Developing a mobile strategy can be a complex time for any company. The last thing you want to worry about is issues such as operating system or technology platform, which is where the expertise of a company like IBA can help, but there are some important decisions to make before you even think of building a mobile tool.
The initial strategic decision you need to think about is whether to build a mobile-friendly website or to create an App. There are advantages and disadvantages to each solution and the correct path will depend on the type of service you plan to offer, but to summarise these are the questions you should be thinking about:
• How immediate do you want the tool? Do you think people are prepared to install an app or would they prefer to just find it online on a website without needing to set anything up on their phone?
• Do you need compatibility across all devices? If you build an app it will only work for a single operating system (Android, Windows, Apple IOS) so you need to build several versions to reach all phone users, but a well-designed website can work on any device.
• How often will it need to be upgraded? If you plan on frequent upgrades then it could be problematic to design as an app as you are asking the user to frequently upgrade their phone applications. With a website it would be automatic.
• What is your budget? It’s a lot cheaper to build and maintain a mobile website than a suite of mobile apps for various operating systems.
But apps have their place. When you need the specific power available on a particular type of device then only an app can tap into that system. If you are building a tool that will be used often then an app can be a better interface – think of how you access Facebook on your own phone. And apps can be designed to also work offline – something not at all possible for a website.
This is the first step on a mobile strategy. There are various technological questions to resolve before working on a solution, but if you have not considered how your service will be used then the technology itself cannot be planned or designed.