Ever wonder just how much of a negative impact poor mobile app design can have?
Look no further than this recent online survey [PDF] by cloud communication provider RingCentral, “An Anatomy of App Overload.” “In today’s workplace, employees us an array of apps to work faster and smarter,” RingCentral says. “But as apps proliferate exponentially, they’re ironically making work more disruptive, and costing companies billions.”
Case in point from this survey of 2,000 knowledge workers in the U.K., U.S., and Australia: 69% of workers waste some 60 minutes a day navigating between apps. While that may not sound all that consequential on its own, consider a few other takeaways from the survey. 56% of respondents find searching for information in different apps disruptive (and 68% toggle between apps up to 10 times an hour), and 66% of respondents want a single platform for all their communications. Talk about lost productivity!
For a relevant comparison in another industry, consider the current shift we’re seeing in streaming services. At the start of the steaming revolution, Netflix and Hulu provided customers with large swaths of content as an alternative to cable. Now, several years later, there are individual streaming service for everything from sports to movies to Disney programming and everything in between. Where before, consumers could source all their streamed content from one place–which is hugely convenient–now, they’re forced to navigate a forest of services that in some ways mimics the pay-for-package model of cable. As the services have gotten more specialized, they’ve also grown vastly more unwieldy.
The similar problem in the mobile app world, we think, is app design–not only how apps are designed at the individual level, but also the strategies companies develop to try to tackle their workers’ needs. Because companies don’t employ a holistic strategy to app design and development–that is, they consider small individual needs rather than taking a general approach–they often end up with a suite of disorganized mobile apps that are hard to use together. Apps that were intended to help workers be more productive thus end up wasting workers’ time. While of course there are good uses for niche applications, too much of a good thing can indeed be a bad thing.
We don’t think it’s a stretch to say that companies would likely prefer that employees not waste their time switching back and forth between apps. So, the next time you’re thinking about app design, just remember RingCentral’s study, and consider whether you’ll be adding to or streamlining the amount of time your employees switch back and forth between apps.