The Basics: 3 Important Tips for Creating Killer Mobile Apps
With thousands of apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play -- not to mention Windows and BlackBerry's growing app stores -- entrepreneurs and developers have a lot to consider when creating new apps they hope to get accepted into the marketplaces. What's going to set yours apart from all the others and ensure a smooth submission process?
We spoke with mobile expert Prasant Varghese, a usability analyst at New York City-based IT services firm Icreon. Here are his three basic, yet essential tips for creating the best, most efficient apps possible:
1. Think different.
Let's face it, who needs yet another tip calculator or flashlight app? Coming up with something no one has seen before can obviously set you apart. But coming up with the next big thing isn't always easy. The first thing you'll want to do when launching any type of app is study your competitors.
"Learn their apps by heart -- every nuance and interface component," Varghese says. "Then write down every annoyance, every seemingly unnecessary component and software glitch that their apps have. When working on your app, avoid those mistakes completely."
Related: 5 Tools for Building a Shopping App
2. Prioritize design.
With droves of apps already in the marketplaces, Apple and Google aren't starving for new apps, meaning they can easily delay acceptance of an app if it doesn't create a compelling experience.
"Focus on delighting people and making your product usable," Varghese says. "Fancy animations and graphics are fun, but if they serve no purpose, eliminate them." Study how people interact with your app and make improvements as necessary.
3. Be efficient.
Smartphone and tablet apps have limited computer power allocated to them. So, apps that excessively eat up 3G or 4G data are often more prone to crashing and can possibly be shunned by the app stores. Your app's essential functionality is using data as efficiently and effectively as possible, Varghese says.
"From a consumer perspective, most of the U.S. has approximately 1GB of data they can use per month based on their cell phone plan," he says. "Be confident that your app will be one of the handful that is constantly used [rather than downloaded and forgotten about] and try to avoid using more than 100 MB of a user's data."