The Essentials to Building a Seriously Addictive App

Addictive app

You know you should probably be doing your laundry, filing your taxes or buying groceries; but chances are – you are hooked on to an exciting game of Candy Crush Saga or shopping for discounts on the Amazon app.

Simply can’t put those mobile apps away, can you? And then you wonder where the last 3-4 hours went!

Think about it: your movie reservations, social media updates, music & even stress relieving games are all on apps! According to recent industry figures, count of mobile app buyers in the United States of America is estimated to reach 85 million in 2018.

This sort of dependence that most users have with mobile apps is great news for app developers & owners, except that the clutter in this space is just so high!

Checklist to Build Sticky Apps

So, the challenge that now exists is to design apps that encourage repeat use & more reference-led downloads; while increasing ‘stickiness’. And the means to achieving this end is two pronged: Intuitive UI design & a thorough understanding of user psychology.

To aid in your quest to build that perfectly addictive app, here is a quick must-have checklist:

Smooth On-Boarding Experience

When it comes to mobile apps, the first impression is a lasting impression – and most often the last impression! Studies reveal that 90% of all downloaded apps are used only once and then eventually deleted by users. This puts immense weightage on the need to devise & perfect the app on-boarding experience. The Google Inbox app is the perfect example of effective onboarding focused on user benefit & easy navigation through the UI.

Keep It Simple. Real Simple

Swipe right, with one finger, for yes; and left for no. That is how simple the Tinder User Interface is. And this is why Tinder has over 100 million downloads. By keeping it deceitfully simple, most app users can use it even when on the move! Even the Skype app that your babe-in-arms nephew uses to connect with his grandparents is a good example. Your app needs to suit the millennial population’s increasingly shortening attention spans and rising need for convenience.

Understand Your Target Audience

Addiction to anything – coffee, chocolate, gambling or even substance – is a biochemical function of the body, activated when we enjoy something. Similarly when a user interacts with an app, their brain needs to register it as a pleasurable activity that is necessary to repeat in the future. This type of Pavlovian Conditioning needs to be taken into consideration, while developing the perfect mobile app. The need of the hour is thus, to plan the app based on where & when it will be used, by putting yourself in the user’s shoes.

Gratification Through Gamification

Even the most mundane apps can be made exciting, by adding a gaming element to it. Gamification has long been regarded as a pull-factor which is revolutionizing the world of technology. The AliExpress shopping app features games in which virtual points/coins can be earned & redeemed, which makes the concept of getting discounts more exciting – incentivizing buying! Using this tactic, Alibaba sold more than $14.3 billion worth of goods from its site on the Singles’ Day.

Filling A Real Need Gap

At a time when owning a GPS device became tiresome & costly, Google Maps simply revolutionized the way we navigate. The developers identified a real need & fulfilled it with great success. Similarly, the popular medical website, WebMD, recently created a mobile app extension. They recognized that their TG is mostly people waiting at the doctor’s offices – the perfect time for them to read more about their health problem. In this way, the company could come to the conclusion of the benefits of building an app.

Bug-Free Experience

A smooth app experience requires for developers to regularly test it for bugs. Keep getting feedback on the digital prototype, from focused groups of your audience, until you are totally satisfied. Also, try and ensure that your app has only minimally intrusive ads & push notifications. Most of the very successful & established apps by the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Google & Skype; keep sending security updates & patches to ensure that user experience is not adversely affected.

Innovate Or Die

Even the most successful apps, are all the rage for a year or so, and suddenly you don’t hear about it anymore! Case and point – the Foursquare app. This very engaging app bombed, simply because its users didn’t feel the need to keep coming back to it, after some time.
New and improved apps are always better. By continually releasing patches or updates to your app, you can add features that your audiences will love. But be sure that you doesn’t overwhelm or confuse them with too many such innovations.

The Social Angle

Humans are a social animal – therefore, there is a sense of pride and oneness of community that we revel in. To attract repeat app visitors, this intrinsic social behavior can be tapped into by adding functionality for app-users to engage with one another through chats, multi-player options, sharing of high-scores etc. Proven success rates of the Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram & LinkedIn apps are prime examples of how such behavior can be tapped into.

Analytics Is King

One of the best ways to make your app “stickier” is to embed analytics. Fitbit, Amazon, and Netflix, all include analytics in the user experience – boosted by a sleek user interface. Based on the 2016 State of Embedded Analytics survey, application providers used embedded analytics for three reasons:

  • Increasing customer satisfaction (92%)
  • Differentiating their products from the competition (92%)

So analytics, if used effectively, can give app providers MORE MONIES! Need we say more, to push the case for the adoption of performance analytics?

It Really Helps If Your App Is FREE

That is not to say that your app shouldn’t be making you money. But incentivizing users to try the app for free, so that they get hooked on to it and then keep wanting more – is the trick to adopt. You know you have hit jackpot once users start paying to use paid-for premium features that are available as add-ons. Angry Birds & Prisma – both apps adopt this �?freemium’ strategy.

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