Death to Apps?
In recent months I have been obsessed with this idea.
With all the advances in internet languages and internet speed/accessibility perhaps the need for device specific apps might be a thing of the past. Rise of the web app?
For the unaffiliated, let me define what I mean by App vs Web App.
So an App is something that traditionally in the phone since has to be downloaded and ran on your phone. Kinda like software on your computer, so to speak.
A web app on the other hand, runs as a website, on a browser, no need for downloading.
Think about how many steps are involved in downloading an app:
- Learning about it
- Opening play/appstore
- Searching for it
- Waiting to download it
- not enough space (usually my problem)
What if a web based app could do all the same things as your traditional downloaded app but getting it was as easy as:
- Learning about it
- Tap to add it to home screen
Some of the best parts:
- It takes up no space on your phone
- It never needs to be updated because its web based and does it automatically.
Ive been toying around with this idea for some time ever since seeing it on Invision (a tool we use a lot to prototype in UX/UI design). Saving the interaction to your phone is as easy as hitting a button.
I recently tried out what I thought was an app called Digit, it micro saves money from your bank accounts. Once i figured out it was a web only app, it literally took 2 taps to add it to my phone desktop (looking like an app).
So what are some of the limitations?
Well for one, in app notifications are something we have all gotten quite used to. Digit gets around this by sending text messages, and asks you to save it to your contacts. It text me about once a day with updates. Doesn't feel too unnatural.
But this however would be entirely too annoying if every single web app sent me text messages because you can't send app specific notifications anymore.
So maybe web apps might only be good for certain applications, but im sure there are a lot out there that this could be perfect for.
In conclusion, I dont know what the future holds. Perhaps all this thinking is for nothing. BUT I think it begs the question. Next time you start an app project, think, does this really need to be a traditional app?