If an organization is planning to establish its mobile presence, the first thing they need to consider is whether they want to develop a mobile application which users can download, or a mobile website or, both (application as well as a mobile website).
Mobile websites and apps appear quite similar to each other, and determining which suits your needs the best, depends on various factors such as target audiences, budget, purpose and required features.
What’s the Difference between a Mobile Website and an App (Application)?
Before an organization comes to any decision, it is very important to know the core difference between a mobile website and a mobile application, as both are accessed using handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets etc.
A mobile website, which is similar to any other website, consists of HTML pages that are linked together and can be accessed over the Internet. The characteristic that distinguishes a mobile website from any other standard website is the fact that it is specially designed for the handheld devices or touch-screen interfaces. Mobile website adjusts the content to suit the screen resolution to facilitate proper viewing. You can view text, data, images and video based content as well as acces mobile-specific features like click-to-call (to dial a phone number) or location-based mapping etc. features with the mobile website.
Rather than being rendered within a browser, Mobile Applications are actual applications that are downloaded and installed to the mobile devices. Users visit device-specific portals like Apple’s App Store, Android’s Play Store etc. in order to browse & download the apps. The app may pull content and data from the Internet / specific website, in a similar fashion to a source website or, it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.
Which is Better – an App or a Mobile Website?
The choice between development of mobile website and mobile application depends on the end goal of the organization.Let’s say the organization wants to develop an interactive game or wants to create e-Commerce awareness, then a mobile app would help them meet their goals. For instant notifications, alerts, tracking & monitoring as well as single click access and availability of data when offline, the organizations should consider developing a mobile app.
On the other hand, if the organization wants to provide mobile-friendly content and information, then a mobile website should be their choice. In some cases, it is good to have both a mobile app as well as a mobile website.
Advantages of Mobile Application
You can showcase your products/services in a better fashion with mobile apps. Mobile apps help create interest, and build engagement among your customers/potential customers
Offers Interactive Support:
While it is often a hassle to receive and respond to a customer support request, the same becomes easy when you have an appropriate app to do it. With a mobile app, businesses can offer instructions and how-to’s
For interactive games (think Angry Birds) an app is almost always the best choice, at least for the foreseeable future.
If you want to offer more personalized shopping, and related experience to the users, then you need to think mobile app
Complex Calculations or Reporting
If you need something that will take data and allow you to manipulate it with complex calculations, charts or reports (think banking or investment) an app will help you do that very effectively.
Native Functionality or Processing Required:
Mobile web browsers are getting increasingly good at accessing certain mobile-specific functions such as click-to-call, SMS and GPS. However, if you need to access a user’s camera or processing power an app will still do that much more effectively
No Internet connection Essential:
If you need to provide offline access to content or perform functions without a network/wireless connection then an app makes sense.
Advantages of Mobile Website
A mobile website is instantly accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices
A single mobile website can reach users across many different types of mobile devices, whereas native apps require a separate version to be developed for each type of device
A mobile website is relatively more dynamic than an app in terms of pure flexibility to update content. If you want to change the design or content of a mobile website you simply publish the edit once and the changes are immediately visible.
Mobile websites are much easier for users to find because their pages can be displayed in search results and listed in industry-specific directories, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you. Most importantly, visitors to your regular website can be automatically sent to your mobile site when they are on a handheld
Time and Cost:
Last but certainly not least, mobile website development is considerably more time and cost-effective than development of a native app, especially if you need to have a presence on different platforms (requiring development of multiple apps).
The choice of a mobile app or a mobile website depends on the business goals defined by you. It’s easy to get your own Magento store app with Silver Shop. With this, you can integrate your Magento store into an app with all the features and functionality.
Semaphore Software has the relevant experience and domain expertise to help you with mobile app development, suited to meet your business needs. Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about our mobile solutions.