Most mobile apps are created as an add-on; as just a way to allow additional device access to your website. However, the limited size of the mobile phone, ergonomics, device functionality and mobility are effective reasons for you to explore beyond the existing design and content. In fact, it is important to start from scratch and understand whether there is a reason for your users to use your platform on the mobile. Don’t launch a mobile app just because everyone else is. Ensure that there is a reason and make sure that it has something more or different from what users can get on your website. Here are some examples of how your mobile app can be different from your website.
1. Limited but relevant content: It is tough to adapt your website content to the mobile because of its limited size. Therefore, pick the most relevant content and only display those on the mobile. Let me give you an example of something that presumably you use daily. In Gmail, for instance, on the web, you see ‘From’, ‘Subject’, ‘Short description’ and ‘Date’. However, on your mobile app, the ‘Short description’ has been skipped for obvious reasons.
2. Adapting to device functionalities: Do you use dictionary.com’s app? Have you noticed that the mobile app allows you to search by voice as well whereas on the web it is just by text? This is a simple but effective way to adapt to mobile phone’s voice functionality.
3. Mobility: The biggest advantage of a mobile phone is its mobility. For a site like Amazon.com, it would have been tough to allow easy search among its product base along with filtering and sorting, on the mobile phone. Add to it the checkout process and a mobile app would have been redundant. However, Amazon.com has used the mobility of the phone to its advantage. Now, you can not just search by text on the app but also by picture. So if you are at a store and want to know the price of a product on Amazon, you can just ‘Snap it’ or ‘Scan it’ (barcode) and get the details. Easy, ain’t it?
4. Graphics and Visuals: This is again something you are forced to use on the mobile to show big data in limited format. If you use the Caltrain in San Francisco, you would have checked out its website that has a long time table of the train schedule. The app, on the other hand, uses a picker wheel to display the same details. It is an efficient way to show big data.
Have you come across more of such examples? Would love to know more.