Ever since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, we’ve seen a new gold rush in the form of apps. All of a sudden, developers had a way to quickly and easily reach consumers with all types of software, anything from games to eBooks to social media tools. Apps have changed the nature of the software development industry, and have helped turned many developers into overnight successes.
Despite the success of apps, they are not without their flaws. Many consumers’ devices often become overloaded with too many apps, to the point where your app can get lost among hundreds of other apps. In fact, developing an app can be a very expensive endeavour that is not even the most effective way of reaching your consumers!
When Uberflip CEO, Yoav Schwartz, began developing our PDF page flip software, he noticed that apps were an ineffective way to reach readers with multipage documents. This is why we’ve developed our solution to be entirely web-based (a “web app”), with no downloading required. Content creators enhance, share and track their content from within their web browsers, while their audience reads Flipbooks in whatever browser on whatever device they happen to be using.
Having a web app allows your readers to access your content through a URL. With an Uberflip Content Hub, this means that your Flipbooks each receive their own URL, which in turn makes it easy to integrate with your other content. For instance, you can place a link to your Flipbook on your company’s main homepage. This also makes it easier for your readers to share your content. If someone wants to share an app with their friends, how do they do so? Tell them the name to search in the app store? What if they are using a desktop at the time and the app is only available for iPhones?
Once your content is discovered, a web app is essential for quickly accessing your content. With a downloadable app, the process from discovery to consumption will be something like: Discover app > Search App Store > Download app (after entering account information) > Find app on homescreen > Open app. A web app, on the other hand, will consist of: Discover content > Open content. Every obstacle you place between content discovery and consumption makes it increasingly less likely that a person will complete the process. The act of downloading an app takes away from this immediacy and increases the chances of your audience losing interest in your product before they even see it.
What happens if your content becomes out-of-date? Perhaps you’ve fixed a glitch in your app or there’s been some pricing changes? In many cases, updating your app will require the user to update it from within the app store. This seems simple enough, however you cannot guarantee that your audience will go through with this. Accessing your cloud-based content ensures that your users will always see the most up-to-date content every time.
A web app requires an internet connection to be accessed, since it is not stored locally on a device like a downloadable app is. Some might be concerned by this, since their content cannot be accessed if the reader is not connected to the internet. Others, however, overlook this minor trade-off for the many benefits that an internet connection brings. Most devices are always connected to the web, so a lack of internet access would only affect a small number of users. If your user is online, this gives you the potential to track your audience’s engagement with your content. For instance, Uberflip’s Metrics platform enables you to track behavior such as links clicked zoom points, time/page, audience location and devices being used. This then allows you to refine your product based on real-time insight to make it even better!
Do you believe in web apps or think that downloadable apps are the only way to go? Let us know in the comments below!