Mobile Internet: 10 reasons to offer an app rather than a mobile web version of its site

With the success of the iPhone and the ecosystem that Apple has created and developed with the App Store, publishers of websites, brands and companies, rush on applications, in which they perceive a new Eldorado.

With the success of the iPhone and the ecosystem that Apple has created and developed with the App Store, publishers of websites, brands and companies, rush on applications, in which they perceive a new Eldorado. online shopping in pakistan

There is not a day going by without receiving one or more announcements of launching a new iPhone application. Moreover if my calculations are accurate, since the launch of the App Store in August 2008, it was created on average 238 applications per day! If before the arrival of the Apple smartphone almost three years ago the mobile web was still considered a nice gadget but a little useless, the quality of mobile Safari and the web experience on the iPhone, associated with the phenomenal growth of the App Store, has totally redistributed the cards: everyone wants his iPhone app, and too bad for other platforms, which only pick up a few crumbs of the cake (even if Android is doing pretty well with already more than 30,000 applications available).

As an inveterate and long-time mobile user, I am particularly interested in iPhone applications (and those of other platforms, when they exist) of news media, brands and some blogs that have published an iPhone application that offers a packaged mobile version of their website. With this recurring question: what is the interest of an application and what added value does it bring compared to a mobile webapp (ie the mobile version of the site)?

If such an approach could seem meaningless just a few months ago, the emergence of this new hybrid model of mid-web and semi-software has finally proved itself and today has many arguments pleading in its favor. Without going into considerations of content, and although I know that this inventory will certainly give rise to contradictory reactions, here are 10 reasons why you should propose an application rather than a mobile version of your website.

1. A truly adapted format
I do not know if you noticed, but like what is done on the “desktop” web, the mobile applications of media sites also respond more and more frequently to common standards of interface and ergonomics (sequential navigation buttons, font size adjustment, sharing in social networks and by email, etc …). Even if this is not a sufficient argument (we can very well do the same thing with a webapp), these standards contribute to standardization of user-friendly interfaces. On the other hand, a well-designed application is really adapted to the mobile experience because it is a real software made using platform-specific development tools and not the sometimes clumsy adaptation. from the publisher’s website.

2. Greater ease of use for the general public
With the development of App Stores (and of course more precisely that of Apple) there is a reversal of practices that we would not have imagined in the heroic times of mobile pioneers: it is easier today to install an app only to go for the mobile version of a website. Starting from the observation that the iPhone is now a mobile very public, when I look around me among people “normal” (understand: non-geek and not necessarily the latest technology), I am surprised to see the number applications that they have installed on their iPhone, and to realize that most of these apps are those of media websites. That’s how many regular and faithful users of 20 Minutes, Le Monde, Libé, Le Parisien, Le Point and other applications, which represents hundreds of thousands of pages more for these publishers every day. And yet most of these sites also offer a mobile web version! Does the general public use mobile versions of these sites? The answer is no, certainly. Why ? See next point.

3. The general public hates URLs
No need for marketing studies or behavior to make this observation: people hate URLs! The memory capacity of a domain name in the average homo internetus must be limited to two or three, no more. Take the test around you and ask someone to give you the exact url of the three or four sites he frequents the most. Also look at how the same people have to find their favorite sites: by entering their name in Google, which has become the first address bar of the browser. In this context, imagine more that it is necessary to memorize a mobile address, among this small non-exhaustive anthology of addresses as friendly as Whereas with an application, all the work is chewed: you install and to you the w

4. The general public loves icons
The iPhone did not invent the mobile interface by icons but it imposed it as the only valid standard. No wonder then that the public plebiscite this type of navigation where the applications take a place of choice. Again the simplicity of use premium: it is much easier to read Le Monde on his iPhone or Android by simply clicking on an icon that if it requires launching his browser and then search the site in the list of his favorites (when you only know that the favorite function exists). It may be just a click away but it is this click in less that makes all the difference. You tell me that you can create a favorite icon on the screen of your iPhone with any website: it’s true, but how many do? And how many know how to make a custom icon?

