What makes these apps so amazing and how do the tech companies know from the outset that these apps are designed for greatness? After asking our developers for their opinions and reviewing some of the top apps on the market, here are the 5 characteristics of great apps that we’ve come up with.
You’ve seen apps go viral from the minute that they were launched in the app stores. Tech review companies routinely put out lists of the “best new apps” and “apps of the year 2016.” In many cases, you probably haven’t even heard of the app until it is featured in your favorite tech publication.
So what makes these apps so amazing and how do the tech companies know from the outset that these apps are designed for greatness? While a few media contacts might help to get some buzz, getting these apps to catch on with users requires that your app have some very specific features.
After asking our developers for their opinions and reviewing some of the top apps on the market, here are the 5 characteristics of great apps that we’ve come up with.
If you think about all of the apps that are the most popular right now, they all have something in common: they do one thing way better than any other app. Take Uber, for instance. Uber was the first company to master ridesharing by focusing solely on getting you a ride faster than the taxi companies. Without this focus on the sole feature of delivering rides faster, the company wouldn’t have grown as quickly as it did.
As of 2015, Uber was estimated to be worth $50 billion and is available in 60 countries and 300 cities worldwide. Its largest competitor, Lyft. generates just a fraction of the revenue that Uber does at $2.2 billion. Uber’s rapid growth and continued dominance in the ridesharing space demonstrates the importance of making sure that your app is the best at whatever it does.
If you want your app to receive a high level of user engagement, you need to understand the needs and behaviors of your app’s audience. The developers of the top apps listen closely to their users and take users’ feedback into account when adding new features. Therefore, you should make sure that user feedback is built into the design of your app as Google has so cleverly done with many of its products, such as the surveys found in Google Play.
Making the correct decisions about how users will behave can only be uncovered through testing and analysis. Broad assumptions about user behaviors will get you nowhere when it comes to building a competitive app. This point also highlights why you need to create and utilize buyer personas if you want your app to be successful.
The best apps don’t only win users over with their features, they are also well-branded and offer superior user experiences. If you look at Google’s own apps, you’ll notice this fact right away. They all have similarities in their look and feel by using unique design features, such as bright colors, animations, custom icons, and other details.
In fact, a hallmark of good branding is that your app doesn’t look like other apps that are already on the market. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to make sure that your app can’t be confused with products from your competitors or other app developers.
Think about top apps, like Facebook and YouTube. They were ranked as the top 2 smartphone apps of 2015 with Facebook ranked first and YouTube ranked second. But, what do these apps have in common? In addition offering features that their users want, these apps work fast and they are stable. In fact, you probably can’t even remember a time when these apps crashed or didn’t load properly.
With Facebook having 126 million average unique users and YouTube reporting 97 million unique users, the developers of these apps have to make consistent investments in the infrastructure of these apps in order to keep the number of support requests low.
This is done through frequent updates and continuous testing to ensure that these apps are always functioning properly. Therefore, if you want to keep users happy, you need to make sure that your app works every time.
While building a well-designed app is enough to keep your users engaged, great apps are also highly promoted. If you think about the summer 2016’s biggest hit, Pokémon Go, this app was simply everywhere. By August 2016, it had reached 100 million downloads and was generating $10 million in revenue per day.
If you want your app to take off, it needs to be promoted by industry influencers. Design it in a way that promotes sharing of content or discussions about the app via social media. Top apps, Evernote and Instagram used these strategies to grow exponentially. They invited influential technology bloggers to beta test their apps, included features that make sharing app content on social media easy, and the rest is history.
A great app is a destination, not a starting point. If you want your app to be successful, you need to focus on ensuring that your app incorporates these 5 characteristics described above. With careful planning, you’ll have a greater chance of seeing your app go viral.
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