There is an app for almost anything and everything these days. No doubt someone in your business or associated with your firm has said at some stage that your company needs an app.
But does it? How many apps on your phone or tablet do you use? If you are a typical user, almost all of the apps on your device never get used. So, do you want to be a business that has an unused app? Or do you want to have an app that is widely used?
Producing an app for the sake of it is a mugs game. It costs a lot of money, takes up a lot of time and for the most part no-one uses it, or at least not enough people to recoup your investment. Just because everyone you meet says “you should have an app” does not mean you have to build one…!
Why do people use apps?
The first thing to consider as to whether or not your firm needs an app is to focus on why people use apps. Convenience is key, but so is the easy removal of some kind of “pain”. As the article “Why people are attracted to apps and what that means for you” points out, good apps help solve some kind of fundamental issue.
If all you are doing is producing an app that largely repeats your website, that is not a “pain” that needs solving. People can access your website using their mobile device browser – assuming your design is responsive. So having an app that merely reproduces your website is, frankly, a waste of time and money. Such apps become one of that great collection of those that are forgotten.
What a good app does is provide a single function that is an addition to your website. The Amazon shopping app is a good example, providing the easy ability to shop without having to visit the website.
What kind of apps work?
Recent research suggests that the apps that people come back to time and time again are those which allow them to send messages.
A study by Yahoo! found that apps that had messaging within them were opened by 62% of users who installed them one year afterwards. However, for non-messaging apps, only 11% of people opened up such things a year later.
Consider your most popular apps on your mobile device. I bet they include email, social media messaging, text messaging and so on.
If you want an app to help your business you need to consider how you can include messaging within it. Unless your app allows your potential users to send messages in some way, you may as well not bother; most of the people who download an app without messaging involved end up ignoring it.[typography font=”Droid Sans” size=”10″ size_format=”px”]Image by KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/typography]
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+