From Simple to Invisible Part 1: the Evolution of Friction-Free Apps

The mobile app revolution has not slowed down since the introduction of smartphones. Thousands of new apps are being released daily, all attempting to simplify our lives. We’ve seen apps that allow us to purchase tickets to a basketball game, call a cab, or even feed our pets while we are away from home. However, despite promises of simplicity, a lot of these apps still require a bit of work to operate -- eventually losing their stickiness.

True simplicity occurs with the execution of ‘Invisible Apps,’ which entails building applications that require very little (if any) actions by the users. For example, Google Now tells you when you should leave your current location to arrive at your next appointment on time by retrieving your calendar appointments and leveraging Google Maps services to predict travel times based on current traffic -- all performed in the background of your mobile device.

Another great example is Uber, whose checkout flow is all but invisible. There have been dozens of apps before theirs that provided users with a way to call for a cab, but Uber delivers a user experience that is smooth and simple. Powered by Braintree, Uber makes the payment experience so seamless that you literally just hop out of the car without needing to fiddle for exact cash. Need a receipt? No problem, one is already being sent to your email.

Uber easy as 123

Braintree enables merchants like Uber to easily accept and process payments on both web and mobile platforms. With the Drop-in UI, developers can simply integrate a pre-built checkout form that consumers can use to input payment details. To take it to the next level, developers can also use the Braintree Vault to store a user’s payment method (after receiving authorization); upon subsequent transactions, developers can retrieve the same payment method from the Braintree Vault and transact new charges against it. This enables a completely seamless checkout experience, enticing users to visit again because of its convenience -- the same reason why people ride with Uber again and again.

If you’re looking for Invisible Apps to try out, here’s a list that provides a thin client -- or even no client at all.

Stay tuned for part 2 as we’ll explore the technical implementation of Invisible Apps, and how you can deliver the same seamless payment experience within your own.

For more information about Braintree, be sure to check out our Developer Documentation.

Alan Wong Alan works closely with APAC developers to provide support and guidance on enabling frictionless payment experiences. On the side, he enjoys prototyping crazy ideas on mobile and hardware platforms. More posts by this author

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