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What is considered modern and best for UX with question if to go with one bigger app with more features or separate apps?

I can understand why Facebook split their main app and Messenger, or why Google/Apple has apps for Tasks, Notes, Email, Calendar, Docs, etc, but on the other hand there is Microsoft with Outlook which has integrated more features.

Where is line when to split or bundle apps? For example I have app which has 3 separate services which could be also separate apps easily. But initially I thought that bundling them together would be better for user who could log only to one app, it takes only one space on home screen and can switch between with one tap in navigation.

  • I would doubt that Facebook split their apps out for the users benefit. More likely boils down to costs in one form or the other. Where is the line? Well, it's exactly where you draw it. A startup will have no benefit in splitting. Focus on getting yours users to be interested in one product first. If you get big enough I am sure you will know when the time is right to split them out (if at all). – musefan Jun 2 at 9:21
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As with most questions on UXSE, context is the key when it comes to making decision about your users.

You used the example of Facebook which initially had a lot of different 'products and services' which they had to split up due to usage (and maybe there are other technical considerations as well), but on the other hand there is also WeChat which is seen as a 'super app' that tries to put everything into one app.

If you are asking for a general trend within the companies that are providing online or digital products and services, I don't think there is a particular guideline or rule of thumb. If you want to know this for your specific project, it is a matter of balancing the business, technical and user requirements to provide the best experience.

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The term you're looking for is debundling. Debundling is definitely not just a UX decision. It's a collective decision between business technology and design. There are many reasons why not to debundle a software and same amount of reasons why the product should have been debundled immediately.

First major debundling seen from Foursquare. They've released a fun app where you can tag your location, leave reviews etc etc. But then they've received a huge interest and then they've started to collect massive amount of data which made them a good rival against yelp. But the thing is, foursquare released as an startup and probably didn't had the structural code hierarchy of an enterprise company (just assuming here) Instead just piling the data they were looking forward to monitise the data so as a business decision they've decided shift the company model into a data company instead of just an entertainment company. But also they didn't want to ditch their user base. Doing the two different complete business under one brand would be just a chaotic mess as seen in FB atm. So -as a very short- they've come up with a another app called Swarm for the users and kept the entertaining part in there and reshaped Foursquare into a way more enterprise company. Well I'm not saying that it's been executed pretty well but they're still a strong name in their field and seems like everything been worked out just fine for them.

Another example would be Google. They have dozens of apps which they use the same password but doing completely different things. It would be HELL if I only had a 'Google' app where I can check my mails, download files from drive, watch videos on youtube, start a video conference, etc.

I don't know the technical details but they do have a shared API that talks between google apps within iPhone. So logging in within a fresh installed Google app on my iPhone is not a problem. But their decision to debundling drive into different apps I find a bit annoying. I could literally do the same edits within drive and if I happen to have docs or sheets installed by mistake, I end up jumping between apps and can't understand what's been going on. If I'm using drive on iOS, I'm always lost (that's why I don't prefer using it on mobile devices but from desktop)

Last example would be Facebook. Basically they HAD TO debundle their application because they were literally living the hellish Google app example I've mentioned a paragraph before. I remember at some point their application was so bloated that it was over 700mbs. Most of the iOS games takes that much of a space if they have 3D graphics and high res textures. Those are the ones takes up space. Facebook doesn't have that. Just lines of codes. So at some point it became harder to release a stable app so they had so debundle it into several different apps. (they all failed so they've came to an understanding that they didn't needed to have 4 different snapchat clones and another few clones of their own messenger apps)

So my point is, line could be several different reasons. Could be business related, technology related. Oh yeah, sometimes it can be even UX related too. But mostly business and technology.

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