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Simplifying, localizing are keys to app success

Oct 02,2019
To learn the secret behind the success of some local applications, JoongAng Sunday met with Kim Mi-jae of Social and Mobile, which develops ColorNote, and Ahn Se-yun of JP Brothers, who is behind the Candy Camera app. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.



Q. What do you think made your apps successful in other countries?

Kim: We entered into the market earlier than others. Park Seong-su [the CEO of Social and Mobile] and I began preparing for the Android market in 2008, even before the smartphone was introduced in Korea. We spent a lot of time coming up with an app that would be handy for anyone. We came to the conclusion that a notepad app was the answer.

Ahn: Candy Camera was launched in 2013 and it has been already seven years since it entered the market. We dominated the filter camera app market early.



Why do you think your apps get rave reviews overseas?

Kim: Our goal was the international market from the beginning. The app was popular in North America when it was first launched, but we see downloads in Brazil, Russia and India these days. People all around [the world] use our app if they use Android smartphones. We made the app light so that it works easily.

Ahn: First of all, we provide our service in English in all the countries [in which our app is available for download.] The user interface is very intuitive, too. When we entered the Indian market, we decreased the size of the app by 50 percent so it would work well on smartphones with low specifications. After that, we saw a 47-percent increase in daily downloads [in India].



What was your localization strategy?

Kim: We have only four employees. We could have added new features to the app whenever we launched the app in a new country but that decreases efficiency. Instead, we try to stick to basic functions so that anyone can use it. That is our strategy. When talking about the localization, we devoted all our energy to translation. In Korea, when a new app is launched but with awkward translation, the quality of the app looks shoddy. We could compromise with all other things but there was no exception in the quality of the translation. We even launched the app in Arabic and Hebrew.

Ahn: Not everyone uses filter apps. Countries in North America and Europe do not tend to use filters, while countries in Asia, South America and the Middle East countries love using filters. We’ve collected data regarding each country and got a good idea on the preferences of each country and added different filters depending on the market. In India and Middle Eastern countries, people often use filters that brighten up their facial complexions, while Brazilians love the filter that makes their waists slim but their hips bigger.

In Muslim countries, stickers are provided in the app that read, “You did a great job during Ramadan.”

BY JEONG MI-RI [estyle@joongang.co.kr]





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