What’s the Difference Between a Mobile App and Site?

The world is hyper-connected. It shrunk to a significant degree when the Internet was introduced. The world is mobile. Its people are animated more than ever because of the emergence of laptops, smartphones, and now, tablets. The world is a giant enterprise. As technological innovation continues to grace the world market, new opportunities for business arises. This includes mobile apps. And with the invention of Responsive Web Design (RWD), one question continues to challenge the everyday businessman: is an app needed for a business or not?

  • What are your goals? There has to be a business need that justifies the creation of an app.
  • Who is your audience?
  • What experience do you want for your customers?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your timeline?

Whether or not the mobile app you want benefits you as a business owner or your customers, its creation has to be built upon need and not solely on prevailing trends.

Who is your audience? Note that apps are built not only for your customers but also your employees. On the customer side, consider the value your app will offer. Customers only download apps that mean something to them. This value drives usage and patronage and in turn, generates loyalty to your business. For employees, the app should contribute to productivity and efficiency. If you are unsure about this part, it might be best to consider building an app sometime in the future.

What experience do you want for your customers? Take the Facebook app as an example. The amount of new information within the app changes constantly thereby giving users a reason to keep going back. As for you: what kind of experience would you want for your customers? Do you have content that would make someone want to download your app and use it daily? Weekly?

What is your budget? Mobile apps are expensive to build in comparison to mobile sites. If you are a small business owner, a mobile app may not be a cost-effective option. In addition, the cost to update and maintain an app can also add to your expenses. A small update still requires an approval process which affects your app’s functionality. So unless you have enough reason to believe that an app will benefit your business, a mobile website might be your best bet.

What is your timeline? Mobile apps, depending on the functionality and the proficiency of the developers, may take more time to be developed. However, mobile apps, unlike mobile websites, have greater native capacity to use smartphones features thus making it more functional. Things such as the accelerometer or camera functions are better developed within a mobile app. This means that while mobile sites are faster to build, they might not be equipped with the kind of technology to display on mobile platforms.

So does that help point out some areas that a mobile site would be better served than a mobile app? Hopefully we haven’t talked you out of wanting a mobile app, but rather have been able to show where an app can shine in place of a mobile site.

Contact Us to find out more about mobile app development.