More than half of the US citizens between the ages of 25-29 now own a mobile phone but no landline telephone. A study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that more and more people are increasingly becoming reliant on mobile phone technology as it penetrates deeply into our lives.
At the heart of this increased reliance lies the prevalence of the internet and the rise of mobile app development. They have become one of the main reasons why consumers now find themselves hooked to their smartphones and tablets.
If we look at the amount of time spent using mobile devices, we find that mobile apps consume around 87 percent of mobile time, while web browsing takes the remaining 13 percent.
The survey conducted by eMarket research revealed that users spend two hours and 11 minutes per day using mobile apps, and this time keeps growing. For the first time in 2019, people will spend more time using apps than watching TV.
The Current Mobile App Marketplace
There is fierce competition for users’ time among hundreds of thousands of applications available on the popular app stores today.
As of November 2019, there are 2.1 million mobile apps on Android Play Store and 2 million apps on the Apple app store, while more than a thousand new apps roll out every day on Google Play Store alone.
Even if you build a unique app, chances are that you will have a competitor with a similar app like yours at the time of app execution. With such steep competition, it is becoming increasingly difficult for developers to make their apps stand out from the rest.
Many are trying to mimic the tactics used by other successful apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, while others have smaller objectives.
Regardless of the goal, it is evident that the app market is exploding, and you will have to find your way to break through the noise to succeed.
In this blog, we will guide you on how to build an app that stands out and separate itself from the crowd.
There are apps that provide an immersive experience and stand out from the regular apps. Close observation of these successful mobile apps reveals that they have a few common features that you can also apply to your mobile app.
These characteristics should be on top of your mind before you start planning your mobile application.
The Characteristics of a Successful Mobile App
Regardless of your business model, the objective should be to develop an app that provides value and delivers a rich experience to the users.
After all, millions of apps are screaming for users’ attention, and the battle is not an easy one to win without implementing these features.
1. The App Solves a Problem
Before you start developing an app, you must have an idea that addresses customers’ pain points. This might sound obvious, but most of the apps fail today because of a flawed idea.
To achieve the ‘top 100’ status in app stores, you will have to create an app that attracts a large market of buyers. In most cases, people purchase a product that they need, but a good business will also create a need for a product.
Think of the time when you buy a new version of the iPhone. Did you need it? Of course not. But Apple created a need for it, and people now line up for the device to fulfill the need.
Read also: 13 Factors to Consider Before Investing in Your Next Mobile App Idea
2. Identify the Target Market for the App
A great idea alone is not enough. You must develop an app with an end-user in mind. Lack of market research is one of the main reasons for the demise of mobile apps.
According to CB Insights, 14 percent of failed startups had not examined their potential customers.
To save yourself from the turmoil of making a substantial investment, go for an MVP. But that too after doing the needed research. It will help you in narrowing down app features and determine the potential revenue streams.
Once your audience approves of your MVP, come up with a refined version of your app and include all the features that fulfill your customers’ needs.
Successful mobile apps are entirely compatible with the platform they are developed for. Developers keep the aspect of the platform in mind and ensure the best possible experience for mobile users.
While a cross-platform app may be an ideal choice, the decision should be based ultimately on factors like target audience, app features, and the revenue model.
Android is a better choice for the audience in Asia, Africa, and most of South America; however, iOS suits the audience in the USA, Australia, and Western Europe.
4. Impressive UX/UI Design
Both User Experience and User Interface designs are crucial for the success of an app. With so many options available on app stores, users mainly rely on the first impressions of an app.
Studies show that 94 percent of the first impressions of a product are design-related, while it takes only 17 milliseconds for users to form design opinions. That is just human nature. They form an opinion about an app within the first few seconds of usage.
Winning apps keep this in mind and design apps that are attractive and keeps the users hooked during the time they use the app.
They leverage a compelling and engaging UI/UX, which ensures that users face no difficulty in finding what they are looking for.
Successful apps use colors consistently, maintain white spaces that balance the text, and uses only the primary features that improve that visual appearance of the app and provide a positive onboarding experience.
Read also: Importance of UI/UX Design in Mobile App Development
5. User Engagement
One of the dilemmas that app developers and marketers face today is the overwhelming desertion of mobile apps.
Recent research by Statista shows that 25 percent of mobile apps worldwide are accessed only once after their installation.
Adding gaming elements can prove very beneficial to avoid the pitfall. Outbank – a financial app – for instance, visualizes transactions using colored bars to illustrate expenses and savings.
The inclusion of visually pleasing elements, coupons, and bonuses can also be effective in improving user engagement.
6. Seamless Navigation
Successful apps also provide frictionless navigation and an intuitive search feature, especially if they contain a high volume of content.
A good app keeps the navigation simple and uncomplicated so that users are directed seamlessly to the next stage.
This becomes all the more important for apps with lots of inner pages and content, and users need to access material through the search function. It not only improves user experience but also increases their engagement with the app.
An app may be attractive and beautiful, but if it is not affordable for the ordinary user, it will inevitably fail. Why should the users opt for an expensive app if they are getting almost the same features for free?
Therefore, try to offer both a paid version with extensive features and a free version to attract users.
8. Loading Speed
Anything that fails to impress customers has no value in the marketplace.
You need to understand that moving like a turtle in the fast-paced world is next to a nightmare.
Statistics related to user’s impatience with slow loading apps and its implications are mind-boggling.
If your app is slow or involves too many steps to get the desired information, 29 percent of users will instantly abandon it for another app.
Case studies reveal that for every 1-second improvement in page load times, Walmart experienced a 2 percent rise in conversion rates, while BBC lost 10 percent of users for every additional second delay in loading time.
If you want your app to be frequently used, you must ensure that it responds instantly to user input. Moreover, apps that continuously freeze or crash are often avoided by users.
Successful apps do not adopt the ‘one size fits all’ approach. They personalize the user experience and distinguish themselves from normal apps.
Although app personalization does require a sizeable investment, the end result always justifies the extra money that goes into it.
Personalization may not motivate users to install an app; it certainly creates a more loyal and personal bond between users and the app.
10. In-app Support
It’s a known fact that customers are impatient. Talk about online purchases, 71% of visitors expect you to reply to their queries within 5 minutes.
If you see it from a customer’s standpoint, you too are no different.
Suppose that you download an app and having trouble with how that particular app functions, what will you do? Of course, you will seek help. If the customer support team doesn’t reply to you upfront, it is normal for you to get frustrated and leave that app.
In today’s digital age, companies are focusing more on live chatbots to handle a plethora of customer queries, why don’t you?
Moreover, FAQ’s is another option to deal with the queries.
Responsive customer support can lead to recommendations on social networks and bring in lucrative returns. On the other hand, four out of ten people will recommend others no to do business with a brand if they have had poor service from them.
There is no establish rule book for successful apps, but if one were to consider the top apps in app stores thoroughly, these are some of the prominent features they all will contain.
Since the mobile landscape is developing all the time, the app development process is constantly evolving and getting better. While you might not need all these characteristics in app development, they will, without a doubt, help you create an app that tops the charts.