When searching through app stores, there are always little things that catch my eye: the app’s name, icon, and interface design. These are the things that will get me to actually check into an app and possibly start using it. If one of these are lacking, I will brush the app aside and keep browsing for better apps.
These features, in my opinion, are not actually the most valuable. After all, if an app has an odd name or icon, but still works great, it’d still be a good application. The thing is, an app needs to make a good first impression. If it doesn’t catch my eye, I likely won’t ever try the app out in the first place.
Let’s take a look at the first things every application needs to make a good first impression, and then deliver on that initial promise of excellence.
The Key Superficial Features
Names define us. They set us apart from the rest, and a clever name can be the key to success. In my opinion, a company that does this well is Dropbox, with its simple and catchy name. The name is suited towards its purpose and sums up the app as a whole. Apps that survive in the tussle of today’s world need to be straight to the point, and they need to be something which will be remembered. Dropbox fits that bill: it’s easy for anyone to remember, isn’t difficult to spell, and is easily searchable.
Logos are always difficult to perfect. Primarily, the logo needs to be high quality, and developers who don’t put effort into their logo end up being perceived as not as fully dedicated to their project. The ideal logo will be simple with an unique design. If I’m considering trying out an app and its logo isn’t appealing, odds are I’ll ignore the app completely, since I want to use high quality apps. The good thing for developers is that the possibilities for logo creation are endless. Remember, simple is normally better, though too generic can be a problem too. The logo is genuinely important, though, so if you’re a developer, you should definitely pay attention to your app’s logo.
If an app’s name and logo are appealing, then you’re likely to take a deeper look. Firstly, most of us will scroll down to the screenshots available, checking out the general appearance of the app. Most importantly these must be a true representation of the app, and show its real features. If your anything like me you won’t want to see a picture of the opening screen. The things we do look for are a tidy interface, easy navigation, and proof that the app can really do what we want it to.
Then, once you’ve finally convinced me to download your app or create an account and try out your web app, it’d better be easy to get started with the app or at least figure out how to learn how to use the app. Over the past months I have started using over 50 apps, but in retrospect, I would say I have quit using around 30 of them within the first five minutes. This is because of misleading and complicated instructions. It may be a fantastic app, but, if I can’t grasp the basics quickly it has no use for me.
In most cases I find a direct correlation between these features and the actual app. If an app lacks these it’s not looking good. However, there are exceptions, as sometimes I find fantastic apps that are lacking in the naming, logo, or directions department, but are still great apps underneath the rough edges. They appeared rough at first, and weren’t likely to catch my attention in the first place, but turned out to be great apps in the end.
The Good and The Bad
Many great apps hit these key features exactly. However, some are horrendously disappointing. Coming across apps at each end of the scale has become a daily occurrence.
Somehow, I can pick out “bad” apps so easy, but then it’s tough sometimes to say exactly what ticked me off with the apps I reject outright.
Below are applications which prove this point!
Trello is a newer web app I’ve recently started using. Its a fantastic app for managing tasks. The initial page shows the interesting logo which instantly catches the eye with a bright blue colour scheme, attracting you to dig deeper into the fine details!
As you can notice the page is neat and tidy with a consistent colour scheme, creating a friendly and smart layout. It welcomes potential new users to a product he can actually benefit from, and is instantly an app I’ll likely try out just based on its design.
MoinMoin is a wiki engine which describes itself as “advanced”. From first impressions this application look terrible, encouraging me to quickly go back to my Google Search. My reasoning being is that dull blue and white colour schemes aren’t easy on the eyes. Us humans adore beauty, searching for it through everyday life. In today’s day and age we expect to be amazed all the time. We download apps for multiple use not just for one go, and in my life I want to be surrounded by beauty, not insulted by the apps I use. An app which is an eyesore won’t be entering my life at all.
Personally, these are the most important features of an application, although, I know some of you will agree and disagree with my opinion. I highly recommend the next time your looking for an app, look out for these desirable features. These are some things our team uses to help find great apps to review at AppStorm, and they just might help you sort out the lemons from the great apps across the web and on your favorite native platforms.
Thought? Comments? Let us know how you find great apps in the comments below!