That is the big question in the association world right now. Some experts laud the mobile applications as THE NEXT BIG THING in association publishing, while others suggest it’s not really worth the effort unless members are banging down the door requesting one. The decision will ultimately lie with the communications staff, and will be based on association size, aim, resources and membership response.
- Remember that the most innovative and ambitious apps are not always the most highly functioning. Find a balance between the two.
- Incorporate the use of links to featured music and movies, as well as transactional capabilities (iTunes, Amazon), and the ability to drag and drop selected items to a “Favorites List.”
- Embrace interactivity to the fullest extent. Popular magazines have released apps that employ the use of animation on the cover, links to articles from coverlines and a pop-over Table of Contents, as well as large photo-montages with which hundreds of images, allowing navigation in any direction and amplified viewing, with accompanying details, for any one image. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses released the Healthy Mom & Baby app, which includes video, online quizzes, and information pertinent to each stage of pregnancy presented in interactive formats.
- Have your app cross-checked. Services like iValuate™ by McPheters & Company help project quality control issues before an app is launched. The greatest app in the world is of no use if the screen ends up crowded, links don’t work, or videos are slow to load.