Should Law Firms’ Mobile Strategy Focus Only On Mobile Compatible Web Sites?

We at Law Firm Mobile have always felt that law firms should explore deploying both mobile-compatible web sites as well as full mobile applications. There have been other commentators who have strongly urged law firms to ignore the app approach and focus exclusively on the mobile web; a recent article on WSJ’s AllThingsD suggests that such advice may have been misplaced.

Major points of the article:

  • 18 months ago, many web companies touted the use of web-browser based HTML5 development for mobile efforts.
  • Such an approach was supposed to provide a more consistent and accessible experience for users with different phones and operating systems. Unfortunately, the mobile compatible web sites often were slower and did not fully utilize each phone’s capabilities.
  • As a consequence, large companies and internet start-ups are now putting significant resources in developing native applications  (e.g., Facebook; Pinterest; Tumblr overhauled its apps; Quora).
  • With respect to the mobile web providing a solution for avoiding “fragmentation” (i.e., developing for different devices, different versions of the same OS), one major developer observed that, in some cases, mobile support for web browser features appeared to be more fragmented than support for native apps.

A different recent article repeats the same theme with a focus on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who is quoted as saying,  “the biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native [platforms].”

What does this mean for law firms interested in a mobile strategy? Law Firm Mobile suggests that the key take-away is that firms should consider the pros and cons of both mobile apps and mobile-compatible websites.