Mobile app development v/s Mobile website development can be an intense debate. With the emergence of technology in contemporary world, website has become the core necessity of any organization. Designing a website for mobile devices is more important than ever. Organizations are re – thinking their mobile strategy as the app usage of mobile has exceeded has the usage of desktop. So if you have not yet decided to build a website that can be accessed through mobile devices, it is the time to do so.
One of the first considerations that will likely come to mind while establishing a mobile presence for your business or organization is whether you want to create a mobile website or a mobile application for users to download (app), or perhaps both. Many people assert that you don’t need a mobile app, you just need a website that looks good on mobile devices, on the other hand some people say that mobile apps have benefits that a website cannot provide. Mobile websites and apps can look very similar at first-glance, however when digging a little deeper, there are a multiple factors that need to be considered before deciding like available budget, intended purpose and required features, including target audiences. Both of them have their dedicated marketplace and own certain number of pros and cons.
Mobile App v/s Mobile Web: What’s The Difference?
Before evaluating the advantages of mobile app development v/s mobile website development it is important to understand the difference between them. Both app and web can be acquired through mobile or any handheld device such as tablet. A mobile website is exactly as it sounds. A mobile website usually is not a separate site, it is similar to any other website in that it consists of browser-based HTML pages that are connected together and accessed via Internet (for mobile typically Wi-Fi or 3G or 4G networks). The salient characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from a standard website is that it is designed for the smaller handheld display and touch-screen interface (smart phones & tablets).
Increasingly, responsive web design is becoming the new standard for websites as they are designed for different platforms and adjust to different screen sizes and layouts from desktop to tablets and smart phones. Like traditional websites, user can see content, images and videos on mobile website, but it is optimized for smaller screens. In addition user can also access mobile-specific features such as click-to-call or location-based mapping from mobile website.
On the other hand, Mobile apps are applications that are downloaded and installed on a user’s mobile device rather than being rendered on a search engines. For any given operating system users can download app by visiting device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store or Android Market. Like a website, app fetches data and content from internet or user can download it and access it later without internet connection.
Mobile website development pros
If your goal is related to brand marketing and target your potential audiences then mobile/responsive website is the foremost option in your mobile outreach strategy. As it has numerous advantages over app development and are discussed below –
- Mobile/ responsive websites are compatible for all screen size devices.
- Mobile websites can be founded easily.
- Mobile websites can be shared among users or publishers.
- Mobile websites have broader reach among audience.
- Mobile websites are easier and cost effective.
- Brand visibility and SEO.
- Mobile websites cannot be deleted.
Mobile app development pros
An app is written in the language of the operating system of the device and developed for specific platform such as android and iOS. App is a completely separate entity from a company’s website, and is often an extension of a brand. For making interactive games, an app makes a sense. Let’s have a look of mobile app pros –
- Mobile app can be accessed anytime and anywhere, without internet also.
- An app can interface with the device’s features and hardware, such as the camera, GPS location.
- Mobile app allows user to set up their preferences at the time of installation.
- If your target audiences are going to use your app in a personalized fashion on a regular basis (think EverNote, photo editor) then an app is a great way to do that.
- Mobile app offers a completely different experience for the user and has ability to offer new branding opportunities.
- Mobile apps allow for more interactive ways for the user to engage with your content.
Google states that “61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile website they had trouble accessing and over 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.” Due to poor functionality, you’re sending your customers directly to your competition that provides a better mobile experience.
Which is better option?
Now if you have to decide what to build mobile app or mobile website then have look on your business primary goals. If your aim is to offer mobile friendly content to large audience and establish mobile presence that can be easily maintained and shared among people, found on search engines then mobile – friendly/ responsive website is logical choice to go. On the other hand, if you aim to provide a user experience like gaming interface, user engagement and communicate your customers than mobile app is going to make sense.
It’s also important to remember that a mobile/responsive website and a native app are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If done correctly, both can be a strategic and effective choice. Many organizations have both a mobile-friendly public website for their general web presence, as well as a downloadable app to accommodate more specific requirements. In the end, it’s all about choosing the right tool to achieve your business objectives.