Don’t let that happen to your idea or your app. There are plenty of ways to ensure your app is used, loved, and could even be the next big thing. Here are some tricks we’ve learned along the way from clients whose ideas went from concept to Steve-Jobs-like success story.
1) Make it stupidly simple.
No no, don’t make your app stupid, make it stupidly simple to use. There is nothing more frustrating than taking the time to download an app, only to struggle with understanding how to use it. Provide a simple walk-through guide for first-time users so they understand what they are supposed to be doing with your awesome app. From there, remove complexity in every way possible. Your app should be a tool to make their lives easier or a game to bring joy. Therefore make sure yours is an asset to their app collection, not the complicated monstrosity they will be complaining to their friends about.
2) Avoid a bunch of advertisements.
How many times have you downloaded a free or freemium app, and to use it you’re barraged with an unending amount of advertisement pop-ups? Or worse, ads over your listening experience. Take Spotify’s advertising model for example – while we appreciate the freemium version they put out there, users are pretty much bullied into subscribing monthly for the app due to the constant stream of music montage ruining commercials that keep screwing up your workout, especially that one time you were about to PR (personal record). Yes advertising can help fund your app, but remember there are lots of ways to monetize your app. If you choose to go the ad route, try not to overwhelm your user – because that sucks.
3) Keep your target audience in mind – and make them happy.
As much as you’d like it to be, your app can’t be everyone’s best friend. Understand the person you are targeting and build your app with them in mind. If you try too hard to imagine every person who could ever possibly use your app, you’re just going to piss off everyone. Focus on the ideal user and make them giddy with your app experience.
4) Make it inexpensive or free.
Everyone likes free stuff. That goes for your potential users too. Lower the barriers to entry and if you can, make your app free to download. If you do want to put a price on it, at least keep the cost down to maximize the people who will be willing to pay a buck or two for your app.
5) Learn from your audience.
The Internet is filled with people with opinions. If they don’t like something you can be damned sure they are going to tell you about it. Listen to those who complain and yes, sometimes it stings a little. Just don’t forget the haters are always louder than the lovers. It’s therefore helpful to request feedback from your users to get the opinions of those who like your app and can tell you what cool things you’re doing right. You’ll probably need some positive feedback anyway as listening to the complainers and trolls can get downright taxing.
6) Study your competition.
It’s helpful to understand your competition because you don’t want to reinvent an already working wheel by making a lamer version of something users know and love. Check out their model to verify that you have something unique that users can gravitate to. Sure, it can be a solution to the same problem the competition is looking to solve, but what’s going to make you successful is having taken a different angle and mastering your own competitive advantage.
7) Do one thing and do it better than anyone else.
Sometimes people think their mobile app should be a mobile version of their web app, with all the functionality of the web app on the mobile app. This is typically the wrong approach – your app can’t be everything to everyone. Facebook recently realized this and is actually removing functionality and spinning them out (e.g. Messenger) into separate apps. Do yourself a favor and realize this early and focus on being an expert at that one thing.
The point is, your app idea could be great in your head but flop on execution. The last thing we want for you is for that to happen. So don’t be a stranger, let us know how we can steer you in the right direction, whether it’s with us or another team who will help make sure your app isn’t awful.