Web to App Evolution

All the rage now are App's and their developers.

There are 3 main types, functional (e-mail, calendar etc) informational and entertainment.

So, on the informational side what does this Applification mean for the future of the internet? Overtime, we have seen the internet evolve. In the beginning, it was simple flat text pages in B&W, the next big innovation was colored fonts which could even flash accompanied by horizontal lines across the page.

Slowly over a number of years these evolved to being able to add images, tables, style sheets etc etc.... take a look at the News24.com website below 9 years apart, although the same basic design, the 2011 version is much richer and appealing. So where to from now? Flash is gone.... HTML5 (which allows for web-apps) all the rage.... but certainly Apps are all the rage.....

2002 - Web Page
2011 - Web Page

So too will Apps change the way we use the internet. Instead of visiting the same web pages that we have always favored, most of the popular site not have Apps available on the popular platforms as well. The most basic are simple RSS summaries that click through to the web version, but many are now rich in content and even interactivity.

This has been driven in large part by the move to Mobile browsing. The same News24.com site above also has mobile versions for tablets and phones. These are grouped together in different sub-sets of the page, which makes a one page view much easier on the eye and more intuitive to navigate. If you try the tablet version of many sites, the experience is most often superior to visiting the actual site. Navigation and targeted content being one of the key advantages.

iPad Version
Mobile Version - N9

What about convenience? Many websites we visit require us to login, when you have an app we feel more comfortable leaving that logged in as we rely on the overall security of the device instead. Many service industries now have dedicated apps for us to do banking, book a hotel, check your utility bill, call for a taxi etc. So the app is adding simplification to our lives as well.

I enjoy staying at the Radisson chain of hotels, one option is to book via their member website on the left, or via the mobile app on the right from which I can manage my entire profile, plus keep a copy of the reservation on hand or actually in the pocket on my mobile device to reference at check-in, without having to manually copy the information somewhere first.

Web Page
Mobile App

Unordered content randomly flung into the world wide web no longer has the effect it had in the past. If you want to market something you need to target it, if you are a big brand consumers will find you by default at your .com top level domain, but social media like Facebook and now Google+ is becoming the landing page for many consumer searches. But how do you continue the one to one dialogue....

Certainly, continued interaction with the consumer needs to be stimulated ongoing with these traditional mediums and especially social networks, apps will greatly drive conversion to revenue. This will be either via direct in-app sales/bookings/use of real world service or via targeted marketing messages that you are able to sell. Above all, as the creator you are able to measure frequency of use and key aspect of use, which will further enable understanding of whom you are trying to target.

Basically, apps is the next revolution in content. Whilst not dead, the traditional web is not getting used in the random way it initially was. If you doubt it, monitor which web ages you use everyday, then check if there is a mobile app (tablet or phone) for it and decide which does it better?

Or measure the amount of times you allow the web to suck you aimlessly from one hyperlink to the next, this does not really happen any more, we know what we want and where to find it now.

Here are my favorite informational apps (and the platforms I use them on), check them out and decide if the web experience is better than the App:

Engadget - iOS, Windows Mobile
News24 - iOS, Symbian, Meego
DEWA - iOS, Windows Mobile
Sky News - iOS, Windows Mobile
Emirates 24/7 - Meego
Associated Press - Symbian, Meego