Government expert says apps are pointless

22260927371_52cd33ca75Ben Terrett, the former head of design at the UK Government Digital Service has sparked a row by pointing out that mobile apps are pointless.

Terrett had been chatting GovInsider which had told him about the Indonesian city with a target of 300 mobile apps built by government per year. As citizens increasingly use smartphones, officials believe this is the best way to reach them. However, Terrett banned apps at GDS.

For those who came in late the UK GDS was the first government digital service in the world, and is held up as a global pioneer for its award-winning approach. Terrett is responsible for creating services that have been copied all over the world.

He said that apps were difficult because they were too expensive to make and very expensive to maintain. However, they were also not needed because you could still reach a mobile population by building responsive websites.

Sites can adapt to any screen size, work on all devices, and are open to everyone to use regardless of their device. When an upgrade is required, only one-platform needs recoding.

It is strange that no one noticed this before. Apps were part of Apple marketing and took over the world’s thinking. Why should you create a programme to do something when HTML does the job just as well and citizens will be looking for the service first on Google?