Nowadays, with the increasing popularity of smartphones, deciding on the format for smartphone-based products has become even more challenging.
Many developers face the dilemma whether to build a native mobile app or a responsive web-based platform.
And this conundrum is absolutely valid considering each one of these offers its own benefits. One needs to decide depending on their business needs.
Are you skeptical too? Let’s dive into the details to help you decide.
A typical mobile app is that could be downloaded and installed on your mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. Custom mobile application development for native apps is done for platforms such as Android, Windows, or iOS and apps are available through portals such as the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
While running on your devices, they may capture data from the web and also download all their contents and functions even without an internet connection.
However, a mobile optimized website is rendered within a mobile browser and can be accessed over the internet. It is nothing but a scale-down version of a conventional website build for a small display and touchscreen interface of a mobile device.
How does a mobile app differ from a responsive website?
The first distinction is the way it operates on the device.
An app, first, must be downloaded straight to the device from the app store, or the Google Play Store if it's an Android app. If you have an internet connection, you may visit the page in your browser and access it practically immediately.
It's worth noting that the updates are also different here.
The mobile webpage is automatically updated without the user's awareness. Users must download and install each update for mobile applications.
There is a pattern to be found here. The majority of the mobile app's functions are performed locally on the device. The website, on the other hand, is run by an external server and requires connection to the internet in order to function properly, and the data is saved in the same manner.
Let us examine their advantages and disadvantages.
The mobile application offers many advantages both for individual users and for a business perspective.
- Offline access – One of the most significant advantages is the ability to use them without an internet connection.
- Personalization – Easiest example, changing your application UI from light mode to dark mode! Yes, applications allow easy customization based on your preferences that may range from the customizing the UI and its divisions to notification settings and even to the data you allow them to save.
- Convenience – Applications run on devices directly. They are distinguished by their convenience of use, improved user experience, and dedicated functionality that websites cannot provide. Sending push notifications is an example of such an action. They may also use your smartphone’s inbuilt functions like cameras, microphones, GPS and so on.
- Wider audience – Since apps can be readily available on the Apple's App Store or Google Play Store, this not only expands its reach but also, engagement among users and brand recognition.
- Reduced advertising and marketing costs – Allowing your customers to communicate directly on the app may cut your advertising expenditures on the web. Moreover, your users can share content that they themselves have generated via social networks linked into your app. This primarily increases the digital presence of your business on the internet.
- Cost of development – App development may require building different versions of your app for different app stores be it IOS, Android or any other. However, you might be able to dodge this bullet by using a modern, smarter way to create applications — such as using a framework such as Flutter. Nevertheless, it may cost you more.
- Cost of maintenance – unfortunately, just building an app and putting it into the app store is not enough! In order to remain competitive and appealing to users, the app must be updated regularly. Although, it might be aggravating for your users to update the app over and over again, which is not the case with websites.
- Less compatibility – The applications are not always compatible with every device or operating system. This danger rises when the device is a little out of date or the app is just not supported by a specific platform.
- Download required – Due to the limited memory space, not everyone wants to download the app on their devices.
- Need to invest in good support – Users will gradually give up using the application, as their problems won’t be solved, therefore providing quality support becomes a must, which requires investing in a team that will be responsible for it.
- Compatibility – Websites give the same user experience regardless of the user's operating system or mobile device.
- Accessibility – To access any website, all you need is a web browser and internet connection. The ease of not having to go to the app store, look for the program, download, and install it, makes websites really handy.
- Cost-effective development – Web development takes shorter programming time, due to which it is much cheaper compared to application development. In fact, even for different operating systems, just one version of the web application is required. Furthermore, managing and upgrading the website is straightforward and automated, requiring no user download.
- Faster time to market – with shorter development time and no approval by app stores and marketplaces required, getting websites to market is much faster.
- Better reach and search – Everyone with internet connection can view a website, no matter what device or platform they use. This directly corresponds to better reach. Also, the ability to optimize a website for search engines, increases the likelihood of the website being found.
- Not available offline – A major disadvantage to websites is that even a website as simple as just a landing page requires a decent internet connection in order to be functional.
- Limited access to the in-built mobile device functions – Websites provide extremely restricted access to several essential mobile device capabilities, such as the camera and GPS.
- Poorer user experience – User experience is everything. And with the limitation of no customizable UI on the websites, user experience gets impacted. Putting the proper amount of material in one window on a tiny display demands strong judgment and knowledge of UX.
- Less convenience – In comparison to mobile applications, mobile sites are not as convenient. Since they run on browsers, they aren’t able to exploit the capabilities that smart gadgets offer. Even though, responsive web design dynamically changes to screen size, it does not make it totally simple for consumers to surf the material on a mobile device.
- Absence in app stores – Since the websites are only and only present on the search engines, their lack of availability on the app stores makes them a little more hard-to-be-heard-about.
Which one is the best for you?
A mobile app is the way to go forward if you wish to provide your audience with a faultless user experience and more intricate user interactions. Most mobile games perform far better as fully developed programs than as material presented in a browser.
And the same is true for any application that involves more complicated data management and presentation (e.g., scientific and financial tools) or is used on a regular basis and for personal purposes (i.e. self-organization tools and social media).
Consider developing a mobile app if you want to reach particular target demographics and connect with consumers on a deeper level.
A responsive website, on the other hand, will be your best alternative if your main goal is to reach as many people as possible — such as in PR and marketing efforts — and your material does not demand a lot of interaction.
Responsive websites are perfect for firms who are just getting started with m-commerce since they are less expensive.
Both possibilities, on the other hand, do not have to be mutually exclusive. For example, Facebook's responsive website allows visitors to explore the site easily on any device, but they also provide a mobile app with limited capabilities and a UX that is completely adapted to each unique device.
The selection on the solution to choose should always be based on the aim you want to achieve as well as your time and financial resources. It is incredibly beneficial to compare the benefits and drawbacks of both mobile applications and mobile websites.
Concentrate on the most important and vital aspects of your project. This will serve as a guideline for what to choose.
Do you wish to increase user engagement and provide offline access?
In that case select an app, but keep in mind the lengthier development time and the need for maintenance.
Or do you want a speedy launch of a user-friendly platform? Create a website that is mobile-friendly. However, keep in mind that it is not as handy as an app.
Are you hesitating or thinking about which one is best for your business? We are here to help you. You can consult our experts you can contact us on our website or can drop a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.