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Does Your Forum Really Need a Mobile App?

1 minute read

November 28, 2013


Many forums are still running on ancient software platforms that were invented when Nokia and Motorola were first bringing cell phones to the masses.

Obviously, back then, there was no consideration for an interface other than on a desktop browser. Since the first iPhone was released in 2007, there has been a steady increase in web traffic going to mobile devices.  That increase prompted several companies to launch apps that act as a middleman between the forum and the mobile device.  Some of the best known are Tapatalk, Topify and Forum Runner.

These apps have some pros and cons.  On the positive side, they make many old forums easier to consume on mobile and they let people aggregate several of their favorite forums into one place - like a bookmarking service.

On the negative side, these apps dumb down all forums to one common user experience. Many of your forum’s unique features won’t be supported by these 3rd party apps which means you have less opportunity to offer your members a tailored experience. There are also considerations to be made for how these apps monetize, with or without your consent.

Does Your Forum Really Need a Mobile App? Yes if it’s an old software that doesn’t render well on mobile. Probably not, if you are using modern forum software that has a separate mobile theme or a responsive design that works well on smaller screens.

Vanilla Forums offers a cloud based solution that works simply right in your mobile browser. No app to download, no microscopic fonts, no need to pinch to zoom. Try Vanilla Forums Cloud Solution free for 30-days.


Luc Vezina

Written by Luc Vezina


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