“We want to do an app!”
But is this really reason enough for a marketer to launch into a new initiative? (Rhetorical question, no need to answer). Apps are great for a lot of things, putting more features and functionality in our hands than anyone could ever have imagined. But before falling in love with the idea of developing an app, ask yourself or your team one simple question first – can this/should this project and its objectives be accomplished with a mobile friendly website instead?
Here are some of the often overlooked benefits of developing for the web using a responsive HTML5 approach instead of building an app.
1) Develop once, deploy everywhere.
Great strides have been made in developing apps for multiple platforms, but it is still a more cumbersome and costly process.
2) Stronger SEO value.
Content development is a difficult and time-consuming process, especially in the healthcare industry where the key content creators are the most starved for time. So every piece of content needs to work extra hard for you. Having your content on a live site vs stuffed inside of an app makes it visible to the search engines.
3) Doesn’t take up space on your device.
Many of my downloads have hit the app grave yard because I (like many of you) have run out of space on my device (e.g. my son does so many picture worthy things that I need to leave those precious MBs to capture every moment).
4) The desktop is not dead yet.
While mobile usage is still climbing fast, we tend to overlook the fact that people are still using their desktops in larger numbers. A responsive website will be available to those who are stationery as well as those on the go.
5) But what about those fun icons?
Don’t worry, you can have your cake and eat it too. Many mobile friendly sites encourage bookmarking their home page and have icons that will pop up on your home screen, just like an app!
6) Accessibile and immediate.
A browser is on everyone’s device, while people will need to download your app (another step in the process) in order to participate in what you have to offer. A tough sell sometimes in a world of immediacy.
Apps obviously have their place and offer a level of functionality and interactivity that the web is not able to provide. But they should be developed only when your goals can not be accomplished through the development of a mobile website. So, beware “app love” and build the appropriate technology to best meet your needs.