Another Vote for the Experience: Evernote
- February 2, 2011
- 2 Comments
In a recent update on Evernote’s experience on the Mac App Store:
A strike against lowest common denominator
If Evernote’s desktop clients were written in Adobe AIR, I’d be worried right now. The immediate popularity of the Mac App Store, and the iPhone App Store before it, reinforces my belief that in a world of infinite software choice, people gravitate towards the products with the best overall user experience. It’s very hard for something developed in a cross-platform, lowest-common-denominator technology to provide as nice an experience as a similar native app.
As the CEO of a software company, I wish this weren’t true. I’d love to build one version of our App that could work everywhere. Instead, we develop separate native versions for Windows, Mac, Desktop Web, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, HP WebOS and (coming soon) Windows Phone 7. We do it because the results are better and, frankly, that’s all-important. We could probably save 70% of our development budget by switching to a single, cross-platform client, but we would probably lose 80% of our users. And we’d be shut out of most app stores and go back to worrying about distribution.
Does this mean that web apps are doomed? Not at all, but the most successful web apps will be the ones that emphasize unique benefits—sharing, communications, integrations—that are better implemented on the web than in native code. This is the main design goal for the next version of the Evernote web client, by the way.
This is a really eloquent explanation of why techies pursue cross-platform, and why he’s decided to, instead, focus on native applications. As a user of iOS applications on the iPhone, as well as web applications, the difference between the two is stark. I’d like my Google apps much better if they weren’t just sad HTML5 apps.
BPM vendors, please take note: a great user experience matters more than pandering to the technical experts. Well, the technical experts are likely to appreciate a good experience as well, but they might complain a bit about loss of configuration options.