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Stay Away From These Six App Ideas

Posted on 10.02.2016

:: By Hunter Jensen, Barefoot Solutions ::


There are 2.2 million apps in the Google Play Store. Apple’s App Store features 2 million of its own. With more than 4 million products between Android and iOS alone, there are some great apps out there — and some really bad ones, too.

We’ve all experienced bad apps. Ones that never load properly, or are difficult to use because of the many built-in ads that interfere. Poorly designed ones. Ones that try to do too much.

Mobile app development is a competitive industry, which means users are not quick to forgive apps that don’t meet their standards. To make your app one of the greats, steer it away from these pitfalls.

The More Complex, the More Fun 

You have an idea for an amazing adventure game, and you know bigger equals better. You decide to throw in every feature you can think of and a few most users will have never seen before. It will be so much fun for users to explore every aspect of your app, right?

Think again. Complexity is more likely to lead to frustration than fun. There are fewer things more frustrating than taking the time to download an app only to find it hard to use. The biggest apps out there are typically the easiest ones to use.

To help your users, pay close attention to your app onboarding. A well-planned onboarding process give the user a solid understanding of your app right from the start. After that, your app should be simple enough to use without any frustrating difficulty.

Build Your Business Model on Lots of Ads

It’s okay if some ads appear in your app. It’s not okay when they start overwhelming the app itself.

Advertisers usually pay mobile app developers per view or click. Each time someone who uses your app views or clicks on an ad, that’s money that comes to you. If you’re thinking it’s a good idea to include as many ads as possible, resist that impulse. Being too trigger-happy with ads could result in them becoming intrusive and irritating to the user, which means fewer views and clicks and less ad revenue.

Tastefully integrate ads into your app. Think about the ad's design and placement. Don’t make it obvious your ads are ads — look into native advertising.

As a rule of thumb, focus on quality over quantity when it comes to in-app advertising.

Base Your Business Model on Charging for Your App

People are not going to be willing to buy your app if you charge too much for it (or possibly if you charge for it at all). Nearly half of all app revenue comes from in-app purchases anyway, and in most cases, you want to lower your app’s barrier to entry in order to make it easier to get those in-app purchases.

The average price of mobile apps and games is going down. The general market is moving toward freemium apps — apps that are available for free with additional services or ad-free versions available at a premium. This, combined with the integrated ads we discussed above, is more likely to increase your revenue than charging $6 for your app. Unless your app is offering something of huge value, six bucks just ain’t gonna fly.

Make the App You Would Love

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s a bad idea to build an app solely based on how you want it to look and what you want it to do. It’s not what you want that matters, it’s what your audience wants. If your favorite color is red but your audience finds it too aggressive, it shouldn’t be the primary color of your app, regardless of how much you like it. On the other hand, you may hate a particular feature, but if your target audience loves it, you need to consider including it.

Of course, you won’t know anything about what your audience likes without proper market research. Without market research, all you can do is make assumptions. Market research tells you who your target audience is and what their needs and wants are. Don’t assume you know what’s best for them — take the time to find out.

Ignore Your Competitors 

With over 4 million apps in the marketplace, it’s possible someone has already had the great idea you have and is already offering it. Don’t let that stop you from developing a similar app — there are more than 28,000 health and fitness apps in the Google Play Store, so clearly there is room for some similarities. It just means you need to figure out what makes yours unique.

Again, it’s important to conduct market research before developing your app. Identify your competitors, see what they’re offering, and identify ways to make your app a bit different or a bit better.

Create a Mobile Version of Your Web App

Don’t do it! Your mobile app cannot do as much as your Web app can, and that’s okay. Users want their mobile apps to have one specific purpose, not 10. There’s a reason Google Drive and Google Calendar are separate apps. Even Facebook has taken to splitting the functionality of its website into distinct apps, such as when it created Messenger as a messaging app separate from its regular mobile app.

Take a cue from Google and Facebook. You can create separate apps if necessary, but each one will be better if it does one thing and does it well rather than doing lots of things poorly.

Your Top-Charting Idea

By steering clear of these six bad-app traps, you will be able to develop stronger, better software people will love to use — increasing your chances of seeing your app climb to the top of the charts.


About the Author

After graduating from the University of Virginia with degrees in Economics and Philosophy, Hunter Jensen came to Southern California and founded Barefoot Solutions. Hunter has spent years wearing every hat imaginable in the software development process, including programmer, designer, marketing specialist and janitor. His high level of proficiency in all of the different phases of development projects and true passion for technology makes him uniquely qualified to manage a team of specialists to deliver a world class system built on time, on budget, and to specification.

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