Messaging looks set to disrupt the computing landscape but not for any of the reasons you might expect. Chat’s threaded UI, where all communication and actions are placed in a clear context of who, what and why, is the killer feature that’s been around forever and yet everyone is overlooking.
Mobile is the future of global computing, and according to Mary Meeker and Co., the killer app for mobile continues to be messaging (a.k.a. Conversational UI among pedantic product designers like me.) In 2015, messengers surpassed social networks in both number of users and rate of growth. And even though the mobile-OS-plus-app thing is still strong, research consistently shows that users interact with just 27 unique apps per month, and actually care about far fewer over time.
To find fresh, lightweight ways to reach users, forward-thinking businesses are turning to chat (and of course Intercom helps companies do this!). Chatbots have been anointed by industry leaders likeZuckerberg and Satya as the way to launch and scale this effort, and it’s all really real, according to Gartner (via Techcrunch). They predict by 2018 a full 30 percent of our technology interactions will be mediated through conversations with bots.
New threaded experiences will be enabled, supplanting single-purpose apps, sites, and services – even on the desktop
But chat UI will not blow up just because of bots or other emerging UI bits and pieces. As messengers evolve into full blown computing platforms, new threaded experiences will be enabled, supplanting single-purpose apps, sites, and services—even on the desktop. It’s the threaded organisation of interactions into useful contexts centered around people, businesses and task threads that could change the world.