One of the biggest challenges a user faces with many apps is the complexity of design/function. Our most familiar apps are often the ones that do one thing, but do it extremely well. Look at your phone, see the apps you constantly refer to and you’ll begin to see what I mean.
In designing an app, you should always refer back to the simple, elegant solution that answers the question - what is the one ‘thing’ that the user needs to do? At a push it could stretch it to two or even three, but beyond this its becoming everything to everyone and eventually nothing to all. If you hit four, start again.
A few of examples of apps that I feel achieve their core function well would be;
- BBC News - it gives me the news (1) and lets me share it if I wish (2)
- Clear - lets me simply set a to-do list (1)
- Instagram - take a photo (1), add a filter (2) and share it (3)*
Marketers often try to design the Swiss army knife of apps (every function built in) but often the result is it’s either blunt (not quite delivering the user-expected functionality) or even has the wrong tools built in (did you look at customer need).
The key is to figure out what your core purpose is and stay focussed - don’t let everyone and their dog have input as you quickly begin to dilute the goal, resulting in an experience that could have been so close, but ultimately achieves nothing for the end user.