Mobile Applications: Then >>Now >> Next

by September 14, 2016 0 comments

Mobiles have become a necessary part of our lives, doesn’t matter it disturb us from various notifications still they are catering some basic and advanced needs, so what could be our future with smartphones

– Shree Sule – Lead Consultant, Altimetrik 

Mobile phones being all-in-all devices, have gained universal acceptance and so, the investments going into building mobile applications seem justifiable. Given the dearth of investments pouring and the variety in offerings, we also notice a high-intensity war to capture the market share; given that the same or a similar offering is provided by at least a dozen of them.

  • What does this signify? There is enough money, but there aren’t enough ideas?
  • When there aren’t enough ideas, then why are we investing? Is it because we have enough takers?
  • What are the takers looking for? Predominantly convenience and better experience?

When we think of offering this for a continuous period of time, the question of sustaining the satisfaction levels will hit us back – technology has brought a lot of convenience into the lifestyle of humans. While that is true, we cannot deny the fact that it has taken the human race away from its roots. Making the consumer believe that they need something which they actually don’t, tempting offers on the ever competitive e-Commerce applications (Apps) make us buy more than what we need. The taxi apps backed by their alluring rates have made us forget that we could actually walk to our destination.

Shree Sule – Lead Consultant, Altimetrik

Shree Sule – Lead Consultant, Altimetrik

Today even to meditate, we switch on the meditation music from a mobile app and keep the mobile right next to us, choosing to get disturbed by the message alerts and numerous other apps. All of these are offering what we want and catering to what we need when we look at it from a superficial level. When we get deeper, one wonders if we were simply made to believe that these are necessities of the modern era.

In such a scenario, an App developer needs to answer some fundamental questions:

  • How do we channelize the investments to offer something that is really needed?
  • How do we address real needs and not the needs which are created as an outcome of pressures?
  • Can a device jump into a human being’s heart and find out the actual need?

When deconstructed to their core, these fundamental questions come with rather simple answers – to offer something that is really needed, one has to empathise with every ‘individual’ and not a population group. To address real needs, one needs to delve and indulge beyond an individual’s superficial needs. And most importantly, to have a deep coherence of an ‘actual need’ one has to understand, leverage and implement a Behavioural Model analysis.

With that in perspective, it becomes crucial to understand the mobile application in the past (Then) and in the present (Now) to determine what the future (Next) would be like.


All applications that queued up in a Play Store or Apple Store were built based on certain ideas. These ideas originated with the purpose of addressing a problem statement and bringing in convenience.

It solved various problems such as running after buses for reservations, landing up in restaurants without any clue of the menu and so on. What did they all address? A problem statement. Most of these apps have now become a daily utility. For example, a couple of apps were launched to solve the problem of checking rates of various airlines and booking flight tickets. The apps were not equipped to think more then. Well, don’t we need to take it beyond?


Mobile applications are extending their offering to the next level of analysing the behaviour of a population group and render experience based on the same. When such an approach is adopted we look at the behaviour as a mere behaviour but not as an output of certain thoughts.

Taking the same example of booking a ticket, it is assumed that people are only looking for rates, date and time – reactively, they are made as an offering. It is also built with some study on the behaviour and expectations of a population group which is expected to use these applications. The behaviours that were studied are a by-product of some thoughts. These thoughts are an offshoot of certain feelings and they originate at a particular time based on one core need. At this point of time, mobile application development is focusing on the superficial layer of behaviour.

It is a challenge to get beyond behaviour as data is currently used to predict behaviour and does not take a cognitive approach. The needs are not evidently apparent to the conscious mind of oneself but when that need is addressed, it leads to delight. This will elevate the service from aiming at providing customer satisfaction to customer delight.


The behavioural study must continue to be a part of mobile developments, but should scope in the fact that it is a subset of certain thoughts which in turn originate as a result of some feelings which is a subset of needs.

Looking into the same example we took earlier, we find a person looking for flights for a date closer to a long weekend. It could either be a holiday or visit his home which can be figured out using his past travel history, age and other demographics.

Actual intent can be further validated using a small questionnaire. If we determine it is towards a holiday, his thoughts will be on leisure, travel, sightseeing and so on. He will be looking forward to it and will have a feeling of excitement and impatience to wait for it. The underlying need is a break from routine, rest, family time and so on.

If the mobile application developers can keep these as a focus in rendering service and experience, probably that is what will take mobility to Next and maybe, even beyond.

Blurb: Behavioural study must continue to be a part of mobile developments, but should scope in the fact that it is a subset of certain thoughts which in turn originate as a result of some feelings which is a subset of needs.


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