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Responsive Website Or Mobile App?

Responsive Website Or Mobile App?

September 22, 2014

People say go Mobile, but why and which way, Mobile Web or Mobile App? The answer that follows, as most answers typically do, is that it depends on what you want to achieve in your mobile marketing strategy?

What is a Mobile Web and a Mobile App?

Before we address these questions, let us define both terms and its distinctions, as these are not synonymous words that people mistaken them to be. A mobile web is a website designed to fit various mobile device displays such as iPads and smartphones. It is browser based like a desktop website, but requires access to the internet via a mobile browser. Simply put, it is a website designed for, and legible on mobile devices without having to expand the screen and scroll left / right to see the content.

A mobile application (app) is software written for specific mobile devices (Android, iPad, iPhone, etc.). It can perform certain functions, or serve as your community outreach forum. To perform its intended functions, the software is downloaded and installed onto the device, rather than requiring browser access. There are 3 different types of mobile apps: native app, web app, and hybrid app. These types of apps will be explained in the next blog in order to keep focus on our topic of discussion.

Mobile Web Advantages:

  • Ease of Access: As long as there is internet connection, a mobile we can be accessed. There is no need to download or install any software as with an app.
  • Browser Compatibility: Regardless of the type of mobile device used, a mobile web is compatible to all mobile browsers, whereas an app is dependent on the device type and its operating system.
  • Ease of Upgrade: To upgrade a mobile web, it is done when the administrator publishes the updated content. On the other hand, a mobile app upgrade requires changing it per device type and the user has to download the upgrade onto their device for the upgrade to take effect. Some apps may not function properly if the update is not installed. Other times, the update may be incompatible with older versions of the device’s operating system. Therefore glitches occur when operating the device.
  • Easy to Locate: Mobile websites can easily be found by doing a query on search engines. Once clicked on the appropriate link, the mobile browser automatically redirects the visitor from the desktop site to the mobile website. With mobile apps, the ease in locating the app is dependent upon the organization of the mobile device’s app store, such as Google Play or the App Store.
  • Broader Reach: The Mobile web can reach anyone that has internet access, whereas users have to find the app in the app store and install it onto their device. So unless someone is looking for the app on the app store, users will not be able to find the app.
  • Ease of Sharing: Links for a mobile web can be shared via social media, emails, blogs, websites, and print marketing. Unfortunately mobile apps are only found at app stores, and cannot be easily shared like a mobile web.
  • Economical to Develop & Maintain: A mobile web can be developed for any mobile device for 1 price, whereas a mobile app needs to be developed per platform (Android, iOS, Windows, etc.). The app is also difficult to maintain unless a content management system (CMS) has been specifically created to manage all platform changes from the administrator side. Still any software upgrade has to be done on the developer end instead of the administrator end. As a result, it makes app development and maintenance more expensive and longer to create than mobile websites.
  • Cannot Delete: Since a mobile web is not software that is downloaded onto the device like an app, it cannot be deleted from the phone like an app can. This is another disadvantage of an app.

Mobile App Advantages:

  • No Internet Connectivity Required: Internet connection is unnecessary with a mobile app, unless it is a hybrid app. If it is a hybrid app, then the user will have to access the website information through the internet.
  • Community Outreach or Functional: A mobile app can serve a function such as calendar, games, and camera apps; or it can be used as an outreach forum to the community that you target (churches, schools, cities…).
  • Efficient at complex computation, report generation, data collection and processing
  • Usage Personalization: The app can be personalized to the user’s preferences, like an alarm or a banking app. That is not the case with a mobile web, unless there is an account login from the website. These are typically web apps. In this case, the account information is personalized to each client’s profile.
  • Effective Native App Access: It is easier and faster to access native or processing apps, because it has been installed into the mobile device. Whereas a mobile web is dependent on internet access, and its speed.

Mobile Web OR Mobile App OR Both?

Now that you understand the difference between a mobile web and a mobile app, which one is appropriate for your business? Basically if you are just trying to provide information, or sell products to a broader audience so the website can be found through search engines, then the mobile web is the route. Should you decide to engage interactively with the audience and be able to perform intended functions, then the app is the best choice. If you want to have capabilities of a mobile web and mobile app, then both can be done as well. At the very least, a mobile web is required.

Contact Neo Design Concepts, Inc. at (949) 682-8518 for a free consultation to determine which solution is optimal for your business. This includes a free website analysis to see what can be done to improve your digital marketing. In a nutshell, we provide quality marketing at a small business budget to help you get found.