Over the past few years, the mobile application industry has been experiencing significant and constant growth. This trend is getting even bigger in 2017. The development of innovative technologies has changed the definition of online experience, which has motivated many companies to shift their attention from the web to mobile or even got them converting website to mobile app. If you are wondering how to convert a website to mobile app, we have got all the necessary information in this article.
Reasons for converting a website to mobile app
Keeping in mind the tremendously overwhelming speed of life and amount of data any modern man faces, it is clear that carrying a computer around is no longer an option. This creates a demand for mobile apps and puts them into the spotlight. In actuality, we are witnessing a true boom of applications for startups at this very moment. A fresh example of this is Instagram, which is extremely popular despite not having a full-fledged desktop app years after the release of the first mobile application.
Such services as Facebook, Dropbox, Google started out with desktop only; however, were able to transfer these websites into mobile apps, gaining even more success than ever before. The transfer allows platforms to reach out to the maximum amount of users, which is crucial with the competition level in the market. Users are more likely to choose a company that can offer a mobile app feature and will stay if the experience is smooth and seamless. These days, a comfortable cross-platform experience is a must for a successful online businesses.
Strategy on converting websites to apps
In order to be able to convert a website into an app successfully you need to realize what kind of features you want your application to have. Here are three paths to choose from:
- copy all the functionality of your original website;
- use a limited number of features or even make an app dedicated to a specific function (Facebook messenger is a perfect example);
- build a custom project with unique features available via application only.
All of these options have their advantages and are potentially beneficial, being used on different platforms; however, the most important thing is to apply any kind of strategy with seamless user experience in mind. Whether you transform your website to an android app, convert a website into an iOS app or even create an entirely new application you need to take into account business expertise, development quality, and platform related peculiarities. Those are the keys to creating an outstanding application.
According to statistics, over 90% of phone/tablet users prefer apps to mobile website versions. So, even if you have a beautifully customized website built on Wordpress, Joomla or any other platform/code, creating an application for your company will be a whole new experience.
Creating a unique application which is going to include all the website features may have a high price tag and, truth be told, is quite risky. There is no guarantee that all the original website features will resonate with mobile users and some might even reduce the user experience. That being said, a wise solution, in this case, will be to create an app including only core features with the possibility of adding more in future. This approach brings us to the idea of minimum viable product, a product with a minimal set of features - just enough to launch and represent the brand. This makes the whole process of building the app more responsive both for developers and end users. It also allows for balancing the cost of the project effectively which is very beneficial in terms of budget.
The initial planning stage is the part of the project where there is a chance to define the features which are going to be included in the minimum viable product. By the end of this stage, both parties are to have a defined vision of the overall product, its target audience, core features and resources which will be needed for project completion.
All eyes on UX
Even the fastest to load app with the best technical specifications will pass without the attention of the audience if it is not UX optimized. Simple as that. So the next stage will be to update the app according to the latest UX principles.
The best way to make the app seamless and inviting for the user is to make it native. That way it will be easy for the client to get used to the interface without conflicting with the overall OS style. The end product should be a representation of the original brand style, while adhering to the guidelines regardless of whether you turn the website into an iPhone or Android app.
When site owners think of how to turn a website into an app, the biggest challenge for them is to understand that the mobile platform is different and reconsider the ideas they have for the mobile format of their website. Here are the most mind twisting changes the project faces when going mobile:
- Website navigation: typical navigation on the website is rather complex and consists of many steps and subdirectories and that is definitely a no-go when it comes to mobile apps. They say “less is more” and that is one of the core mobile principles. Simple minimalist-style navigation which demands little to no effort from a user is the best solution, regardless of the navigation system used on the website.
- Ease of use: necessary pages must load with minimum effort, and fast. Multiple choice options, noticeable amount of effort involved, heavy overwhelming design, uncomfortable bars and options; all of those are a major turn off. With the existing pressure on the market, such disadvantages are simply not acceptable. We live in a fast-paced world and we need apps to be the source of relief, not confusion.
- Consistency: the screen size and the proportions used in mobile design make the direct transition of the website look somewhat heavy and unattractive. When not optimized, most of the screen space is occupied by the navigation bar, and that leaves no chance for styling the space up or meeting minimalist trend requirements. Website owners need to realize that the proportions of the overall design template need to be reconsidered accordingly. Once again “less is more”, so removing all the secondary details from the user view can contribute to the aesthetic perception of the app.
When somebody asks ”how to turn a website into an mobile app”, it suggests an idea of what this person is trying to achieve. Nevertheless, the idea of transformation does not reflect the actual effort required to make the change possible. Unfortunately, magic tricks do not work in web development, but the good news is that it will not stop us from achieving our goal. In the process of transfer, the application is created from scratch and goes through many stages before it meets the end user. The only things that are indeed transferred from the initial website will be the style and data.
Although it may sound complicated, the advantages of native applications are undeniable. These apps give us the freedom to use our correspondence, books, GPS, integration with other devices (from wrist trackers to stereo systems) and so much more without limiting us in terms of location or speed of access.
Server-database communication has its own peculiarities when it comes to mobile applications. Two-layered mobile app architecture allows the mobile app to connect straight to the database. The three-layered variant has a server as the second layer which deals with the application and database connection.
Another great feature is the possibility to use the information stored in cache. That gives a great opportunity to be able to access all the necessary data without an internet connection. It comes in really handy when you are traveling, have intermittent internet access and want to explore the place.
A mobile device is no longer about making calls or browsing. Thanks to apps it has become a part of our lifestyle as it is fully integrated and adjustable on so many levels. They provide the opportunity for user engagement which is not available via web browsing. Counting steps, reading barcodes in shops, mobile banking; you can use these apps anywhere in the world, any time. The possibilities of application development are countless both for the end users and for the companies that develop the applications.
Having an app to represent the business is a step forward for your client and an opportunity for business growth. Here at Applikey we have a deep understanding of the challenges involved, as well as client expectations and market demand. We possess powerful tools and effective strategies which allow us to create innovative business solutions.
So if you are still thinking that you would like to convert a website to a mobile app and expand your online presence, now is the time to go ahead and dive into the world of mobile applications.