When we set out to create Haiku Deck, we set the bar high. Even with hundreds of thousands of apps crowding the App store, we want to be a stand-out product that inspires creativity and changes a category. We started by studying other apps that wow us and zeroing in on the qualities that make them so awesome. Here’s our list.

1. Magically Interactive
Tablets can immerse us in work and play through touch, and we appreciate apps that make inspired use of the swipe, the pinch, and the tap. Flipboard not only makes it easy to enjoy our favorite content, but brings it to life with intuitive navigation that transcends all other readers.

2. Creatively Inspiring
The impulse to create and share is universal, even though most of us don’t think of ourselves as creative geniuses. We have a soft spot for apps that make it easy to create cool things we’re proud to show off, whether it’s art, music, or photos. Instagram, which makes this crummy photographer with a lowly iPhone camera feel like a virtual Annie Liebowitz, is one of our favorites.

3. Beautifully Designed
In the ocean of apps, few stand out as truly beautiful. We admire apps that feel like the flawlessly designed lobby of a boutique hotel. We love it when menus and controls are there when you need them, but vanish when you don’t. 2012 Apple Design Award Winner Paper by FiftyThree nails this.

4. Effortlessly Flexible
We admire apps that do one thing really well, but are flexible enough to use in different ways. Evernote, for example, nails note-taking, but their powerful platform has been embraced by screenwriters, cooks, interior decorators, vacation planners, and so on.

5. Surprisingly Fun
We also love apps that transform something humdrum into something humdelightful. Swackett puts a smile on our faces with its innovative and awesomely human presentation of weather information. Check it out!

What apps inspire you? Let us know in the comments.