In January of this year, Apple announced the App store had reached forty billion downloads, and that ten billion dollars was spent on IOS Apps in 2013. Three billion of the Apps were downloaded in December alone.
You have to wonder how many of these Apps were developed just to jump on the bandwagon and be a part of the frenzy to get some quick cash?
As I trawl through hundreds of Apps and pick interesting ones to view I see comments like “hopeless, waste of money”, “clunky and crashes when you do…” and “I want my money back”.
You don’t have to search far to find these kinds of comments. So much so you have to wonder whether mainstream App development is going the way of the Nigerian scam. Promise anything for the chance of a buck.
Driven by a low cost per unit market, we have to understand this often means a lower quality product upon release.
Then there is the question of whether mobile will become a true corporate computing solution and replace the PC altogether. If that is going to happen App development needs to have a completely different lifecycle than the one that currently exists.
I have done a bit of research on well-positioned Apps vs newer just out of development Apps (my research was by no means empirical). What I noticed is that there seems to be a reduction in feedback and comments from people.
It is almost like people are getting so bored with buggy Apps they can’t even be bothered to comment anymore. Early versions of older Apps seem to have a lot more feedback than Apps released recently.
At present, a lot of App developers are, in my opinion, fishing. They know that, with so many fish in the water, they are bound to catch a percentage regardless of how good the App is.
They can then use this fishing money to turn out other Apps or create a better version to try capitalise on their existing momentum. Either way they are using the customer as the test bed so you pay the price twice – once for the App and once for the frustration.
My prediction is that very soon App fatigue will set in, after which those developers that survive will be the ones who know what the customer wants and involve the customer in the process.
The future for App development needs to facilitate a method that allows the customer to provide contributory input. The value of this is harnessed by utilising customer input during the process of development.
The outcome would be a better-refined, more focused product that would increase the margin of customer satisfaction and experience no matter the platform.
There is a real need to harness customer input while leveraging the selection process in App development, leading to the thought that greater customer input leads to more acute selection, with the intention of creating a customer-centric product.
Some Apps/developers will survive if they meet a need, but many others will find the consumer market is getting smarter – future potential customers will want to see some proof in the pudding before they purchase.
If mobile is going corporate (I believe it will) as a complete business solution for the knowledge worker, then App developers need to get serious and work with the customer to provide solid App development.
Finally I could not have said it better than this quote from the VP of Shell:
“At Shell Global Solutions, our approach to technical collaboration is designed to mitigate these risks. We call it co-creation, but there is a myth in the industry that co-creation simply entails seeking the input of another party. Co-creation is much, much more than that. It is a sophisticated approach to technical collaboration that brings together distinctive viewpoints to provide a fundamentally better understanding of a customer’s problem and to evaluate the widest possible technical solution set.”
To survive in the future – you will need to understand the customers problem and deliver a quality product.