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Ten years ago, only the coolest people owned smartphones.

Now, smartphones are everywhere and most of us spend a lot of time on them. That includes cleaning and organizing all the photos, contacts, and other content they hold.

It’s an overwhelming task. If you’re designing an app to help people, well, clean up their apps, how do you get that message across in a screenshot?

That’s the question one PickFu user had in this competitive test of three apps. Polling 50 consumers, the user wanted to know which of the three screenshots would make them want to download the app.

The first set of screenshots has a light blue background with short captions. The second is pink and also uses minimal text. The third option features a dark blue background with more descriptive text.

Respondents ranked the options in order of preference. Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option A, with a score of 64 to Option B’s 36 and Option C’s 22.

Let’s find out why respondents liked the lighter blue screenshots best.

Blue is still the way to go

Ever noticed how many app icons have the same (or very, very similar) shade of blue? That’s no accident.

Blue is popular because it’s a somewhat neutral yet positive color. People associate blue with a sense of calm, trust, and stability, among other attributes.

An image showing three rows of blue apps.
Among app icons, blue rules. | Source: TechCrunch

Respondents in this PickFu Ranked poll confirmed their love of blue. However, the shade of blue definitely matters. Option A’s lighter hue is “warm,” one person said, while Option C’s darker blue is “depressing and wintery,” according to another.

Others respondents who voted for Option A linked the color blue to the purpose of the app. “I like that the bright, fresh blue color in [Option] A really pops out and looks reminiscent of spring cleaning,” one person wrote.

People’s color preference wasn’t the only factor working in Option A’s favor. They also liked the name Smart Cleaner and the use of the broom and other graphics to explain the app’s features and benefits.

Smart Cleaner is a smart name for this app, respondents said.

Other highlights

  • 60% of respondents between ages 18-24 and the lone 65-to-74-year-old respondent preferred Option B with its eye-catching pink background
  • Female and male respondents both gave Option A exactly 50% of their vote, with male respondents further split evenly between Options B and C
A graph of the results of an app screenshot Ranked poll, filtered by age range.
The results filtered by age.
A graph showing the results of an app screenshot Ranked poll by gender identity.
The results filtered by gender identity; there were no non-binary respondents.

What they said

“Not only does [Option] A have my favorite color, but the description is also easy to understand so I picked it first. I decided on [Option] C over [Option] B because I prefer dark blue over pink and I wasn’t a big fan of [Option] B’s name.”

“Love the pink. The light blue is okay. That dark one just doesn’t work.”

“I like how [Option A] uses the image of a broom as a metaphor for deleting and freeing storage space on my phone. The shade of blue it uses…looks visually attractive.”

“I ranked Option B first because it focuses most on the social aspect; I like that I not only see people, but people together. Option C always uses an illustration of a person to emphasize that there is some semblance of human touch. Option A feels the most generic and least warm to me.”

“[Options] B and A seem to serve more purposes than [Option] C, which looks like it only handles photos. [Option] B has the more attractive graphic design.”

Key takeaways

Consumers seem to agree: a bright, fresh blue is a good color for an app, especially one that helps you clean up your phone’s many photos and documents.

It’s important to note that some respondents who ranked Option B, the pink one, ahead of the winning Option A did so because they liked that the screenshots tell you exactly what you can do with the app: delete, remove, and clean.

Option B makes it clear what you can do with this app.

What if the app developer combined this straightforward messaging with the light blue color? And what if they ran a second poll with an audience of mobile app users?

Learn more about the importance of polling the audience you want to reach in our guide to audience targeting. And don’t miss these tips on how to create attractive app store screenshots.

Want to dive deeper?

Results by commonly used words:

Results by age range:

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Laura Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents.com, Mom.com, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle grade novel, Missing Okalee, comes out from Shadow Mountain Publishing in the fall of 2021. Find her online at lauraojedamelchor.com.

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