Great Phone Apps…Style Matters

My good friend and Windows Phone Evangelist Dave Glover gave a presentation to some of our partners about what makes great phone apps.  He listed the 10 criteria we use for deciding where on the scale from Average, to Good, to Great an app would fall. Even though his presentation was aimed at Windows Phone Development, I think most of the principles would apply to any phone or small device app.

Does this matter to Government? Yes. It certainly should anyway. After all, with the proliferation of hand-held devices and the push to deliver government services online, these kinds of things will apply just as much to government apps as it does to commercial apps.

Anyway, let’s look at the App Tier characteristics


Another thing I would add to this, is view it from the user’s angle. Think of your app in terms of What kind of information, or application would a use want in their pocket.  Are you really going to connect with an app that you only use once a year? Probably not, but if it was something that you used a lot, say Bus tracking and information, yes you probably would.

Ideally you want things that will take advantage of the personal experience that people have with their phones. Something that relates to the here and now of their life. Location aware applications for example. Imagine this scenario.

You just finish class and decide you want to go to the Mall. You tap the Bus Info tile on your phone and it tells you that, your closest bus stop is 50 meters up main Street. The #330 bus will be there in 7 minutes to take you or you can wait for the #1210 which goes direct. Then maps the walking route for you to the bus stop.

That is a useful thing that you’d like to have in your pocket (if you are a bus traveller)

Some of the criteria that is used to determine how “good” a  Windows Phone app is on the scale is shown below.


Keep these things in mind when developing your applications. I think that the ‘Wow’ factor is a good one. Very hard to define, but a good one. The Wow factor is the thing in your app that makes people go ‘This is Cool, I have to show someone!’ I had that experience with the ShopSavvy  (Zune link zune://navigate/?appID=b3e6f4f6-240d-e011-9264-00237de2db9e ) application for Windows Phone. You basically scan a barcode, it looks up prices online and maps the closest location where you can buy that thing for the best price for you. That is very cool. Especially since I scanned the bar code of a fairly obscure out of print book and it found it.

So think about these kinds of things when you develop your app. It can make a difference to differentiate your app in the overcrowded Flashlight or Fart apps listings.

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