Apps are a dime a dozen. Well, actually most are less than a dime a dozen, they’re free. The world of mobile has given developers a new platform to display their creations, but it has also allowed competition to skyrocket up to intense levels. Yes competition is fierce, but there are still apps that succeed.
This success isn’t accidental. Yes, as with everything, a little bit of luck is involved. But most successful apps are successful because they do something better than any other app. Here are some things to keep in mind as you work towards app success:
As with everything, having a crystal clear idea of exactly what your app is going to do is essential. The most successful apps do one of two things: create an app that does something a lot of other apps already do, just better. Or create an app that does something new, but does it in a familiar way or with a familiar user interface. Clear, for example, found success among thousands of other “to-do” apps because they focused on making the app really pretty. Most “to-do” apps weren’t focusing on aesthetics, but Clear did and found success. Conversely, the app iTranslate Voice did something new, translated a user’s voice into another language, but functioned in a way that mimicked Siri.
A successful app should be 100% intuitive, guiding users subliminally through a planned workflow. It’s like how you can sense where the restroom is in a well-designed restaurant. Nobody wants to read instructions or go through a little tutorial, especially when this acts as a user’s first interaction with the app. If instructions are necessary, keep them to a minimum, or use engaging and humorous copy to distract a user from the fact this would otherwise be boring them. As for the app itself, keep the design as clean and simple as possible. One, because a simple design will run more efficiently, and two, because bare bones design is cool now! Ride the wave of simplicity before people start craving those flash-filled flashy websites again.
As unfair as it sounds, the truth is that the majority of apps are not profitable…and I’m talking about the successful apps. In order to know how much to charge, you need to who is buying your app and for what purpose. An app that can be used by everybody is almost certainly something that most can live without. Even a cool app like iTranslate is still not cool enough to convince people that they should pay more than a dollar—no one needs iTranslate. On the other hand, an app like Spray helps farmers keep track of pesticides. It can really only be used by famers who manage their own pesticide schedule, but it performs a very valuable function for a specific group of people. Because of this, the app costs about 500$.
There’s a lot more you’ll need to know if you want to create a successful app, and it’s all right here from the team over at Smashing Magazine.