What makes good apps great? How people use them – Part 1

A successful app is determined by intelligent design, simplicity, cost and consumer need. Of course there are successful apps which are exceptions to this, say for instance angry birds but hey sometimes you can’t argue with the mob.

An important characteristic outside of the app which can be a key determinant of its success is how well the app is adopted by the user. Coming from the perspective of a social determinist, a successful app is one which the user chooses to integrate into their lives. One which the user adjusts or evolves their current practices as a consequence of the recognized advantage created by the use of the app. 

Whilst the eventual successful adoption of an app may have begun with an ambivalent decision along the lines of “meh, it’s only $2 dollars”, the success of an app can’t be determined by the user pressing the download/purchase button. If your honest with yourself how many apps have you downloaded, used for a couple of days…maybe a week and then proceeded to never look at again? auditing my iPad i’ve got a couple: ABC iView because its obscenely expensive on 3G, Evernote not because its bad (I’m going to touch on the advantages of the app) but because it doesn’t suit the way I work, and Lego monsters…it was just plain bad. There have however been a couple which I have adopted and have integrated into my processes. GoodReader for managing and marking up my documents, PenUltimate for note taking, GoodReads to track what I’m reading and what I want to read and the Twitter app for my news, laughs and keeping track of technology and library trends. 

So what actions on the part of the user turn a good app into a great one? Sometimes you just get lucky and find an app that slips into your life but most of the time unlocking the potential of an app requires changing your practices. What considerations should you make before buy or download a new app? 

Tune in next week – for part 2 and app reviews (ok I’m cheating a little bit but hey its a long weekend so cut me some slack) 

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