Mobile App or a Mobile Website? : A UX Comparison

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According to Statistia, more than 52 percent of web pages were served to mobile devices in 2018 and this number is expected to grow in 2019 and the years to come. It goes without saying that any company that plans for success, has a viable mobile app development strategy or at the very least, a mobile website. If you have not invested in either of them yet, this article helps you identify which of the two will benefit your business more. This is vital if you are considering mobile app development services or a mobile website from a software solution company

To the uninitiated, mobile apps and websites look similar, however, one must understand that they are different mediums altogether. Every medium has some pros and cons. A mobile application is a native application that works on a specific mobile operating system like iOS or Android for instance. The user downloads the application, installs it to their mobile device, and uses it. A mobile website on the other hand, is a website optimized for the smaller screen. The sections below explore the different impacts mobile apps and mobile websites have on user experience in general. 

Mobile Apps 

Interactive Experience 

Apps allow your business to add value and gives your marketing team a new channel to enhance engagement. A mobile website is updated less frequently when compared to apps therefore, apps give your users the option of experiencing a new look and feel every now and then. Apps provide an interactive user experience. A common example would be that the Instagram app allows users to upload photographs through the app whereas the website only allows users to view images. It has been observed that mobile users spend most of the time on mobile apps. These apps are mostly social media and gaming apps.

Mobile apps offer a higher degree of customization 

As opposed to websites, apps allow users to personalize as soon as the app is installed. Apps could be used to track users, make offers and give businesses a channel to send tailored messages free of charge. A common example of this would be push notifications. Apps can also store user’s preferences and are proactive. Mobile apps can bring higher conversion too as they are offering multiple exclusive features. These features give mobile apps an edge over mobile websites.  

Apps Work Offline 

A distinctive benefit apps have over websites is that they can run without an active internet connection. Many apps require internet connectivity to run their tasks but could be configured to offer content or other functionality offline. This allows users to access data and perform tasks offline. Mobile apps can work faster than mobile websites. Websites mostly use java script code. On the other hand, mobile apps have system that can run much faster than a java script code. They can even store the data on mobile devices and data recovery process can work promptly in mobile apps.

Mobile Websites 

Available on all devices 

Mobile websites, unlike their app counterparts that function on specific mobile operating systems can be accessed from any mobile device with internet connectivity and an internet browser. Websites do not have to be downloaded or installed by users. This gives them quick access to information and other functionality

Users do not have to update and maintain 

Users do not have to constantly update or spend time installing if you give them access to a mobile website. Websites are easier to update and change than mobile applications. 

Mobile websites are cheaper to build 

A responsive mobile website is generally faster and cheaper to develop and maintain than a mobile application. This means that users can have a seamless experience in the event of functionality changes or upgrades. 

In conclusion, the perfect choice between the two depends on what your business is trying to accomplish. Mobile websites are perfect if your business objective is to serve mobile-friendly content to a wide user-base. If your objective is engagement, a mobile app would be a better option. Many successful business adopt a two-pronged approach as well, if having both mediums provides value, they are certainly worth the investment. 

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