I get asked a bit, (usually by people who “want” to build an app), why we don’t make some of our applications like Outage Reporter and IFS “apps” for iOS and Android. Well they are… you just don’t have to download and install them.
Well they are… you just don’t have to download and install them. It’s a mobile optimised web application.
Power Outages are different from day-day activities where you might have an app you use regularly for tasks such as banking, news, maps, social media or email. You have it handy, you know how to drive it from plenty of use.
Services you don’t use often, such as checking details about a power outage, have a quite different overall use case. They demand different usability as well as functionality.
We develop Android and iOS apps, and for certain functions they are perfect. For power outages we have an intrinsic understanding of how people (consumers) operate and what they like and don’t, so here’s some thoughts on why having a downloadable app may not be the best option for your customers.
Is it Quick to access the outage information, how they want? (not how you want them to…)
Is it Easy to get the outage information and what they actually want? (not what you want to supply…)
Over the past 1-2 years web apps have become more powerful, with a greater level of functionality and real-time feedback. You are now able to do things in a web app which could previously only be done in a downloadable app.
Quick! and Easy! – Consumers can click on a link contained within a TXT message or email, or on your website, and hey presto, there is a fully branded app from your utility that allows them to quickly do exactly what they had in mind when they clicked the “report a power outage” or “View Outage details” button.
So before you get cornered into building an app and have to manage that across platforms and OS versions, just ask: “Why do our customers need another app for outages”?