The Web? There’s an App For That

I can't imagine what I'd do without the web.  Research, news, game tips, general amusement, and more are all there online.  Anyone can make a web page and create a new resource.  The web is vital to what I do, to my life, to my job – and I imagine you're the same way.

However we also know the web has problems.  We get bad pages and embed ads, corrupted sites and bad formatting.  How many of us have a few ad blockers, script busters, and other tools to make web-surfing easier?  How many of us sigh as we try and help our less computer-literate friends and relatives navigate the complexities of the modern web?  The web, for all its benefits, is complicated in many ways that frustrate our enjoyment of it.

Would you like the power of the web without complications?  We're seeing it already in the form of feeds and data and tools transformed into useful small packages – in short, Apps.  Apps, on our smartphones, our Tablets (and doubtlessly soon our computers) are simple, fast, focused, and often less complicated than the web – even when, ironically they often just are different ways of accessing the web, such as Apps that are RSS feeds.

Think for a moment.  Right now would it be easier to have your brother who can't operate a computer download an app or listen to you explain flash-blockers?  Yeah.  Exactly.

Apps also make sources of payment clear to people providing information.  Roll your website or service into an app and go.  There, you know how much you're making in sales, you don't have to deal with working out ad revenue.  It's nice, fast, simple – people pay.  Done.  Income is clear.

Based on simplicity, clarity of payment, and the fact you can easily repackage web content into Apps, I expect to see more of them.  More on the smartphones, more App-like tools distributed through various services, even Apps easily installed and de-installed on virtual sandboxes in our computers.  Apps simply make things easier in so many ways.

Apps won't replace the web (but may for some).  Apps won't replace bigger tools (for everyone).  But the mixture of clarity and simplicity will appeal to many people.  We're getting used to them very quickly anyway, and people seem to like what they see.  They may not give up the web or larger apps, but they'll be changing their personal technology strategies.

What does this mean?

  • First of all I think the "App Concept" has thoroughly infiltrated people's mindsets.  They are used to the idea of simple, effective, secure, no-thought-to-use tools.  The "App Concept" will infiltrate every piece of technology in the net five years.
  • Secondly, strategies for people involved in web tools, services, and pages will need to change.  Apps may become unavoidable for some businesses.  You'll need to decide on what goes on your site, what goes on an App, and so forth when you plan web strategy or products.
  • Third, the web will probably experience a "simplicity renaissance" where people realize small and fast may be better (and directly dumpable into an App).  Nested tools, complex web pages, and so on may change because people have less patience for online foofaraw like embedded ads and the like.
  • Fourth, people are willing to pay for specific, focused functionality.  There's money in that.
  • We'll see a kind of dialogue here – including apps that run in web pages (and web pages that run apps), browsers that run apps in web pages, and so on.  The Web may be complex, but that's also its strength.

So you programmers and web masters and the like, there's my idea – we're going to see more App, and that will affect people's economic and web expectations.  Strategies will have to be built around multiple feeds of information, not just the web.  That's the future, in my theory.

What do you think – and if you agree, how can (and will) you adapt to this new reality?

Steven Savage