Apple's widget is nice way to provide llink to apps, books or podcasts. I like that you can click the title to see more info, and you can click View to be taken right into iTunes or the App Store to download the app, book, or podcast.
The process of making a widget is fairly simple:
- Go to widgets.itunes.apple.com/builder.
- Select Widget Type (probably App List, Book List or Podcast Playlist).
- Fill in the widget's Title and Description
- Click Add/Edit List and search for the items you'd like to add.
- You can reorganize the list by dragging and dropping the items into the correct order.
- Click Done to see your widget.
- Change the background color to match your site (the default is white, so you most likely won't have to mess with this).
- Adjust the widget size. You cannot make it larger than 325x370.
- Copy the HTML-Encoded Output.
The final step is to get the code on your website. It might be tricky because you cannot just paste it into a page or post. You will have to tell the web editor you use that you're inserting code. That's done in a variety of ways depending on the platform you're using. There's usually a button or tool that allows you to insert or embed code or widgets. Or, you might switch from the Editor to Edit HTML or Source. Below are some instructions for different platforms:
- Google Sites (this does not seem to work with Apple's Widget Builder)
There are a few bumps in the road when using Widget Builder:
- You might need to know the author of the app, book, or podcast when you search because items often have similar names and icons are not displayed until after you select the item.
- When picking app, you cannot tell if you are choosing an iPhone or iPad app.
- Widgets are not saved under your account. So if you want to make changes, you have to start a whole new widget. Or, you can follow the instructions below.
Some of my widgets have many items in them. Instead of rebuilding the whole whole list again, I can add items to the code. Here's how:
- Go to the iTunes URL of the item you'd like to add.
- Copy the ID number from the URL. For example, Explain Everything's URL is itunes.apple.com/kz/app/explain-everything/id431493086?mt=8 so I copy 431493086.
- View the HTML code on your site. Paste the ID number into the group of other ID numbers. Make sure a comma is separating the ID numbers.
- Save your code and the new item is added. You can remove items from your widget by deleting their ID codes. You can also change the order by rearranging the ID codes.
To see another app widget in action, check out Erin Klein's blog post. Not only does the post have a widget, but it also has a handy tip for finding apps using Google.
Of course, there are other ways to display apps visually. I've been pinning apps on Pinterest because I can choose a screenshot for each app. There's also Appolicious, List.ly, and Symbaloo for maintaining lists with icons.