I was looking for something and came across a post I wrote back in 2010 called Mobile Technologies You’ll Want. In the post, I mention several technologies that were still fairly new back then. It was exciting to hear about them and I tried all three, however, four years later and I am no longer using any of them. Fast forward to today and I’ve tried some new apps such as Whisper, Secret and Yo! I may have lasted a day or two at most on these before I became bored and could not see the value of daily use.
So what makes some apps and technologies “sticky” to users while others are not?
The commonalties I see are:
- Visually appealing- The first step is creating a site or app that is visually compelling to the audience. There are plenty of apps or technologies that can do a task or process but are so plain or inconsistently designed that potential users won’t waste their time. Colors that compliment or enhance the content are best. Dashboards or other structural design elements are also important.
- Intuitive- No one likes to have to read through lengthy instructions. The app or technology needs to give users the ability to pick it up and use it. People are on the go with their smart phones and don’t want to have to participate in hours of training. The other thing is that you need some basic instructions easily visible with one click. That gives a quick glimpse or how-to should people need it.
- Makes you want to tell others to use- I remember when I really figured out how to use Twitter for business. It was back in 2009 and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I wanted to teach colleagues, share it with all my friends and stop strangers on the street to tell them how it could change their networking. A great app will be one you’ll want to spread the word about.
- Understood Value- This is where many of the apps and technologies fall apart. Take Yo! for example. It was colorful and easy to start using. I just never figured out why people would use it. If you’re not familiar, the app allows you to send the word “yo” to your contacts. That’s it. Then, they can send it back to you. I guess it’s like the old FaceBook poke or like waving at someone across the room. So a friend says “yo” at me…now what? I still prefer a text, tweet or other method where I can use more than one word.
The last thing that I see as a value is a little more personal and certainly all opinion. I think apps or technologies that do well long term also are not intended to be used for harming someone. Some of the new apps being created encourage users to be passive aggressive, or even aggressive, in tearing down others. As a parent, I am even more sensitive to those apps. All social media can be used in this way, but some are specifically designed for this purpose.
What makes an app or new site “sticky” from your perspective? What apps are you using regularly that we should all know about? Be sure to share in the comments.