Friday TechMunch: Welcome to the App World?

Have you ever tried online banking on your mobile phone and gave up as the whole process is too complicated? Or deleted apps too difficult to start? Often we download apps in order to make our lives easier and more productive: buying a ticket for your local theatre, grabbing a deal at your favourite retailer or checking how many steps we walked on that day. Yet, once the app is up and running, sometimes all we can see is a jungle of menus and options tricky to access. And when your phone runs out of space, those not-so-user friendly apps are the first ones we delete .

Mobile technology should enable us to organise our daily lives faster and easier. We want to book our cinema ticket, or check the weather forecast, while waiting in a queue at the supermarket. In our busy modern day lives, we don’t always have the time (or will) to sit down and browse the net after a long day. With this concept in mind, programmers should focus on easy-to-use solutions with a clear design and accessible preferences. It’s a noble goal to give the user as much freedom of choice and options as possible, but sometimes it’s time to take a step back and think about the necessity of yet another sub-menu to enable push notifications. With apps, consumers are looking for ways to enhance their lives, not complicate it.

The recent example of the Facebook Messenger highlights the need for simplicity. Facebook launched its messenger app because the trend seems to be away from complex, multipurpose apps and towards simpler single-function ones (like whatsapp, or even Yo). But, they have faced a backlash about it – partly because of the complex Ts&Cs but also because it forces people to download the app in order to view their messages. So maybe the real lesson is that, simple design in programming can make everyone’s life a lot easier and apps will find their true purpose. Above all, people want the ability to choose what works best for them – after all, apps essentially allow us to ‘personalise’ our devices (remember the days when your phone came with Snake and not much else?) and we don’t like it when that flexibility is taken away from us. If you can complete your online banking and shopping in a few seconds you can focus on the more important things in life, such as taking holiday pictures and uploading them on Instagram…