For my schedule of the project, have a look at the announcement here.
I took a quick look at the main competitors a voice recorder app has using Google Play searches for “Voice Recorder” and “Audio Recorder”.
As I already stated in the previous post, there’s a lot of competition.
I took a look at the features my competitors advertised in their play store description and at the reactions of their users (ratings, downloads and comments).
I took a closer look Audio Recorder, which is the default Voice Recorder on Sony devices, and at the Samsung Voice Recorder. Since they are preinstalled applications, my app needs to be more appealing to Sony and Samsung users than they are.
From this, I created analysis I created a core feature set:
- Record Audio
- Stop recordings
- Pause recordings
- Browse recordings
- Play recordings
- Seek when playing a recording
This is the most essential feature set any voice recorder needs – what every user searching for a voice recorder is looking for. Plus pause and seek.
I downloaded a set of the voice recorders to get an idea on how the apps feel and what I would expect them to do.
Some felt nice, some felt pretty bad and most in the middle. Some, apps, such as Voice Recorder had not received major updates for a long time, while others, like Tape-a-Talk, had done a great job updating their app to material design.
From this analysis, I took the following four non-functional criteria:
- The app’s UI must be well designed
- The UX flow must be fluent, the app should feel great
- There should be as little buttons as possible
- Since the main feature of a voice recorder is to record audio, it must be possible to start a record with one click
Screen size and orientation
As far as screen size and orientation are concerned, I decided to support Portrait and Landscape in the first implementation and tablets in a later iteration.
The recording screen must have the following elements:
- All the necessary buttons
- An amplitude indication
- A timer
File browsing and editing
For the file browsing and editing, I decided to broaden up and provide the following features:
- List of files showing all the necessary information of each recording
- Additional details, such as description texts
- Edit file details and names
- Share files
- Delete files
- Set files as (ringtone, etc.)
Especially the search and tag functionality is only provided by some other applications but is necessary to keep the overview over a large library of records.
As for settings, I will allow to
- Set the recording format,
- Set quality of the record,
- Set the encoding,
- Set the audio channels (mono/audio),
- Set the folder the files are stored in.
Regarding controls, it will be possible to control the app via
- The notification bar,
- A widget.
For a later update I’m thinking about adding
- Support for split screen (Android N),
- A floating button, such as Facebook’s messenger’s chat heads.
Once a user has installed the app, it is time to keep them engaged and share with their friends. Therefore I want to have
- App invitation functionality.
When looking at the conversion data of the AL Voice Recorder, it shows that, when users are sent to the play store directly via link, they install the app about 41% of the time, while when they find the app via the play store search, they do it only 32% of the time. Therefore, giving the user the possibility to easily share the app.
In the end of 2011, I added an auto-translated description of the AL Voice Recorder to Google Play. After that, the number of Japanese Users (green) increased tremendously, even so much that the Voice Recorder made it on position 35 in its category in Japan at some point.
In Japan only about 5% of the people have a conversational level of English and therefore, most likely do not search for “Voice Recorder”, but something like “ボイスレコダー”.
Today, 39.44% of the AL Voice Recorder’s users speak Japanese and 23.37% English. Therefore, this will be the two languages the app will support in the beginning. In addition to that, since it’s comes for free for me, I will add German as well (2.78%).
In later versions I want to add translations to Russian (4.27%), Korean (3.67%) and Spanish (2.02%).
That’s all the features I want to have in the app for the first version. In addition to that I want to add the following features at a later point:
- Voice memo (speech to text)
- Audio editing
- Bookmarks in the recordings
- Chromebook support
- Split screen support
- Floating record button
- Tablet support
- Translations to Russian, Korean and Spanish
Now that the basic feature set is layed out, I can go on and look for libraries that support me when developing the app, make the first sketches of the screens and begin spending some time on the software architecture.
What’s not included in this post, but would be helpful for choosing the right libraries, are the monetization strategy (ads, freemium, etc.) and distribution channels (Play Store, Amazon Store, …). However, I will cover this topics at a later time.