A statistic that has come up many times at the AirWatch Connect event is: 22% of apps are downloaded and used once. For some this is a cause for alarm questioning the value of apps or the fact we are awash in a sea of apps and none can break through the clutter. I see it as a chance for app developers and enterprise app stores to recognize that apps can have a time sensitivity factor and should be deployed with that in mind. Some categories especially well suited for disposable apps:
Event Based Apps
Here at the AirWatch Connect Show in Atlanta, the event organizers have provided attendees with a app container with a suite apps for making the show experience more productive. Attendees get a Secure Content Locker with brochures, a video app, and a contact app where you can get info from someone you meet at the show via a scan of the QR code on their badge. The apps have an expiration date shortly after the show for future reference.
For certain time sensitive activities like closing the quarter, training or team offsites a specific application can improve productivity. Having an app designed to address the aspects of specific activity focuses the user and interaction. Important milestones can have extra prominence in the UX. Training app icons can highlight the number of activities remain and automatically disappear when completed.
Location Based Apps
When arriving at a new location deliver a package of apps to help navigate the local area. Apps like MyIT are an excellent way to provide information on the local office with floor plans and office locations, and organizations can extend these by providing a container of apps from the public transportation, preferred hotel chain, or top local attractions. Once the traveling user goes back home, these apps can disappear.
In this world of disposable applications, I.T. needs to take design and distribution considerations to get them most from the disposable app deployments:
Allow for Longer Lifespans
While many of these types of apps will have a limited life span, for some users there is a need for them to remain on their device. Give users a way to transition an app out of a container time/location restriction and make it permanent.
Create Community Within App Users
The very nature of an app being tied to an event or makes them perfect for social components. Having features to share the app with others or have features that connect app users will engender more community among users.
Use the “Operators are Standing Buy” Effect When Promoting
For apps that expire in time window, use promotional areas in your enterprise app store to ensure people get them in time. With tools like BMC’s AppZone you can use high profile banners with calls to action to download before a deadline. The fear of missing out is a powerful motivator.