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Cutting The App Fat

When apps first came to the digital scene, the trend was to make them as feature-laden as possible. For example, any given photo-editing app had PhotoShop-mimicking capabilities that would let users do anything and everything with their photos right from their mobile device. Great, right?

Well, maybe not anymore.

Removing blemishes and reducing noise are fantastic photo editing features when you’re camped out at your desktop working on a batch of travel pics you shot with your DSLR. But when you’re at a concert and all you want to do is a quick edit of a group selfie you took with your iPhone then post it to Twitter? A quick filter select and a crop job will do just fine, thank you.

As smart phones and tablets have become totally mainstream (raise your hand if your grandmother has one—or both!), consumers are using their phones in different ways. And brands need to consider how and when consumers are using their apps, then tailor them accordingly. More often than not, it means paring down an app’s feature roster and giving users only what they need when they’re on the go.

Instagram nailed it. Users can select from a just handful of filter options, adjust the focus embarrassingly easily, play with contrast and brightness if so inclined, then post wherever with remarkable ease. The user doesn’t have to over think anything (except maybe a witty hashtag) and, before they know it, their great-looking picture’s posted, it’s getting likes, and the user’s likely off shooting another shot to post.

Point is, when you’re developing an app or looking at updating a current one, consider how your audience is using your app and what they need out of it. Instead of lots of bells and whistles, spend your time and money on making the user interface intuitive and the features your users do want even better. In the end, having a streamlined app with a clear purpose it will help you deliver an experience and quality worthy of your brand, satisfied users—and brand loyalty.

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