Myth: Mobile Means Apps
There are few approaches for serving optimized content for mobile. Having an app is one of them — not necessarily the best, though. An app is just a container for the content we are trying to serve. While some apps bring us delightful experiences (such as Solar or Instagram), we can’t rush ourselves and create an app for every website or product we are working on. Especially if we are planning to give the app a subset of desktop features.
“See, your product isn’t really a product at all. Your product is something called content. It’s a service.”
An app is considered a product by many. As Josh Clark outlines above, the essence of the product is and always will be the content and service or set of functionalities you are giving to your customers. Currently, both App Store and Google Play are each offering over 700,000 apps for download. Are all of them being used? Probably not. Are they all providing the content or features the user would like to see? For sure, no.
Responsive design has been adopted by well known brands such as Tiffany & Co.
Since having an app isn’t always the way to go — what is? A good alternative is responsive design. It has been a really hyped topic over the past few months, and not without reason. It certainly can be easier to use media queries than to write a native iOS app or play around with PhoneGap. It also gives the impression of cohesion and creates a seamless experience. Development-wise, it prevents you from creating a couple different apps (for different platforms) and code bases.
Instead of creating an app to make the “New & Noteworthy” section within the App Store, and therefore limiting yourself to the container you’ve chosen, try to think about a strategy which will reduce the amount of redundancy in your work and that will serve all users. Before jumping on the bandwagon of apps, be sure that you have good content strategy thought out.