Sunday, July 8, 2012

Do I really need an app for that?

2012 saw the 30 billionth download from the Apple App Store and there are now over 650,000 different apps available to consumers. Apple’s assertion that “There is an app for that” does indeed appear to be correct. 2012 has been labeled the year of the app, but as you consider your mobile strategy it is legitimate to ask: “Do I need an app for that?

  

Apps vs Websites 

The desire to be in the App Store has arisen from a genuine change in the way that content and services are being consumed online. The phenomenal growth of mobile can leave us in little doubt that all organisations need to consider how to present themselves in this new landscape. However, apps are not a replacement for the web. Apps and the web are not in competition. They have different roles and serve different purposes. Your content that currently sits on your website should not be hidden away in an app. All this approach will achieve is to put up barriers between your users and the content that, both you and they want to access. A user will need to find your app, no easy task, download your app, install your app, load your app and then find the content that they want. This doesn't make any sense. Content should be on your website, optimised for mobile access, but on your website all the same. There are only three reasons to consider developing an app for your online presence. Are you enabling users to complete clearly defined tasks? Are users interacting with the service on a regular basis? Do you want to leverage the hardware of the mobile device (camera, GPS, compass, NFC, etc)? But that is it!

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