We are living in a world of mobile application. Everyone, and their mother are creating an app for their services, their games or their websites. While I agree is some case you need to do it, in many cases, I don’t see the value except being part of the crowd who is having an iPhone or an Android app. What bothers me a lot is when it’s only available to iPhone users, as an example, and there is no web access. Do you hate me so much that you don’t want me to use your service?
After I moved from a cellphone to a smartphone, I had a Blackberry, an iPhone, an Android, a Windows Phone, and now, a Firefox OS phone. When I had my blackberry, at this time, it was more a feature phone, than a smart one, and we were not that crazy about apps. In my iPhone period, I didn’t care as it was the only smartphone out there, and all the applications or games were made for it. In my short time as an Android user, it started to be painful as I wasn’t part of the cool crowd anymore, and Android wasn’t as popular as today. Windows Phone came after, and we had to fight for all the apps: every time a new service would come out, I wasn’t able to try it as the first app was on an iPhone. Now, I have the same feeling with Firefox OS, although it’s a bit better as the big name has web alternative, and this OS is all about web. What do they all have in commons? A web browser! So all these years, if developers or companies had given us a decent web alternative to their super-shiny-cool iPhone or Android app, I would have been able to be a customer.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against apps. I’m totally aware that in some cases, the experience may be better (for now), or it makes sense to do it that way, but, in many many many cases, why? It’s also the same things for people developing for a specific browser. You, developer, business manager, startup owner, marketing expert… when your service is offering only an iPhone and/or an Android app (or use browser vendor specific prefix/element in your web version), you tell everyone else “I don’t want you as a user, as a customer”. Of course, you’ll tell me that there are a lot of those smartphones owners out there, but is it a reason to ignore the rest of us? I choose not to have an iPhone or Android right now, but for some people it wasn’t a choice: they may not have access to those devices in their country. Maybe they just don’t want to be stuck with a three-year contract (we have this a lot in Canada) to have to cool new toy or worst; they would like to have one, but can’t afford it! I’m not saying don’t do application anymore, but why not start with a web version of your application first? After, make the super app you always wanted to make, but everybody with a browser will be able to access it. You’ll even be able to reuse a lot of what you’ve done!
So my ask is simple: build a web version, and open your amazing application or services to the rest of the world… and please, stop hating me! Stop hating us…