It’s really common to think of modern life living and all the habits we have come to adopt. Putting an alarm clock in the morning, playing Candy Crush Saga on the way to work, ordering food from our favorite app while watching a movie at home, or organizing our work with project management tools, like Asana.
Wait, hold on. Could you have imagined back in the ‘80s even the concept of all the above mentioned? Could you have thought that a specific toolbox, in the form of coding language, would enable all users and consumers to complete a task by performing a simple action?
Hallelujah, welcome to the App Concept!
As most things tech, evolution of people’s needs and technological capacities of devices, enabled developers, manufacturers and companies to envision a different concept that would unlock capabilities, far distant to the time of their creation.
When the “brick” was launched in the market, a.k.a. the Motorola DynaTac 8000X, consumers were introduced to portable telecommunications, the concept of being free of cables and static phones, despite the 2.5 pounds.
Moving on to smaller sizes, better hardware, faster operations and lower battery needs, users expected something more than just the possibility to make phone calls or send messages. More operations were enabled, and mobile devices came with a list of options.This was the moment when users had games available, such as the infamous Snake, settings, contact lists, inbox and other features available on their device.
It was logical due to the market competition and users’ demand to come up with something different. It was the evolution of the physicality and convenience of using a mobile device.
It was not strictly a matter of software advancements; it was neither a hardware revolution. It was mainly a matter of making our lives easier and use design to achieve that. Big corporations, like Nokia, were the first to adopt an app-centric format, offering users the choice to browse a menu, consisting of icons depicting the specific application.
Visual elements gained power over words, amplifying the importance of design to deliver the right message, in an aesthetically pleasant way, yet practical and prompting users to action. These visual elements translate into images, typography, lists, and search, and they come alive in the restricted environment of a small touch-sensitive screen.
Information architecture, the User Experience evolution and consequent concepts enabled developers to provide different kind of interactions and capitalize on existing interfaces. The mentality of users [slash] consumers [slash] people shifted towards an action-result mentality.
They used applications to perform specific tasks, expected specific outcomes and thus became more demanding in terms of their experience while using the apps. Simultaneous to this shift, if not its cause, is the context of actions and its impact on users’ behavior. We use our devices on the go, in various states, often while multitasking. This results in a timeframe of usage ranging from 30 seconds to maximum 4 minutes.
Nowadays, it’s common for a mobile user to have several messaging apps in order to communicate through your mobile device: making the old-fashioned calls, creating ordinary SMS, sending text and images through online messengers, or using them all at different times and places
“Some times even more than one app for some types of communications, cause of different needs of audiences, ie. you can have Skype and Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp (say hello to Mark) and Google Hangouts and Viber.» saysNassos Kappa, creative director at OgilvyOne, Greece.
“Experience and last years searches and analytics have shown that every single decision on design or small changes on UX can affect even the trust of users for an app ending in more of adopting it or, worse, abandoning it.»
What make the difference are the UI and UX shaping the users experience, and visualizing an alternative reality. In most cases, both User Interface and Users Experience designers strive hard to uniquely realize the application purpose.
Similar to product design, the way we perceive functions in mobile devices can impact hugely the user’s perception in correlation to a brand or company’s vision.