It’s rather obvious for organizations today that having a website is extremely beneficial to their growth and prominence.
Just as the importance that the façade of the brick-and-mortar business being inviting, to print media such as brochures and posters are design-friendly and informative, and further to advertisements being memorable and striking; the welcoming of the information technology medium brings many opportunities within that same magnitude.
Clearly, e-mail marketing and an interactive website are the drivers of this front, but what about mobile apps?
What are the benefits of having a mobile app for your organization?
Speaking on the comparisons between a mobile website and that of a native mobile app, after a user downloads the app, an icon for that app appears on the user’s phone (always). This is beneficial as your brand will always be visible to that user.
It is of course possible for a user to bookmark or add an icon for a website to a user’s home screen, but that takes an informative extra step to the user. Additionally, information about your organization, such as contact information or locations can be accessed without the need for an internet connection.
One of the most important aspects of having an app is the perspective of professionalism and the accommodation it brings to the end-users. It adds an additional side to the many facets already available.
How can your organization provide a mobile app to your end-users?
The development costs of creating an app can range from a very modest “do-it-yourself” approach all the way up to hiring professionals to build a native application from the ground up.
The modest approach would require technical know-how but the costs would be cheap, next to nothing.
While the latter of having professionals or a team produce an end-product could go well over $100k, based on the complexity of your needs.
However, there are some avenues that are somewhat between those two extremes that require less know-how, but do not exceed an expected budget.
How to leverage your existing website as a mobile app.
Not too long ago, many native apps were implementations of nothing more than a mobile browser pointing to your website, a browser-wrapper of sorts.
This would of course require your website to already be mobile responsive. However, the issues here are the loss of the native apps smoothness, regression of the user’s preferences to things such as accessibility, and the absence of the ability to utilize the device’s intuitive navigation.
The exclusion of not being able to tap into the mobile APIs and the requirement of an internet connection just adds to the concerns. Some new technologies have come a long way of breaking free of this obsolete model.
A few paid technologies are available with one-time set up fees and/or reoccurring monthly fees.
However, there are even cheaper options available, such as utilizing the open-source software from Adobe called PhoneGap that will require quite a lot of technical work.
Another intriguing technology would have to be utilizing Jasonette, which simply consists of building JSON markup to point to your website’s components so that they interact correctly with the mobile device’s API level.
The Future of Web Apps
The future of leveraging your existing website as a mobile app is in Progressive Web Apps. Basically, the ability to install an app of your website onto your phone, and the notification for the install is initialized when visiting your website. This somewhat bypasses the requirements needed to be approved for the Google and Apple stores.
The ease of use of providing this option when visitors go to your site is tremendous. This will likely become the new norm going forward, and the possibility that apps will become far more dominant in providing information to your end-users than their website counterparts.
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