“I don’t care about the OS, just give me my web Apps”

So I tweeted in jest to Bruce Lawson today in a conversation about Progressive Web Apps in the aftermath of the excellent WebProgressions one-day conference.

And then I realised, I actually meant it!

My point is that as a user of tech I want to get at the content or functionality I find useful or interesting when I want to. I want to do so whatever device I have in front of me of me or on me. I’m not interested in arbitrary platform distinctions or fan bouy love affairs. To be honest I find the main desktop OSs are ‘the same but different’. Ditto mobile OSs. And that’s OK. I’d even be happy if devices became commodity infrastructure. But the market isn’t quite like that.

If I quickly want some info I’ll use the web. If I want to do something repeatedly and it’s convenient for me to let the service save info about me for *my* benefit, I’ll use an app. Furthermore,  as I want probably to get access to the same stuff on different devices that really means I want a web app. That’s the closest we’ve so far got to the “write once, run anywhere dream.

Variety is good for choice and drives quality so I’m happy that there are competing browsers and OSs. Just as long as they seamlessly support the features I want. And these days that probably means they use basic features covered by a W3C standard.

Does that mean I want my experience of the web sites and apps I access to be identical whatever? Absolutely not. I want variation that suites

  • My interaction modes and environment. For example, desktop with keyboard and large screen or mobile with touch (but note these personal and technical modes are all blurring)
  • Personalised access according to my preferences and accessibility requirements and environmental constraints (eg driving)

Actually, those 2 are really just different facets of the same thing. Personalised Accessible User Experience or AUX

I don’t want experience based on the suppliers development priorities or convenience. Nor on some marketing wish to push stuff at me for business benefits (especially Ads).  But, it turns out platform does matter as the accessible experiences are not equal.

I want a user-centred AUX whatever the device. No more and no less.

Having started taking Microsoft seriously again I do think they get much of this. Even if they are going to start charging for Windows 10 again. It looks like they are focussing on the cloud and services rather than just the Windows OS. With Edge, they are now engaging with web users and development community in very impressive and meaningful ways. They have made accessibility important at a high level. Continuum and devices like Surface Pro accept our desire to change our interaction modes during the day: and even encourage it.

Just don’t expect them to open source Windows just yet!

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