photo provided by Sharyn Morrow

It’s pretty plain to see that almost everyone has a smart phone these days, and many of these will be iPhones. All of these iPhones mean more people using apps and thus a challenge for any iPhone app developer is to keep coming out with newer and better apps. The question is with half a million apps already in the iTunes store, how does a developer set their app apart from the rest? We here at Ethervision have identified 8 things that separate a good iPhone app from a great one.

1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: MAKE ‘EM GREAT: From the moment an app is downloaded the user begins to form an opinion about the app. From the app icon to the user interface; it must be clean, easy to use, and fluid.

2. CONTENT THAT PEOPLE CARE ABOUT: A great app should define the “that” in “there’s an app for that”. It has a significant, clearly defined primary use. The Pandora app streams user created music channels, the Twitter app lets you check and update you Twitter on the go. Apple’s own user interface guidelines4 recommend making an app with content people will care about.

3. UTILIZE THE MOBILITY: Great apps are designed with key aspects of cell phone mobility in mind: communication, location, and both planned and spur-of-the-moment trips. Exploit the characteristics of mobility as you define your app’s primary use and function.

4. EASY TO PLAY, HARD TO MASTER: As far as iPhone game apps go this is key. A user should know immediately what to do, but their interest should be kept peaked by having depth within the game. It’s the developer philosophy that helped take Angry Birds from a great iPhone app to a culture icon5 with the Angry Birds brand carrying over into YouTube parodies, clothing, toys, and even multiple app and game platforms.

5. LOGICAL PATHS ARE EASY TO FOLLOW: The best apps out there have a thought-out pathway through the app that is easy to predict and completely logical, making the app simple to navigate and use.

6. CONDENSE AND MINIMIZE: Each screen in a great app contains only critical information and the functions that users need at that moment. They need to be as minimal as possible – no extra buttons, options, or content. Over and over again, great user interface comes out ahead as one of the keys to a great app.

7. SHARING: A great app enables collaboration and connectedness by allowing a user to easily interact with others and share things. A great example is a high score on Words With Friends or a location and a status update when trying out a new burger joint or shooting with Instagram.

8. THINK LONG HAUL: Great apps are constantly coming out with updates to functionality, features, and levels. A well-developed app is a fluid creature, ever changing and morphing to fit its consumer’s needs and lifestyle.

There’s no real recipe for a great iPhone app, but following these guidelines and studying apps that are currently successful will aid in development of great new iPhone apps.

What do you think takes an app from good to great? What changes will you make to your current apps to take them from good to great?