The future of applications.

Survival of the fittest.

Studies show that app downloads have been plunging fast in the last couple of years. Does this really surprise anyone though? How often do you use all the apps you have on your phone & were they all worth the download?

My last 2 projects have been app designs & I’ve had to ideate, create & design with these questions in mind. What can I do to make the users WANT to download my app, and beyond that, what can I do to make them use my app on a daily basis. This is the real challenge app designers must face everyday. We have to find that competitive functionality that will incentivize the user to open and visit the app everyday.

Let me fill you in on some of the insights we’ve discovered throughout the research phase of both projects. People first and foremost use social apps such as, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… etc. After that, they usually only open apps that facilitate their everyday life, which can be really from any category of the world of applications, any industry or sector, just as long as it adds value to the user’s life. Simple example: people will download & use their bank’s application only if they are able to perform a service directly from the app that can’t be done through the bank’s website. This is what you should aim for when designing apps: look for that one functionality or service that will make your user’s life easier & that can’t be done through the website. If the user can do the same actions as the website, he or she won’t really feel the need to download the app. Basically, you’re not solving their problem, you’re just adding another medium to do the same actions they can do through the website.

The biggest insights we’ve discovered during the research is that the main reasons users don’t download applications is due to memory space in their phones. That’s the challenge: creating & designing an application that the user will believe is worth taking up space in his or her phone. The only way this is possible is with that unique functionality your app will offer & that the user can’t do elsewhere.
However, that’s just the short-term solution, it will just work until the user deletes the app to free up space for pictures, videos and everyday applications.

The long term solution: Progressive web apps.

A new way of developing that solves the user’s phone’s space problems & that can still have all the same cool animations we designers love in applications. Welcome to the future of apps. PWAs will be a big factor in the future decline of native app downloads.

Check this website out, from the developers at Google, they explain in details the differences and similarities between a PWA and a native app.

So, there you have it. This is where the future of applications is getting to: offering the same awesome app & services to the end-user whilst optimizing space. Keep PWAs in mind the next time you have to create, design or develop an app.