Give Grandma Her Apps

Author: Guy Malachi
Published: August 04, 2010 at 9:14 am
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Recently, Forrester analyst Thomas Husson wrote a blog post on the future of application stores and I was struck by his suggestion that publishers make it too complicated for end users to find and download apps. He said:
"The subtle differences between widgets, Web apps, native apps, Java apps, and optimized mobile Web sites don't make much sense to your end users. As long as they have an icon that acts as a touchpoint to access content and services that are relevant to them, it won’t matter. The challenge for you is to make sure that your core target audience has your icon on their home screen, so that they engage with your company and not your competition."

I couldn't agree more.

Husson points out that there is an increasing demand for apps from end users, however, app stores need to greatly improve the user experience so that even those with no technical knowledge can leverage their offerings and access all these coveted apps.

Today, the delivery of apps to end users can sometimes be cumbersome, especially as it relates to app payment. Paying for apps is probably the second most difficult challenge for end users after poor user experience. While payment is what drives developers (the idea of being able to easily make money off of their application), it is a big hurdle for end users.

App stores need to encourage developers to offer free apps so that overall adoption rates rise. Down the road, when the market matures, payment will become easier to manage and more accepted by end users so everyone will benefit. In the meantime, app stores must reduce the friction and let end users easily consume free apps without having to set up an account or payment method. (Currently, in the Apple Appstore a user needs to set up an account before they can download any app.) This will lead to a better app economy in the long run.

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Article Author: Guy Malachi

Chief Geek at Conduit & blogger about technology and web culture at http://atguy.com

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