Can your app anticipate what I want to do next? It should.
Let’s face it. Too many apps suck. I can’t count how many I’ve downloaded then deleted. Many of those I’ve kept I don’t exactly love, either. If you’re planning on making an app, consider a few things first. The world doesn’t need another lame app.
If I had one wish for apps, it would be: Design something that anticipates me. Not just another search app. For one microsecond that was cool. Now? Snoozefest. Truth is: I don’t have any trouble finding things. I have trouble doing relevant things with the things I find.
That’s what I want: Apps that anticipate what I want to do next.
Consider apps to search for a house, an incredibly saturated and mostly miserable app experience to date, that goes like this: download, turn on location services, tap in location, price, style, square feet, and get a pin-map. C’mon, this is the twenty-first century! Same for travel, automobiles, electronics, restaurants. If I can do that in my browser, or with Siri, I don’t need your app.
In fact, apps should anticipate my typical search needs without so much user input.
Just connect my preferred social graph to your app. Then you could return some magical results. Ask me one question: Where do I want to live, vacation, eat? Then let your app anticipate the rest. Show me personally relevant results by analyzing and apply what already exists about me in my apps. Didn’t we used to do this with browser cookies? Don’t make a dumb app.
Don’t stop there, either. After your app helps me discover something, let it anticipate what I might do next based upon who I am, too. Show me a restaurant, then let your app make a reservations for at 8 pm. I always eat at 8 pm. I only need to interrupt if it’s going to be different this time. Same with shopping: Show me something for sale, then let the app automatically ask friends I know who own it for feedback. Don’t make me post it; only make me not post it.
Connect the dots. Anticipate. Take actions for me. Only ask me to intervene when it’s not typical. Make me take advantage of the possibilities!
There’s more: Why can’t apps learn from my behavior? Humans are huge sets of repeat patterns. Use that data. Every time I enter an airport, my travel app should automatically check me in, upgrade my seat, display the nearest Starbucks and check-in my location on my social network. It’s what I do every time: My app should make those clicks for me. If I’m browsing an open house, my app should automatically download more content, plus mapping out my relevant places nearby. Isn’t that what customer typically do next?
Make your app move customers along the typical purchase cycle.
Maybe all of this is coming. Or maybe not. This isn’t just a matter of more code or battery power. It’s a matter of smarter thinking about what apps should do. Today’s apps still require too much tap, tap, tap and barely remember passwords. With responsive web design challenging stand-alone apps, developers need to push the user experience forward.
Tomorrow’s apps will be one step ahead of the user. Maybe two. Build some omotenashi into your code – like a concierge who delivers a thinking-ahead, client-delighting level of hospitality that sets your app apart from the rest.
Do it soon, before you become just another wiggling search app about to be deleted.