Do I need a mobile application for my business?

Do I need a mobile application for my business?

We receive several calls and requests from clients asking for a mobile application when they really don’t need one. We’re all for programming something fabulously functional, but we also like to be truthful. We do our best to give our current and potential clients good advice when they are considering an addition to their online presence. Most companies already have websites or even a Facebook page which suits their purpose. If they have a responsive website, even better!

Responsive sites are searchable via the Internet and compatible with all major browsers and devices. For most businesses, this is usually all they need. If you require higher level functions such as: prescription refills, health management, social interactions, and personal notifications – then it may be the time to consider a mobile app.

Mobile App Overview

Smartphones and tablets primarily use mobile applications. There are various approaches on how to get this done and most of it depends on the following:

  • Target Audience – are your customers or target audience tech savvy?
  • Budget – do you have additional funds set aside for building a separate program?
  • Maintenance Plan – do you have someone that will maintain the content and oversee updates?
  • Industry – is your business closely related to retail, health, restaurant or something equally interactive?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions then you may want to reconsider building a mobile application. Mobile apps require a high-level of interaction and content that will keep users engaged. They also require a lot of attention in keeping the content fresh and pushing updates for user improvements. Simply put, there is no point in spending money on a mediocre app because users will remove it as quickly as they downloaded it. So tread carefully.

Ready, Set, Go Mobile!

Once you’ve decided that your business is a good candidate for a mobile app, the next step is deciding how to implement it. Take into consideration the key points above in your planning. As mentioned before, there are several ways to implement a mobile app. Below are a few types of mobile applications available to our clients:

Native App

A native application is built separately from the website. Content is managed and generated via a separate database and used solely by mobile devices. The native application is specific to whatever device is being used (Apple, Android, Microsoft). It must be downloaded from an applicable app store to a device. Native apps are best recommended for “interaction-heavy” functions and ongoing engagement.

Pros

  • Better user experience since it is built specifically for the device
  • Faster loading times, easier access to content and smoother interactions
  • Developers can use the full features allowable per each native system (location, camera, microphone, etc.)
  • Offline access, no Internet connection necessary
  • Personalized push notifications available

Cons

  • Proprietary programming language for each platform (iOS/Android/Microsoft)
  • Only accessible through smartphones or tablets
  • Must be downloaded to the device
  • Maintenance and updates need to be implemented on various platforms
  • Not the best option for simple apps
  • Users are finicky and will remove the app if it’s displeasing in any way

Hybrid Application

A hybrid application typically combines web and native applications. Hybrid apps utilize the same database as a website but have functions that are specific to a device. The content is limited to simplify the user experience and wrapped within a container. Hybrid apps are best recommended for content that can be streamlined for mobile use.

Pros

  • User experience is better since it is built specifically for the device
  • Easier access to content and smoother interactions
  • Developers can use the full features allowable per each native system (location, camera, microphone, etc.)
  • Internet connection may be necessary depending on content

Cons

  • Third-party wrappers manage the look/feel of the content
  • Only accessible through smartphones or tablets
  • The application must be downloaded to the actual device
  • Maintenance and updates need to be performed across various platforms
  • Not the best option for simple apps
  • Users are finicky and will remove the app if it’s displeasing in any way

Web Application

Since Stanton Street is a custom developer, we have the capability of building a web application that is unique to your business – wrapped up in a schmancy mobile container. There really are no pros or cons since given the various scenarios and options within this category. A few examples of custom web applications include:

  • Event Registrations
  • Online Bill Pay
  • Scheduling Applications
  • Time Clocks
  • Vendor/Contract Management

Hopefully you have a better idea of what goes into mobile application development and know that it’s something that takes careful planning and implementation. If you have built a mobile app, how did it go? We’d love to hear from you, hit me up in the comments!

If you’d like additional information about mobile applications or anything digital-marketing related, give us a call at (915) 351-8440 or shoot us a message and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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