Mar 5, 2011 - mobile, web    1 Comment

Apps… the new way to access the web

So I had this friend who called me up and wanted to buy an iPhone or HTC Desire HD (Android OS). He wanted to know which phone between the two he should get. I have to mention that my friend is an average phone user and not very techy yet he knew what android was and it was the other alternative OS to an iPhone. Here are details of the conversation…

Me: “So why do you want to use a smartphone, you only use your phone to call your wife anyway?”

Friend: “I want be able to access internet because at work I can’t deal with my shares since they blocked the sites. I want something fast or even better an app.”

Me: “Cool so get an iPhone then.”

Friend: “I don’t know as iPhone is very expensive and I want to use the phone for internet and phone calls to my wife. iPhone seems too expensive when I can get the same thing done in the HTC Desire but the android phone does not have an app for IGindex; iPhone does.” At this point, he forwarded me to the this link http://www.igindex.co.uk/spread-betting/mobile-dealing-landing.html (screenshot below):

Me: “Why do you need an app to do your transactions on IG index?”

Friend: “It is so much easier and nicer to do it via an app. On the internet, it takes ages to do it while on the app it’s straighforward.”

At this point of the conversation, I realised that for ages user interface experts and gurus have been saying minimise the number clicks to get to a destination; the lesser the clicks to get an action done, the better. Apps are doing exactly that, it’s straightforward and allows the user to do exactly what he wants without having to search through a massive 800×600 or 1024×768 pixels page. In our attempt to streamline the small mobile interface, we have actually created a whole new way for people (even average users) to access the core tasks they require from a website.

This example of IG index app is a very good one of how an average user uses apps to access the core functionalities of a website. Given the choice of using the web or an app on his mobile, he will choose the app since it is much more straighforward and it gives the person the feeling that all the action is taking place on his mobile when in fact the app is just behaving like a browser but with the added bonus of having all core functions as native app buttons, as seen in the screenshot below:

IG index app breakdown

Without any doubt, apps will continue to shape the way we access the internet. No wonder some analysts refer to apps as Web 3.0.