I think we all got a little bit carried away with all those social, crowd sourcing, big data processing nonsense. We forgot that a thing can be just that: a thing. Simple, functional, useful, no-nonsense. Weather can just display weather. I don’t want to manage profiles to learn how cold it is outside!
Delicate hint for Google & Co here: nobody wants to manage profiles. You, Big Co, might want profiles to collect more data from us, but not a single user out there wants profiles. Users want things to work, to do their thing, to get what they came for. I want weather and I don’t give a fuck which user I’m logged in under.
And then there’s telemetry. I mean, yeah, if you’re building big enough app you might probably want to collect “usage data” to know what works and what doesn’t. Especially if you’re a startup building something really novel and your life and death (revenue, really) depend on how well are users able to use your app.
But not every app is like that. I mean, Microsoft Authenticator just shows you a bunch of 2FA codes. It’s a very traditional, dead simple app with maybe two screens max. It can be tested extensively in a single evening on two of your fellow co-workers. For crying out loud, you don’t need big data processing to figure out which shade of blue to use in a header!
I miss simple things that just did their job and didn’t try to get to you, advertise to you, demand something from you, impress you with features or analyze you. Best apps are humble and quiet but you can’t live without them.