Apr 21, 2021

3 min read

You Can’t Make Your App The Way You Want It To Be

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology” — Steve Jobs (American business magnate and founder of Apple Inc.)

Technology as a product is everywhere. I’m talking about social media, e-commerce, platform, service provider, etc; in a form of mobile applications or websites. These products were once built with a target in mind, to become something the creator once envisioned. But sooner or later, it might have got shifted into something else.

Facebook was once built as a social media where people can get connected by setting up a status, wall-writing, comments, etc. Now it was full of ads, campaigns, or news links. The same goes for Instagram. Once a social media for sharing pictures now has evolved into a platform for online branding, online shop, and endorsement. There’s Youtube. It started from a simple idea to have a platform for video sharing. Nowadays, many traditional media companies have migrated and created their own channel. There’s even a feature for live streaming, almost television-like. Tinder is intended to help people find their soulmates, now some people just use it for a one-night stand. Onlyfans is a content subscription service. I highly doubt that the founders originally intended to create the app so that content creators could make money using NSFW materials.

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So why are these products get shifted? I think it’s because of how the users used it.

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Users defined our product. We can provide a bunch of features, but it’s still the users who use our product the way they want it to be. Take a popular ride-hailing service: Grab. Some users have used the service from the drivers to delivers packets way before. After the company realized it, they immediately provided a new feature called GrabExpress. It was the users of Facebook who started using the platform for sharing commercial ads. Before introducing its store feature, there are already many users who use Instagram to sell products. They did the transaction via direct messages.

My point is… no matter how hard or how sophisticated your goal is to create an app at the beginning — in the end, it is the users who dictate how the app should be used. It ends up with adjustments that the app makers need to do to keep the users still using the products. Some even radically pivoted.

I don’t think that it is a bad thing. It’s just a part of the software’s evolution. We can’t prevent it nor we can’t fight it. Besides, what is software without its users, am I right?

So do you think there exists a software app that still serves its initial purposes as it intended to be?

Thank you for reading 😀

Cheers 🍻 — Ferzos