The writing is on the wall. More and more consumers are browsing your website on a mobile device. They no longer rely on their desktop or even laptops to search, read or shop.
Companies looking to beef up their mobile presence then face the hard question: in order to go mobile, will you roll out a mobile app or a mobile-responsive website?
The decision process can be a little confusing, not only in terms of marketing decisions but also from technical perspective. Let’s take a closer look at each terminology and their pros and cons to better understand what’s better for your business.
Responsive Web Design
Have you ever visited a website on your mobile device, and notice the text too small/large or the page layout is not right? That’s because the website is not responsive.
Responsive web design is an approach of website development in which a site adapts to the wide range of devices, including laptops, smart phones and tablets, your users are viewing it on. Simply put, Responsive web design means that your site looks great on all devices. Moreover, Google loves responsive design. So much so that it penalizes non-mobile friendly websites with negative SEO and decreased search engine rankings.
Accessibility: Responsive websites can be directly accessed from the device’s browser without the need for downloading.
Adaptability to multiple devices: No matter what device you use, responsive web design will adapt to it for a great user-friendly experience. It applies not only to today’s smartphones and tablets, but tomorrow’s smart watches and Google glass or whatever new device that comes along.
Google loves it: Like we mentioned earlier, Google hates it if your website is not mobile-optimized. As RWD is recommended by Google, it can get you all SEO advantages.
Longer lifecycle: The user cannot delete the website, and they can always come back to it later; however, they can get rid of the app and never reinstall it again.
No offline mode: Unlike mobile apps, you must be always connected to the internet to access websites.
Performance issues: Mobile responsive websites are generally slower to process information compared to apps.
Functionalities: Responsive websites usually lack important functionalities for businesses like push notifications, calendar, camera etc., which are available in the apps.
You know when you go to the App Store or Google Play and download an app? Yeah, those are mobile apps. A mobile application, or app, is a software specifically designed to run on a mobile device like a smartphone and tablets.
Performance: Apps perform better and faster compared to mobile responsive websites. They utilize smartphone hardware to the full potential to perform the same tasks more efficiently.
Accessibility: Once downloaded the apps are ready for use anytime anywhere without the need of the internet.
Features: Some of the features like push notifications, camera and touch ID are important for better user experience.
Enhanced Security for Users: With an app, businesses can handle connections without third party involvement and untrusted portals.
Platform: You’ll have to manage a code base for each platform (iOS and Android) you launch the app on.
Price: Since an app needs to be developed for both iOS and Android platforms, the cost will double.
App store: There are many guidelines that need to be followed to get the app published. The process of getting the app approved at the app store can prove to be long and tedious for the developer.
If one or more of the following is what your business needs, a mobile app can be a powerful solution:
In conclusion, there is no “one size fits all”. The decision comes down to analyzing your business needs: budget, development time, target audience, business goals and how the users will “consume” your product or service.
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