So, you want a mobile app for your company? Many clients have approached Vérité with the same desire. As part of our process we begin asking high-level questions to determine if a mobile app is the best fit for your needs as there are a few options. You can go the route of a customized mobile app created for specific devices, a web application which works on all devices through a mobile web browser or a hybrid where the web app is placed inside an app wrapper.
What is the purpose of the app?
Having a clear understand of the goal of your app and who your audience is will help to define the purpose of the app for your end-user. In general, an app should give quick and direct access to specific needs or wants while captivating the users and solidifying your brand.
What devices do want to support?
Often times clients only require an app for the iPhone as they are working with an internal sales audience. Knowing which devices you would like to have an app built for will help to determine which option will work best.
How often will you need to update the functionality of the app?
Do you foresee a need to modify the way the app functions or change a graphical element? You’ll need to know if these type of changes can wait to be programmed and deployed within a new version of the app or do they need to appear immediately for your customer base.
Do you have a timeline or budget constraints?
Do you have a set target date that the app needs to be ready for market? The timeline to build a mobile app can be longer and cost more if multiple platforms and devices are part of your requirement. If submitting apps to the Apple Store will also require additional time for a code review adding a week or more to your timeline.
How will you plan to market or distribute the app?
Does your marketing plan include having your app be hosted in the Apple Store or Google Play stores? Or can a web link with directions to save as a bookmark be part of your marketing communication?
A mobile app will give your customer a unique and specific experience on their mobile device. Mobile apps are created to work a specific way depending on what platform (Apple or Google) it is being created for. Knowing which platform and device you’d like an app created for can cut down on time and cost as each platform will require their own unique code base, quality assurance and usability testing. When deploying code to the Apple Store the app must pass a code review that can take anywhere from one to two additional weeks before you are ready for distribution.
Over time changes and enhancements will need to be made due to changes in functionality, graphical layouts or even operating system updates. These changes will need to be made to the multiple code bases requiring another code review before having the version available in the Apple Store.
Once you have a completed mobile app you can rest assured that your customers will have a high performing and fast experience as they use native functionality. Mobile apps do not always require full time internet connection as they can cache data for future use. Both iOS and Android have a set of standards to adhere to when developing an app which will ensure the best end-user experience for your customer. In-app purchases can be made through iTunes and Google Play making transactions easy; however there may be a fee associated for the ecommerce functionality.
Mobile apps designed by Vérité have been created for an internal sales team to allow them a quick an easy way to access sales collateral from their iPhone. The app is placed on the Apple Store where anyone is able to download and view public documents, videos, power points and other sales material. The sales team is able to authenticate to access additional sales enablement collateral marked as private through a content management system.
Another route that can be taken is creating a web app which runs on a mobile browser. A web app will function and look close to a mobile app with some variants due to different browsers, but we have found the differences to be very minimal.
One benefit to a web app is that there is only one code based that is used across all platforms saving time and money when developing. If the web app requires any functionality or layout changes it can be modified quickly and pushed live at any time since all the code, including the dynamic content, can be controlled from a content management system. Payment transactions can be made within the web app and handled much like that of any ecommerce websites.
The web app will need a WIFI connection to work properly and may have some performance issues depending on the speed of the user’s internet connection. For many clients this has not been a showstopper as the majority of their customers usually have their mobile devices running on a network of some sort at all times.
Because the web app is in essence a website URL it will not be found in an app store. Your customers will need to have a URL provided to them so they can access your web app. We have found a strong marketing campaign can achieve spreading the word and also teach your customer how to bookmark the URL on their device giving the appearance of an app icon.
At Vérité we have found that many times a web app is the best choice for our clients, however they want the app to be found in the Apple Store or Google Play stores. We are able to accommodate this by placing the web app into an app wrapper. As mentioned previously, web apps require an internet connection. When building hybrid apps the web portion is built using HTML5 which will allow the site to be cached on the device when there is no internet connection. Once connected to the internet the app will upload any changes and continue to work as expected. This will take time and budget as each device must be programmed and tested for quality assurance, but it is much faster than creating the specific code for each device and operating system. The one hang up with the hybrid model is that payment transactions through a web app may not pass the mobile app code review as the stores are unable to run the transaction through iTunes or Google Play.
No matter which route you decide to take all apps rely on dynamic data to populate the app and provide the rich experience so many have become accustomed to. A content management system allows our clients the ability to easily organize their content such as sales materials, power points, images, videos and copy used throughout the app. Anyone in the marketing organization is able to update content feed to the app as a content management system does not require the user to be an IT developer.
We’d love to help you decided what will be the best route for you and your company when it comes to mobile apps. You have different options and our sales team would love to help you make the most of your app experience. Give us a call 801.553.1101.
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