Bots won't replace apps

April 29th 2016

This notion of a bot handling the above sorts of tasks is a curious kind of skeumorphism. In the same way that a contact book app (before the flat UI fashion began) may have presented contacts as little cards with drop shadows and ring holes to suggest a Rolodex, conversational UI, too, has applied an analog metaphor to a digital task and brought along details that, in this form, no longer serve any purpose.

It took me too long to finally catch up with this post by Dan Grover about apps, chats, bots, design, and how we use digital products. It's a long piece but is worth the time, I promise.

Dan articulates so clearly many of the things that have been frustrating me about apps and OSs; ideas I have never been able to clearly form or articulate. Red dots, lock screen notifications, walled gardens of content...there are so many tedious, confusing, and frustrating aspects of how we've built (and use) our phones (on the West Coast, at least).

It's clear that Chinese companies, like Tencent, have found a meaningful way to think about some of these problems – we all have something to learn by studying WeChat and the model they've created for an app-within-an-app platform. But we're all still at the first step of this long road towards building better, more meaningful systems for people everywhere.

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