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How to Build the Next Huge Mobile App April 19, 2012

Posted by Bipul Sinha in discovery, distribution, location, mobile.

The advent and growth of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and, now, Pinterest has heralded a new era in the Internet where people are connected to one another to share, discover, curate, and collaborate. The mobile applications are fast becoming the primary vehicle to access what I call “connected services” to discover people, information and entertainment. However unlike the intent oriented desktop Internet search, the mobile platform is about discovery. Thus the application developers would have to think differently about getting user attention and engagement.

User Time Slices

I view smart phones as bite-size infotainment consumption devices. Users launch different applications for short spurts during the day to interact live, get updates, transact, share experiences, and generally play. I call these 2-5 minute spurts “time slices” and examples of these time slices include waiting for a coffee, a short break from work, waiting for everyone to gather for a meeting etc. Users typically don’t have any fixed plans for these time slices and they like to discover infotainment through their applications. To build a mass market application, developers should consider two core factors: a unique discovery oriented infotainment experience and a bite-size time slice filler. An application that fits this paradigm would get huge user attention and engagement. Pulse News* is a great example of such an application. It allows users to discover news and information in a bite-size consumption format – you launch your Pulse when you have a few minutes and would like to be in the know.

How do you think about building the next large scale mobile app? I’m all ears.

* Lightspeed Portfolio Company


1. ecd - April 19, 2012

I have been experimenting with the exact same approach as part of my education-on-the-go vision for the last year, and I can easily say that works like a charm. One interesting core component of what you described is the push notifications. With so many apps in your attention span, you don’t always remember to have that bite. Effective use of notifications is not only a nice to have, but a core component of the experience. Let me know if you would be open to discuss further about the bite-size engagement model I have been running in the education space.

2. A little insight to building mobile apps and marketing « Blake Day - April 19, 2012

[…] is a link to a blog that I subscribe to, it gives a little more insight into how you should go about planning […]

3. Jyasper « jyasper.com - April 22, 2012

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4. Ouriel Ohayon - April 24, 2012

take a look at http://appsfire.com we focus on mobile app discovery and got very strong traction and engagement specially in the last 6 months

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