How Mobile Apps Can Bring Your Web Page to Offline Viewers
When talking about mobile apps, most people suggest building a website to help drive traffic to your app. But, did you know that you can use a mobile app to support your web page? In fact, your mobile app can serve as a form of offline web presence for your site, keeping your audience engaged. Since engagement equals sales, it is time to start investigating mobile applications as a way to improve your client relations.
What Is It?
You would have to be living in an isolated part of a distant jungle to have not heard of a mobile application by now. But, not everyone really knows what they can do. Mobile applications are programs that are specially designed for smartphones and tablets. The rapidly increasing power and functionality of these devices means that they can do more and more each year. Common tasks include mapping, games, checking email, surfing the Internet, and performing functions that are something of a hybrid between website use and offline surfing.
This last category is actually one of the oldest forms of mobile applications and one of the easiest to build. Essentially, the application is going to perform a function that would normally require surfing to a website on a computer, but do it in an easier manner with mobile optimized graphics and fonts and fewer clicks. Good examples of such applications include banking applications that let you check your balances with just a few clicks, real estate applications that make it easier to search nearby listings, or even dating applications that let you check messages and interact with other users without having to navigate to the page with a web browser.
How Does It Work?
The great thing about these applications is that they create a sort of a hybrid online / offline existence for your website. How? Because much of the functionality of your site is moved into the application, your customer is able to see a great deal of information about your company even if they are not connected to the Internet. More advanced and interactive functionality may require some sort of Internet connection, but a well-designed mobile application will only need to sip data to work, making even the weakest of mobile connections sufficient to provide full functionality to your user. Suddenly your website and most of its important features can be available to your target audience wherever they are.
Why Do It?
More than 60% of website traffic is now attributed to mobile browsers. That includes tablets and smartphones, even if they are being used at home on a Wi-Fi connection. That is why Absolute Web Services stresses the importance of responsive website design so a site is ideally presented to a visitor regardless of the size of the screen they are using (i.e., a smartphone screen versus a desktop monitor). But, a website is still easier to navigate on a computer with a keyboard and mouse or touchpad than on a mobile device with touch interface and single finger typing.
This is where a good mobile app can fit into the equation. It can bridge the gap between function and ease of use and make a truly mobile-optimized experience that is more pleasant for your visitor. It can also simplify the process of accessing functions mobile visitors are likely to want or need, making it possible for them to visit your site and learn about your company, products or services, locations and hours, and other information while on the go and using very little data (or sometimes none at all). That takes your company and web presence out into the real world where your customers live and work, enhancing your engagement and making it possible to stay connected no matter where they are or what they are doing.
Last week we spoke with Georgiy Slobodenyuk, Software Architect at…