Good tablet apps do one thing and do it well

Summary:The Swiss Army Knife approach is good for many things, but not for mobile apps. Focus on one thing and do it better than other apps is the way to go.

Apps galore

Tablets are becoming more mainstream as time passes, with iPads, Kindle Fires, and now Nexus 7 tablets appearing all over the place. The purchase of so many tablets means the need for good apps is greater than ever, and hopefully developers will keep churning them out.

Apps on smartphones have evolved to provide a rich selection of functionality to keep most everyone happy. The best apps focus on providing one function, filling one need, and doing it really well. 

This focused approach works well on the smartphone due to the small screen, and the low selling price of most apps. No need to spend a lot of time coding features that aren't going to be used much. 

Even though tablets have larger screens, this single-minded approach still applies. While the urge may be there to make apps that do lots of things in one package, that's not the way to go.

To better serve us, figure out what your app is going to do and put all of your skills making your app do it better than any other app. Streamline the performance and battery life to be as good as it can be providing that one function.

Make the user interface so tightly integrated with the tablet screen that users can't fathom using any other app. Make the one thing your app does so seamless, so fluid, so enjoyable to do that you own the market.

Any information and data that your app uses should be easily shared with other apps and other people. The user should be in complete control over his/her data and that includes sharing it and using it with other apps.

While the urge to keep adding features to your top-selling app may be calling to you, resist it. I have used many apps over the years that become favorites, only to suffer from feature creep over time. Eventually the app becomes too much to deal with and I end up switching to another that just does the primary function well.

Most apps that try to include everything including the kitchen sink fail miserably. They get bogged down in UI elements to access all of those features, and they don't run as smoothly doing any one function as other apps that just do that.

Tablets are wonderful devices but are only as good as the apps they run. Take these suggestions to heart and we'll soon be moving around your app on our touch screens.

Related:

Topics: Tablets, Mobility

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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