According to Julie

Appathy

7 Comments

This xkcd comic sums up the anti-app rant post I was trying to write earlier:

Although I got my current job because I am a young person who understands technology, I am secretly a little old lady who still uses a web browser on an actual laptop for most of my internet needs. I like being able to read lots of text before clicking the page down button. I like seeing the whole picture – not figuratively speaking: I literally like not having to scroll to view an image. I like, no, need tabbed browsing. When did people start thinking that each website needs its own programme and that all of these programmes work best on a phone?

For navigating a city, lighting up the inside of a closet and waking up in the morning, I use apps. But when I want  information presented to me through text and/or images, I don’t generally need a specialized programme. And although I know that mobile traffic and mobile-optimized content is the near-future, I still view e-mail and internet browsing on my phone as a temporary replacement, a tool for getting me through the times when I’m not near my computer.

Apps can replace physical objects like maps, flashlights and alarm clocks. But there is no need to replace one all-purpose web-navigating system with a myriad of different disconnected apps. There already is an app for web browsing – a web browser. I think the worst thing is when companies think it’s better to make an app than to keep their actual website up to date and functioning – on both computer browsers and mobile browsers.

I know people who proudly tell me they have deleted the Facebook app from their phone, so that they are not compulsively checking it when they should be working. I always want to say something along the lines of “Good thing Facebook isn’t a website that works in a browser. Which by the way is a programme currently running on the machine you work on.”

For Norwegian readers: NRK Beta suggests that apps are suggested as solutions to way too many problems.

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7 thoughts on “Appathy

  1. Hm,

    I think it depends on what it is you are browsing for. The various bus apps in Trondheim do a much better job of presenting bus timetables than the web page, an rss-reader-app is very convenient for presenting a lot of information and sitting on the couch with a phone or tablet is more comfortable. If the quest for information is proffessional, however, a 15” screen is unbeatable. (Read and written on the couch with a phone.)

    Espen

    • Of course it depends. However, in the bus app vs. website situation, you might be comparing a good app to a not-so-good website. But seriously, I know lots of people prefer to curl up with a phone rather than a laptop. I’m an old-fashioned weirdo sometimes. In this case it’s because so much of what I do online, and have been doing online for a long time, is a lot like what I do for work now: research, reading and writing, word-based communication. That’s just how I work – in so many senses of the word – as a human being. I should also mentioned that I’ve had a couple of wrist issues – including breaking my right wrist recently about 5 weeks ago – so I really appreciate a good keyboard.

      So that’s me. But in general, I really do believe that apps are suggested as all-purpose solutions for a lot of problems they can’t really solve any better than a piece of paper, an e-mail, a phone call etc. That’s just a continuation of the same line of thinking that gets us websites that only communicate “Look, my company has a website”.

  2. By the way, the two Espens who reacted to this are not the same person. I have at least two separate readers. 🙂

  3. (Prøvde å svare på engelsk, men fredagshodet mitt protesterte. Beklager.)

    Lukter litt gammeldags av dette, Julie 😉 hehe.

    Jeg forstår hva du mener, og jeg er tildels enig med deg – men jeg mener det må understrekes at mye her har med vaner å gjøre. Hvermannsen surfer nå mer fra mobile enheter enn lap/desktop (http://labs.finn.no/finn-statistikken-for-januar-2013/ – finn.no er bra sted å finne statistikk på sånt). I mange tilfeller kan apper være en god ting for å få ting til å skje fortere, smoothere osv., på samme måte som vanlige nettlesere / ulike desktopprogrammer gjør ting lettere og mer effektivt for meg og deg når vi jobber. Alt (det meste iaf) er kontekstbestemt.

    Men jeg er enig i at ingen “MÅ ha en app” (ref. NRK Beta). Finnes ikke noe mer ubrukelig enn en app som viser seg i praksis å være en mobilversjon av den nettside. Mobilversjoner er bra (eller enda bedre, responsive sider – hurra!), men det er ingen app! Apper har (minst) én klar oppgave / et mål / en hensikt; de er verktøy – ikke bruksanvisninger eller kataloger.

    Og tilslutt apropos vaner: Jeg er en av dem som “sletter” Facebook-appen fra tid til annen, fordi den tidvis er ganske distraherende. Jeg kan gjøre det fordi Facebook på web “ikke ekstisterer” for meg lenger, og når jeg ikke har appen tilgjengelig på mobilen – kommer jeg ikke på at jeg kan sjekke den andre steder. Men jeg vet jo at det er fullt mulig 😉

    (I tillegg synes jeg Facebook er blitt skikkelig slitsomt på web.)

    • For mindre slitsom web-Facebook: skaff deg SocialFixer.

      Jeg har problemer med apper som er dårlige erstatninger for responsivt design.

      Og min personlige motstand mot å bruke mobil til alt er først og fremst knyttet til at jeg er skribent og vant til å forholde meg til store mengder tekst – noe som krever et godt tastatur og en stor skjerm. 100% klar over at de fleste ikke tenker som meg.

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