Here is the big question which we regularly get asked by our clients and new customers, so we thought it’s time to clear up a few mobile issues up for you. Do we develop an application or should we have a mobile web site for our business?
There are several pros and cons for both, so to make it easier we have decided to discuss these and let you make your own mind up. The beauty of working with NXT Digital Solutions is we develop both mobile applications and mobile websites for businesses across Surrey and UK.
Firstly, we must remember that now when we are talking mobile applications, we are not just thinking about our good friends at Apple (even though this will be the first image that pops into your mind and image we used above). We must now be inclusive and consider the growing market share of Android Smartphone users and Blackberry’s App World. In a recent piece from Gartner’s mobile market report (May ’11) they showed that in Quarter 1 of 2011, Android now has 36% of the global market share. Compelling evidence that this isn’t a fad but an evolution in mobile technology. My point is, if there is to be a business case for traditional application development then it must show special capabilities from that particular device (e.g. GPS usage) that are not accessible through the web. Can you afford not to develop across all platforms?
My first thoughts are that initially the majority of businesses will benefit from more traffic going through a mobile web route. The benefits are clear with lower development costs, larger target marketplace able to access your content and it’s easier to find through traditional search engines. So, option chosen – mobile web? Well, no because the financial benefits are clear if your application becomes a success, it is another revenue stream (minus the 30% Apple and 20% RIM/Blackberry fees) for your business. As successful Apps go, use of GPS, camera, voice, address book or calendar make great features to integrate with your business model and useful to both consumers and businesses and overall offer a great user experience (UX) especially if your business has a large user/stakeholder base. However, to quote a recent report by Pinch Media they suggest that to become “Top 100” you need to invest on average $1,875 a day and you are still at the mercy of the Apps Store’s controls. I haven’t mentioned bug fixing or ongoing maintenance but you get the picture.
But mobile web has its limitations too with issues such as Flash (on iPhone) animations. Developers such as NXT Digital Solutions are trying to combat this with developments in HTML5 and CSS3, we can develop extremely functional stuff which doesn’t look bad either but obviously doesn’t wow like an Apps UX. I can give you an example. I personally bank with First Direct and for sometime (being champions of online banking) they have had an excellent online banking website, which has worked quite well over mobile to access account information etc. Recently, First Direct advertised (via their website and direct mail) their new iPhone application which was free. I gave it a go (and deleted my previous bookmark on my phone) and I was impressed that the layout remained the same but was easier and offered a more enjoyable browsing experience then the previous mobile website – a great example of when an App is worth investing in for new business or existing customers.
I think there will always be a place for mobile applications but there will be a growing need for businesses to address their mobile content too. 8-9 times out of 10 you probably don’t need an application, instead a mobile site that is functional and offers users, clear calls to action and a design that is simple and clear to use plus quick to load.
Contact us if you are interested in mobile website or mobile application development in Surrey or London.