What does it take to create a truly successful iPhone app? One that’s great and not just good and one that connects with users in a meaningful way? Once that has potential to make it big? That’s exactly what I asked 5 highly knowledgable app experts. Their answers below will provide you with the insight you need to engineer your next iPhone app to soar above the competition. I don’t know about you but I like to hear ideas on how to be successful from people who have already had success in a given area. That’s why I enjoyed reading the advice these executives from various corners of the app universe have to give and I bet you will too. So, without further ado I present to you 5 separate views on what it takes to make an iPhone app great.
Have a Superior Strategy
The most successful iPhone apps don’t get where they are simply because they offer an innovative functionality that has not yet been seen. Truly successful iPhone apps are a combination of careful consulting, superior strategy, excellent software development, and an aggressive marketing plan. My company, Appiction, ensures the success of an iPhone app before the development process even begins because we go through several strategy consultations with our clients. During these sessions, we develop a very clear vision of what the new app should both do and ultimately be. We make sure to communicate our vision with the client through additional consultations so that we can all reach an agreement on what needs to be done before the next step.
By the time we reach the development phase, we will have carefully delineated exactly what functionality needs to be implemented, and more importantly, why it should be. While all of this is going on, our marketing team is jumping to get the new app into search engine rankings, high profile twitter accounts, and blogs. We basically ensure that we are the first ones to step foot on the valuable internet real estate that will guarantee the marketing success of the app. So there you have it, the four steps my company goes by the bring more and more successful iPhone apps to the market. We have found this method to be tried and true and have no plans to change something that has worked so well for us.
Spencer Forrest, Chief Executive Officer, Appiction
Transport the User
From a design perspective, a successful App should transport the user out of the context of “using a smartphone” and into another plane where a romanticized experience of perfection exists. I try to design Apps for the user which represent an ideal environment and interaction that can elevate the standards for their use of technology and interacting with the world at large. It is our role as designers to present aspirational moments as new benchmarks–challenging others to expect more from technology and their experiences with all things within our control.
Jason Franzen, Design Entrepreneur, FORMation
Keep It Simple
While there is no formula for creating a successful iPhone, there are some battle-tested, consistently successful techniques. Start with refining the specifications and functionality of the application into something fairly simple for the first version. Users should be able to understand and use your application without needing to open a user manual, and you can always add features in the next version. Pay a lot of attention to the information design, layout, and graphical elements of your application. The most important graphical assets are your icon and primary splash screen because this is what users see before they decide to download it. Add at least one feature that exploits the uniqueness of the iPhone’s hardware – the Accelerometer, GPS, Compass, Camera, Microphone.
Tarun Nimmagadda, Founder, Mutual Mobile
Meet the Needs of Your Target Market
The first thing is to recognize who is in your target market, what buying this app means to them and what their buying criteria is. Then figure out how your app will be used: will they show it to their friends, play it alone or online, use it while waiting for the bus or waiting for friends at lunch and so on.
With so many apps available, going for the big winner comes down to ensuring your target market needs are met – and a number of small wins equals a big win. So ultimately, your target market gets to know who you are, what your company does.
Therefore, success requires a consistent, persistent focus, combined with the foresight to leverage all apps as cross-sale opportunities. This will help to build your brand and enable repeated customers. Also, don’t forget two other things: build apps that people want and listen to their feedback and two, make sure you have your marketing material – video, press releases, website, blogs, etc – targeted to meet the needs of your target market.
David Van Dyke, President and Chief Executive Officer, thinknao Software
Speak In Your Own Voice
An App should speak clearly in the voice of its creator. Our aim is to express the creator’s intent and viewpoint through every pixel, every movement, and every sound of the App. The App is, after all, an experience the creator is offering to others to interact within, through, and around. This is why the iPhone platform is such a great opportunity to build a new stage for media where the user and creator can perform together.
Joe Wachs, VP of Business Development, [x]cube LABS