Recently, I gave a presentation: Re-imagining Your Relationship with Your Smartphone. My goal was to answer the questions relating to our changing relationship with our Smartphones.
Smartphones are so much more now than a simple tool to make a phone call. We have more computing power in our pocket now than NASA had in all those rooms full of servers used to send a man to the moon. So, the big question is, what are we planning to use them for?
I read a review online this week of a new smartphone. The reviewer said he would pay more for the device if it did NOT place phone calls! He felt we could be more efficient without the bother of talking to another person. I doubt I will ever adopt this philosophy, but it shows how different we all are in what we expect from our devices and the apps we install on them.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked by clients when we work on digital organization is: “Is there an app for that?”
I am a researcher by nature; so here is what I found.
Here are the top four app stores' recent app totals.
Google Play 2.8 Million
Apple App Store 2.21 Million
Windows Web Store 800 K
Amazon App Store 432 K
These four sources total over 6.4 million choices!
I think that answers the question, “is there an app for that?”
6.4 million choices! No wonder we have problems deciding and sticking with our choices. Every day I see discussions in groups I belong to asking for recommendations about which app to use. These discussions always bring out tools I have never used or even heard of before. They will all do “that one thing” you are looking for, but which one is right for you? Do these discussions send me straight to the app store? Maybe, maybe not, we’ll talk about that more in a minute.
I would bet that if you looked at your smartphone right now, you would see screens and screens full of apps. Some of you will even have several screens with folders containing still more apps.
Statistics show, on average, we have over 80 apps on our smartphones; we use nine apps per day and thirty different apps per month. So, what is going on with all those other apps? Why do we have so many?
Clients tell me their apps were:
Recommended in a training program they attended.
A friend or family member recommendation
Found when browsing the app store.
Downloaded after seeing an Ad for the app on social media.
Seen in the side panel of a web page they visited.
Featured on a program on TV.
Presented during a YouTube video.
In the results of a search on Google for an app.
Offered for FREE or a free trial.
Downloaded because of FOMO; Fear of missing out. Everyone is talking about this app.
Bright shiny object syndrome. It looks cool, I must check it out.
I am sure there are many other reasons we have so many apps. How many apps do you have on your devices you never use, or you used in the past, but gave up on long ago? They are still there on your devices. Some of them have important information in them, so you are hesitant to delete them. When you need information, can you remember where it is? Can you find it in seconds?
I don’t know about you, but here is what used to happen to me. I’d start looking for something, and by the time I’d click, scroll and scan the results, I forgot what I was looking for! Sound familiar? Who has the time to check multiple places for the information they need?
Understanding what you need starts with your vision. What does it look like if it does what you need/want it to do? How many screens are there? Which apps are on the home screen? Do you use widgets or not? Are apps stored with related apps in folders? Which tools deserve a space on the dock?
What are you using a smartphone for?
Browsing the Internet
Calendar / Scheduling
Contact Relationship Management
Creating: Documents, spreadsheets, or slides
Entertainment: Internet radio, TV, Streaming Services for Movies and TV
News / Weather
Utilities: calculator, clock, timer, stopwatch, magnifier
Video meetings, video chats
** Something else???
Create a list of the tools you have now and what you use them for. Put a star next to your key tools. The ones you use daily and would be lost without. Now, ask, what do you need a new tool for? Which areas are lacking? Dig a little deeper and find out if the tools you already own offer the function you are looking for. Many times, it may be a matter of answering this one question. If the answer is no, then I would make a comparison of the tools I want to consider with websites like Capterra.com, G2.com, or trustradius.com. These sites let you compare tools side by side; usually 4 at a time. See their pricing models, features, rating scores, and read customer reviews. Do these apps work with the tools you already have? Can you connect them to your other tools? Once you have this information, visit the websites for the front runners and watch some videos, or read the knowledge base articles. This will help you make a more informed decision.
So, my question for you now is not if there is an "app for that", but rather, do you have an app for that?
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