Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What makes a successful app?

Here is a list of some of the qualities to consider in designing an app.
In no particular order:


Form has everything to do with the aesthetic, yet is distinctly tied to function.

The user needs to instinctively know how to use your app.

If you are not a graphic designer, hire one. They are trained to know where the user’s eyes wander. They can build focal points that draw a user to what is important. A smart and talented graphic artist will have ideas on how to promote the usability of your app, not just make it look pretty.

Last but not least, your app should feel thematic. This simply means that a user can get an idea of what the app does just by looking at it. A good thematic design hints at the purpose of the app. An app for entertainment looks fun. An app for business purposes looks professional. Easy enough, right? In a proper, graphically balanced app all the elements fit and work together. Everything “feels” like it belongs.

Sounds spiritual or something, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. If you hire a good graphic artist, he or she will “get it.”

The X Factor

This is probably the hardest trait to define. You’ll know you have the X Factor, when you see your app being used by others. You also can find the X Factor when you listen to others talk about what your app does. I’ll use two quick examples to make my point.

The app, Shazam has the X Factor. When people want to see some of the capabilities of my phone, this app often gets an exhibition.

A quick explanation of Shazamm: This app “listens” to music being played. Then, using the power of “auto-magic algorithms” searches a database to find information on the song being played. It is quite accurate. Not only does it provide the song, band and album– it also provides links for lyrics, YouTube videos and of course, purchase possibilities.

The X Factor is easily recognized when someone sees this app at work for the first time. The look on some of the faces I have seen while they use this app says it all. This, of course, is almost always followed by an amazed, “Whoah.”

This effect is what I consider the X Factor.

The X Factor does not have to be technically brilliant either. The game, Angry Birds has this same effect on its user, without the need of “auto-magic algorithms.” The game is instantly fun and provides the user with an immediate, satisfying experience.

I use these two examples because they are well-known, but any app that gives the user a sudden “rush-of-wow” has the X Factor. Of course, every user brings his or her own personality to the technology. We are all impressed at different levels by different functions. I do believe, however, that a majority of users will agree that when an app pleasantly surprises us, we are more apt to buy and reuse.

And buying and reusing makes a very successful app.

* Engaging Users with Local and Push Notifications
* Adhering to Guidelines on Third-Party Marketing Services
Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts. Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.
* Higher Data Limits for Turn-Based Matches in Game Center

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these. I should have some other texts to add to the drop box later tonight.