Jan 4th, 2017

The app Killers?

Does there always have to be something that will apparently "kill" the current solution? The iPhone Killer, a Tesla Killer and now Chatbots - the App Killers?

Facebook Messenger logo and  Bot

I am sure it has happened throughout history but let's start with the iPhone. Since it's launch the iPhone became a huge success and was followed constantly by "XXX launches the iPhone Killer!" stories. Tesla was blighted by the same thing with the Tesla Death Watch site and still has such comparisons with companies like Faraday Futures. Email has been bullied for many a year with "Email is crap and should die" stories, many apps such as Slack are attempting to take over as the new kings of communication.

My gripe.

My gripe with all this, and now with the talk of chatbots being the future killers of the "app" - it is all nonsense caused by bored minds wanting "something new" for the sake of it.

Firstly, email is an amazing tool - the trouble with email is the users who don't bother checking their email and therefore end up with an app badge showing 1,236 unread emails. This is then an issue blamed on email - what has the email done other than it's job in supplying you with information that has been sent to you?

Yes, a lot of that information is not wanted - but is that the actual email app's fault? Is it my car's fault it looks dirty? Or mine for not cleaning it?

In the case of Tesla and iPhone, people love an underdog but quickly turn once that underdog sees success.

Now it's Chatbots

In the case of Chatbots? I think it is a similar thing to when I first saw Google Earth. I thought "this is the future of the internet! no more searching a list for plumbers, I can actually see one that is nearby". Clearly I was wrong. Google Earth is not the interface we all use to find nearby plumbers or restaurants. It is a useful tool, but not one that "Killed the browser".

Let me state now: Chatbots will NOT kill apps!

They will have their place as a useful tool, but people will still want to play games on their phone, browse photos, spend time being nosey on Facebook.

There is a lot of talk about the best interface being "no interface", this is perhaps where Chatbots come in. The trouble with no interface is that Human Beings are visual, we have evolved to use visual language. Since the time of cavemen we have been creating visual clues as to how the world around us works, whether that be a cave painting showing what animals to eat - or a button with submit written on it.

Without this, stories and tales disappeared with time, information gets lost - and that is the trouble with minimal or zero UI. Users don't understand the potential of what they can do with it. Unless there is a chatbot that can answer EVERY question in the world and apply any command, this will always be the case.

Unless there is a universal chatbot with an immensely competent AI (one to rule them all), then each one will have different capabilities and functionality - this needs to be visually explained to the user.