A web app or a native app to access a mobile school directory?
Mobile School Directories are generally accessed via mobile websites. While this process requires users to login and to have access to the Internet, mobile websites or web apps are also considered to be a more secure means of providing users with privacy-protected content. In the age of apps‚ where software programs or applications covering a wide range of usage can be readily downloaded and stored on a mobile device, the questions is often asked if the school directory can also be downloaded as an app.
Efficient access, operation and Internet independence are the major arguments in support of having the school directory as downloadable ‘native app’. So, why are the school directories not generally provided as native apps. The main argument against going the native app route is data security. Storage of the data that is considered to be ‘private’ on mobile devices raises concerns about its security. It is conceivable that the data can be accessed and misused if the device is lost or stolen. These concerns are valid but the user can take precautions such as ‘password protection’ to negate the adverse consequences of a lost or stolen mobile device. Of relevance to the Mobile Directory is the ‘ever-changing’ nature of the directory contents. Unless the downloaded contents file is updated regularly by accessing the mobile website, the user does not ‘see’ the latest contents of the directory if he or she is accessing the directory through a native app.
Unless security concerns and content updates are addressed, the Mobile School Directory user will be better served by accessing the directory via the Mobile Website.