It’s almost a standard reflex: once something is no longer new, it is declared dead. Sometimes this is valid, but sometimes such a verdict is underserved. In many cases, the truth lies somewhere in between. Still, there was a core of truth in the blog that Cory Crosland posted last September on LinkedIn. The CEO of Croscon – a digital development studio in New York – forecast the end of the app era. That is, in its current form.
According to Crosland, the average user is not receptive to new apps. Between 80 and 90 per cent of downloaded applications are used once and then erased. Eight-five per cent of all smartphone owners use only 5 apps. Big names such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube saw downloads decrease by nearly twenty per cent in 2016. Moreover, the wide range of ecosystems and operating systems doesn’t make life easy for developers. You would be right in thinking that such a situation cannot continue for very long.
And yet the app era has not come to an end. Consumers and professionals have not yet thrown their mobile devices in the trash can en masse. While it is true that apps are frequently deleted soon after being installed or they go used, the use of a small number of truly distinctive applications continues to be enormous. No one is eagerly awaiting yet another version of Candy Crush or Angry Birds. The issue is that the individual app must add value for the user in the form of ease, entertainment, content or interaction.
Why and for whom?
Added value starts with the question of what you as a company or a developer want to achieve with an app. You must think long and hard about this before you start building an app. After all, you could come to the conclusion that you want to serve users in a completely different way than via a mobile device – for example physically, by telephone or via a traditional web site. Again, it all revolves around the question of what you want to achieve and why.
From that perspective, we advocate app generation 3.0, as a (perhaps temporary) perfection of the 1.0 (only consisting of content) and 2.0 (also geared to interaction) versions. The good thing is that all this is within reach based on APIs and the hardware of the device in question – camera, GPS, bluetooth, motion detector. For example, a restaurant or café’s app can be linked to Google Maps, so that the user can decide whether the eating establishment is close enough to visit or not. This is a simple example, but it is illustrative.
A successful design
Not all organizations consider their end users first – sometimes because of rational business drivers. For example, in a very commercialized industry, where reducing the cost of delivery is more important than the user’s experience. As a design thinker you may not agree, but this can still be valid strategy worth pursuing.
Design Thinking, a principle that begins working on an idea from scratch and then, via a prototype, arrives at a minimum viable product – a product that although viable, will be continually improved and expanded on during the product life cycle. Of course, the organization must have the right development environment available, in which products can be quickly designed, deployed and up-scaled if they prove successful.
In my next blog, I will explain more about how you can quickly create your initial prototype or MVP.
Read more regarding how you can easily take the initial steps with APIs >>>
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