6 Tips For Building a Successful Android App

September 9, 2015

10:00 pm

The Google Play Store is a lucrative niche to tap into if you have what it takes to build a solid Android app. However, with over a million apps listed, earning user love can seem like a tough challenge. So, how can you create a widely successful Android app? Check out these 6 actionable tips to help you build a successful app:

Understand the Android market

Instead of rushing into implementing that cool app idea you had last night, you need to know a few basics first.

Android has a bigger market share compared to iOS, but iOS users spend 4 times more money on apps. Meaning, iOS developers can potentially make more money, but those targeting at Android users have access to a bigger user base. Weigh the pros and cons: do you plan to monetize your app by making it completely paid or with advertising? What matters to you more? A larger user base or instant profit?

Messaging and mobile security currently top the list of most downloaded, yet it’s freemium games that bring in most revenue to Android developers. Remember, you are likely to gain access to large emerging markets including China, Russia, India, South East Asia, and Latin America with Android as well, but most of them lack spending habits.

Design flexible layouts

Android devices take numerous sizes and shapes. Make sure to use layout designs that stretch their content to fit different types of screens and still look great. The best practice in this case is to follow the official design guidelines created by Google. Additionally, try some of these tools to help manage different screen sizes.

Do not clone an iOS app

1. Avoid static tabs, especially at the bottom

2. Do not place App icons inside a rounded rectangle (unless that’s your logo of course)

3. Avoid right caret in lists

4. No need to create an on-screen back button

“One of the most common mistakes I still see these days is cloning iOS apps for Android,” says Adnan Faisal from Descargar Play Store, who also supplied the aforementioned list. “Pushing iOS design and usability standards to Android users is killing the user experience.”

Don’t forget about offline experience as well

Apps getting the most user love are among those offering impeccable offline experience like Evernote or WorkFlowy. Always think ahead about how you app will work in offline mode if you want to avoid a wave of user frustration after the launch.

Make the app intuitively simple

Sometimes the best apps are the most intuitively simple apps. New users will drop off quickly unless you offer a super easy-to-use design. Once having the first prototype, take the least tech savvy relative or friend you have, give them that app, and watch closely how they interact with it. Is it intuitive? Are the buttons big enough? What about the texts? Which places did they get stuck? Take notes and continue to iterate.

Support Different Languages with Localization

Since Android apps are hugely popular in different regions, wooing your users with a localized version is a smart move. Most commonly the user interface that can be localized is stored onto separate resource files. By specifying the configuration language and region qualifier, the app will automatically switch to the device’s default locale. Check out some more important details about supporting multiple languages on Android Developers.

Image Credit: Flickr / etnyk’s page / cropped, resized


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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien