How to Make Your Mobile App Stand Out From the Crowd

Every year, hundreds and thousands of apps are released into the app market across multiple platforms, but not every app is successful. In fact, most are not. While a lucky few apps are downloaded thousands of times and “go viral,” most apps nary generate even a few users. Amid this extreme competition among mobile apps, it is important to follow several basic rules to help you stand out from the crowd.

Most apps fail either because the content is not interesting or they are too difficult to use on a mobile device. A great mobile app requires good planning, thoughtful UI, interactive features, usability, solid technical performance, and then a promotional strategy that makes sense for your target audience.

Planning
Build apps that support your most important products or services. Present the information in the most compelling manner (photos, video, etc.). Consider your audience. Who are they? Are they tech savvy? Why do they buy your product? Who influences their purchasing decisions? How much information do they need to make a purchase decision? Study your competition. What does their app do that you think is effective? What mistakes have they made? Do it better than them.

User Interface
This is the most frequent mistake made by app developers. You need to understand how to best move your users through the app. This means page order, button types, use of forms, types of interactive functionality, etc. If you are not an expert in this area, talk to someone who is.

Valuable functionality
The most valuable functionality in your app are those features and tools that get your user to engage. Add functionality that helps the user in their daily life or makes the purchasing decision simpler. The functionality can be very basic like easy social media sharing, delivering dynamic content with back-end database integration, geolocation services, coupons and special offers, etc. If an app has very little or no functionality, the user will never use it more than once.

Usability
Quality graphics, readable content, and ease in interaction are all critical for making an app more usable. Make sure that your images are clear and have clear captions. Choose fonts that are easy to read and make size adjustments available. Keep your forms short. Keep the need for scrolling to a minimum. Make your buttons large enough that they are easy to press, even by large fingers on a small screen. Everything you do should have both visual and functional appeal.

Performance
If every one of your users will view your app on a 4G phone or using a high-speed network, then you could build anything you like. We know, however, that tired, crowded 3G (or slower) smartphones can get very slow. You need to consider features and functionality for the worst-case scenario. Keep content to a minimum. Images should be small. Use video sparingly.

When you are done building, TEST YOUR APP on different smartphones and internet environments. If the user detects them before you do, it will not only limit usage but may leave a lasting negative impression (remember, it’s very easy for users to give your app a negative rating and most users read reviews before downloading any app). If your first app performs poorly, it could generate negative attitudes toward your future releases.

Promotion strategy
Once you have a great product in hand, the next step is to let the customers know about it. Promotion is as crucial as building a great mobile app. Luckily, online advertising or marketing of the apps need not be costly. It can be as simple as writing about it in your blog, creating a Facebook page, and sharing the app on Twitter, etc. Create a video about your app and put it on YouTube. Send an email to your database if you have one. Add a link to your auto signature. Ask your co-workers to do the same.