Often among newbies a mobile website is understood same as a mobile application, however, they are not same. Before proceeding to consider if it would be wise or unwise to go for a mobile app, let’s first briefly understand what separates a mobile website from a mobile application.
Yes, the only similarity one can evidently make out, that exists between a mobile app and a mobile website, is that both are accessed on handheld devices like smartphones and tablets.
A mobile website is like any website except for the fact that it is designed for handheld displays. Otherwise it shares similar characteristics,with its HTML pages that display images, data, videos and content, that are to be accessed over the Internet within a browser. Also it includes mobile specific features such as click-to-call or location based mapping.
On the other hand mobile apps are application that needs to be either installed or downloaded on one’s mobile device. Unlike mobile websites that are used within a browser, an app does not necessarily requires internet connection for pulling content from a website. It is either device specific (known as native application); or one that goes with multiple platform (known as hybrid application).
Having understood the difference between a mobile website and a mobile app, let’s see what a mobile website and a mobile app offers. Advantage outline can help in deciding if an enterprise would be better off with a mobile website, a mobile application or both. Let us try and get your enterprise in a better anchored place.
Mobile website offerings
If you are looking primarily for an interactive interface, mainly from a brand marketing standpoint, a mobile website won’t be a harmful option to begin with. Several factors like accessibility, cost-effectiveness and upgradability make mobile website a preferred option.
- Accessibility: A mobile website can be instantly made available within a browser. While on the other hand, an application needs to be installed or downloaded, which creates a sort of barrier between initial engagement and conversion.
- Cost Effectiveness: When compared to a mobile application, a mobile website is easier and cost effective. The development of a mobile website is considerably cheap when compared to development of app for various platforms.
- Upgradability: A mobile application is much more dynamic than a website, in terms of upgradability and flexibility. It is observed that a mobile website can be updated easily; simply change the content or design and publish the changes. On the other hand updation of an app requires to be pushed to the users, which must be installed or downloaded in order to have the updated version of the app.
- Reachability: A mobile website can perform irrespective of platform, which makes its reachability deep and wide. Although if the website is not adaptive or responsive, the performance may vary from device to device. On the other hand a mobile app developed for a particular platform can not be accessed over another platform.
- Compatibility: On the scale of compatibility, a mobile website is known to be compatible across multiple devices. While a single mobile website can be reached across different types of mobile devices, an application may need different versions for various platforms or a hybrid version for multiple platforms.
Mobile Application Offering
Notwithstanding the many offerings of a mobile website, applications are popular among smartphone and tablet users for its quick, concise and personalized interactions. A widely held belief suggest applications to be most suitable for big brands. On the contrary, though, the fact shows more and more small and medium sized businesses are opting for effective mobile strategy that involves more than a mobile website. As mobile application continue to soar, the enterprises are either triggered to launch application version of their website or both website and application. Factors like data storage, personalized experience and brand recognition make mobile applications a famous choice.
- Data storage: Most, if not all, of the information is stored within an application making it easily available without an internet connection. In some cases one may need an internet connection for upgrades and stuff, however, mobile apps are pro when it comes to storing data, such as videos and catalogs. Mobile applications are widely known for storing information within them, which helps in offering an enhanced user experience.
- Brand Recognition: A mobile application is known to effect brand awareness. Mobile apps, if designed keeping in mind both functionality and simplicity, can make customers more involved in your enterprise, thereby helping in brand awareness and recognition.
- Personalized Experience: Mobile application offers a way to reach users in tailored way depending upon their interests, needs and location. Offering mobile application that are personalized lessens the lacuna between users and enterprise, also offering satisfactory user experience.
Not that an application can be the only way for your enterprise, but surely it can lay foundation for your future. Until mobile remains to be the most used medium, the question of web vs app would remain fresh. Simply put, if you aim to offer only content, the choice of mobile website won’t be wrong. And if the goal is most inclined towards offering an interactive interface, the choice of mobile application wouldn’t fail you. Or one can also have both, depending upon the budget, reachability goals and enterprise agenda.