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Should We Build an App for Our Company?

Occasionally, a company will ask me if they should create an app for their company.To answer this, I have made a short list of considerations before deciding to create an app and this list is built around one simple principle, the principle of purpose.

A responsive website replaces the need to have an app in most instances, so there needs to be a really good purpose to create an app….meaning the app needs to fit one of three categories:

  1. fulfills a purpose that a responsive website cannot really fulfill
  2. makes it much easier to fulfill a purpose, than going to a website
  3. If this is the case, the need must be frequent or access must be quick
  4. the purpose being fulfilled takes up too much of the user’s data on mobile

First, the app must fulfill a purpose that cannot really be fulfilled online.

  • A great example of this is iTunes. The iTunes app needs to be on the phone, because the music is on the phone and the music might lag and be dependent on cellular coverage.

Second, it needs to make fulfilling a purpose much easier than a mobile site…with this, you need to look at frequency & urgency. How often are people going to need to use that app and how fast do they need to access the purpose of the app? If it is only once maybe twice, then they probably will not download it, because this also takes up space on their phones.

  • A great example of this is SoundHound. I rarely use SoundHound, but when I need it, I need it quick, and I am usually driving when I want to know who sings a song that I am listening to. So, even though I don’t use it a lot, when I need it, I need it ASAP.

Third, having the app will allow the user to use the purpose of the app more, because of data restrictions.

  • A great example of this is iTunes again. If we had to download every song we were listening too, every time we listened to it, that would add up over time.

As you can see, most of the time, an app is not really that relevant or necessary. Additionally, keep in mind that the numbers need to make sense also. Try to get a bead on how many users are likely to use your app. If may be worth it to poll some existing customers and friends.

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