App Splitting

Thoughts By 3 years ago

People in general dont like change. In mobile we know that even the most useful improvements to the user experience of an App can generate user resistance. Incremental changes are often fine and go unnoticed.

Two of the worlds most popular Apps, Foursquare and Facebook, went through fundamental changes by breaking apart user experiences in an app into two.


Foursquare and Swarm

The comapny is well known for the gamification of physical places by checking in to restaurants, cafes and more to then gain points, social status and mayorships.This served its purpose for the company to develop one of the most useful datasets of venue listings in the world.Check-ins soon becase a secondary function, where users were comfortable using the App just for venue information.

So much so Foursquare realised the value in their business is listings data. They removed check-ins from the official App and created Swarm as a social gaming platform. Although this made business sense, it quickly became aparrent in my personal user experience that I no longer knew what Foursquare stood for. It became a Yelp or a trip advisor, both Apps I already own. It created confusion and I no longer use it.

Swarm was the same, without a focus on venue information, reviews and all the data offered in the main App, it lost its purpose too. Only a small portion of users engage with check ins.

Foursquare recently reported huge drops in both the rankings, download and usage of all of their Apps following this update.

Facebook and messenger

Facebook seperated the instant messaging functionlity in their flagship app into the seperate App. ON an update a few months back tapping messages redirected users to download a new App from the App Store. This infuriated users who didnt necessairy want a new App on their home screen realestate.

The response from users is a proportion of user refusing to download the App, and engaging with other messaging platforms such as iMessage and Whattsapp to satify their IM needs.

Messenger has conistantly reciveed very low ratings since its launch.


So Why?

I asked the b2cloud team at blog lunch today what they thought contributed to this behaviour:

1. There is a perceived inconvenience in having two apps for the same service. Although exactly the same functions are available there seems to be the thought that its a hassle to switch between Apps.

2. Having to organise more Apps on the screen can make them hard to find. Apps on the home screen are distinctive and having more can slow things down.

3. Each App looses its purpose. Together they offer value as a package but when standalone their purpose becomes c