There is not a time in this day and age that you do not see someone with a cell phone. The users are getting younger and older. The number of smartphone users is forecast to grow from 2.1 billion in 2016 to around 2.5 billion in 2019, with smartphone penetration rates increasing as well. Just over 36 percent of the world’s population is projected to use a smartphone by 2018, up from about 10 percent in 2011 (2019). In the past decade, mobile computing has gone from a niche market for well-heeled enterprises with large field organizations to the fastest growing, and often most popular, way for employees of organizations of all sizes to do business computing. The near-universal adoption of mobile devices by consumers—who are also employees—has forced one of the most major shifts that corporate IT has ever seen (Cardinal, 2016).
Examples of Mobile Applications
Apps emerged from early PDAs, through the addictively simple game Snake on the Nokia 6110 phone, to the first 500 apps in the Apple App Store when it made its debut in July 2008 (Strain, 2015). The volume of content produced is going to lead us towards managing our apps in a different way. The most persuasive concept is the idea of the “card” – a design treatment you can already see on Twitter and Facebook across different devices – and which allows content to be aggregated and presented to the user in a consistent way. Secondly, mobile is moving out of the pocket and becoming wearable. With the growth of wearable tech, the need for intelligent aggregation of content will fuel app innovation (Strain, 2015). Federal agencies are doing well in fulfilling the 2012 Digital Government Strategy by providing numerous mobile apps for American citizens. According to a report from IBM’s Center for the Business of Government, 76 federal agencies have at least one mobile app. As of July 2015, there are nearly 300 federal government mobile apps that provide at least one of the following (Brantley, 2016).
- General information and news services
- Client services such as providing and processing government forms
- Health and safety information
- Educational services
The Environmental Protection Agency has a mobile app called EPA Waste Reduction. The iWARM widget displays energy-saving benefits of recycling. This is the widget-version of the iWARM, which helps consumers understand the energy saved by recycling small quantities of common household products, rather than landfilling them. The energy savings are translated into the equivalent amount of electricity, estimating how long that amount of electricity will operate a variety of household appliances (EPA, 2019). The Food and Drug Administration has a mobile app called Drugs@FDA Express. On this mobile app, the public can search for information about FDA-approved brand and generic prescription and over-the-counter human drugs and biological therapeutic products. The FDA currently operates the Drugs@FDA webpage, which includes information about drug products approved by the agency, including patient information, drug labeling, approval letters, reviews and other information. The Drugs@FDA Express mobile app is a streamlined version of Drugs@FDA, allowing users to search on their mobile devices for certain product information based on product name, active ingredient or application number using a single search box (FDA Commission, 2019). United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service has a mobile app called “Ask Karen”. Ask Karen provides information for consumers about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a mobile app called NIAAA ALCOHOL TREATMENT NAVIGATOR TOOLKIT. When you find a provider who looks promising, call and ask more about the treatment approach. We’ll give you a list of questions to ask—and answers to listen for—that can help you determine if providers offer higher-quality care, and if they are a good fit for your situation (NIAAA, 2019). These are just a few examples of the different mobile apps that can be found and utilized.
Best Practices for Using Mobile Applications
One of the most important things to consider when developing your mobile strategy is that most citizens are not interested in government business processes. They are consumers of services — for which they pay directly or indirectly – and care more about convenience. Inexpensive drag-and-drop API tools and RMAD app building can now enable faster deployments, but involve trade-offs. With non-technical people (business analysts) having the ability to design, build and deploy apps, they reduce IT involvement for common products and standards, as well as comply with security measures (2015). Mobile apps require different integration approaches from conventional IT systems due to intermittent, potentially low-bandwidth connections; emphasis on user experiences, such as pre-loading data for responsiveness; or simplification, by reducing pages of paper forms to two screens and a few clicks (2015).
Conduct your research. Your app doesn’t stand a chance to be successful if you don’t conduct your research ahead of time. …
- Choose a development method. …
- Pick your platform. …
- Prioritize security. …
- Test, test, and test again. …
- Keep the design in mind. …
- Build around a strong core. …
- Focus on the user experience.
- ADOPT APPROACHES FROM BOTH CITIZENS AND THIRD PARTIES
- ENABLE CITIZEN-CENTRIC MOBILE APPS
- ADOPT A BIMODAL APPROACH IN GOVERNMENT CONTEXT
Mobile apps have transformed how citizens engage with their government. Now, mobile apps can transform how federal employees work to provide government services. There is a vast untapped potential in enterprise-focused mobile apps to revolutionize the federal government. As more governments explore the benefits of mobile apps, they are quickly becoming a platform for civic engagement and service delivery. It will be the smartphone or mobile device that government officials will determine is the quickest method to connect or reconnect with its citizens and residents. Mobile applications are available to provide useful information, which can be accessed through mobile phones and tablets. Ensuring that the public knows what government applications are available and how to access and utilize them is the way to ensure that they are getting the best information available. This will also ensure that the government services utilize the Open Data Initiative more effectively.