You are about to design and launch your first church app ever! Congrats! We believe that an effective church app bridges the gap between you and your congregation Monday through Fridays. An effective church app helps create a deeper sense of belonging and community. We want to help you create the best church app possible. Below are a few reminders to think about when designing your custom church app:
Your App is not Your Website! - The majority of churches who have low usage of their app after the first few months usually have one thing in common - they link their app to their website a lot! Your church website probably has great content! That doesn't mean that it should all live inside of your custom church app. Fortune 500 companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on research about this and they have come up with this: Consumers use their apps for "Short interactions, often" and their websites for "longer, more complicated interactions, less frequently." Understand that your church will use your app for short interactions like looking up the date of an event, giving their weekly tithe, or listening to your podcast while working out at the gym. If your church app links out to your church's website for everything, people will delete it!
Only put things in your app that people will use! - This builds off of the first point, but as creatives (which you probably are if you are responsible for building your church's app), we secretly want to one-up other church apps and make ours "the best." Maybe you don't think that way, but I do! After the initial launch of your app, ask people in your church what they engage with the most in your app. If you find that the majority of people say that they listen to Podcasts more, then spend more time making that section of your app the best that it can be! If you find out that no one ever goes to your "Staff Directory", then perhaps its time to take that down or just don't spend much time editing it.
Design Best Practices - As creatives, we always want to create something unique, but when it comes to the layout and design of your church app - the more familiar, the better! If you go to the app store on your phone, you will see that the top 10 most downloaded apps of all time have the same look and feel. Take Instagram for instance, they have a news feed that scrolls, but the classic tab bar at the bottom of the page. They have kept this the same since they launched the app many years ago because its most familiar and easiest for people to navigate. We want people, not the app to be in control. The best church apps find the correct balance between enabling users and avoiding unwanted outcomes. An app can make people feel like they're in control by keeping interactive elements familiar and predictable. Just doing this will make the usability of your app 1000% easier and in turn, more people will feel inclined to use your app.
Designing your first app can seem daunting, but it's not! Keep these three tips in mind when designing what your app will look like aesthetically (looks) and practically (content) and please, lean in on the expertise of our apps team & our success team. We are here to make the build & launch of your app as seamless and fun as possible!