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Features all the best apps have in common.

In a world, where deleting an app is just a click away, it’s crucial that your app has the features which make users stick. Remember that millions of apps are competing for the same landscape and user attention, so it’s super important for you to know the features that make apps popular and sticky.

Below, I will try to point out the features and commonalities of the apps I love.

Design Rules Now

The importance of have an amazing design cannot be stressed enough. As Seth Godin would say, “Design rules now!”, So focusing on this element is crucial to your app success. Does this mean you have to be flashy and load your app with heavy graphics? No, in fact, the opposite is true. You will find that in most of the cases, the best performing apps will have simple yet creative designs. In such apps, you will find the core functionality highlighted throughout and making the user flow as simple as possible.

So, always keep in mind that two clicks are better than four, already populated forms are better than from a long list, remembering what your users did last time is better than making them the same process again.

Performance

According to a survey conducted by Techbeacon, 80% of app users will only attempt to use a problematic app for three times, and 36% said that this results in a negative impression of the app maker. Poor performing app will result in poor reviews, and that will impact your ability to get more downloads.

Keep in consideration that the smartphones have different capabilities, features, and processing power. Assuming that your app that is performing well on your high-end phone will do so on all others too, is a fallacy.

Remember, always test for the extremes, and the means will take care of it.

Android vs. iOS vs. Web vs. ALL

Android vs. iOS debate can be easily answered once you know which device your early adaptors are using. That knowledge in itself will give you the right focus and approach to choosing the best platform.

If your customers are on the web, build killer web interfaces; if on feature phones, build those interfaces.

Once you gain traction and become a brand, then it makes sense to be present across all platforms and screen sizes. Starting off with worries about the right platform, shouldn’t be on your to-do list. Instead, try learning more your target customers. Know where your customers are and which devices and platforms are they using.

All successful apps launched as minimum viable products MVPs and that too with a platform or two to test.

Feedback

Why would Skype and Facebook keep on collecting info about the call quality? The reason is simple; they want the feedback to improve the quality and with next updates fix the bugs reported across different devices and different regions.

So, having a mechanism to collect feedback is super important and once done right, will give you free bug reporting and will make your end user the testers. With such mechanism, you can map issues across a certain platform, a set of users, certain handset manufacturers and so on. So, with every update, your product will only become bug-free and more user relevant.

Updates

With newer version releases of underlying building platforms like PHP, iOS, Android or any other coding languages, you need to keep pace with the updating process.

This means you should be continuously testing and on the outlook of any major change that would impact your app on a certain smartphone or platforms.

Also, keep in consideration that smartphone manufacturers keep on launching newer cheap and advanced smartphones. So, you need to know about all the product launches and making sure that your app performs on all new phones.

You will find in case of almost all best apps, whenever a new version of iOS launches, you get the notification to update your apps instantly.

Build to Scale

You can only reach millions if your product can serve millions.

Many scaling businesses fail because their platforms can’t keep up with the pace of user growth. It’s like choosing the wrong foundation to build a five-story-tall building and later realizing that people are looking for hundred. In such situations, going back to drawing room is the worst utility of time and energy.

The best platforms are built by hackers keeping in consideration all such requirements, and they would specifically inquire about the future growth plans. By choosing the right platforms, you will be able to deploy more server power or database resources to keep up with user growth.

Social

Be it games, or getting rides for free from Uber from sharing, it’s a must that your app has a social engagement component.

Uber and many rides booking apps use this mechanism well. Of all the customer acquisition channels, they have found sharing the app for free rides, works the best. Once a new user books a new ride through your invite, you get a free ride. This does cost money, but when friends and friends of friends start using and sharing the app, you are reaching masses with everyone experiencing your app and services.

Getting social component of your app right at launch it super crucial as it could help with user growth. If your app gets social acceptance and downloads, it will reduce your cost of acquiring new customers.

Summing Up

You can always discuss and debate the reason an app startup became a success. But all started off with a killer idea. Every successful app stood out from the rest and was a “purple cow.” Even though execution trumps any creative idea, yet, an original idea is the starting point.

I always keep Seth Godin advice handy as a tool to rate mine.

Very good is bad.

Don’t be boring.

Design rules now.

Safe is risky.

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