What Are The Attributes of A Winning Mobile App?

[Editorial Note: Mobile users aren’t Loyal to Apps and while there is no formula to build a winning app, here is an interesting perspective (by guest author Pooja Gupta) on what makes an interesting app.]

I recently wrote how business models based on mobile app creation have gained momentum but can be unsafe or at least risky for sure (Read it here). The article also discussed that a way to insure against this risk is to develop a winning app which becomes almost indispensable to users. In other words, make an app which lets the platform piggyback on the app’s success and not vice versa (Think about Zynga apps here).

A good question which stems from the above is that how do we develop a winning app or to put it in different words – what are the nuances of a winning app? I have tried to discuss some of them here.

– The very first nuance is Attractiveness. By this I mean the very first impression that your app gives to users, which compels them to download the app and use it at least once. This attractiveness could come from the marketing activities for the app, word of mouth promotion, app features or even the app name (if it is just too catchy). Getting the user to download the app first time is just the first hurdle crossed. The real criterion for an app to be a winner is to ensure that users come back to it multiple times.

A good question at this point isWhat will bring the user back to use the app a second time and multiple times going forward?


– The very first answer would be High Usability. Think about the Astro File Manager app on Android platform. Android phones themselves do not have a very good interface for accessing files on the SD card or in the phone memory. This app caters to this high usability niche. The app is almost indispensable and the user has to come back to it multiple times a day.

– Next one and also the most important one is the Addictiveness Quotient of your app – How addictive is the app. A great example of this is the Angry Birds (available on multiple platforms). I am myself addicted to it J. Even a minute of free time at my disposal and this is the first app which I open on my phone.

– Next one is Shareability. In today’s excessively social world, the ability to post directly to social media platforms has become almost a must have features in all apps. A popular app in the Health and Wellness segment is the Cardio Trainer. Run a couple of kilometers and the app would publish to your Facebook and Twitter accounts the distance you ran, the calories you burnt and would also map out your track on Google Maps. Everybody love sharing their smallest achievement with their friends.

– Next one is Incentive. Shareability often acts as an incentive. An app which shares scores/updates on social media platforms automatically triggers off a competitive spirit to be one with the highest score. A closer look at the last three features of a winning app show that they are inter-related in the following manner.


Do let us know your thoughts on the above discussed nuances of a winning app and also if I missed out on any must have feature. Also, what are the apps which you would rate as ones high on addictiveness quotient?

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