Eight of the ten most-viewed corporate stories on WSJ.com for the year were about Apple, from product launches that stoked frenzy to the somber news of co-founder Steve Jobs’s death.
So many businesses are convinced they need an app these days and will dump good money on a lousy implementation without strong business or user goals defined, all for the sake of saying to an executive “We have an app”. You possibly don’t need an app any more than you should be putting ugly QR codes on your (hopefully) nicely designed marketing pieces. I guarantee you the marketing design team hates that and is pissed at IT or the business group for pushing it. They aren’t catching on for good reasons.
If you bought a piece of crap that actually hurts your brand, then you just have a piece of crap app to appease your executives, who should be asking you why you sunk cash into it. “Make an app for the sake of having an app” is not a good goal.
Do you have people at your company with a keen eye for quality and enough business sense to steer you clear of third parties looking to sell you a piece of crap? You may have one internally with an internal web design team and are not utilizing them. If not, hire a firm with good mobile user experience design strategy skills and experience, not just some firm reaching for new business from you and throwing an app together.
Make sure your IT team, marketing or outside vendors have your business’s best interest at heart and have a good strategy for this expense. Is your website design, content and performance optimized for a phone’s size and utilizing the features of these newer web browsers? Slightly more Americans (36.4%) use their mobile browser than access applications (34.4%) – source via Luke Wroblewski. You should be focusing on that too.
A mobile-optimized site works for both major mobile browsers and is probably less expensive, since it uses the same kind of code for both Android and iPhone browsers. Apps require different builds and likely cost more to release. You only need a native app if you need to know more about the user, other than location, and need access hardware, like the phone’s camera, or data on the app, like an address book or calendar app.
My opinion is probably not popular, because it challenges some lazy IT management (you know you’re out there) to relinquish some control to a user experience design professional and take a little longer to do the best job possible. It may even do the opposite and discourages someone’s costly pet project at a corporation or from an unscrupulous consultant.
If you find that you do have a need for an app and did a proper cost-benefit analysis, but want to go cheap and skip the user experience design steps, you’ll get a maintenance problem instead of a solution, an IT or business manager with terrible vision whose decision making is having a negative impact that they don’t even recognize, and you get a scar on your brand integrity, all to save the cost of proper design and strategy.
Good luck to you.
And yes, I’m aware this site isn’t entirely mobile-optimized. I’m actively working on it.
I wasn’t aware Google was doing this in the iPhone Maps app data and I find it distracting. The sponsored link is way more prominent than the location I was searching for. No wonder Apple bought a map data company.
That being said, as someone who worked in NYC in 2003 and used to visit semi-regularly, boy is it easier to get around and plan in a city with a smartphone!
Jaclyn and I had a hungering for Ranch 1 near her old school and thankfully we checked it online and found out it’s gone. Precious time saved!
Apple is as on par with Exxon Mobile. They’re in a huge growth market, as is Google, each coming at it from two different sides: hardware profit for Apple and ad revenue for Google. Both are very healthy companies, with Apple having a meteoric rise from near death in the late 90s, and Google being born from a better search engine written by two guys, to two of the fastest growing, hottest brands in the world.
Take a step back. What does this tell us?
Exxon Mobil probably does a lot of things, but they primarily sell and profit off of one of the most dependent natural resources in the world: oil. Other criteria than market capitalization suggests Walmart and Exxon are more critical the overall economy, though.
That shouldn’t undermine the crazy success we’ve seen from both companies from 2000-2011.
Why was Apple able to generate profits so rapidly? Streamlined process management, economies of scale for flash memory from iPod sales, and sweetheart deals of volume with manufacturers. Why was Google able to expand into so many markets so rapidly, scaring the living hell out of Microsoft?
Apple sells and greatly profits form the making the two best-selling mobile devices which accesses the Internet, and is rapidly expanding with new devices. Google offers the best search tool, along with amazing services, through the Internet to access information faster, all free* with ad support and data mining. They also offer, for free*, an operating system that they purchased to companies who make similar devices to Apple’s.
Both are only providing gateways (devices with screens) to Internet access made possible through media conglomerate-owned service providers that simply install the fiber optic lines to your home or towers for wireless mobile data. Internet Service Providers and wireless carriers, which are relatively new to being Internet service providers, are also highly profitable, though some investors are no longer impressed. We’ll see what 4th quarter figures look like.
Apple and Google are tripping over each other to get into China. Google struggled with the government censorship and Apple has many iPhones active in China, trying to sell more directly now that they’re on China Unicom as of September. It’s a country of 1.3 billion people. That’s a lot of eyes for ads, devices and apps. How long can an oppressive Communist regime, which censors the web so strongly, last in the 21st century?