Responsive Website vs Mobile App: Why The Big Players Are Switching

responsive website vs mobile app

When Google rolled out their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm in April of 2015, webmasters scrambled to make sure their companies were prepared. The stakes were high.

Around 64% of searches internationally are done through Google, so a low ranking is a sure way to kill site traffic. Before the algorithm was announced, 81% of websites weren’t mobile optimized. As of last year, Google reported that 85% of pages now met their criteria for mobile-friendliness.

This rapid shift hasn’t come without a price. The majority of businesses, at least initially, opted for responsive websites to establish their mobile presence.

Responsive websites were (and still are) seen as a quick way to avoid the lower Google ranking and the commensurate drop in site traffic. The ease and lower cost of this approach appeal to fiscally-conservative executives.

Making a site responsive can be added into the regular web design processes, meaning there’s only one mobility project to oversee. Developers also like the freedom from worrying over OS guidelines imposed by app distributors.

Responsive Websites are Great for Enterprise, Not So Much for End Users

There’s a serious drawback to the responsive website approach. It’s easier for enterprise, but harder on the end user.

Responsive websites emphasize lower investment and ease of operation over customer experience. That’s not a winning strategy when 65% of high-performing companies say their customer-driven approach is key to their success.

Major players like Amazon, Starbucks, and Nike are focusing their forward digital strategy on apps, with responsive websites used mainly as vehicles to promote mobile-friendly apps.

The Disneyland app released last year is particularly interesting. Disney is usually slow to adopt new technology compared to similar theme parks.

Disney Director of Digital Experiences Sarah Laiwala explained that the park prefers to wait until a tech trend is established before incorporating it, saying, “We don’t use technology for the sake of technology.”

The Shift Towards Mobile App Development

Enterprise leaders are noticing results from the change in focus. Salesforce notes that 77% of enterprises report a significant ROI on mobile apps. That makes sense given consumer reliance on mobile.

89% of all mobile media time is done through apps as opposed to responsive webpages, and the highest “add to cart” rate on e-commerce sites come from tablets.

We’ve broken down the strengths of apps over responsive websites to show the motivation behind this digital sea change.

Web, native, and hybrid apps are all included under the general term “apps”, but you can check out our blog post for a fuller explanation of the difference.

The Appeal of Mobile Apps for Enterprise

Speed

No matter how well designed, a web page still has to load fully for a customer to begin interaction.

Media slows this down significantly. Responsive websites present viewers with unattractive gray “placeholder boxes” while waiting for videos and images to load.

In areas with poor signal, that can mean up to a minute of staring at a half-loaded page. Mobile users will give up on a page after an average of three seconds.

Apps have less media-intensive interfaces which translate to shorter load times. They can also rely on caching to make accessing data-intensive resources faster and smoother.

Less reliance on internet access

80% of mobile usage is done through mobile apps. Part of that is driven by their constant readiness.

App users can access some features of apps in a signal deadzone where responsive sites are only available in places with data coverage.

Smoother customer journey

Responsive layouts don’t have the intuitive“mobile feel” users are familiar with.

While smart designers tweak the layout when making a site responsive, the expectation of most websites is that they’re being used on a large screen with a mouse or touchpad.

A customer’s path through the website to complete a task is much easier on a computer than a tablet.

This kind of frustrating mobile experience can drive customers away. 61% of users will leave within minutes if they can’t easily navigate a mobile site.

Example: Anago Cleaning Systems

Janitorial service company Anago’s employees regularly need to file inspection reports to assess the quality of their services.

To do this on a website, a user would have to open the page, log in to the employee area, find the reports section, and choose the specific form needed before they could begin.

The journey is much simpler with Anago’s app. Here, the employee can simply open their enterprise app and tap the inspection report icon on the homepage.

anago mobile app
Created by Concepta – Orlando, FL

Greater functionality

An app has access to device features that a website doesn’t, like the camera, microphone, and other internal sensors. This provides more options when it comes to designing features.

