Productivity App: 8 Examples To Help You Build A Successful One

productivity apps

Whatever stage you may be at, gain insight and inspiration from some of the most popular productivity apps on the app store and what inspired their founders to create that particular app.

Needless to say, this insight or inspiration is what drove these apps to success. And so can you! These words are straight from the founder’s mouth.

Mikael Berner, EasilyDo

We’ve studies that say the average person context-switches every three minutes but doesn’t come back to a task for 27 minutes. Productivity is a lot about context switching and how you read and process information. You need to be able to respond to important things coming in. Are you organized in that you have phone numbers in the right places and the right time? Or do you have to bounce around to find them?

People need rules that get them to take the next step in what they’re trying to accomplish in baby steps, or small enough steps that they can feel productive about what they’re doing. There’s a big difference between “everything that I want to get to someday that I care about” versus “two or three or five things that I care about today.”

Gentry Underwood, Mailbox

It’s very natural when a new platform comes along to expect behavior to work as it did in the old platform, which means, for a smartphone, take a desktop email client and jam it down into the mobile device, because that’s all you know. You don’t know how people’s behavior is going to be different; you’ve never seen it before.

Well, turns out we use our mobile phones really differently than we use our laptops. It’s taken us a while to figure that out and understand it, and that creates a design opportunity for a different kind of tool.

Omer Perchik, Any.Do

The most productive people are those who have strong habits about being productive. Yoga, sports, going into your task-management app at the same time every day… it’s having the self-discipline to do it every day. The focus point should be less about the method—whether it’s the Getting Things Done (GTD) method or something else—and more about how you can you create a habit to be more productive.

How do you open your to-do app every morning? How do you put everything from your mind into the app and take the time to prioritize it? That’s the big challenge in this space: to turn it into a habit.

Peter Arvai, Prezi

We need to leave the paginated world behind. Our minds naturally think in spatial relationships. Pause and consider: What is currently in your kitchen?

Now, did you reference a bullet point list in your head or envision yourself standing in the kitchen looking around? It’s called the method of loci.

Phil Libin, Evernote

The idea was to let you remember all the information coming at you in whatever way was easiest at the time, whether it was audio, images, text, web clips, or documents. One place where you can put everything and always be able to find it.

We would take a picture of the white board and search for the words in it and find it. Then from there it grew to other cognitive problems. We wanted to make a new definition of what productivity should be. We never thought Evernote was note-taking. We thought of it as an external brain.

Phill Ryu, Clear App

They don’t get out of the way and just help me get things done, they ask this and they ask that, and if you want tags or if you want to schedule a reminder. They crowd the screen with buttons and switches and little decisions to make.

I get how these things can be useful, sometimes, but most of the time all you really need is a pencil and notepad.

So we started there. We had more complex initial mockups, but we pretty much erased almost everything and started over. Every feature was questioned, and we basically required a unanimous vote for any feature to make it in the app. We knew the way we were designing this, we pretty much had no room for error.

We think the result is something pretty different. It feels frictionless, and flexible, and satisfying. It’s insanely quick to enter tasks or manage multiple lists. It just feels great.

Justin Rosenstein, Asana

Every organization on Earth, whether it’s business or government or non-profit — every time that a group of humans are working together towards a common goal — the mechanics of organization are just really hard. If we could make that easier, we knew people would be happier, because that part of people’s jobs is easily the most annoying or painful.

Beyond that, if a group of people were “telepathically synced” — you knew exactly what you were supposed to work on, you knew exactly what the state of everything was, if you could seamlessly coordinate everything — imagine what you could do, how much bigger the project you could take on, imagine how insanely awesome products would be.

Linden Tibbets, IFTTT

You understand what an object can be used for. From there, you are able to immediately put it to use in your specific context. Most people would want to just put flowers in a vase, but somebody might use the vase to hold papers that are on his desk. There are only consequences, no rules of what we can do with stuff. I think it is almost starting to being solved, especially in the consumer space.

Think of Instagram, Pocket, Evernote or Dropbox. These companies are really focused to do one thing and they have a brand that is very connected to that one thing. So people are able to immediately understand that brand and interact with it. But what is really missing is, that once a general consumer person, a non-programmer, understood what he could do with one of these services, how could he make those services interact with other things in his context.

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Rahul Varshneya
 

Rahul is the co-founder of Arkenea, a mobile app consultancy building experience rich apps for startups and businesses, and author of The Appreneurship Guide