Apps

Published on August 28th, 2017 | by Guest

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Mobile Website vs. Mobile App: Which is Best for Your Business?

Is it better to use an app or a website: what is the right choice?

Have you faced the challenge of choosing the software form which is optimal for your business and got lost in the flood of information and various reasons?

Let’s look into the matter together.

Lately, the opinions are more frequent to meet that the mobile sites are retreating deep into the shadows or even becoming extinct.

No wonder, as we are witnessing an incredible boom of mobile applications. And according to statistics the growth will rather continue than stop at this point.

One would think websites hardly have a chance to withstand the pressure.

However, we shouldn’t rush into drawing the conclusion: both websites and apps have certain pros and cons. When choosing out of these two variants, you should not compare mobile app vs mobile site. You should define goals and preconditions for your project. Then, analyze weak and strong points of each available variant and select the one which is optimal for your specific case. Both mobile websites and apps are brilliant in coping with their tasks within the capacities they were intended for, provided they are designed and developed professionally and competently.

To help you to make the right choice, this article describes advantages and disadvantages of either of the software types and gives you some tips as to when it is better to opt for one over another.

Let’s start with mobile websites: their cons and pros.

CONS OF MOBILE WEBSITES:

  • hard to take into account special features of UX/UI design for each device: even in view of all available up-to-date technologies, it is a challenge to foresee all variants of website display on some or other device;
  • impossible to work with a closed browser: this means that if the browser is closed, no background actions can be performed (calculations, tracing and notifications).

PROS OF MOBILE WEBSITES:

  • low development costs: primary advantage of mobile websites is that your investments into their creation will be much lower vs mobile apps;
  • no installation required: the user needs only to open the browser and enter the website address.
  • long life cycle: another benefit is that a website cannot be deleted. The user may always come back, and this does not require any special efforts on his\her part (for example, the site is not required to be reinstalled as a mobile app, which can be deleted by the user for some or other reason);
  • compatibility with every platform: websites are initially developed to be viewed both on iOS and Android;
  • instantaneous updates: a website update process is easier and faster, since it is sufficient to update the content once and the changes will be seen by all users.

Got any questions on mobile websites? Umbrella has answers!

Now, let’s have a look at mobile apps and their disadvantages and advantages over websites.

CONS OF MOBILE APPLICATIONS:

  • higher development cost: in most cases, the necessity to invest significant funds to develop apps refers to their undeniable disadvantage. Since, as a rule, the app is designed for two platforms (iOS and Android), basically, activities are required to be performed in double quantities. Moreover, the third platform – Windows Phone – is often disregarded, though it is still relevant for a certain percentage of users;
  • installation required: inherently, it is not difficult to install mobile apps, but it implies that you need to carry out a specific procedure within a certain time. And this fact can be enough for the user to opt out of exploiting the app.

PROS OF MOBILE APPLICATIONS:

  • optimal interface: mobile applications are created with due account for UX/UI design requirements applicable to each platform. As a result, the user exploits the app intuitively, has no problems, gets used to it and is not willing to part with such easy-to-use product. That can be referred to as a benefit of an app vs a mobile website;
  • high speed of an app: there is no browser, acting as an intermediate between the app and the user, as in case with websites. Thus, the content downloads fast, regardless of how much the app is loaded with graphics, infographics, video and audio content;
  • reminder possibility: all too often, the user forgets about the app after the first visit, or in case the app is not employed for a long time. For such a case, apps are provided with a corresponding function, namely, the possibility to send special offers or notifications. On the one hand, the user is indirectly reminded about the existing app, on the other hand, the user is offered products or services that might be of interest;
  • possibility to use properties of mobile devices: a mobile app has access to all software and hardware systems of the user’s mobile device: GPS, magnetometers, fingerprint scanner, etc.;
  • possibility to operate offline: surely, to implement some functions the device needs to be online, but basic app functions are accessible to the user in any mode;
  • possibility to expand by means of companion apps: such an advantage of a mobile app vs a mobile website is intrinsic for native apps. For example, the user is offered an app not only for a smartwatch, but also for a smart TV (both Apple and Google have necessary operating systems for portable electronics, TV sets and even cars). This allows expanding coverage of the audience, keeping up with the times and creating something like an ecosystem around the popular app, which undoubtedly contributes to increasing the total conversion.

Need a mobile app that would win the user’s heart? Umbrella is here to help you!

It should be noted, that the above negative differences between mobile app and mobile website are not a constant. As the progress continues, new tools and opportunities appear. Drawbacks that we faced yesterday may cease to exist today or tomorrow.

For instance, Android developers offer a new Instant App technology. Using this the developers will create mini-versions of apps with key basic functions. On his part, the user will get the opportunity to test features of such a “short” app version, without having actually installed it.

For example:

You are going to pay quickly for parking using a parking meter. Everything you need is just to draw your smartphone nearer to the parking meter. No more users actions are required –  the mini-app opens automatically. The app start is triggered as NFC unit in your smartphone distinguishes NFC mark of the parking meter.

If you like the app, you can load it completely later in a usual way visiting Google Play.

Currently, there is only a beta-version of Instant App for developers, but in the next 12 months it will undoubtedly become widely used. Thus, one of the disadvantages of mobile apps will be removed – installation will become faster and easier.

In the view of the above advantages and disadvantages, you can make conclusion as to cases when a mobile app is better than a mobile website and when you should set sights on a mobile website.

SOME PRACTICAL TIPS:

  • Choose a mobile website – for the product, which will operate solely online and its content is supposed to be used without any complex transitions (blogs, informational websites and magazines).
  • Use hybrid mobile apps – for the simplest Internet-catalogues and shops with basic features, which are a bit more complicated in terms of the user interaction with the content. Hybrid apps are able to provide required quality and usability. But it will cost a lot less than a native application.
  • Choose a native mobile app native apps are created specifically to operate on a certain platform: iOS or Android, and present an optimal variant if you need a high performance interface, some background offline actions, and a high degree of personalization (bank apps, games, complex and elaborate e-stores).

To make the right choice:

Assess prospects and think over what exactly will be feasible for your future product.

Perhaps, in your case it will be optimal to combine the two types: start with a website to check its efficiency and degree of attraction for users, and then move on to creating apps for certain platforms. Or vice versa, start with an app, which would earn the user’s affection, and you may need a mini-site for its presentation.

Need to implement your ideas or have any questions or new ideas? Contact us right now!

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