What Makes For A Good App?

I thought it would be a great idea before I started any reviewing to do some background research into what makes blockbuster apps such as Angry Birds blockbuster; what formulates for a good app where minority make it big and majority flop so to speak. For most people this is probably an easy hypothesis to explain, why make such an obvious and easy piece of research I can hear some of you shouting. Well originally this was for my good only, and was going to be used solely as a template to guide me through my first couple of reviews. I thought it would be nice and useful for some people such as designers and curiosity readers so decided to publish it, plus App Advisor could do with some extra posts at the moment.

So anyway, what makes for a good app? As most people would've probably done in my shoes, I was curious about what sites that were indexed in Google had to offer and potentially use this as the basis of my research. As a summary, this is what I found:

- With so many new apps being launched on a day to day basis all having the initial potential of making it big there is no imagining for some how stiff such competition actually is for a developer. We as app buyers and users only usually see the more popular apps or apps that we have specifically searched for. Sorry to break such things to an avid app buyer; but there is probably another 300,000 apps that you haven't yet seen or heard of knocking about on the iTunes store. So with this in mind, it is important to be different and be able to provide a unique experience that no other app offers. Is there a need or a niche for such app? Any similar apps already out there, how well are they doing? How well is the app going to be made (with regards to the developer's skill sets and utilising the latest technology the iPhone on hand)? Is it going to have worthy functionality that people are going to want to use? These are just a few of many questions you need to ask yourself before making a successful app.

FACT: Over 30% of apps available in the iTunes store are unused a day after downloading, either being deleted or left wasting space on the dashboard. The evaluation to this is; that approximately 90,000 of these apps on offer are not entertaining, helpful or enjoyable. This is only going to affect the resulted rest that do actually have something to offer.

- Many developers go out to make money and for this to be their main motivator, not considering the user as a valuable consumer. Don't get me wrong, this is all good in some cases as people do deserve to earn for their efforts and time consumed, but this is not always the right basis to initially release an app on. This is an especially good technique for smaller app developers that don't have the preliminary wads of cash needed to make an app big. Cover Orange for example is one of the latest phenomenon's to hit the app store. Not only was it unique in the physics puzzler genre, but originally (before 59p) was a free app to download. That is one example of a smaller app developer making it big off decisions such as that one. This along with developers that offer demo's and lite versions of their app lure potential consumers buying if they like. Remember, not everybody wants to take the risk of maybe buying a rubbish app, demo's and lite versions resolve any doubts the user might have, increasing the chance to snap up another sale.

FACT: Nearly 50 percent of iPhone users and 40 percent of iPod touch users buy at least one app every month. iPhone users download approximately 10 new apps, while iPod touch owners download an average of 18.

- Stable, reliable with quick load speeds. If a user is purchasing an app (even for the likes of 59p) they expect it to be tested under multiple conditions for its reliability and have understandable loading speeds of a few seconds tops. Not many people are going to sit around waiting for an app to load-up for 30 seconds. People don't have patience any more like they used to.

FACT: How did Angry Birds become such a blockbuster? After reading the article which is linked at the bottom of this post, it wasn't as obvious as some people first thought. They started promoting and gaining top ten's in smaller countries such as Finland before dominating the main market. They also put a massive amount of research, testing and money to make it what it is today. A great example of a unique app!*

- Easy to use and navigate. Users like to be able to start using an app as soon as possible and not need a PhD in Computer Science in order to figure out any of its features.

- Look and feel of an app is just as important as any of the above in this day and age. Overblown visuals, neglecting the use of the latest technological advancements such as GPS, accelerometer, retina display and other functions available are just two of the many things NOT to do in this department.

I will definitely be using some of these points to base my reviews off. Thanks for reading, and any comments and additions you might want to make I will be very grateful off,

App Advisor (Nathan)

* Here is the link to the Angry Birds article, hope you enjoy! http://tinyurl.com/6zlom3a

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