VLOG - To App or Not to App

December 12, 2012 John Simpson

VLOG - To App or Not to App from One North Interactive on Vimeo.

Don't have time to watch the video? Here's a recap of the discussion:

Advantages of Mobile Websites (either responsive design or a dedicated mobile site)

  • Reaches the widest audience in the most mobile-friendly way because it uses the browser on your phone and is not device specific.
  • Immediacy – mobile sites don’t require you to download anything to gain access.
  • Upgrading responsibility falls onto you; no action is required by the user.
  • Findability – Content on mobile sites can be found by search engines.
  • Shareability – You can easily like, tweet or share content from mobile sites with others.

Advantages of Mobile Apps

  • User experience testing conducted by Jakob Nielsen shows that apps are more usable and rank higher than mobile websites.
  • Great for heavy use or highly personalized purposes, as apps can store useful data about its users.
  • No connection required – think the Kindle. Items on apps can be downloaded for access later, whether or not you’re connected to the internet.
  • Mobile Apps leverage the processing power of the phone/tablet, which is only increasing.

So What Do You Use, Mobile Site or App?

  • Let’s define what we’re talking about. If it’s a professional services website, you should definitely start by building a mobile site first. This will enable your internal and external audiences (reach) to access your content quickly.
  • Do you need an app for your website? Although many firms thought they were ahead of the curve by having an app, it was a misguided strategy. Clients shouldn’t need to download an app to access your content. However, if they truly needed access to this content without an internet connection, it might make sense.
  • Other areas where apps can have an impact in the internet strategy of law firms and professional services is in recruiting (think gaming), thought leadership (for access offline) and events (registration and event information).

At the end of the day, resist the urge to develop an app for the sake of developing an app. Instead, identify what would compel you to create an app:

1) Heavy content
2) Complex processing
3) Personalization and/or a very engaged targeted audience that would be willing to download.


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John Simpson Chief Executive Officer

John Simpson is one of One North’s founders and serves as the Chief Executive Officer. For more than 20 years, John has been helping professional services marketers engage with their clients and grow their organizations through brand-based digital marketing experiences. He is a frequent author and speaker as it relates to relationship development, digital strategy and marketing innovation.

  • Favorite season: Summer. Summer makes everyone feel like a kid again.
  • Super power: Positivity. A psychology professor once told me that humans are predisposed to be positive. His logic was that the cave man faced so many challenges – sabre tooth tigers, starvation, cold weather, disease – that they had to be positive just to survive until the next day. I can’t say whether or not this theory has scientific merit, but it’s good enough for me!

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