– Jill Epperson, Business Unit Director
“There’s an app for that!” Remember that fun little phrase? There was a time when mobile strategy gurus believed that the only way to win big with mobile devices was to find your way into the iPhone App Store. But times are changing. Androids sales are surging, and a recent Gartner press release predicts that Androids will have nearly half the worldwide smartphone market by the end of 2012. This same press release also predicts that Microsoft’s mobile platform will outpace Apple by 2015. Yes, the times, they are a changin’!
Building a mobile app can be a time-consuming and expensive process, and for best user experience, may require device-specific applications (which means you’re building separate applications for iPhone vs. Android vs. Blackberry vs. Windows Phone). Some app stores charge fees and/or have screening processes for determining whether or not you can publish your app to their store. Maintainability can be cumbersome, since new releases and bug fixes must be published to the app store and downloaded to each device again. With all the confusion over mobile apps (not to mention the new skills required by developers to build them), as well as advancements in mobile browser capabilities, many companies are now opting for mobile websites instead.
But is this the right choice for your company? A few minor tweaks to your existing site might make it possible to navigate on a smartphone, but if you want a truly mobile optimized site providing a good user experience, more is often required. Creating a mobile website means designing pages that load fast; fit nicely within the smartphone browser real estate; offer the most frequently needed information quickly (trim out all the fluff); and are easy to navigate, with navigation and interactive elements placed in such a way as to make them easy to use in a “touch” interface.
Realistically, there is some investment either way. So what is the best strategy for your company? To determine the answer, you need to set aside all the hype on both sides of this debate and consider the basics:
- Who is your target audience?
(Employees, business partners, customer base, general public)
- When and how will the app/site be used?
(To perform a job task, to buy your product, etc.)
- How often will they come to your app/site?
(Some research suggests that less than 5% of downloaded apps continue to be used 20 days after download. Is there a compelling reason for the target audience to download an app vs. bookmark a site?)
- How many different devices, with what capabilities, will your target audience use?
Answering these questions is a good starting point. Keller Schroeder can help you define your mobile strategy and work with you to implement a plan that meets your needs, whether that strategy includes mobile apps, mobile web sites, or a combination of both.
Contact your Keller Schroeder Senior Account Manager to learn more or discuss the benefits of implementing this technology within your environment.