Mobile vs App: Making the Leap

September 18, 2014In Framework, Usability4 Minutes

For a business just emerging into the mobile web market, choosing between developing a mobile website or an app can seem daunting— both are accessed on your mobile device. While tech is still relatively new and innovative, this question will remain relevant to most organizations.

Design agency team working on a mobile app UI design
Design agency team working on a mobile app UI design

Before leaping, analyze the differences between the two mobile options and determine which one is best suited for your business.

Mobile Sites run in a mobile web browser and are served by a web server specifically designed for a smaller handheld display and touch-screen surface. They use the standard site interface while integrating with mobile features (such as the click-to-call feature to contact a business) or mapping based on your location.

  • Compatibility – mobile sites are excellent for maintaining a consistent company image and message across platforms.
  • No approval necessary – they do not require approvals or app store integration, allowing you to scoot around the “red tape” of app development.
  • Easily shared – making the site easier to find with a quick search within your mobile browser.
  • Time and cost – updating a mobile site are considerably less time-consuming and more affordable than coding updates for an app.

Apps are downloaded and installed on your mobile device rather than accessed through a browser. Each one requires approval (for app stores, as well), and is built for specific devices and screens.

  • Interactivity – users love having a gloriously-designed interface which makes their interaction with the software that much more enjoyable
  • Personalization– accessing specific features (such as the camera or photo apps) will be easier when developing natively.
  • Effectiveness – providing a distinct impression of your web presence and accessing features more effectively.
  • No internet connection required – no having to rely on wifi connection gives over complete control (whereas mobile web has no reach when it lacks an internet signal).

If your company can afford it, it’s highly recommended that you build both a responsive site and a native mobile app, which will help your business work towards earning respect and attention of your entire mobile audience. An app will produce a mobile-focused experience for your current and most loyal customers. At the same time, your mobile site can furnish an ideal experience for current and new visitors to your website. There is a perfect solution for everyone, as there are areas where each option excels.

Consider pursuing mobile website development first, even if you are planning on building an app in the future. An app is great for achieving a specific purpose, for which a website may not be enough. (For example: when shopping for specific items, being able to browse through an organized application and a quick “pay” option is most efficient.)

Ready to jump toward your mobile goal? Your company must ensure that the brand vision is consistent across all platforms. Working with a great web design firm will assist you in maintaining that image and can walk you through your mobile-vs-app decision process. It is crucial to understand your organization’s content strategies as well as current and potential users and review your end goals in order to adequately and efficiently map out what plan would be best for your company’s needs.

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