Mobile apps have become ubiquitous. Companies are trying to get to grips with an unprecedented digital transformation and keep up with the resulting changes in consumer behaviour. There are now more than 1 billion smartphones and hundreds of millions of tablets in use across the globe, so having a mobile app strategy is essential for success in the connected world.
But, Josh Bernhoff of Forrester, argues that, a strategy that involves ‘building an app’ by itself is no better than a strategy that involves porting a web site. The real question is – what is the app going to do for the customer?
We’ve entered a time when consumers have made a ‘mobile mind-shift’, that is, they expect to access what they want, in a relevant context, in a moment of need.
Bernhoff writes, that for app designers, the challenge is to think about the points in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to access information relating to their immediate circumstance. Companies need to prepare for the ‘mobile mind-shift’ because it will change what customers expect and demand of an organization.
From a design perspective, Paul Adams, of Intercom, writes that, “The experience of our primary mobile screen being a bank of app icons that lead to independent destinations is dying”. The consequence of this is that it will change what we need to design and build.
He suggests that in the future, the primary interface for interacting with apps may not be the app itself. The app is primarily a publishing tool so the number one way people will use your app is through an interactive notification layer or aggregated card stream, not by opening the app itself.
But will apps disappear completely? Where apps might survive and thrive is in creating useful and contextually specific information for end users. We will still need apps to process data to present complex information in a functional and contextual format to the end user.
Where these apps will live on our mobile devices in the future is definitely open to change. According to Paul Adams, they may sit in the back-end, pushing content into a central experience with a card based notification center taking precedence.
Recently, at our North American user conference in Las Vegas, we detailed our mobile strategy to create cross platform mobile applications. Our strategy will help address the current opportunities and challenges of developing mobile apps.
What kind of future do you see for mobile apps? Will they become obsolete or do they just need to reconfigure their purpose? If you have an opinion on what the‘mobile mind-shift’ means for the future development of mobile apps, tell us about it!