While consumers generally use these extra features for social media, there are a number of innovative enterprise applications possible with apps.

Example: Service Finance Company

Vendors who use Service Finance Company, LLC, a company that offers financing for home remodels and repair, often do estimates on-site.

They don’t have access to the scanners or fax machines traditionally used in the loan approval process.

Concepta took advantage of mobile devices’ full functionality to build a Dealer app which operates as a secure mobile approval platform.

Dealers pre-fill a customer’s demographic information by scanning their ID with the camera. They also have options to upload work orders and necessary pictures.

Customers can use their fingers or a stylus to sign documents for real-time upload.

Service Finance Mobile App
Created by Concepta – Orlando, FL

To do all this, a responsive site would need at least two external devices. All Service Finance needs to run their app is a smartphone or tablet.

Increased customer loyalty

46% of consumers are less likely to shop around when using a company’s branded app.

In addition, businesses can push notifications about account alerts, sales, and other functions through an app (only possible with annoying pop-ups on a website).

The average smartphone user checks their phone 46 times a day, giving them 46 chances to see push notifications and engage.

They are engaging, too. Mobile activity has a direct link to increased revenue.

Smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to desktops, and 88% of users who use mobile devices to search for local businesses with make a purchase at one within 24 hours.

Numbers like that make improving mobile presence a priority.

At Concepta, we’re experts on designing custom apps to fit a company’s individual needs. Contact us today to discuss how an app can boost your digital strategy!
Share With Us Your Challenges

Learn How to Ensure Data Integrity for Enterprise Systems

data integrity

Variation in quality has always been a serious business risk. Customers and business partners want someone to rely on — a supplier that delivers the same level of quality every time.

The problem has always been that some variations are nearly impossible to control, thus losing data integrity. Many management philosophies have arisen over the years to draw the connections between customer expectations, quality and variation control.

Since its heyday in the 1990s, total quality management (TQM) has evolved into Lean and Six Sigma, but the fundamentals are still in place: control variation, improve quality and satisfy expectations.

The Merging of Two Trends

What has changed significantly over the past few years is that two disruptive trends have reinforced each other to give enterprises a powerful new tool for higher quality and better control.

Those two inter-related trends are the ubiquity of mobile and the cost minimization of software development.

Now, custom-designed mobile apps are easy to make and can shine the light of data analysis into every corner of the enterprise.

Consider this use case:

Color Correction at a Paint Manufacturer

A paint company is proud of its futuristic online paint ordering system. A commercial customer can copy and paste a photo from a laptop or a mobile phone onto their website.

This will be the color of the walls at their new HQ. The backend imports the color from that photo and generates a paint batch order. So far so good.

In the production facility, a paint specialist mixes up 100,000 gallons of the paint in the mixer, but he gets distracted. He’s training someone new and the boss just called on him to find out what’s wrong with one of the other machines on the floor.

When he gets back, he forgets that he didn’t include one of the ingredients or he used the wrong amount. Maybe he has a paper checklist, but he just ticks the box out of habit. As far as he is concerned, the job is done, and he moves on to the next project.

The problem is only discovered when it reaches the client, who is stuck with 100,000 gallons of the wrong color, possibly delaying the completion of their HQ and all the fallout that entails.

This leads to internal conflicts at the customer, and the paint manufacturer has to make it right.

It’s quite likely that they will lose the customer and all their repeat business. Forget about referrals. The paint manufacturer is lucky if the entire story doesn’t wind up on social media.

The End Result

To stop the damage and prevent this situation from impacting other customers, the paint manufacturer needs data they can rely on.

They need a way to trace the problem back and find out exactly what happened to the batch.

An action trail with verified data integrity is the only way the enterprise is going to be able to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

There are only so many chances the enterprise will get.

The Software Solution

Mobile and the growth of custom software development companies are the keys to quality control and data integrity at every stage of enterprise processes.

