Single corporate European Union accounts have to be used for all of the major app stores.
A mobile application (or 'app') is a dedicated software application built specifically for smartphone or tablet operating systems (Apple, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, etc.).
Apps are useful for performing frequent tasks on a regular basis and are good for addressing specific audiences and activities.
However, if what you want your app to do can be done by a website, it is best to do it with a website with responsive design. This is a cheaper and easier‑to‑maintain solution, and more people will see the content. See choosing the best option.
Request the app
To ensure that your app fits with the Commission’s mobile strategy, that development goes smoothly and that last-minute surprises are avoided, you must consult upfront all relevant stakeholders in the Commission, in particular the EUROPA team in DG Communication and the Internet editors of the DGs that could be interested in the subject of the app.
You must submit a formal request to create an app to the EUROPA team in DG Communication before the requesting service commits any budget, enters into any contract and before any development work starts.
Before sending the app/content creation request to the Europa team, the endorsement of the Head of the Communication Unit of the requesting DG must be obtained.
Plan the app
It is highly recommended to carry out a feasibility study to determine whether there is a real need for the app for your content.
- Define what you want to achieve.
- Define your audience - does it use mobile apps?.
- Be clear about what your app will do. Apps are for simple tasks, don't add unnecessary features.
- Decide how you will measure performance. For example:
- increase in visits to website
- increase in queries to support helpdesk etc.
- Decide on the platforms that you will develop the app for. As a public service, the Commission cannot favour one platform over another, but app development is expensive and so cost versus reach has to be considered.
- Decide on the languages in which that the app will be available.
Terms of reference
When drafting your terms of reference, consider the following:
- Provide formaintenance for bug fixes and possible modifications. The app must also work with subsequent new versions of mobile operating systems.
- Professionally written app‑store descriptions.
- App icons (in line with the visual identity) and screenshots for the app store pages.
- Commission access to test versions (using products such as TestFlight for iOS).
Design and user interface
The Commission's visual identity graphic charter (PDF, 113MB) has mandatory design requirements for the app icon and the splash screen, in particular in the second chapter "2. Various fields of application".
In addition, operating systems have written extensive user interface guidelines. You should design your app with these in mind.
- Apple iOS Human Interface Design Guidelines
- Android Design Guidelines
- BlackBerry OS / Blackberry 10 user interface
- Windows Phone Design Guidelines
App store accounts
Do not create an individual account in the app stores. You must use the corporate European Union accounts in the major app stores managed by the Publications Office:
- Apple iOS App Store
- Google Play
- Windows Phone Store
- BlackBerry App World
The final build or signature of the app must be done by the Publications Office, because an app must be electronically signed with the Publication Office's app store private keys. The only exceptions are Windows Phone apps.
To use the European Union accounts, you must contact the Publications Office at the start of your project and provide details, planned launch dates and a contact person. Plan ahead: Apple, for example, takes around two weeks to approve apps.
Transferring an existing app to the corporate accounts
- Apps can be transferred from another account to the European Union account. Contact the Publications Office for more information.
List of EU apps
A list of all EU mobile apps can be found at the Publications Office.