As an investor, I’ve seen hundreds of mobile application pitches. And as a consumer, I’ve downloaded hundreds more – some out of curiosity and others in the hope that I’ll find something so useful and exciting that I’ll make room for it on my iPhone’s home screen.
From both perspectives, I am rarely excited by download numbers. What gets my attention is engagement: how frequently an application is used and how engaged those users are. This ultimately is the barometer for an application’s utility and/or strength of community. And if either of those two factors are strong, growth will certainly come. Just ask Instagram, Evernote, LogMeIn and others.
Creating great mobile experiences requires dedication to building product specifically for mobile. It sounds obvious, but it’s so often overlooked. Mobile users have different needs, desires and environments; and as the application creator, you have different opportunities to create utility and engagement. With that in mind – and with the help of my former eBay colleague and Dogpatch Labs resident, Rob Abbott (founder of EGG HAUS and Critiq), we’ve put together 7 design guidelines to consider when building for mobile.
Ryan is a Principal at Polaris Venture Partners and leads Dogpatch Labs California. Either as lead investor or board observer, he works closely with Automattic, Formspring, Frid.ge (acquired by Google), KISSmetrics, LOLapps, Movity (acquired by Trulia), Offline Labs, Recurly, and ShoeDazzle. Previously, Ryan founded beRecruited.com (acquired in 2007), spent 2003-2007 at eBay (internet marketing, social media & leading Kijiji.com) and launched InGameNow as part of sfEntrepreneurs, LLC. Most recently, Ryan ran marketing at Flite (formerly Widgetbox).