The app is a website

Three weeks ago I wrote about installable web apps. Last weekend I found an interesting case study. It’s not exactly what I wrote about, but it give valuable insight in what site owners (and possibly consumers) currently want.

Holland has a lot of historical windmills, most of which are open to the general public. Unsurprisingly there’s also an association of historical windmills, and equally unsurprisingly they want an app. Why? Well, because!

Anyway, here is the leaflet that points out the existence of the free Molenapp:

The subheader contains the crucial bit: “Use your mobile phone to go to molens.nl and view the MolenApp.”

In other words, this “app” is a webite. The leaflet contains instructions for adding it to an iOS homescreen, while the site contains the Android instructions (which are a lot more complicated and device-dependent).

What the people behind the app expect consumers to want is to visit a site, bookmark it, and thus add it to their homescreen. The bookmarking bit is still technically impossible, so they have to resort to complicated explanations that no one will read.

When people say they want apps, they really mean icons on their homescreen. Give it to them, and native and web will be able to compete more efficiently.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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