Success stories: 6 mobile apps that rocked in 2017

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Some apps go through a rough patch when they’re released. Or maybe they’re just a slow burner, eventually becoming well known and highly praised. And some apps are impressive from the start.

We did some research to find a few apps that have been released relatively recently, and have already been receiving plenty of great user reviews and ratings. Even if an app looks appealing, if it has nearly as many 1-star reviews as 5-star, users are going to be deterred from trying it out. But when an app has overwhelmingly positive ratings – especially when there’s a lot of them – it’s something to take notice of.

Mobile Passport

Mobile Passport

Image from Google Play

This one amazes us with its practicality. The Mobile Passport app is officially authorized by the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and helps you breeze through customs at 24 airports and 1 cruise port. The app is available for US and Canadian citizens.

Rather than waiting in the regular customs line when entering the United States, you can follow the signs to the Mobile Passport Control lane and submit your passport control and customs declaration information via your phone.

You first complete a profile with basic passport information, and and answer CBP’s questions about your trip. Then you submit your information upon arriving to the airport, and get a receipt that you will show along with your passport in the mobile lane.

Reviews say it is easy to use, saves time, and is well designed, although the signage at your airport might not be as clear as it could be. Mobile Passport has a 4.5 star rating on iTunes with over 12,600 ratings, and a 4.6 rating in the Google Play Store with over 13,600 ratings.

Get it here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mobile-passport-officially-authorized-by-cbp/id907024887?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=us.mobilepassport

Empower Finance

Empower

Image from iTunes store

Empower is a financial app that does more than help you track your spending. They aim to be your trusted financial advocate, and to help you save hundreds of dollars a year. It works to connect banks, credit card, loan, investment, and 401(k) accounts, so you can manage all of your money in one place. Among other things, you can pay bills, transfer money between your accounts, and even open up a high interest savings account and use an AutoSaving feature to build wealth and pay down debt. Empower gives personalized recommendations for saving money and protecting your credit score, and will soon help you re-negotiate bills.

Users like the ability to connect multiple accounts, say that the app works well, and that it helps them feel in control of their finances. It has a 5 star rating in iTunes with over 1,100 ratings, and is currently being built for Android.

Get it here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/empower-money-budget-and-savings-management-app/id1136397354?mt=8

Flowx

Flowx

Image from Google Play

Yes, there are weather apps aplenty out there. But with Flowx, you can feel like a weathercaster by interacting with the forecast in new ways. A swipe action lets you control an animation of the weather forecast on a graph, which helps you understand and visualize the weather systems. You can read over 30 data types on the radar, including wind, rain, humidity and more, which you can then layer on top of each other. You can also customize a widget for the data types you want to see.

Flowx first began as WeatherBomb, a side project in 2012. In 2016 it was spruced up and released as a new app. The engineer often responds to user reviews, and the “what’s new” updates lay out specific bug fixes, and ask for feedback and bug reports on new features.

Flowx is currently only available for Android, with plans to release on iOS. It has 4.5 stars in the Google Play Store, with over 3,400 ratings.

Get it here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.enzuredigital.weatherbomb

Socratic

Socratic

Image from Google Play

Socratic is a great example of an app that is really doing something positive. It’s also something we all probably wish we had when we were in school.

Socratic is an app that helps students with their homework in all subjects – including algebra, biology, history, and more. Their mission is to make learning easier and more accessible. Students can take a picture of any homework or math problem, and with cutting-edge AI, Socratic can figure out what concepts they need to learn, and will teach them how to answer the question. The content is designed primarily for phones, with instant explanations, videos, and step-by-step help. The experience is similar to one you would get from a teacher or tutor. You can also create study groups and get help from classmates.

Socratic has been around since 2013, but their iOS app was launched in 2016. It was developed over a year using teachers, students, app users, and millions of sample homework questions.

A blog post from the app’s launch and a press release from January both tell interesting stories of the app’s journey.

It is available for Apple and Android. It has five stars in iTunes with over 11 thousand ratings, and 4.6 stars in the Google Play Store, also with over 11 thousand ratings.

Get it here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/socratic-math-homework-help/id1014164514?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.socratic.android

Runtasty

Runtasty

Image from Google Play

Runtasty is a recipe app made by Runtastic, with 40+ dietitian approved recipes to complement an active lifestyle. The app has healthy, easy recipes for all dietary restrictions, and step-by-step videos for all recipes. You can filter by categories, mark your favorites, and learn kitchen hacks.

Reviewers say the videos are well made, recipes are tasty, and hope that more recipes are added in the future.

It’s available on Apple and Android. It has a 4.5 score in the Google Play store with over 2,300 reviews, and 4.5 stars in iTunes with around 40 ratings.

Get it here:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.runtastic.android.runtasty.lite

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/runtasty-healthy-recipes/id1183746476?mt=8

BetaCrash

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Last but not least, we are proud to include our own app, BetaCrash. Since our launch in April 2017, we have been pleased with the response we have seen so far. This app is used by developers to share beta Android and iOS apps with QA testers and with their own team. With BetaCrash, simplicity is key, allowing fast, efficient, and easy sharing throughout the testing process.

Set up by simply logging into a Google or Github account. Then all you have to do is upload a build to get a link to share with your team. A click on the link automatically installs the app.

The Shake Report function also makes it easy for users to report bugs and share crash logs. With just a shake of the device, you can create and share a screenshot with the engineers. Add annotations using a variety of tools, add a title and a message, and submit your report.

Android Studio, Slack and  Xcode are examples of several integrations you can use with Betacrash. You can also rest easy knowing everything is secure. Choose to restrict access by setting the availability time and a password for your app.  

Get it here:

www.betacrash.com

Conclusion

There are a few things these apps tend to have in common. For one, the developer usually has a strong investment in the app’s success. These developers need to be willing to listen to feedback, or even better: actively ask for feedback and bug logs to make the app the best that it can be. A problem-free experience is a happy user experience. And in order to assure that, there needs to be thorough testing, to smooth out any kinks from the beginning. If you’re looking for a testing partner to help you achieve a great user experience, get in touch with us over at PLUSQA