Zoom Lead
11 February, 2019

7 mins

3 Reasons We Love the Zoom App Marketplace

Of all people, we know best that building a great app store isn’t as easy as it sounds; between designing an intuitive developer portal and handling payments and payouts, there’s a lot to think about. Needless to say, when we saw the app marketplace they launched over at Zoom, we were impressed. Today, we’re going to share three reasons we love their marketplace — but first, why would they even bother building one?

Read Developer Advocate Benjamin Dean’s launch announcement for the Zoom API marketplace here.

Why Zoom Built an App Marketplace

Zoom are specialists in everything conference. From hosting online meetings to webinars, their goal is to create “One Consistent Enterprise Experience” for web communication. Considering they’re the communication solution of choice for Uber, Ticketmasters, Match, and a whole host of other big names, it’s obvious they do a pretty solid job of providing conference services.

Zoom App Marketplace - Zoom Core Offering
Here are just some of the services Zoom offers for their all-included enterprise experience.

The thing is, the vision for “One Consistent Enterprise Experience” is an ambitious one, especially when you consider the whole host of third party web services that have been assimilated into enterprise life, like Slack, Google Drive, and YouTube. So instead of offering little-to-no connectivity with those other popular enterprise services, or reinventing the wheel a thousand times over with their own variations on these services, Zoom decided their best bet might be to integrate these platforms with their own.

But there’s only so much a single team can develop, and surely Zoom customers each have their own preferences for what integrations to they want to see, so Zoom did the next best thing and built a universal app marketplace for others to build onto and use. As a result, community members can build whatever integrations they want, and all Zoom needs to is keep their base platform and marketplace running smoothly.

3 Reasons We Love the Zoom App Marketplace

Zoom App Marketplace - Home Page

This landing page is what you see when you first navigate to the Zoom marketplace.

Zoom have a beautifully designed app marketplace that makes building, installing, and using all of the third party applications as easy as you could hope. When we took a closer look, there are three aspects of the Zoom store that really stand out as contributing to this awesome user experience:  

1. Minimal Design

To kick things off, there’s the design of their marketplace. They’ve opted for a relatively minimal style — white background, black text, and flat logos — which gives users a sense of satisfaction just from looking at the page. The layout of the page is intuitive, with an encouraging explanation banner at the top, categories listed along the left side, and apps dotted throughout the middle.

It really is a simple design, where the developers and tools are the focus, but that’s the way it should be and it’s all you need for a great marketplace. Notice how the main directory doesn’t even include app ratings or publish dates — there’s just the app name and publisher.

2. Easy Discovery

Another reason we love the Zoom app store is their carefully thought-out approach to app discovery. There are only three elements to this — the search box, the categorization, and the basic filter settings — but it’s all you need to find the right apps. The search box is there if you know what exactly you’re looking for (e.g. for a Google Drive integration, just search “Drive”); the categories are there if you know what you’re trying to achieve but don’t know the app for it; and the filters guarantee you can find an app that will work for you the first time around.

Zoom App Marketplace - CategoryLooking for collaboration apps? This category might be the place to start.

While there’s nothing too sophisticated about this discovery system, it’s the simplicity that makes it as powerful as it is. For example, instead of having hundreds of categories, there are just a dozen categories with little overlap in their interpretations, which means it’s quick to find the one that best suits your requirements.

3. Permissions and Pre-Approval

Last of all, we really appreciate the thought Zoom has put into building a secure and transparent app store, especially with regard to their permissions disclaimers and the pre-approval feature. When you choose an app, there’s no more wondering what data it will be using and how it will be using it; instead, they make it abundantly clear what permissions an app needs — from access to your recordings to user information. Similarly, the pre-approval feature, which allows you to “pre-approve” an app before members install it, allows for better management of the Zoom platform in the context of a team workspace.

Zoom App Marketplace - Permissions

A simple permissions disclaimer like this one might be all you need to get users installing apps on your platform.

In an age of security breaches and progressively tougher data protection regulations, we can’t stress how important these features are for some users. Good show, Zoom!

One More (And Maybe Our Favourite) Reason…

One of the most underrated aspects of growing an app marketplace is managing developer app submissions. It’s the combination of high quality developer submissions (developer documentation has a big affect on submission quality as well) AND a well defined app QA process that RESULTS in an app marketplace filled with valuable apps and add-ons that users love.

Zoom tackle this head on, sharing that over 90% of app submissions requesting approval to be published are rejected for not meeting marketplace app standards. They quickly follow that with “but that is through no fault of you…our developers!”. We commend them for being so open and transparent with their community.

From there, they go through in detail how to help developers get their app approved on their first attempt. Everything from defining submission status (create, update, remove, etc..) to exactly how apps are reviewed by the Zoom team and even the schedule for when reviews are processed.

Finally, they proactively tackle the top 10 reasons apps are rejected. This is valuable because most issues, like an incomplete Developer Agreement or app description, can be easily fixed. Encouraging developers to take a second look before submitting will reduce the number of rejections.

Follow Benjamin Dean on Medium to get all the latest updates.

Our Ideas for Growing the Zoom App Marketplace

We think Zoom has done a fantastic job with their app marketplace. It’s simple (which is good!) and it’s got everything users need when and where they need it — which is exactly what we aim to achieve with our marketplace solutions here at OpenChannel.

While it’s difficult for us to comment on things like back end architecture for Zoom’s marketplace, or their approach to paid apps (since they don’t yet have any), a few ideas so come to mind.

One Click Installation

One click installation is one of the features our customers really love, and so do the end users more than anyone else. Allowing users to immediately install apps without leaving the directory page makes it a lot easier for them to experiment with various apps — not to mention making the installation process feel a whole lot sleeker.

Publisher Overview

Another idea would be to include a short bio of the app’s publisher on each description page. This way, users know more about who they’re getting the app from and what to expect, which is especially important for paid apps.

Build Your Store with OpenChannel

We really like the work Zoom has done to build a great app store for their web conferencing service, but there’s no doubt that it would have taken them a while to do so.

If you’re looking to build a marketplace with all the same features as Zoom’s, plus more, you should consider our out-of-the-box marketplace solution, which comes ready with everything you need to grow your platform using crowdsourced apps.

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