You don’t have to be a clip-board-weilding charity chugger, but at the ideas stage of app development, research matters. If your research is asking your neighbour’s best friend’s third removed cousin if they would use it, then you’re going to end up out of pocket. It’s all too easy to fall in love with your ‘brain baby’ and rush into the exciting development phase. But when you consider that a new app is launched every 5 minutes, yours will need to stand out.
Relentlessly scour the web and app stores to see if a similar app is already out there. If a similar app exists, ask yourself “does mine do the same, but maybe better, faster, cheaper?”. If you’re a business, conduct a poll. If you’re an entrepreneur ask the people that’ll give you an honest opinion, even the antagonists…especially the antagonists. If they like it then you’re probably on to a winner. Don’t avoid research because you don’t want negative feedback. When you’re the next Zuckerberg, you’ll be glad you did.
Apps may be thousands of lines of code, but they aren’t used by robots. Yet all too often we see apps leading with a hard-nosed business agenda rather than being ‘user focussed’.
Avoid presentations and videos that are simply death by power point. Just because your content is on the small screen doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the big screen treatment. If you’re app is quite simply a trojan horse for capturing data, then ask yourself ‘how much data do I really need at this stage?’.
It really is quite simple. Just dress up the content, take the tie off the bingo lingo business speak, and shorten those forms. There is a human on the other side of that app screen, and they need to be content with your content. You want the Midas touch surely, not the other way around?
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in the world of Apps, down right plagiarism is the sincerest way of embarrassing yourself. Lets put it this way, if you’ve got an idea for an online auction site, it’s not gonna go well.
If your competitor’s app has great reviews and millions of downloads, then take a closer look at what they’re not getting right. Before lifts (or elevators if that’s what you call them) there were escalators. Before escalators there were stairs. In other words, you don’t have to copy to achieve a similar (or in some cases) a better result. One day your competitor may get it wrong, and if you’ve followed them you’ll be doomed too. As my mum used to say when I was growing up “if they put their head in the oven, would you?”
“Mirror mirror in the app store, what’s the point of them all?”. Common sense should surely prevail here, but time and time again we see what we call ‘app dot com’. In the same way brochures differ to business cards, websites and apps should serve different purposes too.
Apps are brand experiences - pure and simple. You invest money in an app, and in turn your audience invests their time installing and using it. Remember, the app benchmark has been set by many killer apps. Don’t give your prospects a reason to kill off a potentially flourishing relationship. What the onscreen prompt ‘Are you sure you wish to delete this app?’ is actually saying is ‘Are you sure you want to delete your brand relationship?’
Shiny new technologies can reflect wonderfully on your business. Equally, ill-considered use of technology can damage your reputation indefinitely. Tempting as it may be, don’t rush into relationships with new technologies. A case in point here is Apple Watch.
Apple were last to arrive at the ‘watch’ party, but their procrastination paid off and sold more units in the first week than Samsung sold in a year. The downside was the barrage of ill-considered ‘square peg round hole’ Apple Watch apps that brands subsequently launched.
The morale of this story is that a little consideration can be the difference between being an embarrassed early adopter or a fashionably late success. I know which one I would choose.
Coming soon, our next instalment of Cut The Crapp looks at priorities, relationships and style over function.