Cover Story: Four Publishers Reveal Their App Strategies
In The Lab: The Springer approach
In the STM world, with high percentages of doctors and scientists carrying and using mobile devices to do their jobs, apps can seem like a no-brainer. Still, even with an eager market, the devil can be in the execution, and Springer plans carefully before investing in an app.
"I've learned that you need to get more details and learn about the market you are developing it for, and you need to identify the key areas—either a product need or a promotional need," says Patricia Cleary, global e-product development manager at Springer Science + Business Media. "There are different apps for different purposes."
With each project featuring a mobile component, Springer considers issues such as how branding is inserted into apps, how best to target apps to specific user needs and strategies for promotion.
Cleary stresses the importance of knowing your audience and how they work. In the case of the Springer Protocols app, which provides "recipes" for certain experiments so researchers don't have to reinvent the wheel every time they go into the lab, the publisher decided to do a user survey to discover how scientists use the protocols in a mobile environment. What they discovered was that most researchers use devices already in the lab rather than bringing their own, without necessarily knowing whether these devices use the iOS or Android operating systems. "To help them, we decided to develop a [Web] app using HTML5," she says, "so users can experience Springer Protocols in a mobile environment on any mobile device with a browser."
Monitoring the user experience does not end once an app is released. Because Apple App Store reviews can "make or break an app," Springer constantly monitors reviews and incorporates user feedback into updates, Cleary says.
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