Creating “Good” Android Apps

May 12th, 2013 Leave a comment
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You have heard people say it: “App X is a good app”. You didn’t think about it at the time, but it begs the question. What makes a good Android app? How can you determine if the app you are writing will be good or not? It seems like a subjective thing but there are some areas that all apps could focus on that would make them better. In this article, I will explore the factors that you need to consider when creating an Android application to ensure that you also end up on the list of “good” apps, instead of the other way around.

Reliability

Users want the applications that they use to be reliable. The app should open correctly, perform its function without problems and close correctly, without tying up memory or other resources on the device. Reliability can be determined by testing the app on various devices and under different conditions in order to discover if there are things that were missed that cause the app to behave differently. Changes in feature state can often cause poorly tested apps to break down such as turning the phone into airplane mode or turning off the Wi-Fi. Ensure that you do not leave your user hanging in limbo due to insufficient testing before release.

Stability

Along with reliability, is the stability of the app. The application should not crash, freeze or give error messages to the user. Stability issues vary from annoying to unusable depending on the severity of the problem and may lead to your users being very frustrated and angry at your product that doesn’t work. Make sure to test your application for various environmental changes or problems that could cause your product to have stability problems and work towards creating more resilient applications.

Consistency

Your mobile platform has a set of guidelines on how applications should look and feel, to maintain a certain consistency with the platform. Users will automatically perceive applications that follow this guideline as being better than those that deviate because consistency enhances the user experience and allows them to be more comfortable with your user interface. Making changes to these guidelines or going beyond the limits may cause your user to feel uncomfortable and they could look unfavorably on your app although it meets the previous two factors.

Practicality

This mainly applies to apps that already have lots of competition in the app store or that perform a basic task. What does your calendar application bring to the table that I haven’t already seen? How is your flashlight app better than the hundreds of others already out there? Be sure you are providing some kind of unique service or function to your users or you will only been held up against tons of competition, usually unfavorably.

Budget Conscious

Good applications are often deemed a good value as well. Users do not mind paying for applications that are worth the cost because they provide a sought after and often valuable function. Developers should also think about the cost of their application on a monthly basis if data is necessary for the app to function. Putting some thought into the design of the application can sometimes decrease the amount of data traffic necessary as well as show the application to be worth purchasing by the user.

No (or Few) Ads

It may be an effective means of advertising or revenue generation by the developer, but advertisements are annoying to the user and do not lead to them thinking of your application favorably. Do not create unnecessary inconveniences to your user by having ads pop up while they are using your tool or game.

Hopefully you have found this list of design considerations helpful while creating your own Android application. Putting yourself in the user’s place when making design decisions can be a helpful way of finding the correct path. Knowing ins and outs of Android SDK is another advantage. Effective Android training can go a long way to making you a real expert developer. Remember that once you create one great application, users will be more inclined to purchase something from you again and you will find that the techniques of development and testing come easier the more you work at it. Creating a strong customer base is the first clue that you are becoming a star Android application developer.

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