and many more.

Relevant blogs that are more mainstream like Smashing Magazine are more likely to mention you in a post, showcase or a tweet (which gets to thousands of developers, plus helps you get Google rankings) if you have a cool page or a cool interface.

Author: Adam Tal