That’s just as true for service providers as it is for traditional manufacturers.

Custom software development and mobile applications can now reduce risk and offer insights that improve quality everywhere.

Enterprises where complexity is high and visibility is low have the most to gain. So do their customers.

For more information, contact Concepta today and…

Share With Us Your Challenges

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your Mobile App Development

outsource mobile app development

While companies are increasingly adapting to the changing trends of mobile-only and mobile-first strategies, maintaining an in-house mobile app development team as opposed to outsourcing it from specialized services providers is still arguably a debatable topic, and for good reason.

The benefits of gaining control over a project with an in-house mobile app team can come with several adverse expenses, including tens of thousands or even millions of dollars for a single app.

While having an in-house development team does involve fewer monetary risks, there are several benefits for outsourcing your mobile app to a specialized managed service provider or MSP.

Here are five reasons why outsourcing your mobile app development team can be advantageous for your enterprise.

Saves on Cost

The costs associated with developing a mobile app in-house can start to add up when you consider the salaries of mobile developers, the length of the project, the platforms used and the maintenance costs.

In fact, labor often accounts for the majority of costs associated with an in-house mobile app development team, ranging from $60,000 to $150,000 a year, as of 2016. Costs can also often grow exponentially as viable apps are rarely developed and maintained by a single developer.

When your aim is to be profitable and keep costs low to ensure large gains, spending upwards to millions on an in-house mobile development app team may not be in the budget.

However, by outsourcing your mobile app team, you can save on several labor-related costs — such as the expense of insurance, overtime, training and raises — since your company won’t be responsible for providing them.

You could also save as much as 40 percent on maintenance costs and other IT expenses since they would be handled by the MSP.

Improves Budgeting

Many enterprises are shocked at the true exponential costs when they attempt to tackle mobile app development in-house.

Forrester Research even suggests that companies should expect to set budgets higher than anticipated to account for the true costs of developing and maintaining a mobile app over the course of two years.

However, an outsourced team offers the advantage of cost predictability by giving you a set recurring fees you can expect based on your agreed upon time frame for project completion.

This means that your company can better manage its budget for mobile app development and better allocate funds to other projects while reducing costs by avoiding unexpected expenses.

Takes Advantage of Unique Expertise

Outsourcing your mobile app development gives your company access to a slew of experts with a wide range of programming and design skills. Y

ou can also take advantage of their years of experience in order to figure out what approaches are best for solving issues and creating solutions for better app development. Moreover, these experts will be up to date on new methods and innovative practices so that they can create a robust app to meet your needs.

Saves Time

The agility an outsourced team can bring means that your enterprise can save time on bringing an app to market. Moreover, you can buy time for developing an in-house team by outsourcing your initial version to an MSP.

Optimizes Support

The support an outsourced MSP provides comes with the benefit of continuous improvement.

Your enterprise not only has a team ready to make sure your app is working and staying updated, but can also take advantage of having a support team on duty to assist with any concerns or issues that arise, including security concerns and debugging code.

Final Thoughts

Benefitting from an MSP’s expertise, cost savings and agile services to improve operations and app deployment is achievable. Have a strategy in place when selecting an outsourced team, and collaborate with experts who meet and understand your needs, including your timeline and budget.

If you’re looking to outsource your mobile app development, contact us today.

How to Keep Your Mobile App Users Engaged

mobile app engagement

Mobile app usage has been highly popular. However, you may be surprised to learn that the majority of downloaded apps get deleted within one day of use.

A Business Insider study revealed that most U.S mobile app users rarely download new apps, but they are using the apps they already have more than ever.

This discovery points to a striking trend: Mobile users are relying on apps for a variety of tasks, but they aren’t typically satisfied when trying out new apps.

How can businesses ensure that the apps they create appeal to mobile app users in the long-term?

Simple User Interface

Users must be able to open your app on the first attempt and generally understand what’s going on and how to get started.

