When developing an app for the first time, there are important factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as scalability as previously discussed. Ensuring the app can scale with a growing user base is paramount to success, but how do we ensure the user base will steadily increase? While there are a plethora of factors that lead to app success and increased downloads, one to keep in mind is simplicity. Every app essentially starts as a simple idea, yet can easily become packed with unnecessary features and lose its focus and core purpose.
Keeping an app simple starts with understanding the market need in the beginning of development, not losing sight of the app’s core purpose and understanding which features are most critical to the app’s functionality.
How simple is too simple?
There is a fine line between simple and too simple and developers are often faced with the challenge to find the right balance between the two.
Finding that balance is a difficult feat, but not impossible. It begins with determining how the app meets the market’s need and building the app to meet it. From there, the app’s feature set can increase. Push for Pizza is a great example of an app that has one simple purpose: allow its users to order a pizza with a single push. The user simply chooses which toppings they would like, pushes the pizza button within the app and it’s on its way to their location. Push for Pizza began as a simple idea and the developers built an application to meet the demand. From there, the app has seen great success and has increased the feature set, such as the ability to add coupon codes.
Using simplicity to create customer delight
The moment of customer delight is a manifestation of having a really simple but powerful idea. There are few apps that have created customer delight by doing something for the first time or presenting an experience in a new way. The best example is Uber. When the service launched, users for the first time were able to see the cars moving in real time, which was unlike any other taxi or ride sharing experience at that time. Uber offered a completely painless service and has changed the way people travel.
Using simplicity to create customer delight comes from focusing on doing one thing, and both Uber and Push for Pizza do it well. However, that moment of customer delight is hard to achieve; but when it is, the app has accomplished either something simple or done something complex but presented it in a simple way. The key to customer delight is focusing on the app’s core purpose.
Be original and don’t take short cuts
A current trend in app development is the “hamburger menu,” or the three line button within the app that pulls out to the app’s menu. There is pushback in the developer community on this type of design because there isn’t any taxonomy for what will be included in the menu itself. The hamburger menu is working against simple apps and is hurting effective user interface (UI) design. Effective, and successful apps should be guiding the user through each stage or feature in a simple manner, not using shortcuts to jump to the end.
Instagram is a great example of an app presenting features and menus in a new and simplified way. The app walks the user through each step with the appropriate feature set as opposed to throwing each feature in one pull out menu. To achieve the same type of simplicity, stay focused on what the core purpose of the app is, to eliminate unnecessary features from piling up in menus.
Developers strive to deliver the experiences that will change the way people work and live, and they are created from simple ideas. When building your first app it’s easy to succumb to including every new, trendy feature. But it’s important not to lose sight of the app’s purpose, as that is what will drive customer delight and keep the user base growing. These are some of the keys to a successful app.