Posted by Nancy Proctor on | March 22, 2010 | 2 Comments
For the @HolocaustMuseum‘s tweet-up on mobile for social good, @1goodpotato asks: “What factors should newbies consider BEFORE making an app?”
2 Responses to “What factors should we consider BEFORE making an app?”
Depends on your objective. A good robust app will cost you between $5k and $25k depending on several factors including
- the provider you use
- whether your designer is insourced or outsourced (several mobile specialty design shops have cropped up lately and they do beautiful work – it just costs a lot)
- level of complexity & app integration (integrated social networking and transactional functions are more expensive)
- content management system used (dedicated content management systems are better)
You can also multiply this by the number of platforms you intend to build an app for. Right now the popular App platforms are iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows Mobile, with Palm trailing.
Hopefully this helps – apps have a clear advantage over mobile web in terms of level of engagement, control over experience, permanence of customer relationship, and transaction security if your app is transaction enabled, but it still lacks for distribution. Your best bet in the short term (before sinking an enormous investment into a custom app) would be to go the networked route (there are a few of these, some more or less advantageous – I blog about the advantages of networked vs. custom apps at juncanoo.tumblr.com) – some quick easy ones to look at are icihere.com, uguideme.com and artnear.com(For full disclosure we’ve gone the networked route – Juncanoo Exhibit is networked and we went this way so that museums could pool resources and the costs of going mobile wouldnt be too onerous). Since we’re also building integrated functionality for Mobile web, as well as network apps for the Android and Blackberry, any museum publishing using the Exhibit platform will be able to connect to visitors through the 3 major platforms via APP, and the remainder of smartphones via mobile browser. Cellphone guides are also supported. Hope this helps!
I’ve seen quotes ranging from $10,000-$40,000 for fairly basic custom-built apps. If what you want is a traditional audio tour-style experience, enhanced with images, videos, etc., then there are several ‘no-fee’ platforms available; in addition to the ones Ayo notes, there is Toura and My Tours http://wiki.museummobile.info/museums-to-go/products-services/my-tours Tristan Interactive’s solution is also worth checking out, as it handles large volumes of content (e.g. an entire permanent collection) very well with an API so you don’t have to manually upload all your tour content.
I think it’s also important to ask whether an app or a mobile website (or ‘web app’) suits your needs better. Here are a couple of conversations about this question:
Podcast conversation between Ted Forbes & Chris Alexander: http://museummobile.info/archives/229
Mobile platforms comparison: http://wiki.museummobile.info/museums-to-go/platforms
iPhone app development: Rocket science or old hat already? http://wiki.museummobile.info/archives/445
Many museums, like Powerhouse, Brooklyn, and NASM, are doing a great job serving their mobile publics with simple mobile websites that are built and managed by their in-house teams.
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