Native Apps vs. Responsive Website

I see more and more ads out there that say “Your business needs a mobile app” usually indicating your company will die without one.

But lets think about this for a second. Look at the apps installed on your smartphone’s home screens right now. The list may look something like this:

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Chat
  • Security (MFA, passwords, etc)
  • Health tracking
  • Music
  • Calendar Widget
  • Weather
  • Game
  • Map / Navigation

All of these you likely use on an hourly and daily basis. Many provide functionality that a browser is not suited for, though not all. And many provide alerts and access sensors constantly.

But, let’s say for example, yesterday you wanted to see how late your favorite restaurant was open. You may have said “Okay Google, how late is Smoking Jay’s open?” or opened a browser and searched for “Smoking Jay’s”. Where did both land you? Google’s search results that happened to be smart enough to know that answer.

Or another example, today you wanted to know where to find a DeWalt Cordless drill. So you either asked Google or Apple via voice or opened a browser to search.

In neither case did you open the app store or Google Play and search for an app that searched for power tools or restaurant times.

So if you’re running a Law Firm, do you really think anyone is going to look for your app and install it? Lets say I ran that law firm and think I want a mobile app. Now I need someone to write 3 apps for Microsoft, Android and Apple and maybe more. I would need to make it useful enough to warrant such expense. And I would need it to make sense enough for many of my clients to install.

Lets say that I make the law firm app present agendas, a calendar and and confirm receipt of documents. How would spending time developing 3 platform specific apps benefit me rather than working on just a single, responsive, secure web site? I can’t think of any reasons in this example.

So before you go app crazy, consider that it may be best to just improve your likely existing web site to be mobile and user friendly. For one thing, I guarantee you it’ll cost less, be more efficient and likely used more.

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