Excited to skip past the coding ordeal and build a bunch of fantastic apps? Hang on just a second. Before you start doing your magic, here are three useful pointers to guide you on your quest for appicness. And when you’ve taken these little nuggets of gold to heart, here are some more.
1. ONE THING AT A TIME
Right, so you have all these kick-ass app ideas that you just have to get out there. Great! Can’t wait to get them published. Just … take it one idea at a time. Think about the purpose of your app. What does it do? Why? And for whom? It’s easy to get tempted by a far-too-wide concept (more is more, right?), but actually, a clearly defined and easily graspable idea has a stronger appeal on almost anyone. By focusing on one thing you’re able to optimize your app around it. Obviously, it also saves you a great deal of time and provides a more consistent user experience.
Instagram is a great example of how streamlining your concept can make all the difference. At the time of Instagram’s release there was already the unstoppable social media behemoth that is Facebook. Facebook let you upload your photos for your friends and family to see. But it also had a bunch of other features. Instant messaging, groups, pages, status updates, and so on. Instagram offered none of this. It focused entirely on the ability to upload your smartphone photos, unleash their beauty with filters and share it with the world using hashtags. And thanks to its simplicity and enhanced photo features, Instagram garnered huge success.
Now, we’re not saying your app should only do one thing. Obviously a number of functions can be a great thing. Just make sure they make sense and fit within your concept. So, by all means, stuff that app you’re making for your restaurant with menus, table-booking, recipes, famous food quotes and even your staff’s birthdays, but save the trivia about your local basketball team for your next app. Not everyone wants a three-pointer served with their three-course meal.
2. AWW, SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE
If there are already 20 alarm-clock apps out there, the demand for number 21 most likely isn’t that high – unless 21 wakes you up on a tropical island with the body of a Greek god, a drink in your hand and a bombshell on either side (actually, just one of these would probably do). You have to make sure your app offers something others don’t.
The obvious thing to start with is asking yourself if there are other apps or websites out there doing what you’re doing. If yes, what can you bring to the table? Find an opening. New content or features – something that sets you apart from the competition.
Unique, relevant content can make you stand out in the competition or even make sure there is none. If you can get this part right you’re halfway there.
3. MAKE GOOD USE OF PUSH NOTIFICATIONS
One of the unique selling-points of apps is push notifications. Too many and pointless ones are a great way to have users uninstall your app and submit a review involving your mother’s supposed line of work. With relevant content at a reasonable pace, however, push notifications turn into a marketing force to be reckoned with.
Push notifications can be used to great effect by all kind of businesses. Like, say you build an app for your store. If you happen to have a particularly awesome special offer, your customers want to know about it. Send them a notification at a convenient time and they just might drop by your shop on their way home from work to indulge in your goodies.
The feature can be used for a range of things: reminders of all sorts, promoting sales, promoting extra content for purchase within the app or even other apps you’ve built, IM communication and so on. Some apps, such as Viber, WhatsApp and other communication centered tools, even rely on them entirely to function properly.
Push notifications can extend the lifespan of an app considerably, so as time goes we’ll most likely be seeing even more innovative applications of this tool.