What is that one thing without which companies like Apple, Samsung, Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or even Google, would almost cease to function and become paralyzed?
The answer is Apps. A phenomenon that was a subsidiary of the mobile platform, but in a few years, this seemingly inconsequential part of the “scheme of things” has transformed itself into one of the most important reasons why smartphones are becoming so irresistibly hard to not have.
But that power is not unwarranted, there is a huge reason behind it. Apps are the quintessential answer to the most significant problem that mankind has faced since the dawn of time, i.e., The issue of efficiency.
Growth, in any sphere, only follows, if you become more efficient at what you set out to accomplish. Efficiency means doing more with the same or even lesser resources, and that is precisely what apps enable us to achieve, i.e., utopian efficiency.
Consider Uber, one of the biggest companies to have formed in recent times, with a staggering valuation of around $69 billion.
It owns literally zero vehicles, except for a tiny fleet of self-driving cars (That too, just for experimentation purposes currently) and has employed no drivers at all, but it still has risen phenomenally over the years to become the best way to hail a ride wherever you are, whenever you want.
Before Uber, you had to call a taxi or go to a point where you could find one. People didn’t realize at that point, but this activity resulted in wasted effort and time. Even drivers had to wait for potential passengers to come to them, wherever they were, but Uber changed it all.
Now you can hail a ride from your office, home, park or any random street and only the nearest Uber rides available, would show up on screen.
The driver can literally end up working the whole day, with almost zero wasted effort in driving or costs. And for enabling that ultimate way of connectivity, Uber just takes around 20 percent of the total fare passengers pay.
Uber has managed to change the way people commute in urban areas. It’s like having your very own personal chauffeur, who’s always there whenever you need him/her and all of that is possible because Uber is an app.
Every app technically is, a personal assistant. It allows you, the user to commit or do any specified task at will.
Want an app for chatting? Don’t worry, there are WhatsApp and Skype. Want an app for booking a room in a new city? Don’t worry, there’s Airbnb. Bored? Want to play a game? Don’t worry, there’s Pokemon GO, Subway Surfer, Ludo Star & countless others and we are just scratching the surface here.
There are apps dedicated to serving even more technical functionalities like rendering videos, identifying the names of first-time callers, managing cryptocurrencies through online wallets and countless others. If you have a need, there’s definitely an app present or is being currently developed, to serve it like never before.
But as of September 2017, Apps in the Google Play store alone, surpassed the 3.3 million mark, with other platforms like App store by Apple potentially adding, even more, offerings to the giant, intricate web of the app ecosystem.
So how could you possible ensure that your app would get noticed, liked and downloaded by users and generate revenues for your venture simultaneously among this soaring competition?
Well, for every success story, there is always a detailed guideline present that lists down the dos and don’ts very intricately, and a similar one is going to be presented to you here, containing the strategies that allowed the best apps to rule the roost for years in continuation.
Here are mobile app development dos and don’ts you definitely need to not just know, but apply skillfully, if you too want your app to turn out to be a roaring success:
1. Deploy the Freemium Model with Skill:
The beauty of the technological and internet realm is that is its free for the common man to use the essential services, and the paywall only crops up when the user wants access to the most premium features.
The app ecosystem is no different with the freemium model being the most frequently used revenue generation model. While an outright paywall for acquiring access to just download the app can also result in success, it restricts your reach and only works when you are catering to a particular niche like for, e.g., a high-end car driving game with high-resolution graphics aimed at gaming enthusiasts from the racing genre.
The freemium model works great for fueling all kinds of mobile app usage growth, from large behemoths like Instagram and Facebook, whose essential features are free but if you want to advertise on the platform and get access to millions of users, you need to pay money to do that.
But remember, that the freemium model would only work if your primary features are good enough to get the user addicted and only then will the user proceed to the next stage to pay money to get its hands on the more premium features, that enhance the already engaging experience that your app provides.
2. Ensure that your App has an “INTEGRATED” UI & UX Design:
Most readers would believe that this would be another vitriol on how your app would fail if the background colors of the app are not right or if the app appears too cluttered, but this one is not your regular advice on the importance of UI and UX.
Snapchat has a tingy form of yellow as its primary theme color while Facebook prefers blue and both of them have experienced success. Instagram is way beyond cluttered, without which, the user would never enjoy using Instagram again.
The main difference that UI and UX makes is not bound down to cluttering or coloring, but it’s more of how you make the user feel that every action they take on the app will power them on to something new or even better.
And that’s the primary reason Snapchat succeeded, despite people writing off its UI for being so downright outrageous. Snapchat is the ultimate, integrated UI. It doesn’t follow conventionality in design or on what people consider to be “Good Design.”
Swipe right on Snapchat, and you will end up with stories, swipe right again, and you’ll see the colorful page of “Discover,” or if you swipe left at the beginning, you can view your home page. The top bar always displays whether someone added you. The controversial UI probably made Snapchat so popular with millennials.
But the best example of a great UX is SnapChat’s mid-button, with which you can make “Stories.” It initiates a red color filling that starts off when you press and hold it, going full circle. It makes the user “aware” that the app is responding to a certain action taken by him/her, signifying that the app is “Alive!”
And that’s what an Integrated UI and UX means. Every function of the app should make the user feel that the app is responding back. Otherwise, there’s no need to replace buttons with touchscreens. A button executes a command, and that’s all, but touching the surface itself is more personal, and that’s where you need to understand, the difference lies.
Don’t just put in features, but invest in making the app develop a more “Immersive Experience” and you need to make sure that from entry to exit, everything makes them want to stay there more. And that’s exactly where our next “Do” is related to.
