The rise and rise of the app
A digital distribution system like “a record store where software would be delivered over phone lines”.
This was the vision of Steve Jobs, all the way back in 1983 giving a speech in Aspen, 6 months prior to the launch of the Macintosh. It was clear that Steve Jobs saw the future of such technology. Fast forward 25 years and the app store was launched in July 2008. Today, 36 years after Jobs’ famous prediction, apps are stronger than ever and play a pivotal role in all of our lives.
Apps fall broadly into 6 key areas of benefit:
- Time and money saving - these include banking, shopping (Amazon, Tesco etc), cinema, theatre/ticket booking apps (Cineworld, Ticketmaster etc) restaurant (Open Table, Uber and Uber Eats), venue booking apps (Booking.com), comparison sites (Trivago, money supermarket etc).
- Entertainment - podcasts, audio books, magazines and newspapers, games such as Candy Crush, social networking sites, streaming services (Amazon Prime, SKY, Netflix, Spotify etc)
- Education - language apps such as Duolingo, knowledge building apps such as Wikipedia.
- Information - travel and review apps such as TripAdvisor, local council apps, traffic and commuting apps such as National Rail, TfL, AA or RAC route planners.
- Health enhancing (Strava, MyFitnessPal, Nike+Running App, Slimming World, Calm, Headspace etc)
- Communication enablers (WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, Social Networking such as Facebook, Instagram and Tinder etc)
Does your organisation have an app?
As a business or organisation, you may be wondering whether you could or should have an app? If this is the case, here are some important questions that you should consider:
- What business objective or challenge will an app help you to solve?
- Are there other benefits - will it help you to reach new customers, or existing customers in a better way? Or perhaps it will enable your organisation to enhance the product or service you already offer?
- Will it drive an efficiency benefit to your organisation?
- How will it fit and connect with our website and with wider technology in the organisation?
- Can you afford it and the maintenance it will bring?
- Who will responsible for it in the long term?
Remember, the best apps are built with a clear purpose in mind
We build apps for a variety of clients and the most effective ones really do have a clear purpose. Two recent projects were a room booking app for a college at Cambridge University and a parent communication app for a school in Oxfordshire. Each had a clear ‘job’ to do, as well as feeding neatly back into the existing websites (which we also built!).
Apps with a clear task can take the load off a website, reaching customers in way that enables them to interact with you in a quicker, more regular manner. They can decrease man hours, increase the quality of the service you provide and help you to understand customer behaviours, allowing you to evolve and tailor your service to better meet customer needs.