Leave a person alone with a smart phone for 90-seconds, and chances are, you’ll come to find them using one of their many apps – scrolling through the news, playing a game, checking Facebook or browsing through Instagram.
While functionality is the main purpose of any app – and that will never change – an app can be designed and branded in an infinite number of ways, which can contribute towards its success. In my experience, there are four key principles to remember when developing a successful app:
1. You are one of 775,000
Looks count. The way an app is branded is what makes it distinctive from its competitors (and trust us, with more than 775,000 apps for the iPhone alone, you have competitors). Branding includes the icon and the face of the app. If the app is something you want people to use everyday, it needs to be appealing on multiple levels.
2. People don’t like to think
Your app should have minimal instructions; or better yet, no instructions at all. If a user spends more than 10 seconds learning how to use an app, you’ve lost them. Aim for simplicity and ease of use. This is much easier said than done.
3. Stay true to your purpose
While adding more and more features to an app may make it ‘cooler’, it will also make everything more complicated. Do yourself a favor and write the main purpose of the app on a post-it. Look at the post-it everyday and question every function you add to the app to make sure it relates to your main purpose.
4. Make a statement
Error messages are frustrating and notifications can be annoying. Making your app quirky, humorous and witty can make all the online ads and notifications less painful – and even worth it. People who make a statement are hard to forget. The same goes for apps.
A well-designed app has the right mix of functionality, good looks, readability, intuition and a unique personality. Users will either like or dislike an app for a variety of reasons. But a well-designed app will definitely leave a lasting impression, and hopefully one that they will want to ‘share’.