Specialization: Apps vs The Web

  • May 11, 2012
  • Scott

Sandofsky’s blog of the same name, Apps vs The Web, he makes a couple of points that perfectly capture my feelings about purpose-built mobile apps for BPM.  First, on the question of Apps vs Web:

People conflate “apps vs the web” with “native code vs HTML/CSS/Javascript.” That’s a separate, less interesting conversation.

I believe the shift toward apps is about user experience. This experience is defined by a few philosophical differences.

Perfect point.  It is about user experience, not the precise technical underpinnings (though those may be implied by the user experience).

As to the philosophical differences:

An app is a specialized tool, like a wrist watch. Apps thrive on mobile because people on the go have short bursts of time to accomplish tasks. Waiting in line at a bank, you only have a few seconds to check your mail.

While great apps are focused, with limited ways to get lost, the beauty of the web is frictionless exploration. Nobody aimlessly browses email, but it’s fun to wander Wikipedia. Web advertising works because users are willing to change context at a moment’s notice.

His post goes on in some detail, and makes the distinction between Apps and the Web really well.  Applying this thought process to BPM – Mobile Apps should be the specialized tools – with economies of motion and action to get the job done.  The Web interfaces into our Business Processes should allow for the exploration and collaboration we expect in that medium – and generalized interfaces.  But our Apps are actually more useful when they provide fewer functions and do just a few functions really well.

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