After launching Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum's informative mobile application, many people wondered why a museum needs informative mobile application when they already have a responsive website, active and popular social media pages like Facebook and twitter?
Mobile websites and application can look very similar at first-glance, and determining which is most suited to your needs will depend upon a number of factors, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose and required features.
I agree to the point that responsively-designed mobile website is very important to ensure that website visitors have a good experience while browsing on small devices but at the same-time mobile applications are designed for a very specific and narrow purpose.
For example, a visitor needs to visit museum and want to know the updates before his visit or ensure his visit by making a call prior. On his or her mobile phone he or she could visit a responsively-designed site, navigate its directory, search for the news and update, go through it and visit contact page separately for number again, copy the phone number out to their phone to call the museum, return to the site to know where the museum is located, and copy that location into a mapping application. Huh!! Sound too much!! Now just think, if you don't know domain of museum website everything stat with Google and few more clicks will added to this steps.
Users who encounter mobile website experiences that it forces them to click, tap, search, copy and navigate too many times which as a result will divert them from their original task.
Application can do more than just repackage all these website contents. They present content, navigation, on click call and functionality in a way specifically optimized through which people can actually use their mobile devices in order to keep users focused, allowing them to get what they want quickly and efficiently.
Alternately, the same visitor can open an application, select the news and update right from the home screen, tap to call from within the app, then tap on the museum location pin and use navigational application to reach museum. It is quite easy, quick and fast.
Rather from this, mobile application user (while talking about application, visitor will become user) will receive push notifications on their device. Push notifications is alert message that user will receive when museum want to notify about some news or update. User just need to click on 'alert' to read available updates about museum activity, No need to remember and visit website regularly just to know about updates regarding museum activity.
If you ask me, use of mobile application is just like buying vegetable from super market, you just need to know what you want and from where you will get it. Applications are readily available where users are searching: the App World or Google Play. One just needs to download and make some clicks to get information one is looking for. There is no need for any deep technical knowledge, as you don't need to know farming to buy vegetables.
While talking about technical knowledge, there are so many people (mostly of 35+ age) in India who don't know how to use computer or internet, but on the other hand mobile is comparatively easy to use and learn. For them an application is easier to access rather than opening browser, type domain name, open respective website and search for needed data or information. Same time we have gen-next / younger generation who are mobile savvy and prefer to work on their time with just few clicks; for them mobile application is like a ready reference book instead of visiting website every time for smaller information.
In common words, mobile application is best way to stay connected with your visitors, to keep them updated about your activity, to get new visitors and their visit a comfortable experience. It is a handy tool for all type of age groups and also for all type of visitors / users. Having a mobile application is not luxury now days but a necessity to stay connected with your professional relatives (users / visitors).
FYI: Soon we are launching N. C. Mehta Gallery mobile application too.