Bad Applications: What Are They And Why Are They So Bad?

Philip Aston - December 18, 2013

Great apps can help you be more productive, assist in travel and communications, and provide fun and diverting entertainment. But for every great app, there are several apps that fail to deliver. Bad apps can be frustrating, lead to delays in getting things done, and just waste space on your device.

Nobody wants a bad app! Software owners don’t want their apps to be bad; no user likes to have a bad app on their web or mobile device. Then why do bad apps exist? Every user has come across an app that they have called “bad”. So what makes a bad app? And does it really matter?

What makes an app bad?

User needs

A bad app is one that is deemed poor in the users’ eyes – it does not meet user needs and does not do what it’s intended to do. All apps are created with an intended audience – a particular country, age, gender or area of interest. If the requirements are defined without taking the user audience into account, just to satisfy the likes of the product owner, it is likely to fail.


A bad app may not fully complete tasks. It may generally work fine, but fail in some crucial points. For example, there may be problems with an inconvenient user interface and users will go and look for another application that will do better.


Mobile Roadie CEO, Michael Schneider, said that if you have built an app for your business and never looked at it again, then you have a bad app. Apps must be kept fresh to keep customers engaged and interested.

Lack of innovation

Businesses who do not invest in the design of their app and only do the minimum will fall fowl to this common pitfall. Apps should look and feel like your brand and should be enticing to pull people in and keep them coming back.


According to the 10 Golden Principles of Successful Web Apps, “Speed is the most important feature. If your application is slow, people won’t use it.” Potentially “power users” (a sophisticated computer user) are more sympathetic to the challenges of building really fast web apps – but the mainstream audience is not. If something is slow, end-users are gone.

In a global world dominated by the Internet and smartphones, the importance of web and mobile apps cannot be dismissed. The global head of mobile for Walmart, discussed how smartphones are likely to become as necessary as the shopping cart when shopping at your nearby supermarket. Retailers especially, but also organizations across a variety of other industries, have made it abundantly clear that they are all “tapping into the power of mobile apps to help you [the consumer] shop more effectively and, hopefully, more often.” Therefore, as a business, whatever platform you have chosen, apps make the experience more efficient and more enjoyable – IF designed right. Bad apps are just infuriating and a nuisance.

It is clear that the importance of creating an app that is deemed “good” by consumers is absolutely vital. So what is a “good” app? What do software developers need to ensure they do?

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