There are literally millions of apps on the Google Play Store, most of which are also available on the Apple iOS Store. Mobile apps are a massive market at the minute. In 2016, the industry was worth 1.6 trillion and grew to 6.3 trillion by the middle of 2021 – you can say that’s an eye-watering figure. From sales to marketing and everything in between, mobile apps are a giant cash cow.
The rise of mobile apps happened steadily over time, and boy, they had their initial struggles. And, by initial, we mean a century’s worth of struggle that some app developers are yet to overcome. Still, to this day, some apps are full of glitches and coding errors that devalue the app and reduce usability – leading to 88% of people abandoning an app if they find glitches.
What does it take to create the perfect app, and does it even exist? Below, we will explore how you can create an app that makes Google Play Stores top charts.
What Makes A Great App?
There’s a sizable difference between a great app and an app that does the job. To get an idea of a great app, here are some of the top apps in the Google Play Store right now:
Start by having a quick scroll through these apps and see what you notice. One thing you’ll pick up on is how seamless it is to move from page to page.
A great app is one that users can move through seamlessly, with the app responding to their every move and request efficiently – and the people want efficiency. One recent study found that people are willing to wait for 2 seconds for a page to load. That brings us to the first thing on the list of consumer needs, the ability to use the app properly.
Typically, it’s an overcomplicated user interface design that leads to those pesky glitches. Apps, in most instances, are simplified versions of websites. And, that’s exactly what they should be, simple. What you’ll notice with apps at the top of the charts is that they’re essentially simple. TikTok is the perfect example.
ByteDance — the creator of TikTok — has managed to work with an app developer to produce one of the most simplistic yet revolutionary apps in the world. Users that don’t wish to post have to open the app and scroll. That’s it. Yes, that’s probably the pinnacle of simplicity, but you get the drift. Users should be able to reach their desired destination in a click or two. The less you have on the app, the quicker it is to load, and the easier it is to use.
You can also improve usability and reduce the loading times by considering the technology used to design the app. There are three main types; platform-specific, cross-platform, and hybrid apps. For the ultimate user experience, platform-specific is the best as the coding is specific for one platform, and it can leverage the device’s hard drive to improve usability.
For speed and ease, hybrid platforms are the best because you don’t have to create separate coding for each platform.
Usability is probably the most crucial consideration, but you should also consider the value of the service you’re providing. It’s all well and good building an app that works, but what content is inside it, and how is it helping the user by solving their problem?
Consider Booking.com, a popular accommodation booking service. Their service holds value because it meets the needs of the many – whether it’s someone looking for a swanky hotel or a bog-standard apartment, there’s valuable information inside. A great app appeals to the needs of the many rather than the few.
Value doesn’t have to come from the service or product you’re offering – it can come from entertainment, convenience, or related industry information.
Mobile apps and websites are more advanced than they have ever been before, but that doesn’t stop around 2,500 cyber attacks from happening every day. Identity fraud through websites and mobile apps is higher than ever before, with 1 in 15 people being victims of identity fraud in 2019. Why so prevalent?
Although there’s the desire to improve the user experience by submitting and storing personal details, there’s an inherent security risk that comes with it. Hackers can place malware — most recently, ransomware is becoming popular — to infiltrate apps and wreak havoc.
One solution is to use design reviews, including threat modelling, to unearth chinks in your app’s security armour. A similar process happens within businesses called vulnerability management. Vulnerability management checks should happen once a month to prevent the risk of a cyberattack, and the same should happen with mobile apps.
With hundreds of new apps added every month, there is more pushing than ever to design an app that makes the top charts. Google hasn’t actually revealed how they rank their app, but we can assume it’s based on downloads and performance reviews. Focusing on the basics of an app is a great place to start if you want to get into the top charts.