© Ion Chiosea via 123RF
According to statistic.com, in 2017 there were at least 2.8 million apps available on Google Play, 2.2 million on the Apple App store, 669K on the Windows store, 600K on the Amazon app store and even 234K apps on BlackBerry World (surprisingly as this is considered a dying platform by most).
With so many apps out there to choose from, it’s no surprise that we are suffering from “app fatigue”, not least of all those in the mobile and digital community whose lives revolve around high levels of activity on their smartphones.
Take a trip back with me for a moment, to the time when computers first became available. Do you remember standing in front of the shelves of shiny, new software packages, trying to decide what to buy?
In the 80s and 90s, computers and software represented an exciting new adventure, in much the same way that (either as a business endeavour or as a consumer) exploring the plethora of apps available on the market does now.
As an app creator, not only do you have to ensure that your app has that value to make your users want to use your offering instead of competitors’ (an ongoing task that is part of your overall mobile app strategy), but also you need to look at using mechanisms effectively to keep your target audience engaged without inundating them with push notifications.
This is something seen as the holy grail by most marketers, except that they usually use it as spam, rather than for personalised marketing.
For the consumer, the selection of apps to choose from is simply overwhelming and, like software, people will return to what they are familiar with and what works.
I’ve worked on a number of mobile projects over the years and part of my user experience research always involves understanding my target audience and which apps they love using. It doesn’t matter what the digital literacy of the user is, they will always compare any messaging app or feature to WhatsApp, or the other popular social media apps available.
Building apps for the sake of "having an app" have long since lost its novel appeal and these days offering true value and engagement are the bare minimum requirements to launch a successful app in the marketplace.
These are a few pointers you need to consider (at a bare minimum) to ensure your app doesn’t have users falling into the “app fatigue” trap, as this affects both developers and consumers.