Are You Using Apps Or The Web? Vote Here

Forrester believes that the world will move away from the Web toward App Internet -- powerful local devices (like an iPad)  running programs that transparently link to resources in the cloud. My impressionistic view would support our thesis. As an example, I was recently with Susan Lyne, the CEO of online retailer Gilt. She told me that her customers were increasingly accessing her site via apps, and not the Web -- because it was faster and offered a superior experience. 

The last time Forrester surveyed tablet users (in January, 2011) we found that 16% were spending more time on apps, 39% were spending more time browsing, and 45% spend about the same amount of time browsing and using apps.

How about you? Apps or Web on your tablet? Click here, then vote in the right hand column below "About this blog." After you vote, you'll see the results of the vote to date. Thanks.


Interesting Hypothesis, Flawed Poll

You may well be right on with your "App Internet" theory. However, I'm sure that you know that stating your strong opinion up front will likely bias your poll towards this result.

Flawed poll


I'm surprised you don't see

I'm surprised you don't see it. You, thought of as an expert by anyone who visits this blog, state your opinion clearly in favor of an "App Internet," which direclty implies a bias towards apps usage over web browsing. Then you ask everyone else what they do most. The bias will be towards agreeing with the expert. (The majority still may not, but the minority numbers may still be inflated.) "More dentists recommend Crest toothpaste ..."

I'm not asking anyone to

I'm not asking anyone to agree with me. I'm asking them to indicate what they use.

Forrester partners with

Forrester partners with professional survey firms to conduct various consumer and other large surveys, right? Ask one of their survey design experts' opinion on this. I'd be curious to hear it.

There is a difference

What I use on my tablet will not dictate what I will use in the future. I believe there is a stronger future with web, to a certain extent. Once you can replicate the same interactivity with web on a tablet or a mobile device without performance issues, apps, to a certain extent will decline in demand.

However, apps are very powerful and useful for the right situations. The problem being is their cost, time to create and implementation and accessibility.

I have conducted research on this same subject:

It's all about the experience

Eric, interesting research and thanks for sending. Two points I want to make:
1) Apps (whether native or hybrid) should be judged more by the quality of the experience they deliver, than by the opportunity for advertising.
2) App vs web usage varies by persona - some usage patterns are particularly heavy for apps.

1) First, so far in the comments on George's post I haven't seen anyone mention the important concept of the hybrid app. This is an app that has a shell built to run on the device's native OS, with an HTML5 frame that renders content in a way that it looks like it's a seamless part of a native app experience. We have conducted a series of blind user tests and concluded that unless you tell the user the app is built in that way, they are often unable to tell it's not full native.

This is an important distinction for two reasons:
-- It gives a middle course to those who want to lower the cost of delivering a native experience across multiple OS's, while leveraging a common store of content in the CMS. Newspapers spring to mind, although we also see use cases in many other content-heavy apps types.
-- It shows that what really matters is the experience - giving the experience that *seems* to be a native app is as good as full native, if you really pull it off.

2) I would use myself as an example of an app-heavy persona. My iPad usage pattern:
-- Email - native app (of course)
-- Newspapers (NYT, Washpost, FT, WSJ) - all apps, some hybrid, one "pure Web" (FT) that still feels like an app
-- Meeting notes - native app (Pages)
-- Presentations - native app (Keynote)
-- Travel - native apps (TripIt, FlightTrack Pro, Zagat)
-- Media/entertainment - native apps (Netflix, Sling, iTunes downloads, Flixster) - although obviously there's streaming content rendering going on here, too.
-- Weather - native app (TWCMax)
-- Search - native/hybrid app (Google)
-- Shopping - both (Amazon app, also via Safari at times)

And there may be more hybrid apps lurking in there than I realize.

My point? Not everyone is like me, but among the demographic I represent, and many iPad users I know, this is typical. And we do it for the superior experience.

Same cycle as 3270 to client/server

We have seen this play out in the past with the shift from 3270 app sto client server. Of course web browsers are a lot nicer and come in multiple shades of green, but tablets are a whole step above Windows apps...

Admittedly, if a website has

Admittedly, if a website has a tablet app (iPad in my case), then I would generally prefer to use the app primarily due to performance. However, I'm not too sure on what percentage of websites actually have table apps?

The one big issue I see with proliferation of tablet apps for websites is the uniquely different user experiences between the two options. Tablets provide a uniquely different interaction opportunity compared to the website, however companies may need to revisit their strategies for consistencies when building tablet apps for websites. Providing "some level" of consistent behavior between tablet apps and website while still benefiting from the uniqueness of tablet capabilities would allow for easy migration/interactions between the two forms of site access. Amazon is probably a good example of very unique user interaction between tablets and website versus Twitter that has very similar user interactions between the tablet app and website.

Can You Tell The Difference Between Apps & Web?

I personally think the distinction between "apps" and the "web" is losing its meaning. If I'm Facebooking on my iPhone, iPad or Macbook I might start by using a stand-alone app, but then go to another app (Safari) to access features that don't seem to work as well on the app. Or I might be using the TweetDeck app (or browser plugin) to monitor Facebook newsfeeds in the context of several other feeds, and posting content to those feeds based on business/personal/artistic considerations. Or I might be using Foursquare to post geolocated content to Twitter, knowing that Facebook will pick up those tweets.

LinkedIn, WordPress, email and most other Internet services are all managed the same way: in a web page, in a native app, in an HTML5 app, or in a synchronized app. How, where, and at what time a service is interacted with, and on what platform (phone, pad or laptop or desktop) is determined by what the user wishes to do and where they want to do it.

App or Web? I believe the answer is "yes."

Most of the reasons given for

Most of the reasons given for developing a Web app seem to be from a development & distribution standpoint (i.e. - develop once target many platforms, low cost of development, more control to change code,) instead of from an end user's perspective.

These are reasons an end user is not concerned about. End user's care about the experience. Native apps provide a far better and smoother experience than web apps and most web apps are trying to replicate experience that native apps have already delivered (e.g. smooth animation,...). Thus, one prefers to use a WSJ app on iPad instead of the web page - better reading experience, offline caching, ..

Yes, native apps require more effort to develop but that effort is worth the satisfaction that an end user derives when using the app.


It all depends on what the

It all depends on what the person is using things for. Apps are not always a good substitute for certain websites because they do not include all of the features. There's always limits with apps just like there are limits on tablets versus desktops or laptops. Apps should not be a substitute but used for easier and temporary convenience.

NPR app a good example of that

I agree that does happen on occasion. I found some functions on NPR's website that were harder to use, or not present, in their iPad app.

But for the apps I use, that doesn't happen very often.