Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I Lost My Mind When I Forgot My Mobile Device

I was in a hurry yesterday to get out of the door and I forgot to grab my smartphone from its charger. I was on the TTC bus before I noticed its absence. Panic!
I needed it!

I was running late for the meeting, so no time for a return rescue mission.

But I had all these emails I had to reply to and my commute is the designated time for this. What to do? Anxious and edgy, I imagined myself typing out the replies on my device. (The plus side is that in in my imagination the touchscreen keyboard was much easier to use.)

When I got to my TTC stop, I emerged onto the street in a state of bewilderment. It was a location I had only been to a couple times and planned on using my device's geotargetted directions. Dazed and confused I wandered aimlessly in the scorching heat for a many blocks before I luckily stumbled on the correct place.

I worried that I was late for the meeting when I arrived, so I went to check the time on my mobile before remembering it wasn't there. I walked around the building looking for a clock (there were none) and asked two workers the time and they had no idea (presumably because they didn't have their mobile on them).

Nobody else was in the meeting room at the time I thought we were meeting. The night before, I had confirmed the meeting time but now without my mobile device's calendar I felt like I had the wrong day or time. I waited for what felt like an eternity and was about to leave when someone showed up. Everyone was running quite late it seems and she had emailed me to let me know (which of course I didn't receive).

During the meeting, I felt partially mentally absent as I was unable to confirm various details by accessing my emails and documents online. When it came time to scheduling the next meeting without my calendar, I felt impending doom as I blindly agreed to a time.

Coming home on the subway, I had no idea what to do with myself as I was unable to play Tetris as I usally do or read news. I gazed forlornly at the nothingness of my existence that my absent device had left me with.

I knew I was relying on my mobile device to manage so many aspects of my life - and it does this with such amazing speed, ease, and accuracy that I truly love my smartphone. But I had no idea how rusty my brain got without my dependable, omnipresent aid. I must be certain that this never, ever happens again!

Never again!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

No App Required!

I saw an ad today that had me puzzled at first. It was for a real estate agency, RE/MAX, with a simple non-descript illustration, but with a huge call out: NO APP REQUIRED.

I'm so used to seeing ads that hype mobile apps that I couldn't immediately conceive of what the ad was getting at. I thought they might be suggesting that their human, local agents are better than cold tech. But that wasn't the case (we all know tech is superior to humans - I don't want to offend our future robot overlords).

There was only other bit of text and it revealed the mystery. It was the URL

Following up on the URL on my mobile device I found a really good mobile friendly website that had everything I would need from a realtor.

But to get this info, I didn't have to go to an app store, find, download, install, and then find again (within the clutter of my device's many apps).

Aside from the hassle of downloading apps (compared to the ease of locating a mobile website) studies have shown that users can only handle a few number of apps and only regularly use a small number of apps. Despite how developers sell companies on the need for an app and then companies hype their apps - we just don't need more apps.  

The World Wide Web would never have become as popular and powerful today if it had followed this app model. 

I think Remax going against the grain shows a genius level of knowledge of their customers' needs - even if the customers don't know they don't actually want an app for each company they do business with. Apps have been worshipped to such an extent and across sectors that recognizing the truth is no easy accomplishment. 

Google has recently been encouraging and now enforcing websites to be mobile friendly to rank well. (Read this article on this topic.) But otherwise I do not hear tech companies or design agencies insisting companies consider the mobile web first (as I have been for years).

So kudos to RE/MAX for figuring this out ahead of the curve. 

I'd like to know what prompted them to do this campaign so I will ask them and report back here. In the meantime, make your website mobile friendly and consider mothballing your app.