Apps take the lead – but is the web really dead?

Scott Ewings

It’s official – latest research shows we’re now spending more time using mobile apps than the web for the first time. This crucial shift comes just as combined tablet and smartphone shipments outstrip those of desktop and notebook computers – both developments apparently bearing out Wired magazine’s pronouncement that ‘the web is dead.’

But is it really that simple or surprising? In some ways, this is a natural development if, like Fjord, you think about it from a service design perspective.

More and more popular websites are creating apps for their users and actively marketing them to mobile users. These apps invariably deliver a far better user experience than their corresponding mobile websites. The most obvious conclusion is that users are choosing the best experience available to them, and as that better experience becomes more readily available, they’ll continue to migrate.

But the data and content behind these apps is the same as that powering the browser-based version, of course – and other touchpoints in the system. Nothing need be ‘killed off’ in order to signify a meaningful evolution of the user experience.

Ultimately, success or failure rests on the nature and quality of the engagement experience.  The challenge for most businesses is more likely to be managing the usual internal war between conventional marketers who think of apps as something akin to microsites in one camp, and in the other, those forward thinkers who understand that this is great opportunity to extend the branded experience in a more powerful way.

Like the mobile web several years ago, it’s now essential for agencies to build a total understanding of apps and competency in delivering them. Whether or not they take more eyeballs away from websites, the latest stats demonstrate how much apps have become a key part of the overall service design ecosystem.

Scott Ewings

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