Is Your Content Ready For Mobile?

Posted by Matt Milloway on Apr 02, 2014

One of the most important factors to consider before developing a mobile app is content. More specifically, where does data currently reside and what is the easiest, most effective route to get the content into a mobile app? While many core app features are built and managed directly by a development team, data unique to each organization -- whether it be event information, sales and marketing material or media -- must be shared and maintained in a format ready for mobile.

Many companies and organizations already store content in a CMS such as Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal. One benefit of existing content management systems is the ability to generate data feeds for content. A development team then utilizes these feeds -- such as RSS, JSON or XML -- to connect and display the existing content into the app. Subsequent changes made in the CMS are then automatically updated in the mobile app which greatly alleviates the workload of app administrators.

Is your app content ready?

While many websites and other content sources already use a backend CMS, those created from scratch via HTML are more difficult to integrate into a mobile app. Along with other data sources such as excel and word documents, maintaining content not driven by a CMS requires a more manual approach. Admin systems built by a mobile app development company -- such as the AppBurst Dashboard -- often include a content management element to import and manually enter content for display in an app. While this option lacks a level of integration, it still allows organizations and clients without a CMS to ready data for a mobile app and manage the content once available to users.

A specific example of content readiness for mobile is videos. Four to five videos of different formats saved on a computer are not optimized for inclusion in a mobile app. If the videos are formatted in a consistent manner, an app development team can work with clients to upload and share these single videos to a user base. The manual effort, however, can be avoided by going one step further and uploading the videos to YouTube, Vimeo, Brightcove or another interface meant to manage videos. Much like a CMS for more text-driven data such as WordPress, these solutions allow for data integration into a mobile app and avoid duplicating efforts when a company or organization manages their content.

In sum, a mobile platform consumes data and presents content in a format optimized for mobile. The quality and flexibility of the content integration depends in large part on the format and location of the data, which makes preparing content for mobile an important step in any app development project.