App vs Mobile
Copy for Affinity Digital website, April 2015 [original article]
With online activity moving from our laptops to mobile devices, many of our clients need to decide the best way to communicate with their customers on mobile platforms.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) allows users to browse on their phones and tablets with ease, but developing a more mobile-specific offering requires a robust purpose-built platform. This will either involve building a mobile website or developing your own app.
In deciding between a responsive web design which may involve an overhaul or re-skin of your website or having a mobile application developed, there are many issues to consider. Affinity’s expert developers will be happy to advise
A mobile website is specifically designed to perform on smartphones and tablets. Built for touch-screen interaction over 3/4G, it is coded for the limitations and advantages of the platform such and lower data speed and local search results via GPS.
So why opt for an app? A well-made app can offer a far better user experience than a mobile site, it can load faster and can utilise features on the phone such as camera or NFC. An app may also be coded to operate offline if needed, and it is always present on the users’ device.
Each choice has its benefits and disadvantages. Selecting which option works for your organisation depends on your circumstances. Specific considerations to be evaluated before a decision is made will inevitably include costs, time frame for implementation, design approach, user experience and journey, performance, and ongoing maintenance. All these concerns should be addressed before a final decision is made.
The best approach for many clients is, we have found, a combined approach offering a solution that develops both a mobile site and app — depending on the objectives. Mobile optimised websites rank high from mobile devices and that may be all you need, but if you want people to use geolocation or one-click ordering then you may well require an app too.