We've had mobile apps for 10 years now and I am sorry to say their day is done.
Look at your smartphone screen right now, scroll around all those apps and then ask yourself - which ones do you actually use regularly? Hardly any, right?
What do you use beyond the standard tools, such as mail, maps, messaging apps? You probably do some social media - Facebook if you are a 40 year old mum, Instagram if you are in your 20s, Snapchat if you are in your teens and Twitter if you are a bit of a social media snob. But beyond those apps I bet you barely touch those others you have.
We have awesome tools which help us monitor the performance and engagement of apps we develop and one key metric is frequency of use - in this video we explore how you can ensure your app does not become an expensive, irrelevant pile of code...
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The app is dead!
Long live the integrated service!
In 2017 studies showed that:
People used on average 9 apps a day
30 apps in a month
and with 6 million apps on the stores
will your app make an impact?
most time was spent on social network apps…
Facebook holding the top spot
The most essential apps for 18-34 year olds were:
Whatsapp, Messenger, Amazon and Google Maps
…what does this tell us as app developers?
Users are only engaging regularly with a handful of apps…
The app as we know it is dying…
So what does this mean for your app?
…how can your app compete? Simply put, it cannot…
But your app is amazing, right?
look how cute it is… look at all the stuff it can do…
It’s the next Pokemon Go but for [INSERT YOUR INDUSTRY HERE]
It kinda doesn’t matter if it is, it’s gonna get overwhelmed and all those other mean, popular apps are gonna dance on its grave :(.
What’s the use?
May as well give up now huh?
Chuck it all in and let the big boys have
All. The. Fun.
Perhaps there’s another way?
As the old adage goes, if you can’t beat them, JOIN THEM!
Well lets talk ‘Integrated Services’
And we’ll start with the humble message app…
Here is WhatsApp, Messenger and iMessage.
Users spend A LOT of time in these apps.
So what if you could get your app’s features and services inside these beauties!
Well all of them allow third party developers (that’s you) to build your app into theirs…
Let’s take a look at how this works on Apple’s iMessage app. Apple has ‘opened up’ this once ‘Sandboxed’ app so now it plays nicely with others!
You can slip your features or services right inside, quick as a wink, smooth as silk.
Just as these intrepid developers have done let’s see how it looks….
Here is a conversation that I have had with my friend Mike on iMessage. You can see he has shared some Ed Sheeran tracks from Spotify. Interestingly - he looks a lot like our Ed… Steady ladies - he’s taken!
I can easily share the music I think he would like (or, indeed, irritate him, like some nice Coldplay) without the faff of going to the Apple Music app…
I might want to arrange a nice lunch for us at a local pub… we can shoot the breeze about middle-of-the-road whiney rock…perhaps not.
No, what I want to do is send him a hilarious animation of me doin’ some jammin’ - coz that’s what life has boiled down to…
See - I have a full interface into Jib-Jab’s app right here in iMessage.
Do you remember when we used to read books and shake hands?
When did human interaction boil down to this?
Entropy at work folks…
Let’s move on before I hurl.
Apple has done something similar with TV and Film, we used to have to deal with all these apps…
But they recently replaced their Video app with this little beauty! The TV app.
I used to have to hunt around my app heavy home screens - wading through the app dross to find to a video player so I could escape the world…
…a world where people can boil down their religious beliefs, political standing or how they feel about others in a badly spelled meme…
Now, however Apple have created a one stop shop for all my TV viewing needs.
Because I have the apps installed you can see movies from Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and iTunes.
If you are a video app owner you have to be in bed with Apple to get them to include your service in their app.
However there are other opportunities to get your services in front of users which does not require you compromise your values…
This is in the form of extensions
Photo editing is a good example of this, if your app offers photo editing functionality…
Like these apps… you can surface this right inside other apps including Apple’s photo app.
I have Pixir installed (other editing apps are available) Pixir allows me to quickly add natty frames to my photos.
I can edit this photo of some nice daffs (I love a daff, perhaps my favourite flower - although Tulips are pretty good and there is that cracking ‘Two Lips’ joke…classic)
aaanyay look at me ruin what was otherwise a really nice picture with this foul frame.
Now that monstrosity is created, I’ll share it on Instagram with some vapid statement about the fragility of life and use hashtags like #organictrumpet #springlove
In fact the daff is a Narcissus… It’s the Instagram flower - oh the irony!
You are not limited to just extending your functionality into other apps like the photo editing examples. On iOS you can use Siri Kit to extend your functionality to other areas of the ecosystem…
Siri Kit allows you to integrate your app with Maps.
Yelp, Uber, Lyft and OpenTable are a few examples.
Let’s pretend I want to travel from the Moscone Center to Pier 27 so I can visit Alcatraz. I could drive or walk… or, because I have Uber and Lyft installed I can book a taxi right here in the Maps app. I get a range of options from each service and just select the one I want. No hunting around to compare Lyft and Uber and I am kept in Maps which is great coz I am hungry.
Since I want food nearby I’ll stay in the maps app. I can search for restaurants as the Maps app has feeds from various other apps including Yelp, OpenTable and TripAdvisor.
Oooh the choices…
If your app does any of these things;
You can plug it into Siri Kit to make these features available to users outside of your app.
And while the examples in this video have been largely Apple centric it’s worth noting there are other products available to the consumer. Android supports much of what has been covered. But the biggest evolution in tech which tells me the app is dead
Your users can interact with your services in the most natural way…
With Google Home, Apple’s Home Pod and The Amazon Echo users can now interact with your services and features without picking up their phone and therefore…
The (stand alone) app is dead!
So you must turn it into an integrated service!