5 Ways to Make your App DO Something

mag+ is of course at its heart a content-app platform. But in the mobile publishing world giving your users the ability to do something, not just consume something, is a way to make your app that much more valuable. Phones especially are tools as much as they are content devices and although mag+ won’t help you make an email app, there are a lot of functions you can easily build into your mag+ app to add utility. And with the ability to turn off swiping and use your own navigation style, your mag+ app can feel as much like a great tool as a content app.



1. Incorporate Maps:

Anytime you’re referencing a location in your content, it’s easy to add a hot link that opens either Google maps (just look up the location on maps.google.com and then paste in the URL), or on iOS in the native Maps application to show that location on a map. Just make a web link as you normally would and use the URL schema: http://maps.apple.com/?[location] where location can be a place (i.e., Denver) or an address. When Maps opens, the user will be asked if it can reference their current location, so they can then get directions. But you can also build directions or other queries directly into the link. Here’s a link to Apple’s developer page showing the various queries you can add to the end of that URL.


2. Add Email Links:

We’re huge believers in providing lots of feedback mechanisms in your app, and adding a pre-populated email link is one of the easiest. But the ability to tap to launch and send an email can be used for other things as well, including sharing a story (where you can pre-populate the body of the email with the text); have a customer send a query to your sales team, or to an advertiser; or encouraging users to email someone else, like an organization or congressperson.

3. Click to Call:

Any time you’re listing a phone number in your iPhone app, you can make that number clickable, so tapping it starts a call—a seamless way to get customers to dial you. Just make a link as usual but for the URL, use tel:+1.800.555.5555.


4. Add a Custom Form: Google Drive Form Creator

Another great tool for feedback is to add a form directly into your content—could be a survey about your app or an RFP tool for your sales app. If you have HTML chops, you can of course code it by hand, but an even easier way to get up and running is to make a form in Google Drive. Under the Create menu, choose Form. This brings up a super simple form builder with many question types and options. The responses will automatically go to a Google Drive spreadsheet for easy tracking. When you hit Send Form, you’ll get a URL  you can embed in an HTML block on your page.


5. Add Note Taking:

An HTML-based note-taking tool inside an app.

An HTML-based note-taking tool inside an app.

Of course anything you can build in HTML, you can add into your mag+ content, which leaves the door wide open for utility, but one of the coolest we’ve seen recently is a note-taking function built into an conference companion app by our partners at McMurry/TMG for one of their corporate clients. A persistent button on the page opens the note-taking function in a popup browser window, even though the HTML is embedded, by using the HTML Window link type. And because HTML can write to local storage on the device, you can even have the notes save during a session, and then email them to yourself at the end. This can be useful in not only event apps, but education or sales apps as well. 

More information about Mobile publishing with Mag+.