Converting a Website to a Mobile App: Key Considerations
Having a properly designed and fully-functioning website is undoubtedly a crucial part of establishing your dominant online presence.
It’s 2019, though. Mobile apps have taken the stage. And they did it by a storm. Crunching the numbers shows that there’s quite a lot of merit to that.
Data monitoring resource Statista shows that consumers in the US alone are projected to spend upwards of $34 billion on mobile apps by 2022. Who wouldn’t want a slice of that pie?
But there’s a lot to think about. While having a mobile app could definitely be an incremental addition to your marketing armory, it’s also important to time it properly. What is more, it’s critical to determine if you even need it.
Say you own a website — a well-designed and perfectly working website which is bringing you more than you asked for. Yet, there’s that little voice inside of your head saying that a mobile app might be a better go.
That’s something a lot of business owners, especially startups, deal with. Hence, we’ve taken the liberty to outline a few key considerations, as well as the potential upside of making the transition from a website to a mobile app.
Target Audience: Do You Really Need a Mobile App?
Perhaps the most prominent reason for which different companies, especially startups, choose to establish their presence on the web, as well as on mobile, is to attract more customers. In other words, they’re afraid of missing out on potential paying clients.
There’s a lot of merit to that. Remember the Statista chart above?
However, and this is especially true for startups, it’s absolutely critical to base this decision on hard, information-backed facts. Being data-driven when making this call is everything.
Remember that a mobile app is used on various devices, hence you have to have a perfect understanding of their functionality in order to have it properly prepared.
You can gather all the necessary information from various tools such as Google Analytics, for instance. You’ll see how many of your users are coming from mobile devices, where do they come from, what devices do they come from, how long they stay on your website, and so forth.
This will also help you prioritize if needed, the roll-out of your app — whether you want to start on iOS, Android, or both.
Assessment of Current Web Experience
Right off the bat, if you’ve already made the call and are good to go, you need to assess your existing web experience.
This means that you ought to spend enough time analyzing the things that work and doesn’t work for your website or your web app, for that matter. This will dictate the further course of action when it comes to making the transition to a mobile app.
Let’s look at one example. Facebook, the social media mogul, is what we want to examine. It all started with a website, which later transitioned to a web application, before building a native app.
The latter offers somewhat a slick interface and it includes the core social networking features which the company is built around. What Facebook did is they didn’t add a lot of extra features to the mobile app — they tweaked the existing ones and delivered fairly similar user experience.
Which is what users want. In this line of thought, it’s absolutely essential to deliver a similar experience to what your audience is used to. You don’t want to shock your users. It’s important to consider important mobile UX design principles when you’re structuring your mobile app, in order to minimize the chances of potential upsets.
Use Cases: It’s All About Use Cases
How does a mobile app fit the usability of your services? Does it make sense? If you’re providing cab rides, a mobile app is obviously a must. This would allow your audience to access your services anytime, anywhere. Plus, a mobile app can bring tons of capabilities such as real-time route traffic, fee estimation based on current locations and whatnot.
If you’re running a lawn-mowing business, however, a mobile app might not be the best idea. Not that it would hurt, but would it be worth the effort and investment put in it?
It’s all about use cases. If the mobile app adds to your current value proposition and extends it reasonably, go for it. If the additional value is insignificant or non-existent, you can afford to skip it. It’s that simple.
Benefits of Having a Mobile App
With all of the above, we don’t want to sound discouraging. A mobile app comes with tons of advantages, so just to make sure of that, we’ve scoped some of them out. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Mobile users spend more time on apps after they’re installed compared to average time on basic websites.
- Mobile apps also offer certain offline functionalities, which is huge.
- Mobile devices take advantage of GPS, contact lists, and whatnot — all things to benefit from.
- Mobile apps tend to work faster, provided they are better made.
- In-app notifications are more effective than push notifications.
- You can allow your users to set up the interface the way they see fit (to a certain extent, of course).
While there are plenty of benefits, there are also considerations to be aware of. For example, converting your website to a mobile app is just one step of the process. Sure, it’s a huge step, but one nonetheless.
You’d have to consider marketing it differently because, well, it’s not a website anymore. There are plenty of steps to a winning pre-launch app marketing strategy that you can take advantage of, but they all require additional effort and money.
It’s not always going to be a trade-off, but when it is, you have to make the right call. Hence, all of the above considerations should be properly weighed in your decision to convert your website to a mobile app.