A few weeks ago Kendra Schaefer published an article in Smashing Magazine on the web design trends in China. While it is always interesting to read about web trends in different parts of the world, the introduced concept of Light Apps left an impression. In a nutshell Light Apps are condensed mobile-centric websites, which focus on informing or triggering one specific action from a user.
Coca Cola, for example, launched a Light App to highlight the milestones in the company’s 128 year history to a Chinese audience. Its visitors are thereby solemnly informed about historical milestones and can share the link to the Light App with friends. Tesla in the meantime created a Light App for their promotion of the Tesla Model S. This Light App takes the form of an interactive brochure which allows users to discover this specific product. No mentions of the Model X can be found, which is also available to purchase in China, thus creating a focused and dedicated experience.
What Do Light Apps Mean For Responsive Web Design?
While looking at the examples you might have gotten the impression that Light Apps are essentially just mobile-only HTML5 microsites with a ton of fancy animations. So what is the big deal about them? The paradigm shift to mobile-first has been around for a few years now. Admittedly this concept isn’t as ground-breaking as Responsive Web Design proved to be, but the idea of going mobile-only certainly can appear to be radical. After years of convincing customers that Responsive Design isn’t a fad, championing a concept that goes against these principles might appear counter intuitive. However Responsive Design and Light Apps aren’t mutual exclusives. It’s a question of your goals.
When Should You Opt For Mobile-Only?
Imagine a situation where you need to come up with a digital solution for a multi-day trade fair to support your company’s campaign. What do you do?
Will you go for a native smartphone app and create versions for Android and iOS? What will you do with Blackberry and Windows Mobile users? Develop a full blown responsive website for these few users and additional plethora of browsers, which have to be tested? Or will you look at your target audience and consider that the average attendee at a trade fair will probably be using a smartphone or maybe a tablet device. That’s where the Chinese concept of Light Apps could leave an impression in the western world.
Focus on the important and dedicate your budget to captivate your target audience. It’s better to be loved by a few than nobody at all. You can still create an exception handing for laptops which allows these users to send the link to their mobile device. Just do it with the right attitude and message.
The Importance Of Owning The Customer Experience
Remember it’s all about the (customer) experience and even more owning it. The ownership of the experience is something you shouldn’t take lightly. When looking at the product line-up and direction of big players like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook you will realize that their end game is trying to own the full stack of your experience.
Creating your own Light App will allow you to have control of your solution and eliminate the necessity for adapting any code for the individual third-party environments. Build it on your own home ground with your tools and utilize the social media channels, short URLs in your presentation and maybe even QR-Codes to direct users to your Light App.
What do you think could Light Apps be the disposable shaver in the toolkit of Online Marketers? Makes you look sharp once but you won’t choose it for longevity.
Interested in the subject of Marketing Trends? Read our article on this year’s Digital Marketing Trends in Switzerland.
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