In today’s constantly connected world, it may be hard to imagine life without your smartphone. And it may be even harder to believe that mobile apps – those handy, helpful little software applications that make your everyday life easier – have only been available for about five years.
In fact, they’re so addictive that companies have developed almost 800,000 of them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s variety. Most iOS users have already experienced almost every kind of app style, and many of them strike customers as boring and unimaginative. That’s why it’s time for app developers to abandon their traditional way of thinking and start revolutionizing apps by making them even more interactive and engaging.
In order to build a thriving app business, developers need to engage users with their apps on a daily basis – or even multiple times a day. There are already a few groundbreaking examples to look to for inspiration.“Zombie, Run!” an app where users are immersed in an action-packed zombie escape game on their daily jog, is an excellent example. It’s a fresh approach to infusing exercise with gaming.
So, why should mobile app developers embrace interactivity? It’s simple, the more a user engages with your app, the more successful your app will become – especially if you incorporate in-app-purchases (IAPs) and advertising.
Here are a few new ways that inspired app developers are creating a more interactive experience:
1. Real-world interactivity
This is also known as “augmented reality,” and even though it’s a growing trend, many developers aren’t using it yet. If you roll out a smart, interactive augmented reality app right now, your app has a chance to shine and pick up some press from tech bloggers. For some examples, check out educational apps like “Spyglass,” smart, useful apps like “SpotCrime,” and fun games like “AR Invaders.”
2. Facebook integration
This sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many developers fail to incorporate Facebook into their app. The best way to do this is to make your users create an account so you can integrate Facebook Connect. When users choose this route, your app will post on their Facebook Timelines to let their friends know they just signed up for an account inside your app. It’s a brilliantly viral way to grow your customer base.
“Fitocracy” does a phenomenal job at socializing in a way that’s incredibly addictive and motivating. With this fitness app, you set up a profile, invite friends, and build a following (just like on Facebook and Twitter), but it’s completely based around fitness. This is a great strategy to mimic with other kinds of apps, too, so you’ll organically build buzz and a sense of community for your users.
I strongly feel that the future of mobile apps will be increasingly interactive and much more minimal than the vast majority of apps right now. If you look at many of the apps that Apple features, their interfaces are incredibly simple. Why? Because people who use their phones are usually doing other things at the same time: working, eating, or watching television. That’s why simple interfaces that are quick and easy to use are key. (Some examples include “Clear,” “Evernote,” “Flipboard,” “Bezel Photo,” and “Snapchat.”)
Focus on building interactive apps that have simple, minimal interfaces and engaging, fun strategies. If you do, you’ll already be on track to build an incredibly successful app business in 2013.
Chris Luck is the CEO and founder of Appiteks, a company that produces iPhone apps and teaches others how to make their own apps. Appiteks launched its first game in October 2012, Boomie vs. Pirates. The game reached the Top 100 Free Puzzles and Top 100 Free Action games on the iTunes App Store in its first week. Chris has had a passion for games since he was a little kid and is excited to have the ability to continue the dream of building games and placing them into the hands of millions of people all over the world. If you would like to learn how to create apps, please reach out to Chris on Twitter @appiteks or visit appiteks.com.
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