A really interesting new app which enables users to build animated stories. All I can say is I wish we had built it. Read more http://tinyurl.com/kkw6v9c
Women are more likely to buy apps Vs men and they're choice of apps seems to vary from men to. Check out the Venturebeat article http://tinyurl.com/cqdw62k
To produce exceptional mobile apps, you first need to understand the recipe of a great app and the methods used to attain greatness.
Target Audience: It’s important to pitch your app at a specific audience as this leads to crisp beautiful design which delights and engages. Don’t worry, though people are different, they’re not that different, so if you get it right for one audience, it’ll work really well for the audience at large. For example, the Parkers Car Price Checker app is aimed at people who are buying cars. However, its simple design means it works equally well for users selling cars and for car enthusiasts.
Keep It Simple: This is one of toughest and most important criteria to get right if you want your app to achieve greatness. It’s tough to get clients to think less is more; this is due to their paradigms around web development, where company websites tend to organically grow in complexity over the years and just the enthusiasm around apps which generates lots of ideas. Apps need to be kept simple for two key reasons: phone screens are small compared to a computer screen and users of apps are in an active user state, which means they’re looking to your app to solve a problem quickly. This is where the rubber hits the road - a good agency will work with clients proactively to simplify the app proposition. If your agency doesn’t do this, be concerned, there isn’t any point in spending 1000s to develop an app which fails to engage users due to over complexity and even worse, damage your brand.
Simple interface design: There are 3 types of mobile apps which require different modes of thinking when it comes to the design experience. You need to decide which one fits:
Utility apps: Apps which are task oriented and solve user problems. For example the NCP car parking app for Android. The aim of this app is to enable users to easily find an NCP car park. It was designed around the familiar interface for Google maps, which meant for users it was easily recognizable how to search for car parks without the need for guides or help. Utility apps generally use standard user interface elements, which are familiar with other apps. Why re-invent the wheel when it works perfectly well.
Information browsing apps: These apps straddle the world of entertainment and utility. A good example is Empire Movie Guide. Again users don’t want complex experience to get in the way of enjoying the content, so the app was designed to look less utilitarian but still with common user interface features, which are immediately intuitive to use but also look nice to.
Fun entertainment game like apps: Designers still need to think simplicity when it comes to design but in general, there is far more flexibility around interface design. Learning and exploring an interface becomes part of the entertainment experience and it’s an opportunity to push the boundaries beyond the expected. Here we can dispense with standard User interface elements and push the boat out for example the use of gestures instead of buttons, such as can be found in browsing content within the National Archives UFOfilesUK app.
Elegant, on brand and beautiful: Users engage with apps intensely. A few months ago, an app for NHS Direct was released to enable users to check their medical symptoms. Since launch, the level of engagement has been huge, far outstripping the engagement seen by NHS Direct’s website users. Intensity of usage means you have to get your design right, so your app reflects and bolsters your brand qualities. It’s also about extending the virtual app experience into the real world. Take a look at the MCN ride tracker app which is based around a bike dashboard. The app reflects the bike experience and also the authority of the MCN brand. When you use the app you know you are in MCN. A good mobile agency will help develop a design which reflects all aspects of your brand, covering the look and how the app functions.
All apps need Va Va Voom: All apps need a little bit of innovation to distinguish themselves from the competition. It’s also important if you want to get your app featured in the relevant App store. The key to achieving Va Va Voom is to make sure your development house has good connections with the likes of Apple and Google, so they know what kind of features within apps would potentially lend well to being featured. It’s also important to factor in Va Va Voom early on in the app design, so that it becomes an integral part of the offering. A good agency would do this as part of the app commissioning process, where they would brainstorm with the clients to understand the target audience, the key problem the app is trying to solve and we complete with a review of how to get app Va Va Voom. This puts innovation at the centre of the app proposition from the word go and elegantly cascades into app design and development.
How to assess app developer competencies: Now you have an overview of what makes a great app, here’s a checklist you can follow to pick the best agency to work with:
By Phillip Hunt CEO of Mobikats Ltd, experts at mobile application development mobikats.com
Phill Hunt CEO Mobikats Ltd. 20 years in New media, previously for Yahoo and Microsoft. Mobile is where it's at!