Are smartphones just not simple enough for consumers to use anymore? While many have seen the complexity of native apps as a positive, Americans no longer want to execute several demands to get information they could get in a glance, throwing open the door for wearables to pounce.
These days, people want to get the information they need more quickly and more simply, and that’s hardly a shocking revelation. Critics tend to see our demand for faster and faster information as the whining of a generation spoiled by the Information Age, but human beings have always relied on simple signals to govern our daily schedules.
We woke up when the rooster crowed, came home for dinner when the bell rang, and went to bed when the sun set — it’s just how our brains work.
In fact, many of the things we do nowadays are actually slowed down by tools of the Information Age, like smartphones. We might spend a half-hour at a time crawling around Yelp, nitpicking with all the available filters, overanalyzing reviews, and feeling paralyzed by all the available choices, all when we might have otherwise just walked outside and picked something that was available.
It’s for reasons like these that consumers are getting tired of complicated mobile apps and more and more interested in micro moments.
Mobile vs. Micro Moments
Of course, smartphone apps are meant to make things simpler for us. They enable mobile moments — signals proactively sent by the apps you’ve downloaded to send certain information or prompt you to complete specific actions based on context.
That context can be based on any number of factors, including the time, your stated or demonstrated preferences, or simply things that the creators of the app think its users would be interested in knowing.
But as consumers deal with more and more actions and notifications on their phones, their tolerance for these mobile moments is becoming strained. Many of the commands that users are being prompted to execute can’t be completed without opening the app, which takes time and battery life they might not otherwise have spent.
Sometimes, opening the app immerses users in a world with even more prompts, options, and questions they’re expected to answer.
Our technology and the apps designed for it, however, are getting to the point that we can preemptively anticipate and account for these problems. This opens up the possibility for micro moments — mobile moments that can be consumed or executed immediately with little to no engagement on the part of the user.
According to research from Forrester, “More than half of mobile moments could be consumed at a glance. You don’t need an app to know which friend called, what just went on sale at Gilt.com, and who just scored in the Cleveland Browns game.”
Putting as few barriers between satisfaction and your customers takes investment in the latest technology, including wearables. When something allows you to make decisions that are literally off-the-cuff, it’s hard not to see how such technology leads to real transactional simplicity.
Of course, some interactions will always require more complicated steps. Booking a flight, for instance, probably requires too many variables to leave up to an algorithm and a set of stated preferences.
Still, there’s no denying that consumers are getting tired of spending hours on their smartphones — to stay ahead of the competition, companies will have to anticipate these feelings and start getting customers the information they need, when they need it, and in the simplest way possible.