This post is produced in association with the Mobileys
Is your beta the next big thing in mobile? Consider looking into awards such as the Mobileys. “Awards are a great way to gain instant credibility and signal to the industry that you’re the best and not going anywhere,” says Anna Ruth Williams, founder of Atlanta-based AR|PR.
Produced by Mobile Future, the Mobileys annual competition seeks out and honors early-stage apps, products, and services that are making our world a better place through the power and promise of mobile technology. $10,000 in seed money goes to the winner.
So, is your baby ready to impress the judges? Here are five signs it’s poised for the big time:
1. Intuitive UX. What is the story of your product? Is that story clear and engaging? “Award-winning apps have an intuitive user experience,” says Nish Modi, VP of Product at SecureNet and former senior product manager at eBay. “We’ve all downloaded an app only to be frustrated by the layout or interface and delete it moments later. The best mobile apps are sticky, providing an experience that makes their users want (or need!) to open and use the app again and again.”
2. Optimized screen real estate. Think elegant and simple problem-solving. “Mobile screen real estate is limited and valuable so you need to find subtle and intuitive ways to help your users navigate your app and find new content,” says Drew Johnson, co-founder and president of App Partner, a Brooklyn-based mobile application developer. For example, he says, many popular apps will remove unnecessary navigation items such as search bars when a user starts scrolling through a feed in order to maximize the real estate for browsing content.
3. Groundbreaking functionality. At a minimum, your app shouldn’t lag or have bugs, but that’s not enough. “Award-winning apps break new ground in terms of design and/or functionality,” says Modi. “Certain apps are always ahead of the curve. Think of the developers who built skeuomorphic interfaces as iOS 7 was introduced and set the bar high in that regard.”
4. Focus. The best apps are not all things to all people. “To win awards, an app should focus on two or three main features and one target group and focus on doing those few things very well, as opposed to just being able to do a lot,” says Cory Fogg of MobileSmith, an online app development platform in Raleigh, North Carolina. An example is Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center app. The folks at WFBH, says Fogg, wanted to engage their patients; but it’s a huge health system, so they built one specifically for their patients at the cancer center, offering a user experience specified to those patients.
5. Respectable user adoption. “Award-winning apps have hit a certain threshold of user adoption,” says Modi. “Exactly how many users constitutes ‘critical mass’ will depend on the category and the audience.” Integration with other online services can be very helpful for meeting this goal, as is an option for social network sharing. “Games usually need social integration,” notes Jaq Andrews of Zco, a custom app development company in New Hampshire. “Something as simple as a button to share a score or achievement on Facebook and Twitter is a good start.”
Fired up? Enter The Mobileys today. Applications close August 18th. Applicants must be U.S.-based individuals or startups that have either recently launched their nominated app, service or product or plan to do so within six months. The nominated product must run on wireless networks, not just Wi-Fi. The first place winner receives $10,000; second place, $5,000; and both third place and People’s Choice receive $2,500.
Last year, the Mobileys first place winner was Page-Out, an app co-founded by a volunteer firefighter and a developer from Kansas, that gives emergency responders the ability to page out when not available from their smartphones.