Summary of this post: That I think organisations are wasting money by building apps. I had this post sitting unpublished this week and after seeing a third example of an org building an app rather than an awesome web platform I decided to finish and publish it. In my opinion, don't build an app, build an awesome Drupal website instead. It will be cheaper, more flexible, more robust and easier to manage. Disagree? Tell me why :)
The number one reason why people won't buy an iPhone 7 will be/is because of the headphone jack. Getting away with the aggravation of having a unique charging cord lulled Apple into a false sense of security and self importance. They have now lost the one advantage they had over all others - that their phones could be picked up and used by anyone.
Changing the headphone jack shows a lack of understanding (or lack of interest) in people. Technology allows for the quick execution of ideas, and the digital trash can is full of nice ideas that forgot one key thing, people - what they do, how they think and how they work.
Apple no doubt have a big picture and a big plan - well let's hope so anyway - the critics would say the big picture died with Steve Jobs
Last week switched to Samsung after being with Apple since the iPhone 3. A key reason for me? The headphone jack. It was enough to annoy me, yeah there is a bit you can add on, but I lose things and don't remember little bits of stuff. I will watch with interest on how the iPhone 10 goes, but that phone jack space better have morphed into some pretty awesome function to get me to switch back now that I've gone.
After being in the tech industry for nine years, which never really seemed long but actually kind of is, I've seen the evolution of technology into the the hands of the people. Where, like never before, people want to know how they too can play and shape and bend and mold. And wow, have their been some dumb ideas in that nine years that have been talked up.
The ideas that fail are those that have a disconnect between what people do, and will do. Take apps, if your organisation or business is thinking about spending money on one think long and hard - and if your website is crap why do you think your ability to create, maintain and manage an app will be any different? The app junkyard is littered with nice ideas and wasted time and money. You may be better off taking your cash to Trump Casino and putting your money on black.
Put aside app marketing and find ability; say your app idea is great and people will read about it and seek it out. Will your app be a priority on someone's phone? Next time they go to take a photo and they have no space will your app survive delete? When they hit download and there is no more room is your app compelling enough to delete something else to make room? Will your app be remembered? Used one week later, one month, six months, a year? If not delete, delete, delete.
And ask your organisation, is your app good enough that you and 80% of your entire staff would download it and use it in their day to day lives? And I mean entire staff, not just the ones that suck up to your ideas.
These questions are ones you need to ask - and if you are building for iPhone they are crucial because they are the ones that stitched in the limits on storage space.
Failure to understand or consider strongly enough how people use their phones is the same mistake Apple have made with their headphone decision. No one wants to admit their app only had 100 downloads and was thousands of dollars down the drain.
The headphone jack wasn't the only reason I switched. I was sick of running out of space, I don't have that many photos (my sister has 4000), but I do have productivity type apps that take up a whole lot of space - it is why I know I don't have room for your organisations app. Sorry. But I have a nine year old and every time one of us wants a new app something must die!
An app is an accessory, it's dispensable. You have to consider if your organisation has that kind of money to waste on a luxury (again, especially if your website is crap).
Headphones are dispensable too - and at $10 each that's Ok. As shameful as a discussion on e-waste is, I've lost at least three sets, the new puppy wiped out two, and my daughter probably has a pair so she stops using mine. So a $229 airpod headphone thing? I'm not responsible enough for that.
Apple either didn't think about me and how I use headphones, or if they did they didn't care and they did what they wanted anyway. Yes, they have a magical long game and their plan all along is to do something so spectacular with the iPhone 9 and win me back with the iPhone 10. If they have that much money and the luxury of time to waste then good luck to them.
You are so much better off putting your money in to improving the functionality of your website and making sure it rocks on mobile. Anything you want to build into an app can be built using Drupal, then you have one site to manage that will work across all browsers (yes total Drupal bias alert I know). There is a function available to turn your Drupal website into an app too. The only way I'd recommend creating an app is if you need users to store photos or content that is unique and only visible to them that would otherwise cause privacy issues on a website.