You may have heard the story of the football coach who decided his team needed to get back to fundamentals, so he gathered all the players and began at the beginning: “This is a football.”
Today’s Mobile 101 installment is about the fundamental of all fundamentals, beginning at the beginning: “This is a native app.”
Dictionary.com defines “native” as “natural, hereditary, connected with something in a natural way.” So a “native app” is one whose natural and sole environment is a smartphone. It’s been created strictly with smartphones in mind, and designed to give perfect performance on a phone.
Researchers who use mobile have to choose between going with native app survey technology or a “mobile optimized” approach that ignores the smartphone’s own native environment and takes place in the same online space as traditional surveys designed for desktops and laptops.
By going the native app route, you get mobile-specific technology that loads your entire survey instantly into respondents’ phones, enabling them to answer without a connection to the internet. It’s like downloading a gaming app and proceeding to enjoy it without interruption because of the app’s fast-twitch functionality.
Researchers who choose “mobile optimized” over native app are asking their respondents to use their phones like ping-pong paddles. It's not exactly an efficient way to harness one of the most powerful consumer technologies ever devised.
- Mobile optimized surveys don’t load into respondents’ phones. Instead, they depend on users clicking on email notifications to connect with the web page where the survey is housed.
- Questions are served from the web to the phone one-by-one, and respondents volley their answers back, one-by-one. This back-and-forth continues until the questionnaire is complete.
- Each volley can fail if the internet connection vanishes or slows. The predictable result is frustration, dropped attempts, and inattentive responses.
- Surveys take longer, completion rates are lower, and consumers’ overall engagement with survey-taking suffers.
These are the fundamentals of today’s research game. Choosing the right mobile method is up to you – and you need to remember that in-app surveys aren’t just a little different, but different in kind from other mobile approaches. For more information about in-app mobile panel and technology, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.