5. The push
Some media applications offer a push function that displays the latest news (or a selection of them) in a small alert window on the screen of their iPhone. This is the case for example of the World (again!) Or This is an interesting function that can turn out depending on the case and individuals very addictive or otherwise totally unbearable. But whatever one thinks of it and whatever the use of it, it is to my possible knowledge only through an application. Functionality all the more significant in the context of a single-tasking device like the iPhone (although it will become partially multitasking with the upcoming version 4.0).

6. The buzz
Even if the effect fades and becomes commonplace quickly, for a brand, launching an iPhone application, including when it is “only” an adaptation of its website, is always an opportunity to talk of it, especially in blogs, the more specialized of which have an audience sometimes more important than the institutional site of the mark in question. It is therefore an opportunity to offer some free advertising, editorial and backlink, or even more affinity: some brands take advantage of the launch of their iPhone application to offer a competition and a real branding operation. In short, the application is in itself a very good marketing tool. What is not the case of the mobile website: who today would dare to launch a buzz marketing operation around the launch of the mobile version of its website? Besides, the first question that comes to mind would certainly be something like: “and your iPhone application, when do you come out? “. Hence the point to follow.

7. It’s good for your image, coconut
Like it or not, and even if it annoys some allergies, offering an iPhone application is also a trendy thing. Therefore the box that wants to fart a bit will invest advantageously in its application rather than in the realization of the mobile version in HTML of its website. This will give the company a trendy image of a box that lives with its time, even a little early (depending on its market context). It’s true, “we release our iPhone app” it still sounds better than “we release the mobile HTML CSS version of our website that you can find at the address purchased two points slash slash mobile point monsite dot com” no ? Yes. A competitive advantage that will however need to be exploited quickly, because offering its iPhone application will soon be as commonplace as having its parpier header or a water fountain.

8. An app is easier to find than a mobile website
The housewife under 99 years rarely walks on Google to find a mobile website, let alone an iPhone application. On the other hand, she knows how to use the App store directly from her iPhone. Better, she will walk for pleasure on the App Store at random to find the applications of its favorite websites by simply using the proposed sorting functions (the most recent, the most popular, free, paid …). A way to search impossible with Google, except to use special requests or advanced tools, quite unknown to the general public. You said serendipity? Again ?

9. An application offers more advanced features than a mobile web version
HTML is good but it can quickly be relatively limited, if not a bit slow, when it comes to providing advanced user interaction functions. Take a look, for example, at the USA Today app (a model of this type and one of my favorites), Post Post’s post function, podcasts or live radio from the Libération app, not to mention the possibility of to fully load the edition of the day to read it then offline (TGV, plane, metro …). Of course you will answer me that all this is possible in HTML, okay, but at the price of how many complications? And we are just at the beginning: the arrival of the iPad allows to glimpse other possibilities of mix between paper magazine, website and multimedia application.

10. The ecosystem of the App Store, iAd and the possibility of monetizing an application
In addition to the possibility of making an application pay with a lock of rights per user (something difficult to do with a web service), it will soon be possible to manage the advertising space of an application to make it profitable. Steve Jobs announced at its last keynote the upcoming launch of iAd, an advertising agency dedicated to applications that will allow publishers to market to advertisers advertising space available in applications. There are already possibilities to display advertising in an application but with iAd we return to the heart of our subject: the ads will be “smart” because adapted to the applications. They will therefore be displayed more neatly and above all will not need to go out of the application to go to the advertiser, avoiding the round trips quickly annoying in the current context.

Of course, I do not forget that the multiplication of mobile platforms and App Stores is not necessarily a very good thing for the web and its standards (App Stores will they kill the hope of a single standard? ), but I think the battle is already lost. In this case, even if one does not approve of this evolution, it is better to adapt than to camp on positions: the mobile web passes today by the applications.

Unless … In a future post we will see 10 reasons to create a mobile web version of its site rather than an application. I’m sure you have plenty of arguments for this hypothesis so this article will have pissed you off

We did not leave the hostel.

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