Mobile Websites Development or Native App Design? What to Choose for Your Business?

Over the years in the mobile websites development industry, we have accumulated a large expertise in building web solutions optimised for smartphones and tablets. We know how to combine different elements and strategies to maximise their efficiency on small screens and provide the users of portable devices with an outstanding experience.

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The Specifics of Mobile Devices

An extremely fast growth of mobile device usage all over the world makes smartphones and tablets the primary focus for modern web developers. To build a quality site optimised for such devices you need to have an in-depth understanding of their opportunities and limitations, as well as technologies utilised to adapt content to small displays. Unfortunately, it is impossible to provide smartphone owners with quality web experiences without changing a line of code and improving the website’s responsiveness. The truth is that to meet a high demand for mobile websites, you have to ensure high readability and convenient interactions for the users of a great variety of devices with different screen sizes and resolutions.

Mobile vs Desktop

Optimising web pages for mobile, you have to keep in mind multiple differences in screen sizes, hardware configurations, operating systems and other aspects. Portable devices offer a wide set of advantages such as access to information and functionality on the go, and increased context awareness. As a result, mobile-friendly design has its own standards, tools and technologies that are described in various sources including tutorials and guidelines.

Responsive Website Design

Keep in mind that the expectations of users are different from the needs of desktop users, and you need to meet their specific demands if you want them to stay on your site and generate leads. Smartphone users face different barriers because of the limited space of smaller displays. A designer need to optimise navigation bars and buttons, scale images and videos, hide certain elements and optimise text blocks.Moreover, responsively designed websites are valued by Google, which gives them higher ratings as opposed to mobile-unfriendly websites.

Technologies for Mobile Websites Development

As mobile internet usage has been steadily growing over the past decade, new technologies with a focus on mobile websites have been introduced:
  • CSS for mobile: cascading style sheets optimise for designers and developers of mobile sites;
  • SVG Mobile: scalable vector graphics of a specific format that perfectly fit into the capabilities of smartphones and tablets
  • XHTML for mobile: extensible hypertext markup language standard for smartphones and other devices with limited screen space.

How to Ensure Great Mobile Web Experience

  • Get familiar with responsive web design
  • Rely on mobile design guidelines and tutorials
  • Stay aways from common mistakes
  • Keep in mind the limitations of small screens
  • Adjust navigation
  • Optimise colours and graphics
  • Scale images and text content
  • Use every millimeter of space sparingly
  • Track user feedback and improve the design accordingly
  • Put yourself in the place of an actual user

Mobile Website or a Mobile App: What to Choose for Your Business?

If you want to establish a strong online presence for your business, developing a mobile website is a great place to start. However, many companies feel that a website is not enough and want to create a native app or even a website and an app at a time - but is there any way to tell if your business really needs to make such a big investment? Or maybe a website is just enough? Websites optimised for mobile can sometimes look exactly like apps, so in order to decide whether you want to go for one option or the other you have to consider a great variety of factors including your target audience, financial capacity, features you want to implement and the digital product’s purpose.
How Does an App Differ from a Mobile Website?
To make an informed decision on whether to develop a mobile website or a native app, you need to understand the differences between the two solutions. Both mobile-friendly websites and applications can be accessed on portable devices such as smartphones and tablets running on smartphones’ operating systems like iOS, Android and others. A mobile website is a site that consists of HTML pages and is accessed from a browser installed on a mobile device with a connection to the internet (typically via WiFi, 3G, 4G or LTE networks).
Adjust Your Website to All Screen SIzes
The most obvious differences of mobile website from ordinary ones is that they are designed for the small touch screens of mobile devices. The most efficient approach to the design is responsive website design that allows you to create website that are optimised for mobile and can adjust to screens of any size from smartphones to tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
How Mobile Apps and Websites Work
Mobile and responsive websites contain texts, graphic images, videos and data just like standard websites. Moreover, such sites can utilise the advantages of unique features of portable devices such as GPS-tracking or click-to-call (when a phone number is automatically dialed when you click on a special button on a web page). On the other hand, to run an app on your device, you have to download and install it, rather than open it i a browser. Applications for particular operating systems can be found on app marketplaces such as App Store, Google Play, Microsoft Store or others. Apps can either upload data from the web and require a stable internet connection like websites, or can work offline without access to the internet.
Mobile App or Responsive Website: Deciding Between the Two
When it comes to deciding between the two solutions - a milbe app or a responsive website - you should carefully considers the goal you want to achieve. For example, if you wish to create a game, the most obvious choice will be going for a mobile app. If your goal is to provide customers with information about your business, a website will most likely satisfy your needs. While there are cases when you may need to build both a website and an app, a standalone app without a website is hardly a good idea, because your product will not have enough visibility on the web. Taking all this into account, mobile website development is the logical first step to increase your brand’s online visibility, whereas an app is best if you need some specific functionality that a website fails to provide.
Factors to Consider
According to recent reports, smartphone usage is rapidly growing and has already exceeded desktop usage, that is why businesses strive to design mobile solutions, hesitating between mobile web and native apps. If you aim at establishing a solid online presence, inform consumers about your products and connect to your customer via a solution that is easy to manage, maintain and update and, a responsively designed website is the option that fits best into your strategy. However, if you want to offer something unique and engaging to your audience, for example, an entertaining game or a useful productivity tool, only a native app will be able to provide you with necessary features and allow you to take advantage of the rich opportunities of native platforms and high-tech hardware of modern smartphones.
When Do You Need a Native App?
On the other hand, despite a great accessibility of mobile web, many businesses prefer native app development due to a variety of factors. A mobile app is probably the best option if you need one of the following:
  • Customer engagement and interactivity
  • Increased user loyalty and customisation
  • Reporting and complex analytical tools
  • Access to native functionality or devices’ hardware
  • Offline access
Pros and Cons of Native Apps and Mobile Websites
If your goal is to launch an internet marketing campaign to promote your products and services online, and connect to consumers a responsive website is the best option to start with. The reason is that mobile websites have certain advantages over native apps: they are accessible from any device running on any platform, they cost less and they can be accessed instantly from any browser. The advantages of mobile website include:
  • Easy access - sites can be immediately accessed from any modern browser
  • Cross-device compatibility - websites work on all devices with a browser
  • Upgradability - sites are easier to upgrade
  • Visibility - web pages are easy to find
  • Shareability - you can share them via a simple link
  • Wider reach - people from all over the world can access them
  • Longer lifecycle - site cannot be deleted
  • Interface similar to mobile apps - you can make them look exactly like an app
  • Time and cost efficiency - you do not need a great amount of time and money to design it
  • Easier support and maintenance

Have Any Questions? Learn More

If you cannot decide which option suit your company best or have any other questions regarding software development, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts will be happy to advise you on the solution that meets your business needs and provide you with necessary information including:
  • Business analysis and needs assessment
  • IT-related questions and answers
  • Cost evaluation