Promoted: The 6 DOs and 4 DON'Ts of great apps

Creating a great app isn't rocket science. A little common sense goes a long way…

We love apps. Lovely, tiny little pieces of code than transform smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 from shiny, glamorous pieces of hardware into all-singing, all-conquering super computers.

Still, with so many out there, there are bound to be a few duds. Here’s what we love – and hate – from those tiny, life-improving, commute-saving apps.

Six things we love

1 Simple design
Modern smartphones have acres of screen space available but that doesn’t mean we want every square inch occupied by jiggling icons, menus and text. We want our apps at-a-glance.

2 Keep it funJust because your app does something serious doesn’t mean it has to be dull to use. Try Uniqlo’s ace Wake Up app: an alarm clock whose mood changes depending on the weather, to see what we mean.

3 Feed us
Apps that keep our inner foodie munching are always welcome. Take Jamie Oliver’s 20-Minute Meals app: 60 recipes including ingredients, pictures and over an hour of videos so you can see the magic in action.

4 Make shopping easy
Here’s what we don’t want: apps that make us work to spend our hard-earned cash. The Asos app is a model of how to do it right: every now and then it pings a notification to our screen telling us about a killer sale. From there to bagging a fashionable bargain takes a few taps and our enviable record of “best-dressed” is safe for another few weeks.

5 Make us think
Fine, occasionally we want to chill out with a game that requires nothing more than frantic tapping. But the brain is a muscle (sort of), so games that make us ponder, tinker and cogitate (look it up) are always best. Try the occasionally dastardly The Room to see what we mean.

6 Give us free stuff
Sure, make it easy to spend our money, but reward us as well. Take Starbucks’ ace app, for example: apart from feeling futuristic (pay for your chai with your mobile), every so often you’ll be rewarded with a free drink.

… and four things we really, really don’t love

1 Loads of notifications
Some notifications we’re cool with: save us some cash, point us at something cool, or let us know when our chums are doing something neat. Endless trilling, buzzing alerts? Count us out.

2 Cheap knock-offs
The attack of the clones is all-too-real in the world of apps: a killer app comes out and is closely followed by hopeful copycats, each hoping to dupe us into splashing out without doing anything new. Innovate, people!

3 Sneaky in-app purchases
Free apps are ace. Free apps that are unusable without in-app purchases less so. If your app depends on subsequent purchases to be usable, let us know up-front. Better yet, charge for the app: we don’t mind paying for the good stuff.

4 Over-sharing
We’re all for a bit of social networking but play it cool, yeah? We don’t want our friends to know we’re embarking on a weekend-long Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, so let us keep tabs on what’s getting broadcast.


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