When it comes to mobile platforms, your church has two choices. Mobile apps offer smartphone and tablet users direct access to your multimedia; mobile websites provide a simple, straightforward, and relatively static interface that will work on most mobile devices.
A mobile app is software designed for such mobile operating systems (and their corresponding distribution programs) as Apple iOS (the App Store) and Google Android (Google Play); an app is generally useful for executing specific actions, such as listening to a podcast, playing an interactive game, or making a purchase. A mobile website is essentially a sleek, stripped down version of your native (desktop-friendly) site; with a mobile website, the content may be stacked vertically for easy scrolling, and much of the graphics from the native site may be streamlined or removed.
But where should you start? Should you first tailor your website for the smaller- and touch-screen mobile devices or should you jump right into the “app race?” Obviously, both platforms have their pros, as the infographic in this article shows, and, if done correctly, essentially no cons.
Infographic: Mobile Site or Mobile App: Which Should You Build First?”
But if your church’s resources are limited, then here are a SIX CAPABILITIES to consider before making a decision on which platform you should develop first:
|Six Key Considerations||Mobile websites||Mobile apps||Recommendation|
|Reach||Can run on so-called “basic” phones, which still outnumber smartphones.||Can only run on smartphones and tablets, which are taking over.||You’ll need a separate app for each smartphone ecosystem (Apple, Android, Blackberry, etc)– Most hybrid platforms like pocketpew, will setup your app in at least the two main markets (App Store and Google Play)|
|Speed||Designed to be fast and lean.||Uniquely designed for the phone’s hardware and software operating system, and is, in general, fast at what it does.||For mostly text-based content, a mobile website will suffice. For more complex multimedia, like audio or video content. then a mobile app might be the way to go|
|Flexibility||A relatively static, browsing experience.||A more dynamic experience, for the user and for the content provider (that’s you).||If your church really wants to reach a global and mobile generation, go with a mobile app.|
|User engagement||Provide a trust-worthy, non-intrusive experience.||A sticky experience. People are now spending more time using apps than in a web browser||Apps are designed to be more engaging.|
|Offline Capabilities||Requires Internet access.||Can partially, or completely function offline.||Go with a mobile app, but also consider providing free WiFi in your church.|
|Cost and Maintenance||Generally cheaper to set up and maintain.||Cost more initially, especially when factor in the cost of building an app for each smartphone ecosystem.||Mobile websites are more cost-efficient but the higher return on investment is with a mobile app. Pocketpew offers prices at $57 per month.|