If you’re thinking about establishing a mobile presence for your company or organisation, one of the first questions you’ll probably ask is whether you want to build a mobile app for customers to download (app) or a mobile website, or possibly both. Selecting which is best suited to your needs will rely on a number of criteria, including target audiences, available budget, intended purpose, and essential functionality.
A mobile website, like any other website, is made up of browser-based HTML pages that are linked together and viewed over the Internet (for mobile typically WiFi or 3G or 4G networks). The apparent difference between a mobile website and a normal website is that it is intended for the smaller portable display and touch-screen interaction.
Instead of being displayed within a browser, mobile apps are genuine software that are downloaded and installed on your mobile device. To search and download apps for a certain operating system, users go to device-specific portals such as Apple’s App Store or Android’s Play Store. The app may, like a website, pull material and data from the Internet, or it may download the content so that it may be accessible without an Internet connection.
Which is Better?
When determining whether to design a native app or a mobile website, the best option truly relies on your final goals. If you’re creating an interactive game, an app is definitely your best bet. However, if your objective is to provide mobile-friendly information to as many people as possible, a mobile website is certainly the best way to go. In certain situations, you may decide that you need both a mobile website and a mobile app, but it’s safe to say that it’s almost never a good idea to design an app without first having a mobile website in place.
Mobile Website: Benefits
If your primary goals are marketing or public relations, a mobile/responsive website will almost always make sense as a realistic first step in your mobile outreach plan. This is due to the fact that a mobile website has several intrinsic advantages over applications, such as greater accessibility, interoperability, and cost-effectiveness.
A mobile website is instantly accessible to consumers across a variety of devices using a browser (iPhone, Android, etc). Apps, on the other hand, necessitate the user downloading and installing the app from an app store before viewing the content or application – a big barrier between initial engagement and action/conversion.
A mobile website has significantly higher reach capability than a native app because it is available across platforms and can be readily shared among users as well as search engines.
A mobile website may function as an app:
Mobile websites, like normal websites, may be created as database-driven web applications that function similarly to native apps. A mobile web application might be a cost-effective alternative to developing a native app.
When Is an App Suitable?
Despite the numerous inherent advantages of the mobile web, applications remain quite popular, and there are a number of specialised use situations where an app is the ideal solution. In general, an app makes sense if you require one of the following:
Interactivity/Gaming — For highly interactive games (think Angry Birds), an app is likely to be your best option, at least for the time being. For smaller games (such as puzzles), there may be less of a difference in user experience between a browser-based version and a native app.
Regular Usage/Personalization – If your target consumers are going to use your app in a personalised manner on a regular basis (think EverNote, Facebook, online Banking), then a native app is a terrific approach to do so that is easily available in practically all settings.
Push Notifications – One of the intrinsic capabilities of apps is the ability to deliver push notifications to users who have the app installed on their device, allowing app publishers to send messages directly to consumers.
It’s also worth noting that a mobile/responsive website and a native app aren’t always mutually exclusive. Many businesses have a mobile-friendly public website for their overall online presence, or can hire any mobile app development agency in UK to meet more particular needs. In the end, it all comes down to selecting the proper tool for the task.
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