Apps Take Too Long to be Worthwhile

If you’ve ever visited a show like South By Southwest or Mobile World Congress, you’ve probably experienced the phenomenon of downloading an app that you used intensely for three days and then never used again.

Abraham Maslow once said that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The mobile world’s equivalent of Maslow’s hammer is the app, which has been marketed as a cure-all for all mobile dilemmas.

The reality is that Apps, like hammers, can be a blunt instrument that does more harm than good.

The chief problem is that apps take way too long to update if there’s a glitch or design issue. Sure, you can update information on the app with a mobile CMS, but if everyone is complaining about some usability issue or boneheaded design choice, you’re stuck with it because it would take weeks to fix. Things are better than they used to be; a few years ago, it took Apple an average of nine days to approve apps and updated versions of apps. Now it takes two days, but that’s often still too long.

Want a recent example of why this is the case? Just look at the reviews for the CES 2017 app from last month: “Limited functionality with bugs….transferring events to calendar not working,” reads one review. “Meh,” reads another. “Maps are minimally labeled, difficult to get orientation.”

It would have been nice if someone could have fixed that one during the show, right? But trade shows aren’t the only instances in which companies have a pressing need to adjust their public-facing materials on the fly. Most of the time, they have no choice but to ask customers to be patient. The alternative is to use the mobile web, but that’s far from an ideal solution since, as we all know, the web is still a clunky experience on mobile.

Until now, those have been the only choices. Instant apps offer the look and feel of apps but, unlike apps, can be fixed on the fly. For anyone who has felt the pain of app purgatory, this is a godsend.

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