Here is a list of things every app developer needs to factor into their projects in order to maximize their chances of success.
1: Do something new
Come up with an original idea. This becomes more challenging as time goes by, but the potential rewards increase proportionately. Creativity often wins in the software business, so if you can be original in a way that appeals to a large enough audience, you will have a success story.
2: Make life simpler
Technology is supposed to make people's lives easier, not more complex or difficult. Apps that simplify people's lives find success. There are countless examples of how websites, and now apps, are making people's lives easier. If you can apply point number one and this point, you are well on your way.
3: Enable creation
As we learned with websites, the more user interaction you can generate, the more potential for success and monetization your site will have. Some of the largest websites in the world are that way because they enable site visitors to create and share content. Apps that can achieve these results and do it better than a website will also likely find users and dramatically increase their chances for success.
4: Share and share alike
Ignoring social networking will cost you users. People will share their experiences, good or bad, if you make it easy for them. If you can build an app that encourages sharing, you can benefit from viral marketing and network effects.
5: Good website != good app
Although many success stories have come from turning a web service into an app, the world of apps is a new frontier. People interact with their handheld devices much differently than they do their desktop counterparts. Just because an idea worked with the web, doesn't mean it will work with an app. A good website does not equal a good app.
6: Collect your compensation
Determine what business model is best suited for your idea and incorporate it from the start. People have become accustomed to paying for quality content. Whether you get paid by ads, upgrades, or download sales, any app has a potential revenue stream, the real challenge is creating an app that people want. If it is something they want badly enough, they will pay your price.
Note: This list is based on the August 5, 2011 TechRepublic post, "There's gold in those hills (or valleys)."
Steve is an independent technology and content developer. His experience spans decades and covers areas including rich-media production, software development, and education. Steve has contributed to the digital realm in many ways and has no plans on slowing down any time soon.