It has been found that consumers are more likely to choose a product that meets their needs than one that meets their desires. American psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his theory of the hierarchy of needs in the mid-1940s and it is still relevant today. As we well know, Maslow’s pyramid has a practical application in business, and as we will see here, in the digital sphere. Mobile application developers can use the hierarchy of needs to create a user experience that engages people and encourages loyalty.

According to Maslow, human needs are arranged in a hierarchical principle – from the most basic to the most complex. For a person to be happy, all his needs must be met. However, to meet the needs of a higher level, this must first be done with those at lower levels. In other words, the satisfaction of needs can only move sequentially – from basic to more complex. We can imagine this as a house (or pyramid) – if there are not enough bricks in the base, it will be unstable and will shake.

How can this principle be applied in the development of a mobile application? The idea is that in order to be successful, it must meet the basic needs of consumers first before satisfying those of a higher level. Before it makes them gasp, it should work as expected. How is this achieved?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Let’s look at the pyramid, starting at the lowest level with the most basic needs and moving on to the more complex ones.

Physiological needs – These are necessary for human survival and include air, water, food, sleep, physical activity, and homeostasis.

Safety Needs – It can be seen as a factor that allows people to meet their physiological needs in the future. This includes needs such as health, shelter, public order, and security and financial security.

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Social Needs – At this level, the pyramid includes needs such as friendship, intimacy, belonging to family and community, and personal relationships with other people in general.

Esteem Needs – It is important to respect ourselves, to receive respect from others, and to give it to them. Here we can note needs such as independence, responsibility, mastery, achievement, recognition, and prestige.

Self-Actualization – Everyone needs to cultivate. It is expressed in things like inner peace, a sense of personal satisfaction, the realization of individual potential, and personal growth.

Creating a mobile application according to the hierarchy of needs

Maslow’s Pyramid can be related to building a mobile application, and at each level it meets an important condition for the success of the application. Let’s look at the conditions in a hierarchical order, starting with the most basic.


First of all, the mobile application must work, which is expressed in visibly simple things like fast and full loading of the screens and reliable operation of the buttons. If this condition is not met, no one will appreciate the beautiful design or other features. However, it is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for meeting the needs of users and, accordingly, for the success of the application.

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Once the application meets the functional needs, it can move to the next level in the development hierarchy. To this end, it must have a stable and consistent performance, or in other words, work equally well at all times. Take an example with a mobile news app. If yesterday it showed a video with Messi’s goal with perfect picture and sound quality, then today the quality must be the same. If new features are added, they should work as well as everyone else. The security of user data and the application as a whole should not be overlooked here, as it is extremely important for its stable performance.

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The main question here is how easily the user can perform basic tasks. Taking the example of the mobile news application, we can ask: How easy is it for the user to find and use the menu and buttons and navigate the article categories? Does the layout of the article screens make them easy to read and perform other actions such as viewing related material? These are basic usability needs.

Another aspect of usability is “mercy”. The idea is that users should not be punished for mistakes they can make unintentionally when using the mobile app. Take, for example, a data entry form. Inadvertently pressing the button on the smartphone to return to its main screen while filling out the form should not lead to the deletion of the already entered information.

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Usability corresponds to the third level in the hierarchy of needs created by Maslow. It gives significant value to the mobile application but does not make it stand out among the main competitors. This is achieved at the next level.


Here the question that a mobile app developer needs to answer is how will it allow the user to do more things better. This is associated with the creation of functionalities that are not mandatory, but are desirable and will improve the user experience. In this way, the overall performance of the application on the market will be better – it will be more competitive. Going back to the example with the mobile news app, desirable features could be the option to share articles on social media, email and chat apps like Viber, the ability to read an article offline, and use voice search to find materials on a given topic.

A mobile app that allows users to do things that were previously difficult to access or not available at all is considered excellent. This is very valuable for the promotion of the application. When it is considered “cool” and useful, she earns more good reviews on Google Play and/or the App Store, its rating rises, and people share it more on social networks.

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When a mobile application works reliably all the time, is easy to use, and offers exciting features, what else does it lack to be successful? The answer is innovation. To add this “magic ingredient”, the development team must be creative, and this does not necessarily come down to inventing and implementing features that no other application on the market has.

An effective strategy for both project-specific budgetary and time constraints and technical frameworks is to use familiar functionalities in a unique creative way based on the context of the application. Perhaps the best-known of all the tactics serving this strategy is personalization. For example, the native news mobile application can use the localization functionality of smartphones and tablets to generate news stories about events that took place in the place where the individual user is located.

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The original hierarchy of needs created by Maslow may not be applied one-to-one in the development of mobile applications, but it can serve as a basis for determining the main guidelines for this type of project. As we have already seen, these guidelines are concrete and clear. When they are followed, the applications give maximum value to the consumers, engage them, and make them loyal to brands.

If you want a mobile application that meets all the needs of users, through which you can win customers for your business, contact our team with an inquiry now.

Design Team Lead

Jitendra Badgujar stands out as a tech blogger due to his commitment to staying current with the fast-paced tech world. He diligently researches & explores new advancements, ensuring his readers receive accurate and timely information. His dedication keeps his content accurate and relevant.

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