About the Appification of Society
Apps are not the only solution
Last June more than 100 Billion downloads were tracked by the AppStore. That means, that an average citizen has up to 10 Apps installed on their smartphone — and the number increases day by day. The fast growing number of tech startups, raises the available Apps weekly. The development of mobile applications transformed into the Gold Fever of the 21th century.
But why do so many people believe, that the answer for everyday problems rely in our smartphones? Why are those little mobile programs so successful? Are Apps the only suitable solution for the modern society?
The Gold Fever
Let’s focus first on the question, why Apps are getting more and more popular for companies and entrepreneurs. The list of advantages is huge, but we’ll be focussing on the most relevant ones.
Building digital products was never easier.
The meaning and term of “product” has rapidly changed during the 21th century. When we talked about “products” in the former days, we basically had real physical products like furniture or working utensils in mind. These days everything that was developed during an iterative process is called a product–no matter if the medium is digital or analogue. So why is this important in the context of the App popularity? We still have in mind, that a “product” is a well-crafted and solid working utensil. When we talk about selling an application now, which one would you rather pick: a software product or a well-designed computer program?
One of the biggest advantages of digital products is, that they can be build fast from scratch. Even a small team with the keyroles combined, can develop a digital product within a short period starting with a blank sheet. Also the growing knowledge-sharing within the Internet, enables everyone to learn all things needed to get started straight away.
To be continued…
Here it is important to mention, that digital products are basically never done! In general the first launch of an App is focussing on the most important functions (MVP). After the release functionalities get refactored, improved or added during following iteration phases. So that means a solid idea can keep employees busy a long time, still working on the same product. In comparison to a real object, the end of the production and the delivery to the client is not the finish of the product. In the digital world this is just the start of a long iterative journey.
It’s all about knowing you better
What many people totally forget during the discussion is, that data transparency is a big game changer, which is easily possible with a software product. After an application is launched on the market, several implemented mechanisms can start to track the user’s behaviour. These can be little information bits like “when is the app used more often?” or bigger ones like, “what kind of content does our user like the most?” Depending on the collected results the marketing of the product, the further feature development and the product direction can be optimized and adjusted. This aspect is a valuable, quick and cheap solution to create and form a product that perfectly fits the consumer’s behaviour.
Browsing through the AppStore I’ve stumbled across many Apps, where I ask myself the question: why did you solve the problem with an App? I think there are some Apps on the market whose development decision was in first place based on the huge advantage-list (that I mentioned before) rather than the problems’ core.
Stop solving the symptoms of a problem with your App. Try to solve the problem!
When we take a quick look at a common design process, you basically first identify a problem and analyze every aspect of it with an user centered point of view. After understanding the problem and the user needs you start to come up with ideas and prototype until you find the right solution. During the design process you sometimes notice that changing a small aspect of a existing product is better, than adopting the entire service in a new digital experience. Sometimes you even discover, that a hardware solution is a way more suitable solution as a software product. Also focussing on Apps from the first starting point might restrict your thinking enormously and maybe block the ideation process of new innovative products.
At the end of the day earning money is a great side effect of our job field, but this should never be the starting point for a product. First find a problem, that is worth solving, come up with solutions not only focussing on Apps and start to build a product to help people! Eventually this is the reason why we all design, isn’t it?
Thanks for reading! Please give me a shoutout on Twitter if you have any questions, if you have ideas for future topics you would love to see or simply liked what you have just read.