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Alternatives to Responsive Design, Part Three: Native Apps← back
Trends in mobile have led a number of organizations to consider the ways their websites are displayed outside of the traditional desktop screen. Responsive websites have their appeal, but some may still be cautious about making their site responsive. For those of you that fit this mold, there are a few options for making your website accessible on other devices without going the route of a responsive site.
What is a Native App?
An app is a third alternative to a responsive design that can be a good option if you have a specific purpose in mind that goes beyond the capabilities of a mobile website or website with a responsive design at its forefront. If you own a smartphone, chances are you have used a default app on it or downloaded an app at some point.
With the addition of smartphones in the mobile market comes the increase of app usage, which has already seen a staggering amount of growth this year so far. For the first quarter in 2013, the top four app stores hit 13.4 billion app downloads, according to market analyst firm Canalys.
Advantages of Native Apps
Some advantages to having an app for phones rather than a website that changes with the phone dimensions or a separate mobile site might include the ability to access your resource offline; push technology to send periodic messages instantly to app users; and device integration with other mobile features like GPS, contact list and more.
Many people like apps because unlike a mobile website, they can be accessed without an Internet connection. An app might allow for access to your information in troublesome network access spots, allow for you to send out a mass message instantly and take advantage of features like the mobile GPS to provide an easy way to get to your locations or events.
When creating an app, it’s important to determine if it will be offered for free or for a fee. Many apps can range up to $15. Although the library hosting the app can take a percentage of the app profits and might have you pay a registration fee to test and sell it through them, you might recoup some costs through setting a price per download.
You might generate a profit as well through creating ads that run on other apps or on your free version of the app. This might encourage people to skip the ads later if they upgrade to the paid version, bringing in further profit once the ad is clicked and the app is bought.
Drawbacks of Native Apps
One drawback to developing a native app might include the conversion rate can be hard to measure. Not only does the user have to make sure the app is compatible with their phone, but then they have to download it to try it out. Not all apps will work on all phones, so you might have to create multiple apps for different interfaces – iPhones, Android and Windows phones, among others – to achieve the desired results.
An app might also take longer to develop than a website, which is one cost that must be considered that goes above and beyond the typical fees associated with website development. Someone with a special programming background will have to be involved from the beginning of development through the testing phase and beyond.
Marketing your app is also something to consider when you are weighing your alternatives to a responsive website. Many app stores have reviews available from users, but with newer apps, this is difficult to achieve without some marketing strategy driving downloads. If you decide to create an app, you might consider a marketing campaign that corresponds with it on your main website, your social media networks and any print materials that might be relevant to your organization.
An app can be a useful option for your organization. However, just as with the other alternatives to responsive web design, outlining your goals and setting realistic expectations cannot be ignored. You must create a plan and follow through with it in order to see the success you envision for your app – or whatever tools you decide to use for your website – to come to fruition.
Contact Imagery about the best solutions for your website today!