“Raphael Sanzio’s Sistine Madonna is beautiful but a bit derivative of Michelangelo, therefore it is not good” said no one ever.
Copying the work of master artists was considered essential to training back in 16th-century Italy. The same can be said when designing software, there is no exception. There are 2.8 million available apps to download for Android users and 2.2 million downloadable apps for iOS users. The majority of these apps emulate each other to some degree. It’s okay to come to Green Mango with a terrific idea for an app or software product that was inspired by another one you’ve come across. Go ahead, describe it to us as the Uber for this or Shazam for that. That’s what the average user will recognize and feel comfortable with. It is not the similarities that are going to make your product outshine others, but your differentiators.
Software development seems like an ambiguous process. In reality, over 90% of new apps and features are inspired by others already in existence. For example, the hamburger menu button
( ☰ ) , was originally designed for the Xerox Star. This style of menu button, which typically activates a drop-down or slide-out menu, saw a huge revival in its usage in 2009 when various mobile apps needed to compress their menu bar. This resurgence greatly benefited users world-wide, though some may disagree. Tech Crunch released an article detailing their reasons as to why some think the hamburger menu button is less efficient, and that’s the beauty of disagreement in regard to technological advancement. We can continue to refine on each other’s ideas, creating an overall smoother user experience for everyone.
Society has become accustomed to certain UX behaviors. Your app can still be revolutionary while maintaining familiar functions. Take existing paradigms and use them in your app. If a first-time user downloads your app and cannot navigate their way by the first day, there is a 75% chance that user will never open your app again. Innovation and familiarity can and do go hand-in-hand.
There’s a fine but solid line between copying and theft. We absolutely condemn using someone else’s hard work and claiming it as your own. Borrow from others’ base ideas and build from there- that’s how you upstage the competition.
With this in mind, let us know what apps or products you drew inspiration from. Let us know which ideal features you’d like to draw from. We want to stay as close to your original concept so we need as much information as possible. Otherwise, we’ll be forced to take an educated guess and do our own research. It’s important to remember that the most expensive mistake to make is not actually launching a product with a few areas still under construction, but launching the wrong product altogether. Software is easily fixable and can be adjusted with a simple downloadable patch.
Let’s not re-invent the wheel. Most apps that are available in the app store are similar to each other, that’s not news. However, it will be because of your unique tweaks and differentiators, that your app will flourish.