Posted by:Nithin Rao July 3rd, 2014

Okay, I must confess – When I first heard of the new app “YO”, I thought it was one of the most inane app ideas ever.  Seriously, a single tap, zero character, communication tool? No emoticons? No exaggerated exclamations? No abbreviations? No Internet Slang? OMG!!!

So, what is Yo all about? It is just a simple social app. Available for iOS, Android and Windows, the app’s only function is to send the user’s friends the word ‘YO’ as a text and audio notification. If you were waiting for more, sorry to disappoint.

In fact, Stephen Colbert featured Yo on his Comedy Central show. ’When I first learned about an app that boils down all your communication into two letters, I expressed myself in one: ‘Y?” Colbert quipped.

But ensuing reports on its viral capabilities, rising popularity and the fact that it has managed to raise $1m in seed funding from the CEO of Mobli, Moshe Hogeg’s angel fund proved me wrong.

In fact, Or Arbel, the chief executive of  Yo left his job as the CTO of Stox and moved to San Francisco from Tel Aviv to work on Yo full-time. He calls Yo context-based messaging where the context dictates the understanding of the message, which is as always, just Yo.

One of the likely uses he mentioned was for newspapers and blogs to send Yo’s to subscribers when a new article was published. But, while the world waits for Yo to enter mainstream enterprise use, let us examine the reason for the overwhelming welcome it has received.

The overarching reason it its singularity of purpose and the resulting simplicity.

While Yo may have carried the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid) a little too far, what it has nailed perfectly is the need for apps to have one simple purpose. One focused app goal and uncluttered screens are key to app acceptance and use. A favorable user experience stems from an intuitive interface that is structured and designed keeping efficiency and minimalism in mind; a la Apple!

The second reason is it recognized overall app weariness.

Mobility and mobile apps are in our faces. Apps for work, Apps for networking, Apps for playing, Apps for training – The deluge of apps, while unavoidable is also key to providing new tools to cultivate, capitalize and cherish professional and personal networks.  A new friend, a new job, a new idea, the next big sale, an opportunity – all or any of these has been made possible by mobility. So, while it cut our work in half and made things easier, it also bred laziness and fatigue.

So, while we have been inundated with apps and more apps, what Yo brought out was something that literally needed no thinking. All it did was get the message across, plain and simple.

I get it, enterprises cannot afford to reply on a single tap app. Not yet, atleast ! But, what they can learn is the need re-examine workflows and simplify them. The need to incorporate the principle of clean and efficient design in their apps. Mobility is the now, and the next. Apps, be it consumer or enterprise have to be innovative to keep users engaged. At the end of the day, what good is an app that no one uses?

So, Yo! What are your thoughts? Leave your comments in the box below.

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