Mobile app or mobile website? Which one a business should opt for? What should be more important; engagement or visibility across search engines?
These are the questions that are still asked and debated. Although it is common knowledge that mobile apps are the most preferred platform by the users. However, mobile websites are also not going anywhere as 58% of website visit came from mobile device alone in 2018. Which only solidifies the increasing usage of smartphones and decreasing of desktop use.
When it comes to businesses, they need to weigh in their options as to which option to invest in? Whether a dedicated native mobile app will do the job for them and their consumers, or a responsive mobile website will be the answer to their traffic and conversions?
We have weighed in their options through a UX comparison that will help them determine the right fit for their business. Why UX? Because we need to find a middle ground that would be the main determining factor. What better than user experience – which is the most important aspect of any software product and even brands.
So let’s have a walkthrough of the different set of UX that is provided by mobile apps and mobile websites.
User Experience Provided by Mobile Apps
Native mobile apps are platform specific; such as Android apps or iOS apps. They are to be downloaded through an app store and as they reside within the smartphones, they are faster and more responsive. Moreover, some of their functionality is even accessible offline.
Mobile apps enable users to choose their settings and preferences as soon as they are downloaded. This gives the end-user with more control over how they want their app to communicate with their smartphone. Moreover, you can also restrict access of the app; let’s say from using your camera, or mic, or gallery.
Customization here also means the insight brands or businesses get from app’s user engagement tracker; which basically enables them to send customized or personalized notifications. Which could be anything relevant based off of their habits – like their browsing or interacting habits within the various features or offerings of your app.
More Interactive Elements
Mobile apps are for interaction and this is why they are more engaging than a website that is mostly static offering still text and images. Mobile apps have features integrated that allow users to interact with them and receive some sort of action in return. In addition, you can keep on adding more functionalities as you grow and learn about your audience and their preferences.
Leveraging Device’s Features
This is definitely one of the most solid points that make mobile apps a better option when it comes to maximum user engagement and conversion. Mobile apps can access built-in features of device like camera, speakers, GPS, and more. This gives businesses and custom software development companies to have more options to incorporate features in order to elevate user experience.
Moreover, these features like GPS and location provides businesses or brands with the necessary information about their user. Which, in turn, helps brands to target them with promotions specific to their area.
Mobile apps once downloaded can have some of the functionalities work offline. This is what makes mobiles apps a more lucrative choice. Take a photo editing app for example, not only can the app access your gallery folder offline, but it can also upload it and allow you to edit it offline. This same app as a mobile website would require an internet connection.
User Experience Provided by Mobile Websites
In this day and age, a responsive website is the way to go. You would need a website that can adjusts itself according to the device’s screen size – be it smartphone, tablet, or a phablet.
Now how can a mobile-optimized website help with user experience?
Available on All Platforms
Unlike a mobile app that is platform or OS specific, a website only requires a browser. So any device or operating system with a browser and a network access will do the job. However, network speed and access needs to be considered as a slow one would load a website in ages.
No Updating Required by Users
Mobile apps are required to be updated by the users whenever there is a new update or version. Mobile websites do not require this and are completely free of cost. If there are any bugs or new fixes within the websites, they are applied independently.
If you have to compare, then mobile websites are definitely more cost effective compared to a mobile app that is restricted to the platform it is developed for; as for websites, their development is less costly considering you are getting it on all platforms – which means more reach to all kinds of audience.
Great Visibility and Reach
With mobile apps you would need to create an accompanying landing page or a website for search engine ranking and reach. So you will be doing extra work for its visibility. However, with a mobile website you already have a responsive website that is search engine optimized. You also have the option to have a blog where you post relevant content to retain a user-base.
So What Will You Choose?
The time spent on a mobile app has increased significantly leaving behind desktop and mobile website usage. According to the sources, it is expected to increase to 3.8 billion globally by the year 2021.
Mobile websites are also a popular choice and do power majority of website traffic. However, it all comes down to your objectives and goals. Do you have services to offer that would require a mobile app for maximum customer reach, engagement, ROI, and conversion? Or is your brand only about providing the latest update and content, for which a mobile website suffices?
You need to look into your brand/business to identify its needs and the needs of your targeted audience. That is where your answer lies.
Word of Caution: Do not just dive into a mobile app because of its popularity and numbers. If your app should have been a mobile website, your app and your business is bound to face a roadblock along with a poor brand credibility.