How do you cut through the noise of more than a million apps available to purchase and download from the App Store and Google Play Store so that people come flocking?
You should couple your simple idea with a clean and easy-to-use interface, says cofounder Lucas Lovell of travel discovery service Tenderfoot. The Tenderfoot app uses social data to generate user-specific recommendations on the things to do, the places to see and where to eat and drink in any given place, and helps travellers find other like-minded people and locals that they can meet up with.
Lovell advises that above all the app needs to be logical – simple for users to pick up, understand and use. Here are his top tips when it comes to designing an easy-to-use app that people won’t want to delete from their mobile devices.
Don’t crowd your app
“Having a tutorial helps, but the most effective apps are inherently intuitive. User-friendly apps also don’t try to do too much. Packing an app with features can confuse the user as to the exact functionality of the app, and a lot of those features end up becoming unnecessary.”
This isn’t to say design isn’t important, but make it an absolute pleasure to use by designing logical UX.
Determine whether there’s a market
This is the most fundamental consideration before you go about building the product, says Lovell. After that, many of the initial decisions will depend on the budget you are operating with, and that will dictate whether you need to approach investors.
Develop in-house or outsource?
“Building an app is a technical process and therefore it’s wise to have a technical cofounder who can either code themselves or speak intelligently to external coders in a managerial role,” says Lovell.
“One of our founders is technical, but not to the extent that he can code entire apps alone. We outsource our coding to another team, and my cofounder manages and guides them through the processes and how we want to implement the features.”
Communication is an important factor to keep up a good relationship with your developers and ensure understanding. Given the popularity of Australian startups outsourcing overseas, identify any language barriers early so as to avoid miscommunication.
Decide which platforms you want to start on
According to Lovell, if you have the funds and good product validation, you can consider opting to launch on both iOS and Android.
“We launched our prototype only on iOS, which enabled us to attain consumer feedback before launching on Android, and this saved us the cost of having to make the iterations later.
“Our Android version then launched in conjunction with our iOS 2.0 version. A lot of these considerations will depend on the budget, but it’s important to think about everything before you embark on the journey.”
Respond and iterate quickly
“Listen to your users (treat them like clients!) and take their feedback on board. Iterate quickly to ensure your product constantly improves.”
Understand the latest app trends and what they mean for your company, and react accordingly whenever possible. Saying that, remember that you can’t change the world in one day. Case studies of the most successful apps show that initial traction comes from micro-markets. Take the app to your local communities before trying to be the biggest player in the world.
Plan ahead, do your research, know exactly what you want and exactly what your market is before embarking on the journey.