Playing with Snapchat? Making your selfies look like a painting? You'll notice one thing from all of those apps; they look great, they feel seamless and they just work. They're slick, fine-tuned and always have been, even from day one, and users flock to them. Not long after Prisma launched their simple yet effective app, it rocketed to the top of the app store, maintaining top 20 overall placement according to App Annie for some time. Think of any app you use regularly on your phone that you love, and you'll see there's a similarity between them in how they've clearly taken steps to not get in the way of the user and their core functions. It's no surprise that the apps that you'll see on anyone's Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices look, feel and act the way you want them to. So take our advice; learn from their success.

Test, Test and Test Again You've been there. The app you've just downloaded is going well, but something happens that makes you screech to a halt. That's why you need internal Quality Assurance testers that understand mobile development and how the average user is going to approach your app. However, Rainforest QA has now released their mobile app testing platform ("Quality Assurance as a Service"), along with an ebook about scaling mobile testing itself, using their crop of over 50,000 crowdsourced testers to zero in on specific issues (and they get into this in detail in a recent eBook). Supporting both iOS and Android platforms, the platform is very similar to the web-based testing that Rainforest does, letting you set direct tasks and workflows using natural language testing to direct an available 24/7 group of testers to make sure things do what they're meant to. Rainforest quotes having results back in 30 minutes, and has doubled their revenue since the start of the year. "We're building an AWS for QA, and since so many of our current customers also want to test their native apps with Rainforest we figured it makes sense to have all our services under a single billing platform," said Fred Stevens-Smith, CEO of Rainforest QA. Users of Rainforest buy a plan of a certain amount of credits that they can spend at their leisure with pointed, specific tests that can be driven by internal QA, or thanks to the easy-to-use forms, anyone technical on your team.

The Perfect UX Is A Must The greatest mobile apps get out of the way of the user, enabling them to do exactly what they loaded the app to do. A Forbes piece recently highlighted the next five years of user experience trends, and made key points about how users are being changed by the internet of things, voice and bots. While these new trends are definitely worth considering, always focus on the cores of UX, especially when in specific industries. For example, if you're creating an e-commerce platform, make sure that the search functionality is integrated in a way that users are happy with, as well as understanding different screen sizes and how they may see products. A social product should always take care to get users connected to their friends as easily as possible without spamming their contacts, and a mobile photo app shouldn't slow down taking a photo by making minute changes to lighting difficult. Think of yourself as a user as well as a founder or an engineer when creating an app, and remember that getting to a million, or a billion users isn't done by catering to Silicon Valley and techies.

Make Your Pricing and Product Offering Crystal Clear (and DON'T oversell!) Prisma and Snapchat are both free products with no obtrusive in-app-purchases, but the majority of popular apps on some level offer some kind of extra functionality for users. Many make the most elementary mistake on their quest for profitability, promising functionality in the app's description that is then not available for free. Worse still, some will actually wait until the user attempts to use the function, such as a camera app with a specific filter, then only offer it as a purchase. When you make an app, either choose to do up-front pricing ($1.99 to $9.99, depending on the functionality of the app), or make it very clear to users what is or is not available in the free version. It's also a good idea to offer a la carte options for certain features along with a "bundle" that saves users money. If you're making a game, it's easy to want to generate money based on masses of in-app purchases, such as Pokémon Go's coins. You may want to instead consider giving users, when designing your app, the chance to earn them and multiply what they earn throughout the game (experience or currency for example), making them stay in the game and pay to enhance their experience.

When making any kind of app, be it serious or entertaining, be it for kids or adults, think of how the consumer will want to use it. Consider their lives and their actions in everything that you code, design and launch, and make it a frictionless experience to keep them in your app.

Published on: Aug 12, 2016
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