As the world is going digital, many businesses and startups are now depending on skilled app developers for making their websites and mobile apps. But, how do you know which one will make your business thrive?
The common thinking that everyone has is, in the coming years mobile phones will be more than that of laptops or other gadgets. The usage of mobile apps are growing, but that doesn’t mean the web is dead. Most of the time, mobile apps get created only after the website has been finished, but is this the right decision for your venture?
The answer is a bit tricky. It is vital to choose the right platform for your start-up. The right decision can be taken only according to your requirements and the audience type you want to attract into your business. Before you choose, it is crucial to look at the importance of a mobile-friendly website and app.
Going through this guide, you will see the main factors worth considering to arrive at the right decision.
1. Where will users want to access your product?
Knowing your user’s preferences and behaviors is the key to understanding whether to build web or mobile-first. For instance, if you expect users to access your services on the go, a mobile app will certainly offer them a better experience. Even if the device is not in use, mobile apps support offline functionality, push notifications and provide location services. It is also worth considering that most people have their mobile devices on them at all times.
However, some activities mainly take place on desktops and in static locations like homes or offices. If you are going to build a SaaS platform that has a business use case, your users will probably want to access this through their browser on a desktop. Here, a web application comes into its own as it can be optimized for mobile use but will provide the best user experience for complex functionality and use on multiple devices.
2. The budget you have
The primary factor that any startup or business considers before going online is their budget and how much they will need to get a satisfactory digital solution. At first, most mobile app development services will recommend you to build a website and then a mobile app because it is a cheaper option. Through a website, you will get all the content on one interface, and it is a benefit. In addition to that, updating the content requires less work.
Furthermore, the user interface of an app should be adjusted to each platform, such as Android, Windows, and iOS. So, you have to invest enormous data for developing different apps for different platforms, and it definitely costs you more per operating system. Therefore, it is very important to understand the requirements for your business and make the right decision.
3. Do you think your user will use the app a few times a day?
If you think your user will use your app a few times a day, it is good to start with an app. It is more appropriate, faster to access, and keeps users up to date with notifications. But if the app is slow to launch, slow to log in, and slow to perform desired actions, it stops people from using your app.
For instance, things like notes, to-do-lists, games, alarm clock, social media, etc., are recommended to have as a mobile app. Because you interact with them during the day and your interaction with them should be lag-free. You don’t like to waste your 1 minute to play games during your 5 minutes ride on the bus. You want to play it as soon as possible.
Imagine if you always had to access Facebook via your mobile browser first, then had to sign in and read the message from your friend. Isn’t it better to get an instant notification the moment you receive the message?
4. How often will the user use your product offline?
Imagine if you are in a train, gym, basement, airplane, or forest, or anywhere with limited access to the internet. It is difficult to take online actions. These offline places bring up opportunities to build complementary, location-dependent apps. Here, in this App vs. Website battle, apps beat the web.
So, if most of your users are offline-aficionados, it is better to develop a mobile app that helps your users to access the desired data whenever needed.
Some examples are:
- Google Maps: Enables users to download the map to use it with offline navigation.
- Tripadvisor: When you are traveling abroad, it allows you to download a city guide, so you don’t have to google the most visited places, best restaurants nearby, or even a map.
- Dictionaries: Each time you visit a new country, you can translate something without an internet connection.
5. Do you care about app speed?
No one will find time to explore over a slow platform for their needs. When it comes to mobile apps, they are faster than web apps. It is because mobile apps store users’ data settings locally on the phone, while web apps download the data from servers.
So, which one is the speedy mode of browsing? Website or a mobile app?
As said before, the mobile app is faster, but it takes time to install. If your user needs to know general information and is not a frequent user, installing a mobile app will be more time-consuming than visiting a website. Also, you have to build a mobile app for all famous platforms like iOS, Android, or Windows. But here, offline accessibility is possible. So, if your business is expecting such interaction from users, you can depend on the best mobile app development company to develop a mobile app. A mobile site always needs internet access, so you have to consider this factor while choosing between both.
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6. Do you think you update your app very often?
