iphone_theres_an_app_for_that_t_shirt-p235968994486945626t5tr_400“There’s an app for that.”

It’s a famous phrase that’s commonly used now days. I’ve been accused by someone on my staff of saying it too much myself. Yes, I love my iPhone and I love finding great new apps to enhance my live/experience. However, I’m going to challenge this famous phrase. Just becasue there’s an app for that doesn’t mean there should be. Right?

I’ve downloaded many apps that I’ve deleted immediately after opening it. Either it was broken, didn’t do what I thought it would do or I thought to myself, why do I really need this one? Seriously, there are some apps that people invested way too much time and resources on.

So what makes a great app?

This is purely my opinion, but since this is my blog, I guess I’m free to share it. 🙂

Here’s two things that I believe make for a good app.

1. It brings content that would normally be found on the web and puts it in a more device friendly environment, maximizing the features of the device.

Let’s take a look at some of the apps out there that do this really well. The Facebook App for the iPhone is amazing. It didn’t start out that way, but it is there now. It’s super easy to navigate between updates, photos and my inbox. You get around facebook differently on the iPhone than you would on your computer, but it’s easy to figure out. Also, you can’t do everything you could do on the computer, but what you can do works really well, possibly even better than on the web. Take a look at IMDB for the iPhone. You have the entire movie database at your fingertips in a very easy to navigate way.

What about other apps like foursquare or games like Super Monkey Ball. They take advantage of the accelerometer and the GPS to do things you’d never be able to do with your computer. These apps take advantage of specific aspects of your device to provide a better experience. Yes, you can have a great facebook experience without ever using it on your phone, but you’ll never quite experience a cool location based game or accelerometer enhanced game without a mobile app. These aspects make for good apps.

2. It draws you back into it again. To some degree, it changes your life where you must open it up and use it again and again.

This is what makes an app good. It’s useful or it’s engaging. We’ve all downloaded those silly apps that got a good laugh, but we never really opened again after that first time. Creative idea, but not really that great of an app as it didn’t last. To me these are apps like facebook, tweetdeck, foursquare, the Bible, Pandora and some of the games I’ve downloaded. They’re either really useful versions of an online application that I use on a regular basis or they’re just down right creative and cool that could never really be done on a traditional computer. This is what makes for a great app.

I know that most of you are probably iPhone users, but what makes for a really great app is one that’s available on the iPhone, Palm OS, Blackberry and Android. The more platforms, the better.