The Science of Picking the Perfect App

It is a funny thing that has happened to me.  I have become greedy about the real estate on my iPhone.  Not just any app will do.  If an app is lucky enough to get a shot on my iPhone, it has to be special.  I have certain criteria that must be met before I will even think about cluttering my screen with yet another app.  

  • The name and description need to hook me and really make me believe I can't live another moment without this app in my life.
  • It needs to have at least a 2 star rating from reviewers.  I know that there are a lot of opinions out there, but if the average is one star than that gives a pretty clear message overall of what people think about the app.
  • It has to be useful or offer some kind of benefit to me.  Nothing annoys me more than downloading an app and deleting it 10 minutes later because I can't figure out what I'd ever do with it.
  • The interface has to be easy to use.  Like 5-year old easy.  I have a short attention span and if I can't figure out how to manuever basic features in less than a minute, than chances are I probably never will because I can probably can find another app that does something similar that is easier to use.  (This is the beauty of having 35,000+ applications out there.)
  • If it is an app for a website I normally use, then I expect that all the basic functionality I am used to is available through the app.  I don't want to have to navigate to the website on my phone unless absolutely necessary.  Mobile versions of some common sites have proved to be disappointing in my opinion.

When I don't follow my own rules, I end up kicking myself in almost every instance.  Earlier this week I was hooked by the cutesy description of Screen Cleaner (Jared Judd).  Criteria #1 had been met.  However, neither the free or paid version of the app had been rated, even though they have been out for several months.  Hmmm.  My curiosity was piqued though, so I decided to download it anyway, knowing it was really just for entertainment value.

Five minutes later I was deleting the app shaking my head.  It has missed the mark on Criteria #3 as well.  The premise of the app is that a dog is going to "clean" your screen.  In the free version you have three dogs to choose from, and in the paid version ($0.99) you get eight dogs.  You pick your dog and then watch it lick some liquid substance off the screen.  That's it.  DIfferent dog, same thing.  I read in the paid version the dogs lick 4x longer than in the free version. I watched all three dogs to give the app a fair shot to see if I was missing anything.  I wasn't.  

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So my iPhone real estate remains relatively uncluttered and I can feel smug that I am using everything displayed on a regular basis. We all have our own app critieria.  What's yours?

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