This week’s story comes courtesy of a study of looking at the age-old question regarding Apps vs. Mobile Websites. The study contacted 3,534 total respondents (1,002 in the U.S., 509 in the U.K., 509 in France, 508 in Germany, 502 in India and 504 in Japan) and looking at the demographics supplied, they skew towards the 35-54 group. These demographics align well with digital healthcare targets, so what did the report say?
85% of respondents prefer the experience offered by a mobile app over a mobile website.
The breakdown of reasons to prefer apps are focused on them being more convenient, faster, and easier to use:
Really? Should I be building apps instead of mobile sites?
This is an interesting finding but should not be extended to all mobile experiences. Specifically, the use case of a health information seeker will most likely be executed through the channel of the mobile browser and Google, not a mobile app. However, the case of a patient support program or other deep interaction would definitely align with the findings in this survey.
For these uses, the results are compelling and reinforce some important design criteria:
- Apps are perceived as more convenient (55 percent), faster (48 percent) and easier to browse (40 percent).
- Users are not forgiving of errors: 79 percent would retry a mobile app only once or twice if it failed to work the first time.
- Users expect apps to load in 2 seconds: which is even faster than my own 10-second rule see the image below for the breakdown.
All is not perfect in App Land
56% of mobile users say that apps have given them problems over the last six months. There are a number of problems that users find most often, crashes of course, but as might be guessed based on the performance expectations above, slow speeds.
The report also lists the main reactions that users will have when an app fails them and they are what we might expect: use it less, switch to another, and tell their friends.
So, as discussed earlier, this does not mean that our mobile-enabled reference sites need to be converted to apps. What it does mean that apps should be considered for any deep interactions that will be made throughout the day in different locations. This maps well with the typical healthcare audiences:
- Physicians: they use mobile in the halls and in the exam rooms
- Patients: they are looking up information in the waiting room, on the bus, and in front of the TV
- Caregivers: act essentially the same as patients
And remember, if you do make an app, make it responsive.