Today’s consumers are always on the go, and they expect their information to go with them. With organizations becoming more diverse and decentralized, benefits are no exception to this. Employers need to be able to stay connected to their employees regardless of location – providing access to benefits information anywhere and anytime they need it. No doubt, mobile technology is a critical component for an engaging, successful benefits program. But what strategy is right for you?
Employees are mobile and hungry for information
There are now more mobile devices in the world than humans. Fifty-eight percent of American adults have a smartphone, 42% own a tablet, and mobile platforms account for the majority of digital media time spent in the U.S. Mobile is here. ("Mobile Technology Fact Sheet." Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS. Pew Research Center, 27 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.) This is how people want to consume information.
And when it comes to benefits, employees need all the information they can get—from basic insurance education to personal, in-depth coverage details. Convenient mobile access to all of this empowers them to make smarter, more confident healthcare decisions.
So what do you do?
Well, you can do nothing, and just let employees navigate by “pinch-zoom” when they want to access your website through a mobile device. But – as you may know – this can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Or, you can make your site “responsive,” scaling content to fit a mobile screen. This is definitely preferable to doing nothing, but still lacks much of the functionality that can make mobile technology so powerful. Or – and this is our recommendation – you can develop[a mobile app.
Mobile apps allow for complex user interaction and give your employees the fluid, engaging experience they’ve come to expect in working with mobile devices. And you have a couple of options here, as well. You can create a native app – which is written specifically for a mobile platform (iOS or Android) and distributed through the platform’s app store – or you can create a web app – which is written using open standards (HTML, CSS, etc.) and can run in any browser.
Native vs. Web
Each of these has its own strengths and weaknesses. Without getting too technical, here is a list of pros and cons for comparison.
The approach you take really depends on your resources and what you’re trying to accomplish. The most important thing is that you do have a mobile strategy!
At Benefitfocus, we think native and web apps are each great options, and we incorporate both into our consumer-driven benefits technology. We want our customers to have the best user experience, no matter what device they’re using.
To learn more about how mobile technology can help you maximize the effectiveness of your benefits program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.