30-Second Rule for App Success

Those of you who saw my talks at either Future of Web Design in NYC, or at Webstock in Wellington may remember a segment where I urged delivering value as quickly as possible. In that segment, I compared the act of taking and sharing a photo with Hipstamatic, and the same in Instagram. I posited that one of the biggest reasons for Instagram’s runaway success is how quickly you can snap a photo, apply a filter, and share it with the world. It delivers value in three short steps, and it’s fun.

Here is Instagram’s founder and CEO, Kevin Systrom, validating this deliver-value-quickly notion as a key to Instagram’s success:

“Products can introduce more complexity over time, but as far as launching and introducing a new product in to the market, it’s a marketing problem,” Systrom tells Fast Company. “You have to explain everything you do, and people have to understand it, within seconds.”

“In the mobile context, you need to explain what you do in 30 seconds or less because people move on to the next shiny object. There are so many apps and people are vying for your attention on the go. It’s the one context in which you’ve got lots and lots of other stuff going on. You’re not sitting in front of a computer; you’re at a bus stop or in a meeting.”

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