Mobile app vs. mobile website?
We are starting to think about making mosaicHUB more mobile friendly. I think a mobile app would be great, but curious what folks think would be better, a mobile app or a mobile website. We probably cannot do both right now.
Here's a really good article (with an infographic) that weighs the pros and cons of mobile apps vs. mobile websites and includes market share and type of user base for each:
Glad you are thinking about a mobile version for MosaicHUB, I think that would be great.
Mobile apps / sites is what I do, so I hope you don't mind if I disagree slightly to some of the above comments about simply reformating the existing Mosaic website into a mobile template for presentation via mobile web browsers on phones and tablets. I liken this to making a TV commercial by holding your company's print ad up in front of a TV camera for 30 seconds.
Users have very different use expectations between a desktop experience and a mobile experience. Your mobile app / site should typically be more oriented to immediate access to functionality that would be valuable to someone on the move. There are some wonderful functions on this site that just aren't relevant to a mobile user.
Similarly, there are mobile-relevant functions that would be great value to your members on the move that wouldn't work on the site. (For example, a "who's near me" function for members to invite other members for a coffee chat...)
Lastly, as for the question of Native App vs. Mobile Site - the simple answer is BOTH! Without being too shamelessly self-promotional, but our drag-and-drop app builder service at www.FANtastic4SMBs.com allows you to simultaneously publish a Native iPhone App, a Native Android App and an HTML5 mobile website, with a single-click. We have a FREE service, or for just $54 you could have a mobile version of MosaicHUB in Google's Android Market + Apple's iTunes markets + on a vanity mobile web URL.
Love what you do, and I'll be excited to see a mobile version!
I have been in your shoes before. We have a web site, mobile site and a lot of apps, some free and most paid.
While I agree with the logic of having both mobile web site and app, I prefer app for a number of reasons. I feel it provides a more intimate and controlled interaction with your "customers". A user that downloads your app has a stronger tie and commitment to you than the one who browses your mobile site. It is also good to have your app icon sitting on their phone, being visible to them all the time.
The main disadvantage of the apps is the cost of developing and supporting them on multiple platforms. This brings me to my next point which could be of help to you. Using some cool yet proven technology developed by friends of mine, they produced an app for us running on both Android and iOS in a matter of couple of days! They used our existing web site content and capabilities. They even improved user experience over our web site. My team did not have to do anything. Some of the key advantages of this approach is that, the portion of the app that resides on the client/phone is very small, downloads immediately, and when we make changes to the app, users do NOT need to download the app again! Perhaps this is exactly what you need.
If you or anyone else is interested in knowing more, feel free to contact me.
short answer: website
long answer: make sure that your own website is mobile responsive. Many people make the mistake of contracting a separate mobile site with a different domain. Here's a good article about responsive mobile design and content: http://www.site-ninja.com/article/234-responsive-web-design-and-content-management-systems-why-a-mobile-first-perspective-is-the-future-of-siteninja-cms
I agree with Melissa. Your mobile site is not a separate site. It is the same site, but presented differently, using a design template and functionality focused on how a mobile user would interact with your site.
For mosaicHUB, it's a tough decision. I develop mobile apps for a living and face this question all the time.
As with many such general questions, the answer is: It depends.
What are the goals? Many people want to monetize their product and having their product in the app stores is akin to having shelf space at Walmart.
(See http://303velocity.com/blog/piece-app-store-pie/) It allows people to browse and buy your product. When it comes down to it, the app stores really serve as marketing and distribution tools.
Getting back to mosaicHUB, I would say that it makes sense to first talk to your customers - which is what you're doing right here, so great job with that! You're already ahead of the game. I would recommend some real back-and-forth voice conversations as well to dig deeper to understand what your customers really want and need.
My personal vote would be for a native app (or apps) simply because it's easier to download, install and generally has a better overall user experience than a website. The problem here, of course, is the cost to develop native is higher and then you have to likely do it again on multiple platforms - at least currently for both Android and iOS. But that's another discussion entirely...
Hope this helps!
303 Velocity - http://303velocity.com
Your top notch user experience, mobilized.