Some App Numbers

Some App Numbers

Check out the #’s for Apps

Sales of iPad apps to soar in 2011, says Gartner

Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins uses the iPhone App StoreDownloads for mobile communications devices are expected to increase over the coming years, providing new opportunities for mobile marketing campaigns.

Summary of Numbers

  • Device sales expected to exceed $15 billion
  • Application downloads will exceed $18 billion, 117% increase over 2010
  • 7% of 80 retailers in the study had a mobile marketing strategy

Sales of apps for the iPad, iPhone and other mobile communication devices are expected to exceed $15 billion (£9.4 billion) this year, according to the latest figures from Gartner. The research firm is predicting that mobile application store downloads will hit 17.7 billion this year, a 117 per cent increase on 2010, which could boost creativeDallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins uses a Samsung Android deviceandmobile marketing campaigns. “Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner.

Consumers will be more willing to pay for apps over the coming years, theresearch claims, because they will see more value in having them and become more trustful of billing mechanisms.Advertising is predicted to generate just under a third of the revenue generated by application stores, the study also suggests. While apps are often play a key part in mobile marketing campaigns, a study from 2ergo last year found that brands are neglecting non-iPhone users. Just seven per cent of the 80 retailers it looked at had a mobile marketing strategy in place for non-iPhone users.

Posted by Neil Turner, find original post at: DMA: Sales of iPad apps to soar in 2011, says Gartner


Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins believes BlackBerry Apps will increaseResearch Sources: Direct Marketing Association: The DMA employs a prolific in-house research department that produces regular reports on general industry trends, as well as sector-specific issues. As an exclusive benefit, DMA members have free access to new and archived research. Additionally, the DMA has reciprocal agreements in place which means that members also enjoy free access to research produced by other industry organizations.

Gartner: Technology Research & Business Leader Insight | Gartner Inc.

Is your App idea a large or small Swiss Army Knife?

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins likes Swiss Army KnivesIs your App idea a large or small Swiss Army Knife? I have used the analogy of a Swiss Army Knife to explain that it is better to offer an App with a few high value features rather an App with so many features that the value get’s lost in the clutter.

Once an App is launched and begins to take off then you can offer a 2nd version with additional features. But don’t take my word for this idea, take a look at an article in “Gigaom” titled: “Feature Creep Emerges as Next Challenge for Mobile Devs” by Ryan Kim. He points out the risk of scope creek and more in this insightful article.

Feature Creep Emerges as Next Challenge for Mobile Devs

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins writes on Mobile AppsThe mobile app ecosystem has been an amazing story over the last couple years, as millions of users have latched on to smartphone applications. The fast growth and the rising competition in apps has me wondering how soon before we may see feature creep overtake mobile apps, undercutting their usefulness.

Feature creep, as a reminder, is that piling on of features for products, often software, making the overly complex for users. It’s an issue that will — if it hasn’t already — increasingly face mobile developers, who have less margin of error to work with. Mobile apps are already slimmed-down pieces of software that promise to do simple tasks. One of the reasons why they’ve taken off in popularity is because they often serve as short cuts for actions that might have taken longer through a mobile web application. Adding features that may not be useful to the core functions of an app could detract from its value proposition.

recent Harris Poll commissioned by EffectiveUI, a user interface consulting firm, lays out the issue.

  • 73 percent of mobile app users agree that they expect a company’s mobile app to be easier to use than its website
  • A full three-quarters think mobile apps should do exactly what they want or need them to do

Most mobile devices are small and don’t offer the same real estate as a website or computer application, forcing mobile developers to be really savvy about how they incorporate new features and improvements. I talked with a few UI experts about the issue, who agree that this is going to be an increasingly important challenge for mobile developers.

Anthony Franco, president of EffectiveUI, said developers are expected by mobile users to push out updates faster than desktop software or online sites. But he said it’s important for developers and designers to increasingly scrutinize their apps to ensure the apps don’t evolve into something too complex, as complexity is one of the two main reasons why users delete an app (the other is when they no longer find it useful).

Elizabeth Churchill, principal research scientist at Yahoo Research, said she’s started to hear more grumbles about increasingly complex apps. She said it’s a natural part of software development, but the winning apps in the future — the ones that sustain and grow a user base — will be the ones that learn how to mature gracefully and thoughtfully. “It’s so easy to delete an app and look around and find another one that’s not as annoying,” she said.

Here are some things to consider for app developers:

  • Consider how critical the updates are to users and what the point of the app is. If an improvement fits into the spirit of the app, go for it, but don’t just add features to keep up with the competition.
  • Regularly look at user feedback. Developers need to stay in touch with users to ensure that they’re adding features that add real value.
  • Stay focused on keeping an app useful for mainstream users. There is a temptation to play to more advanced users, but Franco said designers should look at targeting 80 percent of the market.
  • Rethink the dependence on icons. Anthony Andre, founding principal of Interface Analysis Associates, said apps rely a lot on icons but as they proliferate, they can overwhelm. He said inserting more text and making sure people understand their options can help users remain engaged with an app.
  • Consider separating an app by its functions or by its users to maintain its simplicity. As some apps take on more complexity, app makers should consider breaking out features into their own app to ensure that one app isn’t too cluttered. Or as Churchill suggests, look for ways for users to customize their experience so the app better fits their needs.
  • Features by themselves are not the problem. Franco said apps like Facebook show that one app can host a number of features when done well. But they have to be complementary. The problem isn’t the number of features, it’s making sure that they’re all useful to users and work well together.
  • As developers add more functions, look to maintain balance so users who want differing things out of one app can all get to it easily.

This is just the start, but these are some basic tips for developers. This may not be an issue for many developers who keep their apps streamlined, but feature creep is a natural temptation over time. The worst thing is for users to lose the joy and the feeling of efficiency they have in using mobile apps.

How much to include in version 1.0?

Dallas social Media speaker J.R. Atkins comments on App developmentHave you seen the new photo sharing  app called Path? It was developed by former Facebook employee Dave Morin and Shaw Fanning of Facebook and Napster fame. Most of the Blogs, forums and reviews are hammering the new app for its lack of functionality and limitations–like being able to only connect with 50 friends.  I contend they are on the right path by offering an app with limited functionality.

Take a look at TechCrunch blogger Eric Schonfeld comment; “Path is designed to share photos with only your closest 50 friends, primarily through the app itself. You can’t Tweet out links to your photos or share them on Facebook”. But remember this is version 1.0. I’m sure as Path increases in usage V1.1 or V2.0 will offer more features.

“I find it refreshing to see a project launch with such a tight focus and function.  Clearly the aim of Path is to be the very best at one thing vs. pretty good at a lot of things” says Jason Franzen of [x]Cube LABS in Dallas. “This is an approach to admire in a sea of “Swiss Army Knife” apps that tend to equate Quantity with Value.”

What Jason is referring to is the attempt of developers or clients to add too many features to an initial application. This complicates the development process and often creates confusion for the end user. Think back to when Facebook first started, (or remember the movie) it offered a picture and status update “what are you doing now”. Over time features and functions have been added to become a robust social media network.

Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins reads TechCrunch dailyIf you are considering an app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry or Microsoft platforms, keep it simple! Start with a set of high value features that will attract new users. If the applications is interesting, solves a problem, or is entertaining then people will use it and tell others. Once usage is high enough, then release version 2.0 with added functionality. If you are smart, provide a means for users to suggest new features and help you prioritize updates.

As Franzen says “The smart phone is already the ‘Swiss Army Knife’, all we really need are new blades to help us cut to the chase.”