10 years ago, the word Application was practically unheard of. Today it is commonly used whenever there is talk of computers or mobile devices. A few years ago, every business was scrambling to develop an Application, sometimes spending tens of thousands of dollars. What is the big deal with these so called ‘Applications’?
What is an application and why did it revolutionise the software landscape?
An application is essentially software. Prior to the development of Applications for smartphones, consumers would buy a program or software. They would put a CD-ROM or, if you’re really old, floppy disk, into the computer and install the software onto the hard drive. Software was typically pricey and cost from $50 to hundreds of dollars for popular programs such as Microsoft Office.
Mobile applications were far more simplified versions of the software and focused on meeting small, niche needs. Some sold for previously unheard-of amounts like $1.99 and others were free.
This drove a new consumer trend. Downloading apps was exciting and new. Applications could be developed on much smaller budgets than their Software predecessors. This meant that small companies and even individual developers could create applications. The market exploded. Applications appeared for every conceivable problem software might solve; from opening your car door to managing your finances to playing games with friends.
When is a mobile application a good idea?
With the increase use of Smartphones and mobile internet speeds, consumers are expecting a great experience with a business whether they are viewing their website on their Smartphone or accessing an app. Business are turning more and more to their internet browser rather than the Application store. That said, here are some situations when mobile application development is a better idea for a business than simply a mobile website.
- When you are offering a unique service
- When your customers regularly engage with your business
- When you want to develop a community
- When you want to provide advanced Mobile-only features
If you want to develop software that provides a service rather than just information, developing a mobile app will give you greater control over the design and customer interaction. A mobile website can be limited in it’s capacity to provide complex functions, such as gaming environments or secure banking.
One of the advantages of an application is that it connects your consumer directly to the features they want to find. They only need to click on the app sitting on their mobile device’s home screen. Magazines, directories and banking portals are all examples of businesses where clients have daily, if not more frequent, contact with the services they require from the business. An application will shorten the time required to access the services you’re providing. This high-frequency of use also makes the effort of downloading the application, and perhaps paying for it, worth your customer’s time.
An application can assist in the development of a unique community around your brand. If you have a login for part of your website, your customers might find it easier to participate in the community if it is through an Application rather than a website.
The LinkedIn application allows members to find each other simply by opening the application on their mobile phone. A mobile website can not provide as sleek an experience to customers.
Don’t forget that iOS Apps typically make more money than Android Apps. For effective coverage of the market, you will need to develop a mobile Application for both platforms.
If the above information suggests to you that your company would be better off developing a mobile Application, find out about Complete Cloud’s recent mobile application development work.