To kick start this series of blogs, we’re going to look at how to build a successful app. We’ve been in the app game for a number of years now and after seeing many apps that have achieved success and many that haven’t, we’ve narrowed it down to four things. Four things you need to seriously consider when it comes to building your app. We call these the four critical factors to success.
Also if you know anyone that wants to get started in app development, shoot them over this blog and let’s share the knowledge because I can’t stress how important and valuable what I’m about to tell you is.
Secret #1. High Usability
The first critical factor on how to make a successful app is usability. Usability is all about how easy something is to use. Statistics have shown the average user takes fifty milliseconds to form an opinion about an app. Just to put that into perspective, it takes 50 milliseconds for us to form an option and around 300 milliseconds for us to blink! You’ve got to admit that’s pretty fast! Now this 50 milliseconds could yield a positive opinion which is great – but also a negative one if your audience finds your app difficult to navigate.
What can you do to make your app easy to use?
So what can you do to make your app easy to use? Firstly, do not take the usability app lightly. I know that sounds obvious after we just said it’s a critical factor but I’ve seen way too many times that people focus only on the looks and aesthetics of apps, and this isn’t a problem. However, it becomes a problem when almost no consideration is given to how easy the app is to use. A great UX designer can really help to make a successful app.
Secondly, make your app so it’s efficient. What I mean by this, is that your app serves a purpose to your audience right? This could be buying tickets for events, or messaging your friends etc. Whatever it is, try to make your app so that it can serve this purpose in the least amount of steps possible.
Companies have achieved massive success from this kind of efficiency. Look at Amazon for example. They’ve got this 1-click buy option on their product pages which really speeds up a user’s ordering process. It’s innovation like this that has led to its crazy growth over the last few few years, so don’t ignore it!
How To Make A Successful App Top Secret: Try To Make Your App So That It Can Serve Its Purpose In The Least Amount Of Steps Possible
Thirdly, and this is some homework for you. Think of all the great apps you’ve used or your top three. What makes them your favourite apps? Nine times out of ten you’re going to find they’re in your top three because they’re easy to learn and importantly highly memorable. Make a list of them. In fact, draw out three columns on a page. In the first column, write the name of the app. The middle one, write what you like about using the app plus what you think makes it easy to use e.g. is it the fact that you have to swipe to do something instead of a button?
And then in the final column, write how many steps it takes for the app to serve its purpose. When you’ve done this, you’ll start seeing some trends which will be invaluable. See how you can apply these trends to your app. It will super help in building your app and making sure it has a high level of usability.
Secret #2. Speed
The second critical factor on how to make a successful app is speed. Your app has to be fast!
According to a recent study, 68% of users expect apps to load in six seconds or less. In fact, more than half of this 68% demand an app to load in less than three seconds. Now if your app fails to load within that time, it’s likely your consumers are going to abandon your app and possibly your brand altogether.
Take a look at your favourite apps again. Time how long they take to load but also how fast they are once you start using them too. You probably haven’t run into any speed problems right?
My favourite examples to tell clients about are Facebook and Instagram. Now I don’t have to tell you how many users they have but you can be pretty certain that most people you run into will use one of them, if not both. They load super fast and people use them on a daily basis. What this means is that overtime, we as a population have become accustomed to this speed. So it’s critical that your app is on that same level, if not better!
What can you do about your app’s speed?
Firstly, don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to making your app. We’ve seen a lot of people make their app using companies or freelancers online, which offer development at a super low cost. This can be really great in some situations, especially if you’re on a budget, but in an amount of time that is no way the time needed to create the functionality for that app. And usually when this happens, the app you’ve invested so much time and effort into runs slow. Then it all means for nothing when your consumers abandon it.
Ask some questions. Ask your development team, whether it’s us or someone else, what are they doing to make your app run fast? What steps have been taken to ensure the speed is at a high level? What steps are being taken to ensure that the app stays fast too, and not just on loading time upon first opening the app but also whilst using it too? See previous examples of their work and time it. I’ve included some really important questions that you can ask your app development team in our free App Starter Guide which you can get on www.appstarterguide.com.
Secret #3. Design
The next critical factor on how to make a successful app is design. This is absolutely crucial to your app as first impressions count.
Did you know that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for a user to form a first opinion of your app’s design, and then another two and a half seconds in which that opinion is reinforced? That is one tight timeframe to make a first impression count in your favour! Knowing this, making a good first impression should be amongst one of your top priorities when building your app.