If you think:
- Your app will need improvements or updates frequently, or
- You will need to update your app very often, or
- You will need to change the content or the data continually on your business platform
You should get your website developed first. After that, you can invest in cross-platform apps instead of investing in native apps. Most of the banks, news, and media apps are hybrid as they are web-based, which means that users have to update their whole app rarely instead, you just update the website content.
The benefits of this are clear:
- One platform: Imagine having to update Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps all separately.
- No waiting time: You don’t have to place the app in the app store, which usually takes 1-5 days.
- No correcting issues: You get the result immediately after uploading it on the server.
For an iOS app, the average review time is 4 days based on 216 user reviews submitted in 2 weeks. The issue is Apple can reject you if they think your app has:
- Substandard UI
- Incomplete information
- Broken links
For Android users, it is much faster and easier to do, and the waiting time is around 0.5-5 hours.
7.Does your product involves navigation or location-based elements? (GPS)
If you plan to develop a taxi app that orders transport to a particular place or an app for runners to track their route, the better experience you can provide to your users is with a mobile native app. Here, GPS is the crucial feature for your business.
So, in the App vs. Website showdown, the app takes this round. It is also possible to do the task with a web app, but it won’t be as fast and easily accessible as a simple mobile app. An instance of a start-up phone-app that facilitates peer-to-peer ridesharing is Lyft (similar to Uber). It connects passengers in need of a lift with drivers who are happy to drop them at their destination.
8. Do you need to access the phone’s native features?
A native mobile app would be a better choice if your answer is yes to the following questions:
- Do you have a plan to support features like Camera, Gyroscope, or Sensors?
- Will your users benefit from information delivered based on their current location?
These days, you can access many of the smartphone’s features with a web app. Some instances are:
- Smartphone camera using HTML5,
- Gyroscope to play games with HTML5,
- Geolocation API,
- Processing touch events.
Technologies like NodeJS allow you to get data in real-time (as it is for native mobile apps). Still, there are two features that you can't access. They are geo-targeted push notifications or in-app notifications while using a web app on iPhone.
Your web app may have access to some smartphone features; however, it will always provide a different experience than a dedicated native mobile app. A native mobile app will give you a better performance as the efficiency of a native mobile app’s processing is higher than a web app’s. So, here, we can say they are equally good.
9. Is your product complex?
Are you introducing something complex, you want to show data reports or analysis, etc.?
If you need to show complex reporting, calculations, numbers, it would be painful to use these tools on your phone through a web application. A properly designed mobile app can help you to solve this issue.
Here, in this Mobile app vs. Website, the mobile app is the clear winner as it has the optimised user interface, which shows all the data.
10. Which is more accessible?
It is known that mobile app is more interactive. Mobile apps can access location, camera, phone contacts ,or any such features which a website cannot. Also, a good mobile-friendly website can be accessed easily through a mobile browser even if the user has no time to install the mobile app.
If it is a website or a mobile app, you should include user-friendly features to give your users the best experience. So, consider which is the best option suitable for your business and accordingly choose the right one. If your business requires a website or a mobile app, you should approach the best app developers to get the best version of your solution.
11. Does your competitor have an app?
It might be the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your business. Studying your competitor’s products will aid you in deciding the direction that you should move on. While you concentrate on mobile systems only, others will be focusing on web platforms or providing an average solution for each available platform.
When you focus on mobile apps, you can make it way more appealing and easier for the user with the mobile phone in his hand. It means if your competition has a to-do-list app for desktop, tablet, and smartphone, you can focus on giving the best possible experience for iOS devices. Maybe you can include features that post insight along with the meeting schedule.
Many companies and entrepreneurs think of developing mobile apps first. It is a much more advanced way to connect with your users, but it is a huge mistake. If you are not a mobile-based start-up, developing a website first is the way to go.
Instead of investing more time and budget in developing an app, you can try to make your website more user-friendly with the help of experts from any top mobile app development company.
Based on your business model, you should choose the right one. So, make sure you have considered all the pros and cons first before deciding to develop a mobile app or website. If you need any help on this matter, don’t hesitate to contact us.