Mobile applications began appearing around the year 2008 and within a decade, now number in millions. Amongst these mind blowing figures, there are a select few which have captured the user’s attention like no other. These revolutionary apps have changed the public perception on what they can expect, and what is possible. They incorporate everything a typical user might look for in an app; design, usability, reliability and security. They showed the design and development of the app should be based on what the user needs. Let’s explore into why and how these apps are considered the best at what they are and what will it take to maintain their top position.
What started off this was a cold, wintery night in Paris, two gentlemen trying their best to hail a taxi. Despite their efforts, they could not manage to stop a single taxi. This prompted Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp to come up with a solution that today, is being used by over 8 million people in 400 cities across 70 different countries.
Uber is a problem solver for riders
By integrating Google Maps into their apps, they show the user where exactly the cab is and its ETA. They made payment mode a lot easier by incorporating a wallet system linked to the users debit or credit card. They also understood their app users come from varying lifestyle and rolled out alternative cab options starting from UberPool (carpooling), to UberBlack (Hi-End). These are just few of the many reasons how UBER became the largest cab operator in the world despite not owning a single car!
AirBnB’s story is equally intriguing, with no money to pay rent, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia turned their loft room in make-shift Bed and Breakfast by placing rented airbeds and cooking the guests breakfast. They capitalized the need for accommodation as all the hotels nearby were full and people didn’t have anywhere to stay the night. This air-bed and breakfast then turned to AirBnB which by the year 2016 has served over 60 million guests and has 2 million properties listed across the world. Their success can be attributed to their understanding of market needs and providing solution to it. They maintained their success through investing in technology mainly the mobile application to increase the ease of doing transaction and being user friendly. AirBnB’s concept is to promote mutually beneficial arrangement between property owners and guests.
Airbnb built an exceptionally user-friendly site that took the pain out of discovering and booking accommodations
They too like UBER, integrated Google Maps to their app to assist users find the right location and room according to their budget. Little things like, showing nearby places interest, review of the property, direct contact with property owner made the users a lot more comfortable in using the app. Would it surprise you if we said, AirBnB till now doesn’t own a single property yet is the world’s largest accommodation provider? :-)
Square was conceptualized as a card reader so people can pay using their debit or credit card instead of cash. Jack Dorsey came up with the idea after his friend and co-founder Jim McKelvey lost $2000 worth of sales because his customer didn’t have cash on him and Jim didn’t have a card reader. Jack and Jim developed their idea and created a card reader along with an mobile app that enables just about anyone with a smartphone and internet to make or accept card payments. They sold the idea to Apple Inc. as Squirrel Systems and later changed its name to Square (the card reader’s shape) as the name didn’t look well.
Square has made itself an industry leader by designing tools and products with small retailers and restaurant owners in mind
They went ahead and wrote down 140 things why their business would fail and made plans for each of those points. Jack and Jim understood that you can bring transformation into any business if you add user-friendliness into the equation by creating products that are beneficial for everyone. Its current company valuation at $ 3.25 Billion dollars is a testament to its continued effort to make payments easier and help small business grow.
Duolingo is a brainchild of Severin Hacker and Luis von Ahn. Luis having many years of expertise in developing image recognition softwares reCAPTCHA, wanted to do something about the way someone learns a language. Growing up in Guatemala, he saw firsthand how hard it is for people to learn English and the high cost involved in gaining proficiency. He wanted to create a way for people to have fun learning a language and help translate documents for people or companies who would otherwise pay incredible amounts for the task.
His doctoral thesis “Games with a purpose“, further assisted him in creating an interactive design and functionality for the app. The reason for the apps success comes from its easy of use, incredible interactive content and well researched learning structure. By continuously utilizing the data gathered from the users, Duolingo enhances its teaching methods to improve the learning process. Its value as of last year was $ 470 Million dollars, its app features 21 language courses with more in development.
Duolingo is probably best example how to improve your business using data collection and analysis
PayTM or “Pay through Mobile” an application built on trust. Trust Vijay Shekhar Sharma had on his idea, trust the people have on the product, and the trust the investors have on both of them. Building a payment gateway app is no easy task, especially in India where trust can be very elusive. People were not as forthcoming about using a mobile as a wallet and pay for services using their card and bank details stored there.
In the year 2011, Vijay having failed to even convince his own board members, put his own equity $2 million as a wager should his venture fail. He then managed to convince the people to use his well designed app, and most importantly communicated to each and every query or complaint of the user. This is probably the reason why PayTM grew by word-of-mouth to the $5 Billion dollar business it is today. Those app review comments by users aren’t for show, companies that actively address its user’s opinions learn a lot more than those who don’t.
At some point most companies forget they are creating apps for users (Human) and neglect to design their UI and facilitate good UX from the user’s perspective. PayTM certainly didn’t, and we hope you don’t too.
Mobile applications can change the way of you doing business, those 5 businesses above are proof of it. All of them have somethings in common, they saw the need, they took action, and more importantly they all used their mobile apps to deliver the solution. The mobile apps they designed have to sell their vision and make the user feel comfortable using it. The UX and UI design along with great technology is the only thing that can sustain their business growth. A lot of businesses do not fully understand the power of an mobile app. Those who do, don’t have a great app to take their business to the next level. These tales of extraordinary mobile apps by ordinary people serves as a reminder to everyone, be it entrepreneurs, designers or business owners to never underestimate the power of a well built app and it’s users feedback.
It is your choice at the end of the day, whether you prefer to build just a rudimentary pot with your clay or a mighty Terracotta Army. So, go on think of how to create that amazing app and if in doubt, you can always rely on us to help you out. ;-)