Schools are publishing mobile apps in record numbers and with good reason—it is the most direct way to reach parents, faculty and students. But before building an app there are some questions that should be answered.
Is it a good fit? Mobile apps are best when information needs to be pushed out to users quickly and sometimes based on specific location. They are also best when you need to offer convenience factors such as filling out and submitting forms, checking on student progress or paying fees all from a mobile device.
Are your users and team members in the loop? Make sure you know what features your users want. Involving teachers, deans, school support personnel and athletics is important.
Is your App company up to the task? Choose a vendor that is established, has developed similar applications, truly understands the scope and intent of the project, and provides proven customer service.
Will an App add to your workload? An app will reduce workload and streamline communication by doing away with duplication of efforts and offering time-saving features to parents and administrators.
What about cost? A mobile app for a school shouldn’t be cost prohibitive. An app published in iTunes and Google Play will cost a school between a few hundred and few thousand dollars depending on features selected.
Have you designed with the user in mind? Ultimately, success will depend on the user experience, which should be simple, intuitive and highly responsive. The app also should deliver regular, relevant updates.
How will you publicize it? Your target audience won’t use it if they don’t know about it, so make sure you develop a campaign that includes traditional communication, as well as your website and social media channels, to get the word out.
Are you prepared for tomorrow? A mobile app isn’t a one-and-done venture. Make sure your app company will maintain it, apply ongoing upgrades and provide customer support.