Posted by Maureen Carruthers at 7:00 AM on November 30, 2010:
I’m obsessed with my phone. I don’t go anywhere without it. In fact, I only put it down when I sleep. While I don’t believe this level of phone-love qualifies me to identify what all women want from their mobile applications, I have noticed some interesting trends that may be of use to app developers looking to catch the attention of women like me.
My most interesting find was some of my favorite “apps” aren’t applications at all - they are bookmarks to the mobile versions of my favorite websites. They behave very similarly to my “real” apps and have icons on my phone to help keep up the ruse. The lesson? A savvy web developer may create the next “killer app” by simply creating a great mobile interface for an existing website.
Next, the best way to make sure I never try an app is to charge me for it. This may not be a trend for women in general, but it’s a huge barrier for me. I’ve downloaded over 50 apps for my iPhone. I’ve paid for fewer than five. I understand on an intellectual level that charging for great apps is a legitimate business model. My open source sensibilities just don't let me go there.
This price factor is complicated by the fact that for every person who feels like I do about paid apps, there is another who dismisses free software (including apps) out of hand because their experience tells them technology is likely to fail at critical moments - and using free software means there is no one to call when the inevitable crash occurs. So what’s an app developer to do? Decide which group to serve. Once a developer identifies her right people, deciding if paid apps or free apps are the most likely to connect gets much easier.
The final quality of my favorite apps is how they make me feel - about myself. From keeping me connected to my social network, to updating me on the latest news, to capturing my to-do lists, these apps help me feel loved, well-read and prepared. That's everything this woman needs to feel secure. Most importantly, they are intuitive, so they never make me feel stupid. No matter how potentially amazing an app may be, if I can’t easily figure it out, it will gather virtual dust.
That’s this woman’s mobile app story. Does it match yours? Tell us in the comments. Perhaps together we can answer the seemingly unanswerable question: What do women want from mobile apps?
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