You don’t have to be a professor of computer science or a technical wizard to think of a successful mobile app idea. On the contrary, all you need to do is figure out the right combination of what people want, what people need, and what’s possible with today’s mobile technology to come up with something that your audience will be excited to buy and use.

Just look at Nick D’Aloisio, the teenager who created the mobile app Summly (a program which reads blocks of text and summarizes them) and sold it to Yahoo! for $30 million.

However, if you want to create your own mobile app, you might find it difficult to just pull an idea out of thin air. You have to figure out what people are looking for, what the mobile market is like, and what’s already out there.

Here are a few tips that can help inspire some creativity and get your brain thinking in the right direction:

  1. Solve a problem

The most effective apps are the ones that make life easier, in one way or another. Even a simple notepad app can help you make a list of reminders, which can keep you from forgetting important dates or events.

Think about something that gives you or your friends headaches on a regular basis, whether it’s losing something, forgetting something, or having to find something. Then think of a way that your smartphone can help.

For instance, consider Tile, a device that you can attach to your keyring or put in your wallet that can be tracked with your phone. Suddenly an issue as old as automobiles themselves is fixed with a simple app.

Use examples like this to inspire you. If you can think of a way to eliminate a common nuisance with a smartphone app, you’re onto something.

  1. Make something boring or menial fun

We all have that one friend who is trying to stay in shape by counting calories or keeping track of their daily steps. While it might seem strange to someone who isn’t tracking their diet or calories, apps and wearable mobile devices like Pebble make exercise more enjoyable by providing their users with real-time feedback, as well as badges and achievements when certain goals are reached. This makes an otherwise mundane activity like walking or jogging feel like it has more purpose, and makes it easier to track your progress.

This approach can apply to a variety of different ‘boring’ activities. Imagine if you could create an app that made doing your taxes fun, or an app that tracks your flossing habits and rewards you when you do it every day. Suddenly an activity you never look forward to becomes an accomplishment.

  1. Come up with a simple game

People love mobile games. They’re great ways to pass the time and they’re typically pretty cheap. Many people are willing to pay a few bucks to be entertained for a few hours rather than idly sit and be bored in an airport or at a subway station.

The goal is to make something fun, colorful, and sustainable. That last part is important, because if you want people to continue playing the game, it needs lasting appeal. For instance, if you made a mini golf game that only has nine holes with the same obstacles every time you play, people aren’t going to continue playing it after they’ve beaten it a time or two.

Think of ways the gameplay, difficulty, or point structure can scale up as the player progresses. Additionally, think of as many ways to reward the player as possible during gameplay to keep them engaged and feeling like they’re making progress. If the only achievement for a player is beating the game, they may feel like they’re spinning their wheels when they’re about halfway through.

  1. Save people time

One of the most effective keys to a consumer’s heart is the prospect of saving time. Almost everyone is in some way looking to condense their daily responsibilities as much as possible in order to free up as much extra time as they can.

Consider the earlier examples of Tile and Summly. One prevents you from spending hours flipping over couch cushions and looking for your keys, and the other summarizes blocks of text so you don’t have to read through a novel’s worth of words on your phone. The time-saving advantages of both no doubt added an element to their success.

Start thinking about things that take up big chunks of your day, and how a mobile app might help streamline the process.

  1. Improve an existing app

Drawing inspiration from competitors may seem like ‘cheating,’ but as long as you’re not outright copying someone else’s idea, improving on an existing concept just makes sense.

First, if you have a general idea for an app, browse the App Store or Google Play Store to see what similar products are out there. After all, there’s no sense wracking your brain trying to come up with an idea that already exists.

You can also think of a successful app that you enjoy using, but wish was simpler, more streamlined, or more customer-friendly. Figure out what you would to to make it better, add in some extra features to properly differentiate it, and you now have an app idea that already has a proven track record and a built-in market base.

  1. Know what’s NOT a good idea

Sometimes, coming up with a good app ideas isn’t about thinking about the right things, it’s about not thinking about the wrong things.

For instance, try to keep the scope of your idea based around realistic expectations of technology. Think about the processes that go on behind the app and what it will take to create them.

Additionally, don’t set your goals impossibly high, either. Try to make something that’s down to earth and original, rather than trying to invent the new Facebook. In fact, the phrase ‘invent the new Facebook’ gets tossed around so often that it’s become a joke, and with good reason. We’ve all wisened up to the fact that if something eventually replaces Facebook, it won’t be by brute force. Even Google couldn’t get Google Plus to supplant Facebook as the dominant social media on the market.

Got a few mobile app ideas? Let FBombMedia create them!

If you have a great mobile app idea, let us know! We can talk about your competitors, the logistics it will take to create it, your marketing strategy, and how we can monetize your app to bring in revenue.

Contact FBombMedia or get a quote today!