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Department of Informatics People and Computing Lab

AppDJ: A new way to Discover the World of Apps

There are many apps out in the wild that address the big issue of app discovery on the Android platform. These apps are all on the right track to helping solve the issue of discovery, each with their own innovative approach. When we look at the current market of discovery apps, we can see that there is a wealth of apps that support "lean forward" discovery. The Amazon Appstore allows users to filter and search through an abundance of categories and lists. Just like in a brick and mortar store, this is great for when you know what you’re looking for. Playboard provides the analogy of a shop window, where users are presented with a curated stream of apps, which transforms app discovery from a pull to a push action. All these apps still take a category-centric approach, which requires the user to know the type of app they want to find and install. These examples show that app discovery is still a very active task. This is where AppDJ comes in with a "lean back" approach to exploration. AppDJ provides a way to explore apps that transcend the rigid lines of categories.

AppDJ started out as an intuition that sometimes people either don't quite know what to look for (an app that is both entertaining and resourceful, like an interactive news app), or just want to find a new app, but don't know what that app is (out of boredom while riding the train, or to impress friends with a cool, new app). In the music market there are many services that allow a user to input a minimal amount of information on the "profile" of the music they would like to hear (e.g. the artist(s) or track(s) they are in the mood to listen to). The system then plays similar music with this profile, resulting in serendipitous discovery of new music. This is the root concept behind AppDJ. The app provides 5 sliders (popularity, trending, entertainment, productivity and lifestyle), which can be used to create the profile of apps that the user is interested in. The app then displays various suggested apps that fit this profile. The user can then browse through these apps, adjust the profile and eventually find an app that fits the conception that the user had in the beginning. AppDJ fosters interaction and engagement by encouraging users to play around with the app and discover various slider combinations. This form of exploration could also ultimately result in serendipitous discovery, in that an interesting looking app pops up while the user is messing around with the different slider profiles.

To check out what serendipitous app discovery is all about, download AppDJ from the Google Play Store.