If you’re like many K-12 district leaders we’ve chatted with, you struggle with whether your district and schools should design a responsive website that works across multiple devices – such as desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone – or focus on building a branded, native mobile app. It can be a difficult choice to make, but here’s something to consider. Two very popular social media sites, Facebook and LinkedIn, feature responsive websites that render well on multiple devices. And millions of their users choose to access their accounts via their mobile apps too because it’s quicker and easier to get the information they’re looking for while on the go. Both options are important and available to their users.
The truth is your district has different audiences that access your website content for a multitude of reasons. For example, internally you have various website content editors, such as teachers and school administrative assistants, who update their web pages on a daily basis in order to keep parents and students informed with announcements, events, homework assignments, test dates, etc. Externally you have community members who may be new families looking for the right school for their child – yours, of course! Or, voters that you want to update on the latest bond needing their support. In essence, they are all your “consumers” needing access to your content. So in this constantly connected world, what do consumers say about their web browsing experiences on mobile?
According to this Google blog post:
- 67% of website users state, “A mobile-friendly site makes me more likely to buy a product or use a service.”
- And 61% state, “If I don’t see what I’m looking for right away on a mobile site, I’ll quickly move on to another site.”
Let’s stick with this “consumers” analogy for a bit. As mentioned above, you have internal and external consumers as unique audiences with diverse needs. Here’s how both a responsive website and a branded mobile app provide the access to your website information that they need…
Native Mobile App. A native mobile app is software developed specifically for mobile devices that users download from an app store, like iTunes or Google Play, and install it on their mobile device. Your district serves loyal “customers,” also known as parents, students, teachers, and staff, who want to be able to quickly access the information that’s important to them while they’re on the go, such as school closings, weather notices, and more. A mobile app keeps your district family informed and up-to-date with alerts and access to information from their smartphones. And, the Schoolwires Mobile Communications App allows your website content editors to update and publish content straight from their smartphones, including photos, podcasts, alerts, and more!
Responsive Web Design. In order to capture the attention of your entire audience and give them an optimized experience no matter what device they’re on, a responsive website delivers. Want to grab the attention of new families or potential staff in your district and ensure they have complete access to the information they need, no matter what device they’re on? A Schoolwires Responsive Web Design displays properly on any device or screen size and helps to promote your district’s brand.
As you can see, both options play a critical and different role in your district’s mobile strategy. So, why choose between one or the other? Consider both to provide the ultimate user experience! Check out our latest informational document hot off the press this week: Why your district needs a Responsive Web Design AND a Mobile Communications app.