At Zokoo, we love talking about the apps that make us feel good, the ones that load quickly with simple navigation and a clear interface, the ones that make our lives easier.
When we find a new app we love, we pay attention to those small choices the designers made to build a seamless experience. We strive to capture the convenience, efficiency and beauty of these apps in everything we create. We know what it’s like to be delighted with an app and we’re committed to make your users feel as good as we do.
To show you the features we love, we’ve gathered our 10 favorite apps of 2020. These iOS and Android apps are our inspiration as we build similar products for you.
To us, Venmo feels more like a social media app than a financial tool. Owing your friends money isn’t a fun experience, but with emojis and a social feed, Venmo makes it enjoyable to participate. Not only that, but the interface is very simple. “It only takes about three steps to do what you need to do in the app,” said Brandyn, and that efficiency keeps us coming back.
Keeping any task to five or fewer simple steps makes users happy.
Widely considered one of the most boring topics, investing has become a new-found hobby among many of our team members, thanks to Robinhood. In comparison to other interfaces, like Vanguard’s, Robinhood is clean and intuitive with unique attention to detail, “like the switch to dark mode when the markets close for the day to signify that trading is over,” mentioned Jordan. Buying and selling is easy and the app avoids incomprehensible jargon.
In any app, the clarity of both the UI and the copy helps users feel confident in their decisions.
Most of us agree, Door Dash makes the food delivery experience dangerously easy. As AJ puts it, “Door Dash works and I hate that it works.” With features like contactless delivery, group ordering and driver tracking, getting food delivered is convenient and safe. The company has focused its efforts on partnering with local restaurants, providing a wider selection that we all love.
Any app that includes features to address the specific pain-points of their users, like the frustration of ordering food for large groups, removes barriers to conversion.
Of all the restaurant-owned food delivery apps, Panera is our favorite for two reasons: the customization and the free coffee. With every item, users can see the ingredients, including the nutrition facts, which makes it easy to create a meal that meets all your preferences and restrictions. If you’ve signed up for MyPanera, you earn rewards and get access to special promotions, like free coffee.
Customizable interfaces and member-only rewards create a dedicated fanbase, especially on food-related platforms.
All the iPhone owners agree, iMessage is one of our most used apps. Sure, it’s the built-in SMS text app on an iPhone, but most of us choose to use it over other messaging apps. We love how well iMessage is embedded into Apple’s ecosystem. We can text from our MacBooks, Apple watches and iPads. We play games or send photos, gifs and me-emojis all within the app.
With apps, convenience is key. The more ways a user can access your app, the more likely they are to use it frequently.
Impressively, Facebook has built a dedicated user base not just for the social media platform, but also for its messaging app. Facebook Messenger has user-friendly features, such as group labels and video conferencing. The fact that it links to your Facebook friends, but does not require you to visit the main interface, is also a bonus. “I love that I can message friends without having to sift through a contentious news feed or unwanted ads,” says Sandi.
Like Facebook Messenger, many of the most successful apps do one thing and do it really well. Some business owners would find success creating multiple products that serve different audiences, rather than seeking to serve a wide net with one app.
Calm sets out to help its users feel at peace and, of all the apps on this list, this app achieves its singular goal most effectively. With large, rounded and slightly-blurred UI elements, and its use of soft colors and open natural imagery, Calm creates an environment that encourages stillness. With the subtle manipulation of these calming elements, this app has us more motivated to meditate and, according to Jordan, it “feels like it’s tucking you into bed.”
Apps that focus in on a singular goal and a niche audience, making deliberate choices on every detail, find a loyal following.
In our opinion, Fitbit is a poster child for a successful partnership between software and hardware. The physical device tracks your movement to sync real-time data on your sleep patterns and movement into the app’s tracking tools. The app even integrates with other physical devices, like a scale, allowing us to track our progress towards food and fitness goals.
Fast and consistent syncing, loading and downloading is important for any product, whether we’re talking about websites, mobile apps or the internet of things. Users who have to wait more than a few seconds will find your competitor instead.
Between its functionality, connection with smart devices, wide selection and spot-on recommendations, Spotify has earned our loyalty. Creating a playlist is so simple that some of us have playlists we’ve been adding to since 2011. The wide selection satisfies all our music tastes, from modern pop to 1920s jazz. With the predictive queue and downloadable feature, some of us have used Spotify to DJ and others just use it to set a few songs up to sing in the shower. “Out of any monthly payment I make, Spotify by far gives me the most value,” said AJ.
Apps that make it easy for users to build something over the longterm make lifetime users. Unless a miracle app comes along, we can’t imagine abandoning our Spotify playlists that are ten years in the making.
Though we’ve given Hulu and Prime Video a try, Netflix is a Zokoo favorite. With its top 10 labeling system, recommendations and list saving features, it’s easy to find anything we want. Additionally, the interface has an intuitive layout that’s free of clutter. “Whereas other sites like Amazon Prime push shows in your face that you have to rent or buy,” says Brandyn, “Netflix only offers genuine recommendations.”
The upselling business models of Hulu and Prime Video are a great way to diversify revenue generation and include tiered pricing opportunities, but, as users, we prefer an ad-free experience of Netflix.