My sisters love shopping. Any given weekend will find them prowling through stores at the mall, hunting, appraising, tossing away, and occasionally buying. I cringe at occasional invites, when I’m told my wardrobe is badly in need of updating. But I

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get their passion; and feel the same way logging into iTunes or Google play.

Now no matter how many apps I review or test, the reality is that I can only interact with about 10,000 apps a year. This means I will never get ahead of the curve. However, I’ve seen enough to hazard a comment or two on why some apps make traction (downloads) and money (once-in-a while).
Every app designer I have met has at some point in build process gotten a little dreamy eyed, imagining wild successes and raving blog reviews. But this happens so rarely. When it does happen, I have noted 4 common factors which I am submit to the readers for testing and evaluation.

1. Communication: The application facilitates, enhances, makes more convenient or direct an individual or groups ability to communicate with another. I can say something louder, faster, or to more people at one time.
2. Convenience: I may use the app one time, then another, and then somehow a few weeks later I realize that it now a part of my permanent digital wardrobe. I perceive the application as somehow making my life a little easier, and am appreciative enough to move it to my home screen.
3. Entertainment: My brother-in-law loves flatulence apps, so there is no accounting for taste here; but the app needs to be fun and appealing on some level. Apps without fun are like cakes without frosting.
4. Empowerment: Yes, literally the application makes the bars on your personal power meter go up a few notches when you turn it on or show your friends. At the end of a 45 minute phone call with a government entity, I can turn on the app and somehow feel better.

Not all successful apps offer all four features. Some just do one or two well. But when I start getting dreamy eyed while building wireframes, I now splash a little water, (or tepid coffee) in my face and look the wall next to me where I have my 4 rules hanging, right next to the first dollar I made on PayPal.

Tim Morris