There are thousands of apps on both iOS and Android, but not all of them are popular. So, what makes a great app? How come some apps go viral, others are somewhat popular, and some are quickly forgotten or never found in the first place?
Every Mobile App Developer Must Remember the Below 4 Criteria:
We put our heads together to help mobile app developer and concluded that a really good app must have 4 clearly defined elements:
- The purpose – what will the app achieve?
- The audience – are the targeted users looking for such an app?
- The performance – is the app stable?
- The continued support – will the app be improved after launch?
You’ll see lists such as “best apps of the year” and “top apps of this month” circulating the internet periodically. Well, after you read the rest of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding if those apps really belong in the toplists.
A Great Mobile App Developer Does One Thing Very Well
One of the most common traps that a lot of businesses and developers fall into is making the app too complicated. When you’re executing your app idea, you’re not trying to win any nominations for industry innovations.
What you actually want to do is make sure that your app fulfills its purpose very well. What’s the one thing that your app has to do exactly right, above all else? Figure out that pain point, and focus the majority of your effort on it.
Oftentimes, a simple concept results in a product that’s easy and intuitive to use. Let’s take 2 examples.
Hours Time Tracking is one of our internal apps. We had detected that keeping track of both billable and non-billable time can quickly become a problem. Logging time is also usually not one of the favorite activities of employees. So, we built our own solution, with ease of use and simplicity as key pillars. Building it up from there came naturally to the team.
American Airlines also have their own iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch apps. AA already had a talented web team, but they needed a solution for “on-the-go” customers. We were thrilled to be able to assist their incredible internal team in the creation process.
Do you also want to create an app that will be featured in future toplists? Let’s talk today about how we can make that reality.
In a nutshell: As a mobile app developer, you must figure out the foundation of your app, what it must achieve above all else. Add more features after you get that right.
The App’s Target Audience
Your app must fulfill its goal flawlessly, but it also has to be suited to the target group that will end up using it. If your design is too complex, or using the features becomes too complicated without in-house knowledge, then your audience will be confused.
For example, American Airlines looked at how they could bring their entire service spectrum into a concise mobile app format.
Features like baggage track & claim, departure times, boarding passes, booking flights on-the-go and more were key functions for the intended users. So, the apps were created to serve all of the core objectives of the target audience.
Similarly, what’s important to one audience, doesn’t have to be to another. An app should always be bespoke to the niche it wants to serve. It should provide a means to an end that was already requested, or present an innovative idea that the audience didn’t even know they needed.
We took the second approach with Hours. Time logging tools were already on the market, but their use resembled a necessary evil. By eliminating clunkiness and wasted time with Hours, we also got rid of our team’s frustration about the subject.
Now, the app has features that serve the needs of full-time employees, freelancers, and managers alike. For example, being able to switch project timers on the fly.
The logging process updates automatically and across devices as you switch between timers, since it is a cloud based solution. No need to do guesswork at the end of the day about how you spent your time.
In a nutshell: A mobile app developer must build what the audience would want to use. So, make it intuitive and bespoke to them. And, that’s what we do.
The App’s Stability
Even the best design, UX and targeting come to naught if the performance itself isn’t up to par. We’re all app users at this point, and it’s hard to say that we think any differently about this.
If the app’s speed lags behind considerably, or if it’s prone to seemingly unexplainable crashes, we just stop using it. For an app to be truly great, it should have stability standards similar to the system default ones created by Apple and Google themselves.
If you were to put it plainly: the mobile app developer must ensure that the app just works, no two ways about it. When it does, it’s usually taken for granted; but, if it doesn’t, the audience will lose interest very fast. That’s the reality of it.
Responsiveness and fast load times should also be a priority. There are loads of screen sizes nowadays, and one device shouldn’t feel superior to another for the app. This is also one of the areas which our team of mobile app developers covered when lending our expertise to the American Airlines’s team: making the iPad app fit to all screen sizes.
Likewise, since the apps were intended for phones, tablets and the Apple Watch, optimizing speed was of the essence. In fact, the Apple Watch version was one of the first robust software products for the device.
So, remember: make sure that the app opens and loads fast, the menu switches take little time, and the overall UX is smooth and responsive.
In a nutshell: Speed is crucial. Don’t overburden the app with features that aren’t necessary or useful to the audience. Take all necessary steps to ensure a stable performance.
Constant Updates for the App
You can’t keep an app in development indefinitely. Great ideas and feedback will always keep coming along. After the product is polished enough to be launched on the app stores, keep an eye out for reviews and feedback. Offer continued support.
At the same time, you can keep having brainstorming sessions about how you can improve the app down the line. The little details like beautiful transitions and app interactions that have pleasant sound effects can really make your product stand out from others.
For example, with Hours, we ported it to the web later (it was originally a time tracker for iPhones and the Apple Watch). We also iterated on it with every occasion, creating improved visualizations, color coding, etc.
In a nutshell: Good apps aren’t abandoned after launch. They’re constantly improved with features and bugs fixed when needed.
The Bottom Line
Focusing on the purpose, audience, performance and offering continued support after launch is what makes an app great.
The apps that are featured on many websites and downloaded by tens or hundreds of thousands of people were built right from the get-go. You must establish a simple and effective concept first. Then, you execute it correctly. Only afterwards do you come with enhancements.
If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced mobile app developer to launch an app (web, iOS, Android), we’d be thrilled to be given the opportunity of earning your business. Our portfolio goes back 10+ years, and we’ve already handled dozens of niches.
Contact us today via email, or give us a call directly at (972) 200-9120. Looking forward to getting in touch with you!