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7 minutes read

What Makes a Good App? 5 Characteristics of Winning Mobile Apps

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
7 minutes read

We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating: a well-built mobile app can skyrocket your business. When you cater to your target audience via their mobile devices, you can improve your User Experience and increase your customers’ loyalty and trust. Given that your app creates value for your customers, they will keep coming back for more, helping your business along the way. To do this, it is important to understand the general app process of development. 

Having an app idea developed for a mobile device is not enough. It is necessary to undergo a robust development process that considers the right app features. It is also important to deliver your app users an adequate app design that improves user engagement. If you are planning on moving forward with your app idea, this post discusses 5 characteristics of winning mobile applications for you to consider. 

The Power of a Great App for Mobile Devices

A mobile app is one of the best ways to achieve your business goals. Contrary to a web app, this alternative allows you to develop powerful app features tailored to your target audience.

However, with so many apps available in the marketplace, the competition is stiff. Businesses everywhere are fighting for their customers’ cell phone real estate. The goal is to be one of the (on average) 23 most frequently used apps on a mobile user’s device.

Many companies are trying to mimic the success of top apps like Instagram and Tinder, while others have smaller but still ambitious goals. No matter the objective, one thing is clear: the app market is exploding, and if you want to succeed, you’ll have to find a way to break through the noise.

But, how exactly do you do that? Well, there are some apps that stand out and separate themselves from the crowd. They address consumer needs and destroy the competition, bringing businesses to new levels. A great marketing plan helps, but a thorough mobile app development process can be even more critical to success.

Successful apps for mobile devices have more than a great marketing strategy. They tend to have a few common characteristics that you can also apply to your mobile app. In fact, these characteristics should be on your top of mind before you even start planning how to develop your app idea.

5 Characteristics of Winning Mobile Apps

1. Great UI (User Interface)

When it comes to what people perceive as a great app, first impressions are everything. People judge books by their covers, and the same happens with apps within the first few seconds of usage. That’s just human nature. So how can your mobile app make a great and lasting impression? The key is to build a great UI.

The way your app looks and operates is crucial to its success. This is especially true with free apps because there is a high churn rate. If your app doesn’t look and perform as well as a rival app, the user won’t bother to learn more about what it can do.

Winning apps keep in mind that, in most cases, the end-user is operating from a mobile device with a small touchscreen. As a result, the UI should be unobtrusive, mitigating design elements that don’t add a use or function to the app. If it doesn’t add value, it should probably be eliminated.

Winning apps focus on the primary task to facilitate user flow. In other words, make sure your app design focuses on the task that solves the users’ problem or adds the most value to them. Elevate the most relevant content to achieve this, and give your users a logical path to follow for easy navigation. Make sure everything is intuitive and does not require your users to think too much about how to achieve what they want.

2. Fast Loading Time and High Performance

Have you ever used an app that took forever to load and sometimes it just crashed, froze, and completely shut down? You probably didn’t use that app too often. After all, an app idea isn’t any good if it does not work correctly.

If your app takes too long to load, it will automatically be avoided by users. Winning apps should take less than five seconds to load. However, more complex apps like Facebook sometimes take a bit longer to load—these apps require large amounts of data to start up. For Facebook, users usually stick around because they see ongoing activity when they start the app. If this is the case for your app, consider taking the user to a “loading” screen, which informs them that the loading process is on. This way you will be able to keep your user engagement high.

Winning apps are also high-performing and consistent. Apps that constantly freeze are disregarded by users.

3. Extremely Helpful Customer Support

Not every mobile user is tech-savvy, and this is something you have to keep in mind when determining your target users. There will always be people who need help with their download or have general pre or post-purchase questions. A winning app’s customer service will answer users’ questions within hours, and even minutes in some cases. Just one question can lead to a sale or an app recommendation.

You’ll notice that you start to get the same questions over and over. To save time, create an FAQ section for your users, or even better, use Machine Learning features to build a bot that interacts with your users. For other individual inquiries, consider outsourcing any activities related to your app’s support.

4. Quick Adaptation to Users’ Needs

Everyone wants to create a great app, but if you can’t maintain that success in the eyes of your users, it’s all for naught. Maximizing customer value requires listening to user feedback. Winning apps do this by introducing new features, fixing bugs quickly, addressing security issues in a timely manner, and streamlining the way they operate with each update. Different operating systems can make this easier or harder; make sure to consult with an app development company about what your best alternatives are based on your business goals.

To understand this, let’s take a walk through memory lane. Remember Angry Birds? At one point it was the most successful app on any platform with over 250 million app downloads. It was a fun game to play, yes, but that wasn’t the only reason for its success. There were constant new updates, free of charge, to keep customers satisfied.

5. Compatible with a Mobile Platform

A winning mobile app is completely compatible with the operating systems it is developed for. These apps keep the aspect of the specific platform in mind, taking advantage of the natural qualities of mobile devices like a smartphone or tablet. As a result, a successful app offers the best possible User Experience.

When creating your mobile app, pay attention to the features and traits of the platform, as well as the guidelines and work environment for each different app store. Use features like push notifications to make the most out of a device’s native capabilities. Avoid using unfamiliar features that don’t fit into the framework of your mobile platform and may damage the User Experience.


The app marketplace is cluttered with competition. However, that doesn’t mean your mobile app can’t stand out from the crowd. Mobile usage is everywhere, and the opportunities for mobile apps are constantly growing. If you want your mobile app to be successful, you’ll have to figure out how to break through the noise with more than just a marketing strategy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Plan your mobile app with a knowledgeable team of app developers so that it encompasses as many of the above characteristics as possible. This will be your formula for success, and your ticket to a great mobile app that truly skyrockets your business.

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