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“There’s an app for that!™”
Apple’s famous slogan, which they trademarked in 2010, has only become more relevant since then. There are more than 2 million apps in the Apple Store and 3.8 million in the Google Play Store.
But what if there isn’t an app for that? Have you found a niche that you think an app would serve well? Take a look at some of the things to consider when creating an app.
Your app should have a purpose—what’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the situation you’re trying to improve? Will it make people’s lives easier? Will it save time? It doesn’t have to do everything; just having one purpose is enough to continue with its development.
Take for instance Venmo and Splitwise, which make it easy to split bills and track expenses. They are clear-cut and while they only have a few functions, they’re crucial ones. Venmo is used for one-time payments, while Splitwise is best suited for splitting payments in a group, as it does the math for you. Both are money-related apps and link directly to your bank account for ease of use but are geared for different financial purposes.
When we developed the Spicer® Tool Kit App, the goal was to consolidate traditional methods of automotive calculations and shift them to a practical, modern delivery system in the form of a single web app. The result? Customers are now able to get the most from their genuine Spicer Parts by accessing twelve different calculators ranging from a driveline operating angle calculator to gear ratio calculator to an engine displacement calculator—on a mobile app or the web. Having a clear purpose in what you want to provide consumers will help ensure your app development stays on track and the final product is beneficial.
Before starting to develop an app, check to see if there is one that already exists. If there is, can you make yours better? Look into customer reviews. What problems do customers have with the existing app? Apps are all about customer satisfaction and engagement, so if the customer can’t easily use it, it’s not going to be successful. Learn from the mistakes of others, and improve your design from the beginning.
The Syneron Candela® Patient Consultation app gives practices a tool to help explain the way certain aesthetic procedures work through easy-to-understand illustrations and animations and then showcases before-and-after images of the results to be expected. Medical professionals can review this content with their patient in a consultation, or a patient can browse the app in the waiting room themselves. The app also offers cross-promotion through ads for complementary services.
Researching your customer base and its preferred platform will help to determine which platform to start developing your app on, with the major choice being between Android and iOS. It’s not to say that you can’t develop an app on both, but starting on one as a test will save you time and money as you learn what customers like and dislike. You can then tweak your app if you decide to create on another platform.
Once you decide on the platform, there are plenty of tools to help you build your app, so a background in coding isn’t always necessary. Many tools already have pre-set layouts and visuals to help you get started, although pre-sets always come with limitations. Need a truly custom app, though? That’s when an agency can help.
Agencies understand your reasons for building a custom app in the first place and then work with you to determine the best approach for reaching your app’s highest potential. They can help you to understand not only the process of designing and building the app but also the post-app work of monitoring, monetizing (if applicable) and maintaining the app after it has been built and placed into an app store. They are a team of highly skilled artists, authors, programmers and support staff that provide much more than a templated approach.
An agency also has the experience that can help you miss the pitfalls of app development. They will work hard to cover all aspects of app creation, so that you fully understand the hows and whys of your app. Agencies also have creative teams that can provide insightful design to create an intuitive, user-friendly app. Development and technical-support staffs will work not only in developing the app but maintaining and updating it—because an app should have a long life after development.
Simplicity is always key in apps. It should target your set purpose and only focus on that purpose. Keep it simple.
User experience and interface are important in creating an app that users love and want to use. Learning a new app design can be time-consuming and frustrating to users, so try using patterns seen in popular apps. Finger-friendly designs also help to create a user-friendly experience—aim to budget 44 x 44 pixels of space for anything that is “tappable.”
Phones are filled with photos, music and apps. Don’t let your app be deleted because it’s using too much space or sucking up too much data. Your app should load quickly and efficiently, as nothing frustrates users more than a battery or data-sucking app.
Having a maintenance plan to keep your app running at an optimal level is key. How are you going to keep the app updated and running smoothly? Users expect bugs to be fixed quickly, and apps to be updated as needed. Will you take care of this on your own, or will you need help in tweaking code?
As Apple and Google release new updates for iOS and Android, you will most likely also have to update your app for compatibility with the new software. Even small tweaks will keep your app running smoothly and show users that you are staying up-to-date.
Updating visuals is also necessary for the continued success of an app. Instagram updated its logo in 2016 and received heavy criticism for it; however, it was a much needed visual refresh. When Instagram was first created, its main attraction was the use of filters to create old-fashion looking photos, much like the polaroid icon that represented it. As user demographics changed, the update was needed to appeal to a younger user base.
The app icon should be easily recognizable and well-designed. On first glance, the image should catch peoples’ attention. Bold and clean icons tend to do best and are quickly identifiable, helping with branding. Think about some of the apps you use regularly. Is their icon brand-focused and recognizable? Is the app itself designed well and easy to look at?
Headspace, a meditation app, uses a simple, intuitive design to create a calming and relaxing in-app experience. The design was created in coordination with the purpose of the app. The blues convey trust and dependability while the grey signifies balance—all things you’d want to feel while meditating.
With more than 2 million apps in the Apple App Store and 3.8 million in the Google Play Store, how do you make your app stand out? Try allowing early access to test groups to drum up excitement and create a feeling of exclusivity. Start promoting the app a few weeks prior to release on social media and other marketing platforms.
Having relevant social accounts, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn—and regularly posting content to them—will keep followers engaged and excited about the upcoming app. Follow accounts in your industry, and use industry-relevant hashtags to increase discoverability.
Make sure its presentation in the app store gives it its best shot. The first few lines of the description are crucial, as that is all people will read before they scroll past. If you’ve already done research, created a smooth user experience and developed appropriate and clear graphics, then your app will be able to partly market itself through word of mouth from satisfied users.
Monitoring your app once it has launched will help to continue its success. App store reviews are very powerful in a customer’s decision to download or purchase. Be sure to take customer reviews into consideration when updating your app to provide them with the best possible product. If your app isn’t fulfilling their needs, then they’re going to look elsewhere for a better product.
If you’re thinking about developing an app to complement your brand, let Concentrek Group help you! With our team of developers and digital designers, we can work with you to create an app that will accomplish all of your goals and provide you with the marketing to make the finished product a success. Our team can truly provide the best results with in-house design and development.