3. Utilize the Power of New Technology:
Pokemon Go, allowed its developers to earn a colossal $1.2 billion by just June 2017 which is little more than a year since the launch of the game. This is a classic example of what a stunning display of what apps can help you achieve in such a short span of time if the technology is utilized correctly within the scheme of things. No other business comes even close to matching that speed and audacity of earning of Pokemon Go.
Augmented Reality had been present before in apps, but Pokemon Go gave it a new twist by utilizing that technology to fire up a game that had already been played through trading cards long before the smartphone era.
Similarly, the Viola-Jones Algorithm had already made square boxes appear on faces in digital cameras, but Snapchat used it to make “Filters” which allowed users to put anything from Dog Faces to Flower Crowns on top of their faces, making even dull images come alive, resulting in the phenomenal success of Snap Inc.
Utilizing new technology is where the innovation lies in the app ecosystem because with millions of apps out there, why would someone want to download yours unless it had something that was more fun, exhilarating, rejuvenating than the last app you used.
The Mobile screen real estate is increasingly becoming quite overpopulated with a high number of “Essential apps” making it difficult for new entrants to compete.
If you want to rule the roost, then you definitely need to provide something that adds value, no second thoughts on it.
The Regular Dos:
1)While you can find these particular “Do’s” on a whole lot of other blog posts as well as they are very basic and probably a lot of people already know about them, but to make this post more complete and resounding, we have to include them. But don’t worry, there will be greater insights on how to use these particular “Do’s” with even more reverberating effect.
Introduce Updates, feature by feature: While users do like new things, sometimes their reaction to changes can be quite damaging for your apps. Instead of introducing an update that revamps the whole app at once, add changes feature by feature just like Facebook, Snapchat or even Uber does.
Define the Need Positively: Just because an app can be made, isn’t a good enough reason that you should start developing one unless you need it to further a business requirement or you believe that it would serve a particular No one will download your app if it’s only a mimic of your company’s website.
Apps for business can serve the functions of providing more prompt customer service, getting updates on latest discounts and offers and even for getting customers to give reviews and read blogs as part of building a broader customer community. Define the purpose of having an app before starting the development.
Marketing minded engineering: While conventional marketing methods like promotions, ads, paid blog posts and reviews are what everyone else indulges into, they seldom bring in the results because everyone else is following precisely the same strategy, thereby turning off the user from engaging through those sources.
On the other hand, however, if marketing is inbuilt into the engineering, i.e., during the development phase, it can pay massive dividends.
For, e.g., Google’s mobile-first indexing needs to be used for optimizing your app on Google’s search engines, which will allow more users to flow into your app directly, as they try and find out an answer to an unsatisfied need.
You can even make your app have cross-domain friendliness abilities like allowing users the power to share on Social media platforms directly from your app. These tactics would fuel your marketing efforts with great panache.
While the Do’s needed a bit of explaining, asking someone to not to do something won’t require that much of explanation. But the Don’ts are equally important because the most popular apps out there “Don’t” indulge in them. Don’ts are mainly related to increasing quality and superiority, so don’t miss out on our ever important Don’ts.
1. Never Take Away the Power of Control from the User:
The internet now boasts a great firewall of ad blockers as pop-ups, spams, and additional nuisance ads downgrade the experience of the user to a great extent. Similarly, you need to cede the control over your app to the user and never make their smartphones feel like they are being controlled by you.
If the users want push notifications, put in an option that enables or disables the features at will or if the user wants your app to draw over other apps, make sure that you give them this power. Otherwise, your app would soon stand deleted as the user’s frustration levels grow.
2. Don’t Build an App on a Trend:
It’s quite easy to be enticed into creating an app that follows the latest “Trending concept” and siphons off with some cash. But rest assured, that’s a failed tactic, and your investment would definitely stand wasted if you do so.
An app like Pokemon More or Power Pokemon, won’t help you, even if Pokemon Go has just gained a billion dollars. Pokemon Go was a great concept, and it got all the users engaged, but a copy will always remain a copy, and nothing can get users to love your app as equally as the love Pokemon Go. Never build an app on a trend if you want long-term results from your venture or app development.
3. Never Compromise the Primary Users:
Sometimes, people believe that an app that is complex is an app that is good. However, nothing can be further away from the truth. If the mobile app you are trying to develop cant be played into by a novice with equal ease of that of an expert, then your app is definitely panning out to be a bummer.
The app should always put its mission towards being immensely user-friendly, robust and interactive for everyone, even the layman. The primary users are the most significant user base, and if your app ignores them, then that’s about it for the app.
The reason why Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb, Google and a multitude of others, have met with such resounding success on their app platforms, is because they are super easy to use. Fast, responsive, engaging and without a dull moment, these apps are what apps should look like. Never compromise on the loyal users ever.
4. Never Ever Forget to Include the Power of Personalization:
While the app is the same for every user, the experience they provide should definitely be tailored by monitoring their usage patterns. Apps that can “Remember,” what the user was most interested in the last visit and customize the experience for the latest usage visit, would trump apps which don’t have the power, every single time.
Our smartphones are our vestiges, our personal assistants and our apps need to reflect that very mindset. Do away with the “Otherness” by including the power of personalization into your app.
Apps will undoubtedly continue to rule the roost as concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and even Augmented Reality, become more and more integrated into the app as times passes by. The best time to develop an app is definitely today, so you need to understand, know and plan on how you will use that app to power your business goals forward.
There are more resources and ways available to you than ever before. Use them to the best effect and start your journey with perhaps you being the next originator of the most popular app that manages to capture user’s imaginations and become the latest billion dollar story from this fantastic, intuitive and above all, magical world of apps.