A couple weeks ago we talked about what is better for you’re a business, a mobile app ora mobile website. Now we will dig a little deeper into what to think about when you decide to develop a mobile app or application. A mobile app for your business should be more than just another package for the content on your website, that can be achieved much easier and with less upkeep than an app. A mobile app should serve your business’s customers needs and desires in a way that your website does not. Developing a useful app and maintaining that app’s usefulness can be daunting. The rewards of developing an app can be enormous though, as long as the app is developed well and user friendly.
App Development Should Focus On The User
Creating an app for a business needs to be well thought out, with the user being the primary focus of your thinking. In many cases apps are not the best way to serve your customers. You may be better off using other ways to market your website like social media marketing, search engine marketing, or search engine optimization. A mobile app should really solve a problem that you customers have. The app should make your customers lives better or easier in some way. Great apps help people become more productive, entertains them, or provides them with much needed information. If you think your business needs an app, the next thing to think about is what the app should do.
The Apps True Purpose
Businesses can make use of a smart phone in a number of ways, but it is important to make sure the app doesn’t go overboard. Smart phones have some incredible capabilities like accelerometers, cameras, and GPS to name just a few. Just because the smart phone can do something, doesn’t mean that an app should make use of all of those features. The best apps do only make use of one or two of a phone’s features, but they do it very well. The important thing is to decide on what your users really need, and then give them that. To help get you started here are some ideas for ways that you can give your customers what they really need:
- A self-storage company’s app could allow customers to view pictures of the units, estimate the size of the unit that they need, reserve a unit and make payments online.
- A restaurant could provide its customers with event listings, maps, schedules, menus, and the ability to order from the app
- An app for personal injury attorney may be one that helps clients to take pictures of the accident, record the other driver’s information, and diagram the accident scene.
- Real estate agents could provide an app that allows buyers to see property listings, get maps to those listings, and schedule showings. Sellers could use the app to take pictures of the property and view a schedule of showings.
- The customers of contractors or construction companies may find an app that allows them to diagram changes they want on a picture they just took of their home very handy.
- Doctors or hospitals may find that an app that allows users to schedule appointments and find answers to common medical questions not only helps their users but also cuts down on the time it takes to answer phone calls.
App Development Is Ongoing
One of the most important things for a business to consider before developing an app for mobile devices is the short and long-term investment that comes along with an app.
Short Term Development
In the short term different versions of the app needs to becreated for every platform that youwant the app available on. Apps created for an iPhone’s operating system usually won’t work on an Android or Windows based phone. Your app may look very similar on each operating system but the development must be done separately dueto the individual requirement and specifications for those platforms. Many companies choose to develop an app on only one operating system at the beginning. They then release the app on the other platforms only after the app has become a success on the first.
Long Term Upkeep
Keeping an app up to date represents the long-term investment. Any time the operating system is updated; the app will need to be updated as well. This could mean updating the apps programming dozens of times a year. Updating an app could also mean ensuring that dates, times, and other information is changed on an ongoing basis as that information changes.
The Potential Reward Is Amazing
Despite all of the work that goes into developing an app for mobile devices, the rewards can be amazing. Those rewards vary depending on what your goals are. No two apps are designed to achieve the same thing, so you must consider what the goals are the you want to see with an app. Is the idea to sell products, gain leads, create brand awareness, create something useful for customers or another reason entirely. Knowing your goal will allow your app developer is able to give you a good idea of what kind of ROI to expect.
Need To Know More About Apps?
Still wondering if your business needs an app or what that app should be? Do you have more questions about app development? Get an answer by telling us your question in the comments below.