Developing an App: What Separates Good Apps From Great Ones?

3 min read

Solving a problem elegantly, with maximum convenience is a hallmark of a great app.

Perhaps you haven’t thought much about what separates a good app from a great app, but there are some shared characteristics that are important across app categories. If you are considering developing an app, whether for use by consumers or as a productivity enhancer for your employees, taking the time to understand what makes an app great can start the process off right.

Often, it isn’t the most sophisticated apps that are used most. In many cases the apps you use are quite simple and perform a function you need in a convenient manner. For example, many people use the alarm clock on their phones every day, and YouTube lets you play videos on your phone or tablet. And there’s probably a game or two on your phone that you turn to when you’re bored waiting your turn at the dentist office or going home on the train.

Following are some of the characteristics to consider when developing an app. They can help you make the transition from a good app to a great one, increasing your app’s popularity and helping boost revenues (for customer-facing apps) or productivity (for work-related apps).

People Like Native Apps Better Than Mobile Web

Apps that are basically web wrappers may work, but they have drawbacks in terms of things like visibility and speed. Generally, people like native apps better than mobile web. That’s because with mobile, people are more action-oriented. They want to solve a problem, like checking their bank balance, buying a pair of boots, or booking a restaurant table. Native apps are popular because they’re fast and targeted: they help people get something done. When you’re developing an app, keep the customer’s “problem” in mind throughout and make the solution straightforward and easy to use.

Push Notifications Are Appreciated

Push notifications keep your users informed, even when they’re not actively using your app. For example, a push notification might let a user know he has a new message, or that an app update is available. Push notifications are also great because they subtly remind users of your app’s presence. On Androids, when the device receives a push notification, the app icon and message appear in the status bar. People enjoy receiving push notifications even when they don’t act on them, because they like knowing things like the fact that someone they follow on Facebook has posted something new.

Social Integration Boosts an App’s Appeal

Speaking of Facebook, integration of apps with social media also appeals to app users. Perhaps you have developed a game app that allows people to share high scores on social media. Or maybe your e-commerce app gives shoppers the opportunity to share what they purchased on social media. 

Push notifications keep your users informed, even when they're not actively using your app.Click To Tweet

Whether or not app users take advantage of social sharing, knowing that it’s easy to do so is a nice perk. And, of course, when someone shares something from your app on social media, your app gets a nice boost in visibility. Keep this in mind when you’re developing an app.

Good Timing Can Considerably Boost Interest in Your App

Good timing is often a matter of luck, but it can make an enormous difference, even if the app itself isn’t that sophisticated. For example, a few years ago in Israel, the public transport routes were all overhauled, but the Ministry of Transportation did not provide the public with a lot of information about the changes. A simple app with all the new bus routes, developed over a couple of days ended up being hugely popular, because it solved a problem (“Which bus do I take?”) in a timely manner.

Though your app launch might not be as fortuitous, when developing an app talk with your developer about the best timing, because there are certain times of year that are better for launching apps. September to November and April to June are good times for launching game apps, and right before heavy travel periods (like the Christmas holidays) is another good time, since people are spending less time at work and more in airports and train stations.


If you are considering developing an app, Glance, a leading native app developer in the UK, can help. Our philosophy is to put each client’s unique needs front and centre throughout the app development process. And we don’t abandon you after launch day, but make sure your app is fine-tuned so it can be as successful as possible. If you’re thinking of developing an app, we invite you to send us an enquiry. We’ll be in touch right away to answer any and all your questions about developing an app.

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