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Kickstarted released an app for iOS earlier today, marking the company’s first venture into the mobile space.
The app has been available for the iPhone and iPod touch on the iTunes store since this morning.
“[It] is a whole new way to experience Kickstarter,” wrote the company’s co-founders Perry Chan, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler in a blog post announcing the launch. “We took things we've learned from the past three years of building the site, and applied them to a total redesign for the iPhone.”
The app is attractive and practical. Finding projects is easy: users can filter them by location, category, popularity, and staff picks, and they can also search for specific ones. Users can also keep track of the activity taking place around the projects they have followed or backed (updates and messages, for example), as well as their friends’ activity.
Kickstarter didn’t neglect the creators, either. The app allows campaign owners to receive notifications about their progress and to access the project dashboard. Project creators can also take pictures or videos on their phones in order to update their backers, theoretically bringing the two parties closer together.
Kickstarter is keeping mum on when (and even whether) it will be following up with an app for Android and other mobile operating systems, though its hard to imagine the platform shunning potential customers by not creating apps for other mobile devices.
It is not the first crowdfunding platform to create an iPhone app, but it is certainly the most widely recognized.
Whether backers will embrace the app remains to be seen. After all, people are generally cautious when it comes to donating money over the web without doing at least some research into the company or project they are backing. The Kickstarter app minimizes the amount of text people see in favor of the video and the pledge levels.
When looking at a campaign on the app, the video is the first item to show up, followed by the name of the project and a brief description of the project. Following that are the campaign stats, and buttons to the creator’s profile, comments, updates, and details (which is the actual project description). The pledge levels take up everything below these items.
In other words, the project description (which takes up the majority of space on the website) is less visible than the pledge levels. While it’s not a complete game-changer for people looking to launch a Kickstarter campaign, it does mean that the video that they create must be even more stimulating than before, as it is the most accessible way of getting information about the campaign. With easier ways to update the community, connecting with backers will also become more vital.
This is an important step for Kickstarter and, if the app proves popular with backers, one that can change the reward-based crowdfunding field. If nothing else, it shows that the company that has arguably done the most to make “crowdfunding” a mainstream term is looking to stay innovative and ahead of its competition.