Published On: Sun, Feb 12th, 2017

Creating the Perfect App: How to Avoid Becoming Part of the 60%

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appstar – Deutschlands App Award – ist o” (CC BY 2.0) by michael_reuter

Apps make the mobile world go round. But are there simply too many of them? Having access to thousands of different apps is fantastic, but the stats seem to suggest that many of us get bored with certain products after a short period of time.

As of June 2016, Statista calculated that the two leading app stores, Apple and Google Play, had 4.4 million apps between them. Add to that another 1.5 million mobile apps for Windows Mobile, Amazon and Blackberry users and it’s easy to see why some experts are now suggesting we’ve got what they sometimes call “app fatigue.”

The App Industry is a Tough Place to Play

iphone apps pinch

iPhone apps pinch” (CC BY 2.0) by blakespot

Of course, there will be some who say variety is the spice of life, but is that true in the mobile world? Well, not really. Citing data from Localytics, TechCrunch found that app retention – i.e. how many people continue to use an app once they’ve downloaded it – was around 38% in 2016. Now, this statistic is based on Localytics’ user base of 37,000 applications and may not be representative of the market as a whole.

However, even if it’s only off by a few points, it appears as though around 60% of mobile users abandon an app after 11 uses and 23% cast it to the side after just one. For the respective app stores, this data doesn’t really matter. As long as developers are paying their fees and users are active in the store, Apple and Google et al are happy.

But what about the developers? In reality, a business model where more than 60% of apps get abandoned almost immediately isn’t a great. Naturally, with the numbers suggesting retention rates are low and app production is high, it almost makes sense to play the numbers game and favor quantity over quality. Indeed, if a developer takes ten shots at success, the numbers suggest around 6-7 will fail – but 3 could still hit the mark.

A Recipe for Success

the app store

The App Store” (CC BY 2.0) by PhotoAtelier

However, with the cost of developing a high-quality app prohibitive for some, the counterargument would be to focus on quality rather than quantity. Of course, it’s easy to say that quality is the key to success, but what does that look like in today’s economy? What does a modern mobile app need to do in order to stand out?

Communication is Crucial – It may sound obvious, but apps that allow us to communicate not only tie in with the nature of a phone, but they’re usually big hits. Although we actually talk less on our mobiles than we ever have, communication is still crucial. Indeed, everything from WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger is designed to keep us connected with our friends.

Taking this concept, Sun Bingo has found a way to make chatting an integral part of its iOS and Android apps. Because bingo has always been a social game at its core, the developers insisted on integrating chat rooms into the app. Inside each game, whether it’s Win Win Bingo or a free session for newbies, players will be able to swap tips, say how many numbers they need and send out stickers.

The result is not only a friendly atmosphere but an app that users are willing to return to. Indeed, because you’re able to interact with people, the content inside the app isn’t static, i.e. there’s always something new going on.

A New Reality - In a post-Pokémon Go era, altered realities are now becoming the go-to strategy for game developers. Although Pokémon Go wasn’t the first augmented reality app, it was the one that broke into the mainstream and struck a chord with gamers of all persuasions. Indeed, at the last count, the app had been downloaded 500 million times and has 20 million daily users.

The main appeal of the game, aside from the fact it’s based on a “the more you play the better your score” dynamic, is the technology behind it. The augmented reality overlay is something most mobile users hadn’t seen before and that was intriguing. Of course, creating an app that’s got something truly unique isn’t easy.

However, for developers who want to appeal to more users and maintain their attention, it’s never a bad idea to jump on the latest innovation and see where it takes them.

Let the App Do the Work for You - One of the main reasons we download mobile apps, aside from entertainment purposes, is to serve a practical purpose.

For example, if you look at Google Trips, the app takes an existing product (Google Maps) and adds an extra layer of usability. Instead of simply giving you a breakdown of your location and distance to nearest points of interest, Google Trips will actually plan your day for you.

Taking information from local eateries, Google Maps and even your Gmail, this app can basically plan a trip for you from start to finish. Essentially, if an app is going to become a staple product for someone, it needs to draw information from various sources and use it to make our lives easier, without requiring much input from us.
Creating an app that people will want to use over and over again certainly isn’t easy. However, if developers decide to dissect what people really want rather than play a numbers game, there’s every chance they can avoid being one of the 60% that gets confined to the scr-app heap after just a few tries.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade.

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