A total of 255 billion apps were downloaded in 2022 so how do you get your app to stand out from the crowd?

That was one the questions tackled by Indiespring’s new event ‘Appy hour – unveiling the power of apps.

The event was held at GM Digital Security Hub in Manchester and hosted by Chris Maguire, executive editor of BusinessCloud and TechBlast.

Arran Kirkup is a commercial director of Indiespring, which develops mobile applications.


He said the cost of apps can run into millions so it was vital to do your research first.

“Massively get involved in user testing,” he said. “Try and validate your ideas as best you can before putting your money into developing your app.

“Applications are really expensive to develop so make sure your ideas are rock solid beforehand.

“We’re an app development agency but probably 70 per cent of the time we’re talking to people we’re saying ‘you don’t need an app’. People want an app but they don’t necessarily need it.”

He said apps should be inclusive and one common mistake developers made was not catering for people who are colour blind.

Saving lives

Martin Hogan is the founder and CEO of Safe Citizens app, which uses location technology to keep people safe in emergency situations like earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

How do you make your app stand out?

It does this by using the mobile phone as a tracker and could have been used in the aftermath of the 2017 Manchester bombing, when the emergency services were slow to respond.

Hogan said: “We give the emergency services the ability to see into the building because we can pick up the location of a mobile advice. In our world a mobile device equals a member of the public.

“This is not just another ‘find me’ app. You can’t call people for help. This is about protecting the entire populous with one mobile app, the management of which is in the hands of the people who are responsible for your safety.”

He described it as an ‘insurance policy’ for users.

Indiespring event

Chris Maguire; Arran Kirkup; Martin Hogan; James Renshaw; Rachel Bardill

“It’s a free insurance that you can put in your pocket,” he said. “It will do what it does in the background and you won’t even notice it but when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time it will do its job.”

Hogan said he’s had talks with NGOs (non-government organisations) on how to keep their staff safe in danger zones.

Know your audience

James Renshaw is the head of DevOps and UK development at Parkingeye and was previously CTO at Modern Milkman.

“The main thing is understanding the target audience,” he said. “Who’s going to use it and how are they going to use it?

“You have to able to react to change. Don’t be afraid to part with your first thoughts.”

He said successful apps should be frictionless.

“People don’t want an app,” he said. “They want the results of using an app. Think about how you can make that as streamlined as possible.”

Don’t assume

During her 20+ year at the BBC, Rachel Bardill helped created the CBeebies Playtime app and is now the founder of Bar Digital.

She said: “My top piece of advice would be to assume you’re stupid from the outset.  You’ve got to test and do market research. Base what you’re doing on the audience. Always have the best marketing minds.

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“It’s easy to have a great idea but it’s a lot tougher to break through in the app space.

“You don’t just launch an app and forget it. You need a roadmap so you can continue to amend it. An app is not just for Christmas.”