A good user interface is simple and clean, yet it still accomplishes complex tasks and solves a problem for your users.

Several aspects should be taken into consideration when building a quality user interface: It must be both clear and concise, but simultaneously attractive and forgiving to the user.

For example, before deleting an item permanently, you may have a box appear that asks, “Are you sure you want to delete?” Thus, your app should allow the user to remedy the issue as easily as possible whenever he or she taps a button by accident.

Intuitive Design

Recent studies show that our patience is at an all-time low thanks to modern technology. Researchers estimated the average attention span to be just 8 seconds in 2016, decreased from 12 seconds in 2000.

For app developers, this key piece of information can guide the development process in the right direction; designs must facilitate quick learning and easy usage.

Mobile app users won’t spend more than a few minutes trying to figure out a complicated app or its confusing buttons, icons and instructions.

Intuitive designs combat confusion: They are obvious, yet smart.

Effective Problem-Solving

False advertising is another common mistake that app developers make.

While the app might advertise or insinuate that it solves a specific problem, it fails to truly deliver once users download it. This error is particularly risky because it has the potential to ruin brand trust among your users, making them less likely to download your apps in the future.

Be sure to get it right the first time by determining what your users want to achieve. Then, eliminate as many steps as possible to help them directly accomplish that goal.

Whether it’s designed for shopping, organizing or researching new restaurants, make sure your app is more efficient than the alternatives.

Fast Load Time

A telling study from CA Technologies revealed that app users don’t wait for slow-loading apps. Similar to the 8-second attention span finding, this study estimated that users will wait up to 6 seconds for an app to load.

Since apps are most often downloaded to accomplish tasks, their users typically want to get something done as quickly as possible.

To ensure you app load time falls well below that 6-second limit, take advantage of a free testing site that can help determine how well your app performs. A developer can decrease textures, convert several small files into one large file and test other changes to improve load time.

By following these basic rules, your business can release an app that your customers will use again and again and you will boost your mobile app engagement.

For more information or to contact us, please visit our website.

What Back-End Technologies Are Used to Set Up a Mobile App?

back-end technologies for mobile app

If you are developing a mobile app, you may be trying to figure out which back-end technologies to use. The good news is there are plenty of choices that work, but you must be aware of the trade-offs for each.

Consider what elements are most important to you: lots of bandwidth, low latency, regular frequency updates, static or dynamic data, concurrent sharing or other features.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the popular options you can choose from.

Cloud Platforms

Cloud platforms like platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are increasingly popular. Examples of PaaS include Parse and Google App Engine.

Cloud platforms allow you to get started quickly because you can utilize their free tier to begin operations and then tap into the pay-as-you-go option as you grow.

With this approach, you don’t have to be concerned about setting up a server, performing upgrades, shutting down the server when needed and other time-consuming tasks.

Infrastructure as a service options include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine, Microsoft’s Azure and others.

In this case, you are provided with a Linux server for adding whatever you want: Apache, Ruby on Rails, Java, Node.js and databases. The trade-off is that you must handle everything yourself — if your product scales quickly, you will be responsible for adding more servers, each with similar maintenance and security needs.

Languages

You can select from a wide variety of languages, including Ruby, PHP, Python and Java.

PHP was developed to be a server language, while Python and Ruby are scripting languages. Which one you choose depends on your proficiency with the basics of the language and how it performs as a server back-end.

Ruby and Python are relatively easy to learn and have a significant number of valuable open-source libraries.

PHP is still very popular and powers much of the web, although some industry observers feel it is losing ground every year. On the other hand, the Laravel framework for PHP is growing.

It will also benefit you to learn CSS and HTML, but you will naturally pick up much of that knowledge in the process.

For each language, there is a server framework that will make it easier for you to build the server. Python has a number of frameworks, including Bottle, Django, Tornado and Flask. Ruby has Sinatra and Ruby on Rails.

Also consider Node.js, a JavaScript runtime that will allow you to add JavaScript to the server.

