When marketing a mobile app, you need to start thinking from the perspective of a mobile app user-experience designer. What’s next in mobile app building? Let’s learn more about a very interesting trend: mobile apps aren’t just independent sources or destinations anymore—they’ve turned into publishing tools instead.

Images Courtesy of Inside Intercom, The End of Apps As We Know Them.

How did this happen? For starters, app users felt like they needed more control and more opportunities to choose what they wanted to do when interacting with a mobile app. This is psychologically understandable and consistent with modern theories of gamification and customer engagement. Users started to advocate for more, including notifications, related content, social interaction, and actions newsfeeds. In fact, independent apps without integration and that need to be opened each time in order to be used just don’t make sense. The idea of background apps that form a centralized experience (iOS Notification Center is a good example) makes more sense and is more user-oriented.

In the meantime, a mobile app shouldn’t display just as a block of interchanging cards filled with content. Instead, it should be flexible and fit any app design, dividing your content into atomic units so you can guarantee it works with any device or platform—just like Facebook, which isn’t just a website with content anymore. It’s a multifaceted platform that works on desktop, mobile (both browser version and app), and messengers. This means that Facebook is a system, not just a range of interchanging pages or content containers.

This change is also apparent in the new features of the iOS 8 Notification Center and Android KitKat—for example, you can conduct some actions without having to leave the notification itself (i.e., without entering the app). The Inside Intercom blog predicts that this trend of centralization will only grow stronger.

The pictures below demonstrate how you can share and save articles, respond to texts, and attach pictures to messages right from the notification experience.

Images Courtesy of Inside Intercom, The End of Apps As We Know Them.

The same applies to messengers. The integration of photo shooting and video recording is a must for every social messenger, such as Facebook and Viber.

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Image Courtesy: Publ.com Blog

But this isn’t anywhere near the end of the road: notifications are forecasted to tweet and retweet, post your Facebook updates, show geographical locations, buy goodies on Amazon, pay your bills, book a restaurant, listen to a text message read by Siri as you drive, and dictate your reply. The list goes on and on, as far as the current functionality of mobile apps. App designers should understand that people install apps not to open them but to receive timely and useful notifications, reminders, and promo messages.

One way this new concept may look like in 5–10 years is just as a range of cards that can be flipped horizontally and vertically and that contain interactable content.

Image Courtesy of Inside Intercom, The End of Apps As We Know Them.

The next step would be putting content into containers based on your location and the action you take. Stores can do this when you go shopping at one of their locations—and the payment information after you use your credit card comes to you the same way. All these technologies are in place today and only need a bit more time and integration to fully emerge. This centralization will make desktop websites and even separate mobile apps obsolete, putting the convenience of users above everything else. Opening apps will still be possible for deep engagement and deep context, but not for everyday app routines. And, due to higher competition among notifications, app designers will need to work hard on functionality and the look of the pushes they send out to app users.

As you see, apps aren’t dying, they’re just changing form. What are yourpredictions for the mobile app landscape?

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