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Why there is no CoachAccountable app in any app store, and probably never will be

Wondering if there’s a CoachAccountable app, or if we’re gonna make one and get it all up in the app stores?

The answer is no, and here’s why.

CoachAccountable will probably never have an app, because, on balance, we’ve come to the conclusion that investing the time and energy to create one would be a TERRIBLE idea. It would entail a lot of extra engineering work to build and maintain multiple versions of CA, but admittedly that’s more our problem than it is yours as a user.

Your problem as a user is that an app causes you to ask your clients to bother with the intrusive hassle of having to find and install an app (and worry about updating and troubleshooting things like “Do I have the most updated OS installed on my phone?” or “Did I install another app that’s breaking CoachAccountable, or vice-versa?”).

By contrast, they’re gonna get into CoachAccountable by simply clicking a link in an email the system will send them.

Wisdom from my favorite comic, XKCD.

An app also means it would be branded as CoachAccountable, rather than as your own thing (because submitting a white labeled version of CoachAccountable for each one of our customers is both impractical and explicitly disallowed).

What we’ve done instead is made it so that you and your clients can “install” CA on any device as a home screen app with just a few clicks, and THAT is branded and named as your own–far better than them having a CA app (find more about this here and  find the share-ready instructions here).

Apps also can (and do) do lots of crappy stuff that is invasive and disrespectful to users (see for example this article published just last week), meaning users (ahem, your clients) are well within reason to be leery of installing “just one more app”.

CoachAccountable, as a web-only experience that JUST WORKS(tm) on all devices, doesn’t entail any such burdens:

  • No permissions to grant.
  • No update notifications.
  • No silently taking up space on your disk.
  • No running in the background eating your battery or raiding your contacts or listening in on your microphone for who knows what purpose (did I mention apps do crappy things?).

So those are the reasons against it, and I haven’t heard any great arguments for the upsides of an app, none that stick, anyway:

Offline access? Rarely happens, as, if you have an smartphone, cellular service at minimum can be generally assumed.

Push notifications? They’re intrusive and of little marginal benefit over already-supported SMS and email (to say nothing of their engineered addictive qualities).

Looks slick and professional? Not as much as having your own branded app icon on a home screen.

I shared this reasoning with a customer a few days ago, and promptly got this reply:

Thank you, John, for the thorough response. … It’s funny how sometimes we can get caught up in the shiny things, like apps!  You’ve really shown me that CA has the true user experience in mind.

That strikes me as a good observation, and I hope you agree.  I don’t begrudge anyone’s desire to see CoachAccountable in slick and shiny packaging.  There’s no CoachAccountable app to be found in any app store, but it’s not because we’re asleep at the wheel or falling behind.  It’s because it’s a bad idea and we’ve taken an approach that better serves you and the people you coach.

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