Mobile website refers to a website that has been optimized to view and use on a mobile device. These are usually mobile friendly version of desktop websites that have been optimized to run on mobile browsers. They are usually configured to fit into the screen dimensions of the most common mobile devices.
Mobile app is a software application downloaded and installed to perform specific functions on the mobile device. These must be developed specific to the operating system the device uses.
Mobile devices are replacing the traditional desktops and laptops as the preferred choice for browsing the internet for information or anything else. You can either go for a mobile website or an app designed for the purpose. When a business decides to go mobile, it is essential that the mobile project is handled carefully.
Considerations Before Beginning the Mobile Project
The first consideration is what the objectives of your business are. By examining what functions you need the app or website to perform, you guide yourself on which would serve you better. Mobile apps are created with specific functionality, for example, allowing people to make retail orders. Websites,on the other hand, serve both general and specific functions.
Consider who you are targeting. People install apps to perform routine tasks; for example updating their social media accounts, sending messages, buying goods, and the like. They’re not going to find and install an app for a function they don’t normally do. Furthermore, the demographics of the target audience are a significant factor. Younger users are likely to use apps. Older users will prefer mobile websites.
Budget and implementation timelines
How much do you intend to spend?By when should it be ready?Mobile websites are easier to implement in terms of time taken to develop and getting them live.The mobile app development is resource intensive as the coding has to be done from scratch for every different operating system within the mobile context. Simply put, go for mobile website if time or money are a constraint.
Comparison of Mobile Apps and Mobile Website
Mobile technology has come a long way. The advancements possible make mobile apps a superior product.
- On mobile apps the performance is better, graphics are improved, and the response is much better. This is because mobile apps store their resources locally and only access the internet to execute functions. Mobile websites, on the other hand, have to access resources and functionality from the internet.
- Mobile apps can be tied into the functionality of the device itself. This means they can access such functions as geolocation, camera, voice input, and more. This enables the developer to provide more functionality to the user.
- Once the mobile app is installed, it can be configured to provide service even when it is offline. A mobile website must have an active internet connection.
Lastly, there is an essential aspect of maintenance and upgrades. Mobile websites are easier to upgrade and maintain as the business does this centrally. Mobile apps need the upgrade or patch to be uploaded to the app store; it banks on the user choosing to find, download, and install it.
Because mobile apps are operating system specific and must first be installed, their reach is limited. This is unless the business can get the operating system provider to bundle their app in the software provided.
Mobile websites have a wider customer base reach. This is because their universal accessibility over internet ensures that anyone can access them. Where the business is seeking a wide reach, mobile websites are better. On the other hand, mobile apps are better where the business targets a particular demographic.
Mobile apps require intensive resource investment. These resources are used in three areas;
- To develop the app for the target operating systems. Different operating systems mean different coding structure. There are some cross platform coding solutions available; however, the user experience on functionality will be limited.
- For there to be uptake of the mobile app, efforts must be made to create awareness in the market. A resource investment is necessary because there are a very high number of apps available in the app store.
- There are costs involved in the submission of an app in the app store.
Mobile websites will require resources, which are typically lower, for the following-
- To meet the costs of hosting the mobile website.
- They may also require development resources; however, in many cases there are free website building tools available for use by the business.
Both mobile websites and mobile apps can generate revenue for the business through eCommerce. However, mobile apps are better suited to this for several reasons;
- They are better optimized for the user to go through a catalog of the available products. Furthermore, the better graphics and user interface on a mobile device make it easier for the viewer to make purchases.
- When well built, they offer a more secure transaction point. This is vital for building consumer trust and confidence.
- Mobile apps create a constant connection point between the business and the customer. This enables the business to send its consumer information on new products, services, and offers. For the business to do this through a mobile website, they assume that the consumer will view and click on the link showing the changes.
Better business practice demands that the business invest in both options if possible. The market appeal for mobile websites and apps is varied. By having both solutions as part of the business’s mobile drive project, the business is likelier to increase its revenue and generate more conversion.Furthermore, businesses that have both can link these together to give their customers a better user experience.
On the off chance that budgetary limitations prevent the business from investing in both, the decision should be based on the functionality they seek to provide. In most cases, having a mobile website will be better. This is because it allows the business to have an online presence which is important and allows the business time to build capital for app development.