Mobile App for Web Product: Tribute to Trends or NecessitySupposedly, your website or web app is outstanding and brings you steady profit and stable conversion: why should you change anything? But as the world around you is growing more "mobile" with every new day, ask yourself, whether you should embrace the existing opportunities, otherwise in a couple of years you may suddenly find yourself standing alone and watching the leaving train. In fact, the idea of updating and expanding a web-based product by converting website or web application into a mobile app is quite reasonable and, more to the point opens up wide prospects. Have you already thought about this, but had no time to find out the details and fine points? Umbrella IT suggests figuring out together how to turn a website into a mobile app and close the chapter (or rather, start a new one).
WHY DOES THE ISSUE OF CONVERTING INTO MOBILE APP PRESENT ANY INTEREST AT ALL?
- globally, the number of mobile users is huge and grows steadily, so it would be foolish to ignore such an audience
According to Statista as of May, 2017 the share of time accounted for by mobile users in the total digital minutes in the top online markets is rather impressive (Indonesia - 90%, Argentina - 73%, USA - 65%).
- even if you have a mobile website already (with an excellent responsive design), a mobile app opens new prospects in cooperation with your users and provides a number of advantages:
- as its interface is already loaded, only clear data are transferred through the Internet, and they are rather lightweight, the mobile app runs faster (the paramount factor for inpatient modern users);
- the mobile device is always at hand, and this is much easier for the user to start the app with a click on the icon, then to open the browser, enter the website address and wait until it is loaded. And if the interface meets the up-to-date UX requirements, and is user-friendly, the user will unconsciously look into your app, when he/she is bored waiting for the flight or in traffic jam;
- it can use hardware and software systems of the mobile device (gyroscope, fingerprint scanners, address book, etc.). Thus, your content will become unique, more exciting and winning;
- it can run offline (some functions continue running even without the Internet connection);
- you may use special push-notifications to attract and hold the user's attention. For example: if you have an online shop, you may notice your clients of new special offers.
- to increase the number of users;
- and/or to expand options for your web product.
HOW DO YOU BUILD FOUNDATION FOR MOBILE APP?What exactly do you want to achieve (figures, deadlines, percentages, particular functions, etc.)? If we are talking about a mobile app, in terms of goal setting the following factors shall be considered: AUDIENCE What is your target audience? Explore statistics and data from different studies to understand whether in your case it is expedient to turn a website into a mobile app.
According to Statista the mobile users that belong to millennials ( the generation born after 1981) spend much more time online than people of previous generations: on average, 185 minutes per day.
And what generation is your project aimed at?Today you can find statistics on differences in use of mobile apps by men and women, by social groups or by spheres of activity. Based on those data you may finally define, whether your audience is active in this context and whether you should focus on the mobile user market at all. FUNCTIONS Next step in setting the goal is to determine what exactly your future product will do. Do not turn your website into iPhone or Android app simply because this is on-trend; or because your competitors have done it already. There are several major scenarios:
- You intend to expand your audience and at the same time to keep the functionality of your website in a new product (as far as possible and reasonable). That is, you just create a small copy of your website. Of course, taking into account features of mobile design and development.
- You plan to use the new app actively to attract new users. Focus on key offers available for your visitors on your website.
- You intend not only to attract, but also to hold mobile users. Therefore, you should offer a stand-alone product. Choose the functions that are practical to use in mobile apps. Actively employ push-notifications.
- they are most active in the morning and evening;
- they spend less time on the app than desktop users (so, they should see the most interesting things at the very beginning, otherwise they may never get them at all);
- they are not fond of entering a large amount of important data: input bank card data, fill in long forms, perform operations consisting of a long sequence of actions, etc. (in other words, it is recommended to exclude any complicated operations that require special attention or concentration);
- the above-complicated operations are recommended to be replaced with third-party systems integration (data are already input in the integrated system, and the user needs only to confirm them in the mobile app).
For the purpose of logging in, it is recommended to offer an option to enter with Facebook along with the standard option email+password.
- mobile users are more likely to agree to define their location;
- they prefer to look through the goods, but more goods are bought via desktop;
- this is not recommended to make the user to enter a friend’s phone number, but rather integrate search through contacts on the device and/or social networks.
You have a beauty salon chain in a big city and an excellent website, where your visitors may look through portfolios of stylists, read detailed information on the services, set questions to consultants, choose a hairstyle using photos and many other exciting options.
If you decide to make a mobile app, you should think whether you need all this information therein and how exactly it can improve the level of your services.
Say, in the app you can offer to the users the opportunity to make an appointment with the salon, check a work schedule of a hairdresser, find the closest salon to the user’s location, learn about new offers or sale promotions, or use a cost calculator. In other words, it is the information that really may come in handy.
While long articles and videos about procedures offered are better to be posted on websites or web applications.Think of your exact business needs. And based on this, make a list of functions for the future mobile app. PLATFORM Once you have identified the audience and the key functions, you have the more clear-defined idea of what you want to get in the end. But do not forget that creating a mobile app will require some time and money. So, you need to decide at the very beginning the users of what platform you plan to engage.
if you target at Brazil, Mexico or China, then you should focus on Android users and convert website to Android app, since it is a clear-cut leader of mobile markets in these countries.
And if you want to enter the market quickly and cover users of both popular OSs (Android and iOS), then think about building a hybrid app, instead of converting website into iOS or Android app.You should weigh all pros and cons. Avoid any excessive expenses. And move on towards the set goal. CONTENT Content is vital for both types of users. First of all, it depends on functions defined. But mobile users should not suffer from any lack of information. Images, texts, graphic elements don’t have to reproduce the web version word for word. They should be adapted for each platform. And such data as addresses, contact phone numbers, discounts, terms of sales should be identical. Visitors, being used to reliable and constantly updated information, will use the app time and again. STYLE One of the fundamental elements that you need to preserve, is your website’s style. In no case should awareness of your brand suffer. Logo, colors, font, “tricks” typical for your company - all should make the users feel they are on your homepage (albeit small) UI/UX It is one of the most critical points in our story. For your app to be truly mobile, it must possess certain features and characteristics that a modern mobile user is accustomed to. Here are some of them:
- fast loading (exclude any complex elements that delay loading, there is no point to use them in mobile apps);
- easy navigation;
- easy-to-fill forms;
- readable text;
- easy-to-use interactive elements;
- high contrast (given that the users often have less than optimal illumination);
- a minimum number of user actions to perform an operation.
HOW CAN MOBILE APP BE BUILT?USING ONLINE SERVICES There is a fair number of such services (for example, Como, IbuildApp). You may start from scratch and build a new mobile application based on your web product as well as order its placement into stores, where it can be loaded. This variant has its pros:
- no time spent in the search for designers and developers: you register and build an app in accordance with your requirements;
- online tools always offer simple and easy-to-understand guides, aimed at non-professionals in the field of design or development;
- you may choose ready-made solutions, in case you focus on functions rather than on the way your product looks.
- the app will not be customized, it will rather look typical;
- this is not easy to preserve the style of your basic web-app;
- as non-professional, you may miss some UI/UX features specific for each platform, and this may later have an impact on the way the users percept the app.
- qualified experts, experienced in building such apps;
- a proved process of development, monitoring, testing and publishing on stores;
- organized process of cooperation between the client and the team and inside of the team in the course of app creation;
- process management tools;
- new technologies and trends;
- possibility to participate in the process, track intermediate results and make adjustments if required;
- possibility to customize your app in accordance with your wishes;
- prospects for further cooperation with the team, if you decide to extend your product (or create another new one).