Have you ever heard the saying, “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer” well, in sort of sense it is like that in the app development industry but not quite as severe or how it means. What I mean is, you can learn a lot from your competitors when it comes to app development and use it to improve your own efforts in the industry.
1. What Bad Design Looks Like
Your competitor’s can give you an idea of bad app design and what not to do when it comes to creating your own app. If you look at an app and see that it’s just a jumble of information with no clear layout and no desirable design then that is a huge red flag towards bad design.
At first instance, an app should have a clear layout to portray exactly what it’s purpose is and have very clear navigation so that you can explore the app with ease. If you come across an app with a multitude of text and no idea where to click next then you can be certain that this is a design you should avoid.
2. How To Choose Keywords For The App Store
Okay, so there are some optimization options you can’t see from just looking at the store page for the app you would need to have access to the backend of said store but make sure to take a look on the app store page.
If you take a look at their app description you can almost guarantee that most of the phrases they use have been turned into long tail keywords and they are ranking for those and not just the name of their app.
3. What An App Design Should Look Like
This goes hand in hand with the bad design but your competitors can also teach you what a good app should look like and what a solid design of said app should look like. As I said before, apps should be laid out in a way to portray what exactly the purpose is and be user-friendly so that it can be navigated easily.
There are a lot of factors that come into a good app design including, Layout, text, colours, navigation, responsiveness, simplicity, clarity etc and by comparing competitors designs you can easily pick these out and gain an understanding of a good design.
4. How To Improve Your App
You may think you have a good understanding of your app, what it needs, what it doesn’t and even if you have been receiving user feedback there is always room for improvement.
As app development is an industry that is forever growing and changing, design trends come and go and the needs of users change.
Studying other apps can help you see which improvements you need to make, for example; navigation. There are always many improvements that can be made and you can’t be stubborn to realise these, use and learn information from your competition.
5. How To Get User Interactions
Have you had an app for a while but still struggle to gain user engagement? And you aren’t quite sure why? Well, there may be a variety of reasons as to why this is happening, it could be poor design, poor interaction or even just your app failing to interest your users.
Take a look at what other developers are doing to gain interactions and take inspiration from. If you see a competitor asking for people to give their thoughts or offering something for interactions then try it yourself and find your own unique way to do so.
There are many ways to gain interaction so just take a look around and see what everyone else is doing and try to use it to improve your own engagements.
Branding is important as it is a way to establish yourself from the competition but your competition can also teach you a thing or two about branding yourself. Take a look at logos, names, descriptions etc of the top app companies and see what they do.
Now, copying them will not work I will tell you that, you are just looking to gain inspiration to help boost yourself along and to try come up with your own ideas.
Everyone has their own unique personality and it should be put forward into your work as not only does it provide positive vibes but it also reminds users that you are still human not a robot behind a screen. If you are a bubbly, excitable person then put that forward but find a balance of how to do so because it can annoy users to have it “thrown in their face”.
How do your competitors portray their personality without annoying users? Most big app developers have found a perfect balance of how to do this so don’t be afraid to look into how they do so, it’s all about learning!
8. Colour Schemes
Have you ever looked at an app and it maybe has a brown background with orange buttons? It doesn’t look good, does it? As a matter of fact, it is rather displeasing to look at and will more than likely drive users away. A sad reality of the app development industry is that users are very judgemental and will judge your app before even trying it.
Looking at other apps can actually help you gain insight into which colour schemes and palettes work well together and make your app look attractive.
9. Social Media Techniques
The best way to learn about social media techniques is by learning on the spot and watching closely how your competitors interact on social media can be a huge benefit to you. You need to remember that social media is for interaction, updates, news and just to chat to users not to over promote so if you see an app page with posts every few hours saying things like “Download our app…..” then you should know to avoid over promotion.
Users don’t like to be bombarded all the time being reminded to go download your app especially if they already have so if you see a page getting a lot of users and interactions use their techniques to learn and develop your own.
10. Saying Goodbye To Boring
Think of an app, especially an informational one, maybe a tourist guide app if you have just lines and lines of text with no images, breaks or even proper grammar and punctuation then users will leave very quickly.
You can learn from others on how to keep this exciting for users to stick around and read, even if it’s just by using white space but the competition can help you say goodbye to boring and hello to exciting.
11. How It Works
This one is simple, just by looking you can see how everything works and what should be done in order to draw in users. For example if you struggle with creating menu’s then just have a look on another app and see how they created theirs.
12. Call To Actions
I personally think CTA is one of the hardest things to get right as it can easily annoy users by just having a form asking them to join up to your app or even the website that accompanies your app. It’s rather disheartening to have a CTA that you think is amazing and then find out that it doesn’t draw in users, pick a popular app and see how they make their call to action work and implement some ideas in your own app.
I say it a lot but DO NOT DIRECTLY COPY! You need to build your own brand, image and uniqueness so copying will not help you in the long run and will make you seem as if you don’t have your own ideas.
13. Just Talk To Them
Sometimes it is just as simple as talking to your competitors, a lot of app developers won’t mind lending a hand to someone else or just talking to them to provide a little bit of information especially when it comes to new people in the industry.
Not all people are reserved when it comes to helping and sharing tips and tricks with others so just reach out and talk to them! The worst they can do is say no and the best to happen is gain some insight, you have nothing to lose by trying to speak to your competition.
There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from your competition, some people view this as a weakness but not only does it help you improve, it can help you gain more of an understanding especially if you have little experience. It’s all a learning experience and allows you to improve your own style and techniques and develop new ones to help you along in app development.