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Will apps replace websites soon?

Not too long ago the phrase “there’s an app for that” became quite popular. Now it seems that there may be an app to replace the mighty website as a business tool. If you think about it, it seems like there is indeed an app for everything and every place. Just about every store, business, or restaurant you go into has their own application to download. Soon, will apps take priority over websites as a business tool? Just last week, Facebook’s head of product design, Jon Lax, posed the question at the design event Semi Permanent, suggesting that websites may be a dying business.

The March of Technological Progress

Years ago, most of us could not have imagined a mini computer as small and as powerful as the one most of us carry and use every day now. There is the progression from mainframes, to PCs, to laptops, to tablets and so on: the devices are becoming smaller, faster, and more powerful. Now that websites have had to make the shift to mobile design, it’s possible that they have run out of functionality. Anyone who has a website business or develops websites knows and understands how difficult it is to get a website right and make it cost effective. It is a constant battle for conversions and upgrading technologies faster than most companies (even large size companies) can keep up with. But that’s not all, it’s a customer driven market and the question remains if the platform era is driven by companies or by consumer demand. Apps have been successful because of the increase functionality and their specificity. Lax says that bots are an interesting new dimension and might be “the next generation of what we think of as apps.”

Can Apps Survive in the Crowd?

As we mentioned above, there’s an app for everything. Just about every business, service, and idea has an app. However, statistics show that users really only tend to use 7 to 10 apps on their smartphone. That means an app you develop has a great deal of competition and a big uphill climb to make it into that fold. Especially when you consider that some of the 7 to 10 apps will likely be email, Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social channels. When you add in applications like weather, music, banking, fitness, games, etc. the field becomes even more narrow. We are at an 8 count already. So, the app you develop has to offer a benefit and be memorable. Technology like beacons can help assist with this for location shopping, but in other cases, businesses need to be sharp and smart with their marketing campaigns to stay top of mind and keep their apps from being deleted in the crowded space on smartphones where each application is fighting for some of that precious memory space. Then, on top of all that, the application must be functional and easy to use.

Is Simplicity the Key to Website Success and Survival?

It seems as though one of the keys to websites becoming and remaining successful is to maintain simplicity. Of course, anyone who designs or works with websites knows that simplicity is not synonymous with web sites or web design; making them appear simple in aesthetic and usability are the important factors. Users do not have to re-acclimate or learn how to navigate when jumping from one website to another if they are all simple and easy to use. Simple design is also a benefit for mobile, since it is not easy to fit complexity on the size to fit on a smartphone screen.

Summary and Takeaways
Just as the digital marketing community has been preaching about becoming mobile friendly for the last several years, now we turn to the importance of mobile application development. Of course, just having a mobile app doesn’t make it a success either. That means nuances and a new learning curve for navigating the world of mobile applications and the new bot technology and it just on the horizon. As always, when it comes to technology, try to remain ahead of the curve, or at least understand where the world is heading, and more specifically and importantly, the preferences of your customer base and target audience. Listen to them and test your new ideas to see how your consumers respond.

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Richard Larson

Richard Larson is the Marketing Manager at GoPromotional.co.uk, the leading UK promotional products company. He enjoys sharing his experience on a range of subjects to enable customers to increase their brand awareness through the use of promotional merchandise.

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