So what can you do about this? Firstly, take your time with the design phase of your app. Don’t rush it. It can be exciting when you first see the designs to your app because it’s the time when you realise that your app idea is coming to life.
It all suddenly becomes very real that your idea is going to be a product. By all means enjoy it! But don’t let that excitement distract you from the task at hand. The aesthetics play a major role in your app and it’ll be your high attention to detail that will make sure your app looks great.
Secondly, whether it’s us or someone else producing your app, ask what the design process is. How will your idea be taken from your imagination to something on paper?
Ask as many questions as you can about this process because you don’t want a company spending six months on development for your app, but then spending a couple of days on design. Now I’m not saying the design and development should take the same amount of time, but it should be treated with the same amount of dedication.
How To Make A Successful App Top Secret: Design And Development Should Be Treated With The Same Amount Of Dedication!
A lot of people ask our approach to app design and we take a slightly different approach to most development companies. You see, we work on one design concept for your app at a time rather than companies who will provide you with three or four at once. This enables us to fully invest our creative efforts on that one design rather than spending wasted time on multiple creative compositions that will not be used. We have found this process brings better value to you through saving time and resources. If you don’t like the initial design, our designer will create another one based on the new direction from you. Once a concept is approved, the remaining pages of your app will be designed out to be finalised and signed off by you. You can learn more about our design process in our Services.
Have a look at your favourite apps!
And then thirdly, look at the apps you love to use and pay attention to the design. What do you love about them? What colours are being used? Are you seeing gradient colours or flat colours? I.e. a solid red background or a background that has light red fading to dark red from top to bottom. Little things like this.
Write them down. Make a table like we did before, with three columns, except in the second column write what you like about the app and then in the third column write the year in which it was released. Like before, I’ve drawn this table for you in the App Starter Guide, which you can get on www.appstarterguide.com.
Now take this one step further and create this table again, except this time write a list of the top 10 apps in the App Store at the moment. Repeat the same process. This whole process will help you identify design trends that make the aesthetics of apps clean and modern that you like and those that are making apps right now successful.
Lastly, and possibly the critical factor on how to make a successful app is scalability.
I always use an analogy to help explain this to our clients. Imagine you had the ability to build your dream house. But for the sake of argument, let’s say you had no idea how many bedrooms and bathrooms your dream house would have. What do you do? Well the first step in building a house would be to lay the foundations. But because you have no idea how many bedrooms and bathrooms you would need, you build a nice large foundation for your house to go on first and then start building up depending on what you need.
So you start building up with what you need now: a two bedroom house. One bedroom for yourself and your partner, and one guest bedroom. But then later you decide to have kids. This means you’ll need an extra room and more space. Now if you had built the foundations just for what you needed, it would be a problem to add the extra bedroom and space, right? You would have to extend that foundation, or worse yet, knock the whole house down and start again. This means you’ll have to invest more time and funds. But if you’ve already laid the nice large foundation as mentioned before, it would be simple and easy to just add some more rooms.
Building apps are the same!
The correct foundations are needed for your app to be built so that it can easily adapt to increased demands. These increased demands could be an increase in users or the addition of more features. This makes sure that your app continues to run fast regardless of how many users are on it at the same time. Importantly, it prevents downtime on your app. The worst thing that could happen is that your app is built but only supports 100 users for example. But let’s say your app suddenly goes viral and then you have 10 million users. If your app can’t support this load, it would crash and then you lost out on current and potential new customers. IT’S NOT A GOOD LOOK AT ALL!
So what can you do about this? Firstly, ask your app development team what steps are being taken to ensure the app is scalable e.g. ask whether your app will hold out at 10,000 million users and run the exact same as if it had 10 users? Don’t be afraid to ask these questions and make sure you get straight-forward answers that you understand. If you’re getting jargon thrown at you, then make sure you question it.
Secondly, start thinking about hosting solutions for your app. Most apps generally need a host, the same way people need one for a general website. Examples of common hosting providers are GoDaddy, 123-Reg and 1and1. In the free App Starter Guide, I’ve provided an easy-to-understand overview of hosting solutions. I’ve also included a list of questions you can ask an app developer with regards to scalability.
So there we have it!
Those are my best and favourite tips on how to make a successful app. The four critical factors to success. Again I can’t stress enough how much I wish I knew these when I first started out. Because if you nail those four things, there is no reason why your app won’t be a success. Remember to shoot this over to a friend or family member who you think may get some value out of it.
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