A Review of the Pros and Cons of Mobile Apps for Municipalities and Local Governments
As mobile devices have become increasingly ubiquitous, mobile apps have become an essential part of our daily lives. Mobile apps offer a wide range of functionality and convenience that websites often can’t match.
But is a mobile app always necessary?
Let’s explore the pros and cons of mobile apps to help you decide whether investing in one is a good idea for your municipality or local government.
Pros: Why mobile apps make sense for municipalities
- Intuitive user experience:
Mobile apps are designed specifically for mobile devices, which means they can provide a better user experience than websites. Mobile apps can take advantage of device features such as touch screens, cameras, and location services to provide a more intuitive and engaging experience.
- Offline access:
Some mobile apps can be used offline, which is especially useful when a resident is in an area with poor network connectivity. With offline access, a user can continue using the app and access content without interruption.
Mobile apps can offer personalized content and recommendations based on a resident’s preferences, behaviour, and location. This makes it easier to find what they’re looking for and saves them time.
- Integration with device features:
Mobile apps can integrate with device features such as the camera, microphone, and GPS, allowing for more advanced functionality and features.
- Push notifications:
This is one of the most important differentiating features of a mobile app. Mobile apps can send push notifications to users, providing real-time updates and reminders that may be more effective than email or other forms of communication.
Cons: What to keep In mind before developing a mobile app
- Cost to build:
Developing a custom mobile app from scratch can be expensive, especially if you need to hire a team of developers. A mobile app platform can be a cost-effective alternative to developing a mobile app. With the Info Grove platform, a municipality can customize the look and feel of its mobile app and choose modules that offer the functionality to best suit its needs.
- Cost to maintain:
Maintaining and updating the app can also be costly if you need to rely on your developer to make changes.
- Download and installation:
Unlike websites, mobile apps need to be downloaded and installed on the user’s device. This can be a barrier to entry for some users who may not want to go through the process of downloading and installing an app. While mobile app use is widespread, if your residents aren’t using their phones to access information and you’re not looking to attract new residents, a mobile app might not be worth investing in.
- Security concerns:
Mobile apps can pose security risks if they’re not developed and maintained properly. Users may be hesitant to download and use an app if they don’t trust it
- Just building it isn’t enough:
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. Or that they will use it. Your mobile app needs to be announced and marketed properly so residents know it exists. It also needs to be user-friendly and offer actual value so residents will actually use it.
Does my municipality or local government need a mobile app?
Mobile apps offer many advantages, but they’re not always necessary or appropriate for every situation. Before deciding whether to develop a mobile app, consider your goals, target audience, and budget. If a mobile app aligns with your goals and offers a better user experience than a website, then it may be worth the investment. However, if a website can provide the functionality and convenience your residents seek, then it may be a better option.
Ultimately, the decision to develop a mobile app should be based on a thorough analysis of your needs and resources.
Info Grove Municipalities is a subscription-based multi-tenanted app based on our Info Grove platform. The subscription is exclusive to small municipalities to help them engage with their communities through a mobile application. Since it is based on the Info Grove platform, the subscription offers similar features and functionality but at an affordable cost to small municipalities. Small cities and towns can still leverage the power and flexibility of Info Grove modules and manage their content through their own CMS. The Info Grove Municipalities app went live in July 2021.
If you’re not sure if your municipality could benefit from having a mobile app, book a consultation with our team. We can walk through your needs and see if a mobile app is worth it.