2 min read

Bringing the simplicity of mobile back to the Mac

A few posts on Product Hunt have made me notice that the we’re starting to see Mobile influence the creation of Mac apps in a big way. Mobile UI and UX has changed the expectations of users over the past five years. We’ve come to expect the following: fast, clean, well designed, use of images, and on-demand from software. The bar for the average user has gone up tremendously. What’s most interesting to me is the fact that the world is starting to appreciate the fact that less is more. They want applications to do less and they want to be focused in on their tasks.

Macs are starting to grow again, which is an interesting trend. Part of it is halo effect and part of it is the Mac just provides a better user experience for a laptop. Laptops aren’t going to go away, but their use case is going to be much more focused. What’s interesting is that we’re starting to see some of the simplicity of mobile make it back to the Mac.

The biggest example I seem to see are menu bar apps for the Mac. Instead of having a full applications dedicated to something, people are creating simple and focused apps that sit in your menu tray. You can see one that was on product hunt today – Hackplan.

Another example is in the trend of responsive design where many are designing for the web mobile first. When they then go to design for the breakpoints of Mac, the site starts to take on some of the UI/UX of the mobile-web. Infinite scrolling, images, less ads, etc. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Lastly, we’re starting to see many mobile first apps come to the Mac. Mailbox has finally launched and brings many of the pleasantries of mobile to the desktop for email. Yosemite features like Continuity are also going to start to drive many mobile first companies to provide a compelling experience on the desktop. The biggest issue has been that the Mac experience for many apps has felt disjointed from the mobile experience. That’s going to change and the Mac version will feel like an extension of the mobile version, the same way the iPad version does.

What would get really interesting is if we can start to see companies like Uber, Instacart, and Postmates come to the desktop in a compelling way. I could open my phone, but I wouldn’t be against having them on the desktop for quick access. The desktop is certainly trending towards the minority now, but it won’t go away, so we should help it evolve and feel like an extension of mobile.