What’s The Difference Between Designing For A Web App And Mobile App?

Posted by ongraph · November 18, 2016 · 5 Min read

Table of contents

In mobile era, the web still maintains its presence and even very well and even after getting massive competition from mobile. There is no big secret behind it and all things are simply motivated to deliver appealing user experience. The interesting thing is that the design does the job and perfectly in both web and mobile platforms. Though the fiercer situations has arisen many times, but the willing and expert developers win over for providing design that delivers a delightful user experience. It is because they keep the clear concept about what they are dealing with and what they have to bring to the table at the end of the project close out.


Lets we begin to understand what web does for us in order to understand difference between designing for a web application and mobile application.


Web survives quite a long time and still is because of its modified form – Responsive Web. It was a direct response of evolving mobile trend. Mobile has occupied a big part in everyone’s life today, helping to move through our days. Along with small mobile screens, its users have little time, short attention spans and distracted very quickly and easily. This phase has led to focus on key goals for web and mobile.


In the world of apps, the primary focus is the completion of a task. That’s where, mobile applications are built around tasks and it has to be simple in their nature. Hidden features shouldn’t be there and applications must be navigated carefully to provide simple and straight forward results, not hidden behind icons.


Beside it, web has its different story. Websites were formed as a medium to opt information from anywhere. Websites even today offers a better experience for searching, accessing and understanding the information. While, mobile constraints only highlighted the need for well-written, structured and visually prioritized content.


Mobile apps = tasks, web = information? How do we get there?


If your design is not able to lure the visitors, you are not going to have any user online. So, whatever you are designing, it has to be built up around the needs of the user. You must have a good understanding of users, their individualistic requirements as well as skill set to meet such requirements. To develop such level of understanding, common behavior like cognition and visual perception could be used as a tool to work around. These are the psychological tools and make things short and easy.


The level of user understanding is bit more complicated, but designers have a number of design methods and help in every way possible. Keep checking that you are going to deal with task-oriented apps or information-focused websites.


Mobile Apps, Get Stuff Done


With little time and short attention spans, mobile users have frequent interruptions. In such scenario, keep the app simple and create around a single task. To achieve this, develop understanding for the task that a user wants to accomplish within an app. Once you determined what a user wants to get done, pin-point such task and create the right flow with it to guide the user through the app. A user lands on an app to accomplish a goal, bear this in mind, so keep UI elements to a bare minimum, adding just enough to help users make progress. You need to work on the visual design to draw attention of users. Simply, we can say here interaction design is a key in mobile application.


Websites, the source of information


Websites were designed to share the information and these are used still for the same purposes. However, mobile arrived and set the bar even higher. Apart from this, mobile has introduced numerous of screen sizes to the market, most of which are smaller than bigger. It snatches the command over view ports, and it leads to focus on the initial attention of users meets their expectations.


You can ask a few questions to consider like:


Does user will immediately understand from the title whether this website will be useful to them?
Would they grab quickly the content based on the headlines?
Can they easily navigate to the content they are interested in?


With this question, you should design a content strategy address to users. This lets them receive what they are expecting. A good copy invites users to read the copy. Avoid uncommon words or complicated sentences and keep your content straightforward, because reading is seriously difficult.


Your plan should be to create a strong hierarchy through visual design where well-written and properly structured content play its game that is to let users know where the key information is. Make use of the typography in your design to make reading experience more enjoyable. It could be line height and character count per line or selection of fonts as well as font size, etc., will be key variables here. Considering all of that, information architecture is the field which encompasses all these points.


So, is there any difference?


Yes, there is a big difference between designing for mobile apps and designing for website. All you require is to be aware of the difference and use the right process for development. In mobile, development should be around interaction design; whereas websites development should take place around information architecture. To be fair, there are many similarities in designing for both platforms.


How you differentiate the designing differences in web app and mobile app? What differences you have found in your learning period or study? Let our readers know in the comment section below.

Share this Article