Look into a framework called Express for working with Node.js.

If you go with JavaScript, consider using Mongoose for accessing MongoDB, and look at Feathers, an API layer and open-source REST.

Database Servers

Database servers are software programs that allow computers to access databases. Examples include Informix, DB2, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle.

The servers locate, change and save information that can be handled using back-end languages.

Smaller operations will typically use a database server that also performs the function of hosting applications.

In enterprise companies, the database server and application server usually have their own dedicated machines.

Application Servers

Application servers handle transaction-based applications. They take care of all computing between end-users and back-end business apps.

Apache Tomcat, Internet Information Services (IIS) and IBM WebSphere are examples of popular application servers.

Selecting the proper back-end technology for your situation requires you to understand your options for languages, servers and frameworks.

In the end, your choice will depend on your technical resources, the skills of your team and their specialized knowledge. Whether they are more proficient in Ruby, Python, PHP or another option will play a large part in the path you choose.

Beyond programming language, however, you must have a clear vision of what business goals you are trying to achieve.

For more information, contact us today or visit our website.

3 New Ways Hotel Apps are Changing the Mobile Guest Experience

hotel apps

Businesses in nearly every industry are searching for ways to improve customer experience with the help of mobile apps. For hotels, mobile app technology has sparked an array of new possibilities — all of which can create a smoother hotel stay for each guest who checks in.

Seamless Check-In

The idea of waiting at the front desk to check in isn’t particularly appealing, especially for weary travelers. Combine that with the potential for long lines, bad moods and logistic mistakes, and it’s easy to see how a stay can get off to a bad start.

Instead, companies such as the Marriott have eliminated this extra step, allowing guests to check in (or out) via their phones. Starwood Hotels & Resorts has also adopted mobile app check-ins, along with keyless room entry to create an even more streamlined process. Guests simply open the Starwood app, receive a room number and digital key, and scan their phones at the door using Apple Watch technology.The Hilton even gives customers the luxury of selecting their room from a graphical floor plan within its app.

Thus with new mobile app technology, visitors of these hotels can streamline the entire process of booking, checking in and getting acquainted with their rooms — all with little to no human intervention.

While you might assume that all this technology decreases interaction between hotels and their guests, Marriott Global CIO Bruce Hoffmeister says it actually increases chances to communicate before, during and even after a stay.

Management of Guest Experience

One major upside to developing mobile apps for hotels is management’s ability to keep track of customers without direct intrusion. Guests can contact staff directly from their mobile apps to communicate a problem or ask for additional service.

The Marriott app gives guests the option to select from a list of what they need or chat directly with a staff member. Not only does this make life easier for guests, but it also creates a much more reliable system for staff to keep track of requests.

According to Marriott data, a whopping 40 percent of guests begin communicating before they even arrive at the hotel.

Concierge on the Go

While all businesses today are interested in improving their customer’s experience, hotels need to be especially careful to assure quality in this area. Some hotel apps are going the extra mile to provide guests with travel guides that highlight attractions, restaurants and local transportation information.

The Ritz app allows users to share these tips on social media, connecting not only guests, but also their friends and family to the hotel experience.

Hotel apps may even begin borrowing from the user-base of travel apps, as they offer more and more competitive services.Thompson Hotels creates customized promotions for its app users, which can be advertised through push notifications. From there, users can simply enter a discount code and book their stay.Both the Hilton and Ritz-Carlton offer rewards programs, which serve to increase customer loyalty.

With both travel recommendations and discounts, hotel apps have become competition for travel apps that were once coveted for these features. Mobile apps for hotels provide a wealth of information for both guests and staff, streamlined communication and fewer unnecessary trips to the front desk.

As hotels realize the importance of appealing to younger professionals and families, hotel app integration is bound to continue — with even more accommodating features in the future. Don’t be surprised to see more mobile apps cropping up for hotels around the globe.

For more information, contact us today or visit our website.