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What Makes a Great App Great


You can find around 2 million of apps currently in the app stores being Apple or Google Play; people spend daily from 43 to 185 minutes on mobile devices; you have seen the annual lists of ‘the top apps’ or the ‘best apps’ but what makes a great app GREAT?

There are many things we can list as important when building an app, but what are the reasons why some apps finish as the top ones as opposed to many others that fade away in oblivion?

Let’s try and give some of the crucial elements to follow when creating an app.

  1. Problem solver

The thing that is the most important for mobile apps is that they need to solve a problem for the user. In my last article, one of the questions you need to ask yourself prior to deciding to build an app is ‘Will it solve the users’ problems?’

So ask yourself what are your users’ pain points and and add functionalities which resolve them and facilitate the interaction. Your app needs to meet the needs of your users – you should strive for a clear vision of what you intend to achieve with your app, conduct a research and once you identify users’ problems, it will help you to design your mobile app.

  1. Simplicity and friendliness

By simple, I mean uncluttered – not too many features but only few since the app needs to do one thing well and that’s solving a problem for the users. The best advice is to start with your core focus, do it well and only then shift your focus to additional features – especially if your users provided you with a valuable feedback.

The user experience plays a vital role when it comes to the success of your app thus the best is to follow a rule for mobile apps – the less is more.

Users like efficiency – providing them with a clear guide to follow so to navigate your app will ensure more success for your app. If the users cannot understand your app process, they will surely abandon it.

Focusing on small details can help separate your app from other apps – you can include some interactions, animations, sound effects or other little quirks which can bring life back to your app and make it a bit more impressive than it already is.

Your app must be easy to navigate, user-friendly and visually appealing in order to retain the users for the future.

     3. Performance, Performance

Firstly, you need to understand that a poor app performance can lead to a negative user experience and not to mention losing the valuable number of downloads, revenue or brand recognition.

Think about some of the best apps you’ve tried – they don’t crash, they aren’t slow and they do exactly what you expect them to do. Great apps offer fast response time and their users can handle the app in just a couple of taps or seconds.

Your mobile app has to launch quickly as of the first time so not to keep the users too long and you should improve and test your app regularly to fix bugs and/or slow performance – optimise your app for flawless performance and retest to make sure it runs well and without any delays.

     4. Offline mode & Personalization

Most of the mobile apps need an Internet connection to work – offering your users the app which functions even offline can be a great asset. Although Internet is accessible almost everywhere nowadays, it is important to have this advantage – access to features and content offline allows users to continue promoting a positive user experience which makes a difference when ranking the top apps.

Moreover, it is highly important for your app to create a unique value – delivering real customer value to drive and enhance loyalty is the best choice. Since personalization can help to make mobile experience more human, provide the opportunity to create personal app experiences which will drive your brand recognition and conversion. The app users want personalization in a way where interactions are tailored to their preferences, location and usage behaviour. Very important: leverage profile information insights from the user history and deliver such personalized content to the user and in return, you will surely get a positive user experience and user engagement going along with the success of your app.

       5. Android/iOS platforms

Currently, the two largest global platforms for app distribution are Apple’s App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) where as of 3rd quarter of 2018, Android users were able to choose from 2.1 million apps and iOS users from almost 2 million available apps. Such numbers tell a story – it is really important that your strategy encompasses these two platforms. You can implement a cross-platform app development framework – cross platform tools can reduce the time and costs associated with developing apps separately on both platforms.

         6. Free offer

With all the apps today in the stores, offering your app for free will increase the possibility for your app’s success. Everyone likes to download apps for free and test them out prior to deciding if the app’s eligible to pay the price for it.

People like to see first hand what you offer without any risks so offering a free basic app is key to grab the users and increase traction. If they are satisfied with your app, they’ll be happy to pay for in-app purchases, try premium features etc.

This method cannot guarantee success but it will definitely increase the number of people who will give your app a chance and hence increase the chances for your app to become a success.

        7.  Test, Feedback, Update

As mentioned above, you should always test and retest your app for bugs, crashes or slow performance so to improve your app performance. You should get an understanding of your customers’ needs, the context of using an app and the most important – pain points.

It is very important to create a channel for communication, ratings and reviews allowing users to connect, get help or simply provide feedback. Feedback is essential – gathering the insights from the users can help you to ensure having the most effective user interface for your app. Not only this, creating an easy-to-use feedback channel encourages communication with the users and helps preventing public negative reviews.

Besides testing and feedback, another important process is to create regular updates in order to provide a mobile app with lasting popularity. Maintain ongoing development and updates – release continuous app updates and keep users coming back for more.

Your app’s features and content needs to be always up-to-date and relevant.

        8. Metrics Forever

Mobile app analytics serve to understand users’ behaviour – tracking the data can be used to measure the success of your app, provide further insights and identify the points where you can make improvements.

Inbuilt app analytics allow you to track downloads, user engagement and retention and these numbers can be a life-saviour for your app. You can get full insights into how to boost user experience and optimise marketing strategy which can make or break your app’s success.

         9. Marketing Strategy in Details

No matter how good, flawless or streamlined your app is – if no person uses it, it will not be successful. Make no such mistake to start the marketing strategy when your app is already developed – you need a solid marketing plan that will help you drive app installs and re-engage target users. You need to start with your marketing strategy much before the launch of your app since it gives a push to your users to try out your app the moment it hits the stores.

Great apps are promoted long before they were released for the public purchase in the stores.

As I wrote earlier, marketing and app launch strategy should contain 3 phases: pre-launch, launch and post launch – this way you provide the best strategy possible for an app to become visible and ensure that your plan promotes your app through various channels and techniques.  

Nothing can guarantee the popularity of your app, but sticking by these simple features can greatly contribute your app’s visibility and provide a more solid chance for success.

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