Micro apps: The future of mobile apps

Why have micro apps been experiencing such popularity recently?


There is an explosion within the app economy—especially with SMEs leveraging digital technology in new ways. The app ecosystem has seen a growth spurt unlike any other in the past couple of years, especially in the business apps category. However, business apps are not an extension or substitution of your website, nor should they be. They often serve a singular, specific purpose and set of outcomes that users can achieve using the app. This new wave towards simplicity has led to the development of micro-apps.

What are micro apps?

Micro apps are applications that are small, with specific and limited goals, consumer-oriented and offering highly targeted functionality, enabling users to perform a couple of easy tasks quickly. They are neither detailed nor exhaustive. As compared to say, the standard enterprise mobile apps, micro apps provide a goal/consumer-focused experience and are easy to use.

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Micro apps for business

The micro-app trend is significant for business mobility strategies. For IT organizations delivering business apps to mobile users, there are two main challenges:

• The need to ship mobile apps fast enough within limited time/budget/resources

• The need to provide immersive user experience (UX) in these apps to increase adoption

So, instead of picking up large-scale development projects with infinite resources and never-ending timelines, to merely mirror existing enterprise apps or websites, micro apps set out to achieve some quick wins. The strategy is to focus on mobilizing specific segments of the app function.

IT benefits significantly from the rapid execution of apps for priority use cases. They are also able to respond faster to user feedback, by testing and iterating with specific user groups, fulfilling the primary objective of agile development.

Application refactoring no more

Previously, app development companies like Capriza, HopTo, and PowWow dominated a section of the mobile application development market— re-engineering legacy software into mobile apps also known as application refactoring.

Luckily, they soon pivoted to a better strategy, that of building unique mobile micro apps that are context-aware and intelligent. Most importantly, they are developed for the mobile, distributed workforce that can use these apps from any location, any device or network. As the percentage of the mobile and remote workforce increases, the need to access corporate apps on demand has risen. Thus the single-purpose, streamlined workflow apps connect to multiple back-end resources and simplify standard business processes.

How micro apps work?

Micro apps are HTML-based and load dynamically, bypassing app stores and loading directly into existing communication tools. These apps use the underlying infrastructure and process but integrate into a mobile platform or sometimes desktop.

Some examples of the platforms that use micro apps are Slack, Facebook Messenger bots and Google’s interactive answer boxes, However, HTML is not the option worth considering when it comes to micro-apps. Frameworks like Telerik and Xamarin are focused on enabling multi-platform mobile application development to reach a broader customer base faster.

What must companies look for in a micro app?

An ideal micro-app is one that provides niche solutions and makes users more efficient while saving their time. These are some criteria companies should set a micro-app:

• Quick, easy access

• Customized employee/user interface

• Highly targeted functionality

• On-the-go, omnichannel availability

To sum it up

Micro apps are here to stay, and while they will not obliterate the current mobile apps, they will be a force to reckon with in the world of apps. They may soon be the first port of call for businesses to build dozens of niche solutions for specific tasks and user groups.

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