Apps as a Digital Bridge: Apps vs Mobile Web Pages
I had a conversation with somebody on a train about apps (how fun) and the issue of if it is worth doing an app, when most phones can access the Internet – so why not let users simply look at the information via a web-page. Which is a fair point, but for one important detail; that apps are a digital bridge between the app and the user. Our phones (and iPods) are very personal spaces, we hold personal contacts, images and materials on them. When we install an app to them, we are in effect inviting that app (and by extension whoever commissioned and created it) into our personal space. The establishes a 2-way link, for while as the user I can run the app anytime – it can also interact with me, via messages and updates. You don’t get this relationship via a web-browser.
With an app, there is an ever-open bridge that can be re-used. By updating the app, one can renew interest in it. A new version of the app can point to can be used to guide the player to new items of interest, thus the build of audience can become cumulative. But as with any 2-way relationship, and one where the app is invited into such a private place, respect for that place is needed by the app developer. For example by using wisely and sparingly the ability of an app to message/update the user directly, even if they are not running the app.