With both the continued growth of mobile and the nascent world of wearable tech, there’s a wide world beyond the desktop. What should your firm expect for the next year? Here are mobile app trends for 2014:
1. More Messaging
Facebook made big waves by buying WhatsApp for $19 billion, and it’s now becoming clear why it did. The social media giant is rolling out a plan that will force users to message one another through separate messaging apps, rather than the Facebook app itself. From the purchase of WhatsApp to its shift towards Messenger, Facebook is changing the way it does messaging—and so will others.
The growth of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and countless others show that younger users are interested in new ways of communicating. As this younger, international user base grows, they will be looking for apps that can offer something new and innovative.
2. Your Business Will Be Streamlined
The most common user complaints about mobile apps have to do with there being too much: too many emails, too many notifications, too much extra information being sent to users who don’t want it.
Too much information isn’t just a problem for individual users, it’s also a problem for businesses. Today’s most popular web development programs аre those that make business and communication easier, showing a need that this popularity reflects. A technology researcher at Huffington Post says that while only 4% of businesses have mobile apps to simplify their workflow, 100% of those companies predict that their competitors will expand in this direction.
What can we glean from this unanimity? If businesses think that their competitors will be developing these mobile apps in the next few years, it creates a strong financial incentive to develop them first. A clear need and an industry-wide push to develop these programs are the makings of a hard trend. You can expect big returns to go to the most popular new apps that streamline workflow.
3. Apps for Wearables Will Find Footing
The backlash against Google Glass speaks to how unsure many are about a strange new way that people engage with their technology. There are going to be growing pains as wearables go from tech-world curio to widely adopted devices making all of our lives easier. Wearable apps are going to go through the same process.
Obviously, there’s going to be a push to make existing apps responsive to a wearable platform. However, during the coming year and beyond, developers are going to explore apps that work for wearable tech specifically. Apps that uniquely augment reality will expand beyond traditional app areas like gaming and messaging.
Wearable tech is the next frontier. The fitness world was an early adopter with its fitness-tracking bracelets, and other industries will follow. Soon, Google won’t be the only name in glasses. As wearables grow into their unique industry niche, so too will apps for this platform.
4. Don’t Worry About a Bubble
One of the benchmarks of an industry bubble is that no one knows it exists until after it’s popped. It always seems to make sense in retrospect—post-mortems point to overinflated expectations and wild buying as clear warning signs. It’s natural when demand is high and investment capital is flowing into a burgeoning industry to hear speculation about a bubble. Sure enough, we heard warnings of an app bubble since at least 2010, the year that heralded the arrival of apps.
Anxieties have gotten louder since the inauguration of 2014. One analyst at the Wall Street Journal called the collective value of app-centric companies a $158-billion “app-revolution stock bubble.” Whether the doomsayers will be right or wrong in 2014 is less important than what makes a business survive a bubble.
Apps have already evolved since they first appeared on the scene a few years ago. The shift to in-app purchasing changed the entire payment structure, and apps can continue to grow as an industry. Is your app pegged to a sustainable business model? Developers who are making apps to augment an existing business plan should have nothing to worry about. The demand for apps that serve business remains as robust as ever.
Through 2014 and Beyond
Users on the go will, as always, gravitate towards those apps that make their lives easier and help them stay connected. With increasing numbers of users embracing mobile, the firms that know what these users want tomorrow will be the ones who see big returns. Does your firm have ideas about what trends are in the works? Let us know in the comments below.