From the moment I open my eyes in the morning to the moment I am seated at my office desk, one thing I have constant is my mobile, and in that 2–3 hours’ time gap alone I use a minimum of 5 different tech products — my alarm clock application, my mail app that I check as soon as I wake up, the news app while I travel, the music app that is running in the background while I do everything else, and the intermittent checking of Whatssap, wishing Good morning to my loved ones, and I believe the number can only be higher for any user today with a smartphone in his pocket.
Yes, I say Whatssap while I do not name the other applications on purpose, because Whatssap has replaced messaging for me. It is that one product that has been tailored perfectly to my taste, or it has tailored me to its own.
The rest of my applications are replaceable and might get constantly changed the moment I hear of a new app that is better — better in what term is another question on its own.
I rephrase this question that pops up in my mind above — How do I measure the “betterness” of an App? What is it that impresses me? How do I measure it?
I divide my so called “betterness” into 3 features — The outlook (The O), the core offering (The C), and the delighting feature (The D), the OCD.
The Outlook, as you already understand from the word is how the app looks, and works. It is how the users feel after using it.
Broadly speaking, Outlook to the user is that intangible feel of the product, but to a Product owner or a manager is a list of factors that contributes to that user experience, that fulfillment of purpose of the app. For different product owners this list might constitute of different factors, and it might also vary with the kind of the products.
For me, the list mainly includes:
· Flawless login — this part sometimes sucks the first time user experience out of the application even before I notice what the app does.
· Speed — An often ignored factor compared to the core function of what an app does but it can be the make or break for the app. People are not going to use an app that does delightful thing, but keeps them waiting for it. They are going to minimize the app while waiting for the result, start doing something else, and then forget of the minimized app altogether. Then 20 days later notice it on the screen, conclude that they haven’t used it, and uninstall.
· Simplicity — I have seen 2 kids on apps — the ones whose landing page has one little button (or 2, or max 3) which tells what to do, and those which have an arrays of buttons and radio boxes and options. The more options a user has, the more time he takes to realize what the USP for the app is, and sometimes not realize at all before uninstalling the excellent app.
· Intuitive — Navigation through an app, the more effortless it is for a user to reach the intended feature, the better the app becomes.
The Core Offering (Technology)
The core offering is behind the scene soldier. The absence of it makes the app useless, but the presence of it goes unnoticed. It is the basic idea the app is made of.
One of the most important things, but it is more of concern to the Engineering team than the user. As long as I get the songs I want I do not care what technology you use, or what awesome data analytics you have done to provide me those songs.
A product that has that one feature that keeps the customer engaged and prevents him for uninstalling the app has the highest likelihood of success. Intentional placement of that feature or by fluke, such features can be core technology or the simplicity of the navigation.
In business term this is what is known as the differentiating factor.
All the above feature can be either designed into a product in the planning phase, or some products might have it without planning, but I think these are the things great products are made of!