Ten years ago, if you’d have asked if I thought web based applications would become a constant in the world, my response would be a shockingly cold ‘No’.
Luckily, my stance (and the technology behind web applications) has changed drastically over those ten years, allowing for vast improvements in speed, security and perhaps most importantly, usability.
It’s because of this change why the web has been embraced by millions of businesses the world over, as they now see it as an economically viable means of interacting with their customers in an ever-expanding market.
So what are web applications?
Put simply, a web application is a piece of technology that can track user activity and adjust the website based on your particular interests.
From a technical standpoint, the internet is a highly programmable environment that can be customised to meet the specific requirements of millions of people the world over. What web applications do is create packages that tailor websites to your specific needs, helping you locate data and information that’s useful to you.
This makes for a more rounded web experience and helps the user find what it is they’re looking for much easier than before.
Who are web applications for?
Web applications used to be aimed at the big businesses of the world. Having abilities such as logging into your bank online and checking your finances was once seen as a breakthrough in technology, but this has now become the norm. What you might not be aware of is the process it took to get there, which by no means was an easy one.
In the same way automobiles of the early 20th century were seen as a luxury – yet very useful item to possess – web applications until recently were viewed in the same light. These days a web application can be immensely useful for even a small company – providing there is a need for the application and the price tag has come down considerably over the past five years.
What makes a good web application?
A good web application is one that solves an outstanding issue or provides users with a service they’d be hard pressed to live without. Perhaps the best example of a web application that most people use today is Facebook – the social media service which took the world by storm in 2004.
What started Facebook was nothing more than a simple website with a login system displaying information that other users posted. The idea is still the same: have your users create their own content with people who are interested in it and want to interact where possible.
Of course Facebook has evolved far beyond this now; it’s not merely a website we go to find gossip about our friends on, it’s a social network that connects its users with the latest news, fashion, technology and music. It’s also Free.
Facebook provides all of these services to its users for free, with the catch being your information will be shared with third party companies to produce targeted ads etc.
Facebook is a great web application because it evolved to meet its user’s needs. It has taken on user feedback time and time again to ensure its long term survival.
How can an application benefit my business?
Not every business can benefit from a web app. There needs to be a problem that has to be tackled or a service to be provided
When we created the Hays Salary Guide, Hays knew they could provide their target market (those looking to change their job) with very valuable information (their worth!). The web application proved to be very successful for Hays and we hope it helped those in the job market find their perfect workspace too!
If you can provide a service or fix a problem, you’ll find a web application brings a stream of new business opportunities – from networking and publicity gains to sales and company praise.
The ability for users to use their application in a browser or on their mobile phone has changed the game, if your competition has an easy to use web application they are providing a better service to your customers than you.
Ok, so what does this all mean?
Web applications are quickly becoming the new “must-have thing” for any business hoping to make a footprint online. Customers are becoming accustomed to having all their needs met by a single page application, so having a system that can deal with that was always something that would succeed.
The bulk of my workload is now spent making visually pleasing, user friendly front facing web applications that serve thousands of unique users every day. I’m extremely proud to be a developer who grew up with HTML tables, repeating backgrounds and garish webfonts yet gets to be on the cutting edge of web apps and their technology.
It’s an exciting time to be a developer and a fantastic time to invest in a web application for your business!
Need help growing your business? No problem – head over to our contact page and see how the OVG team can help now.