Are you confused between Mobile App v/s Mobile Website?

Wise internet observers know by now that more and more users will continue to access online content via mobile. People will own multiple mobile devices from smartphones to tablets and will use them alternately. But how will they be accessing their important information?

Businesses need to prepare and take a decision on how to boost their presence on the mobile web. The decision-making authority, i.e. the people with budgets at senior levels may be clueless on what is better for their customer when it comes to mobile apps versus a mobile website. Decisions are driven by the whims and fancies of a senior person who thinks that having a mobile app is a “cool” thing. The more important question is why you want to have a presence on the mobile platform. The answer is that the customer is looking to access your content/service via mobile. You need to give them the required access in the form of a website or app.

Mobile apps are becoming popular with Internet users. Mobile apps are faster, interactive and can be integrated with phone features. However, an app must be installed on the phone to experience the features.

On the other hand, a mobile website can be navigated on an impulse. A matter of choice Two years ago you could hire an external agency to develop an iOS app and deliver the mobile experience. With the influx of so many other devices and tabs it is difficult to keep up with every platform. The answer to what should be developed first depends on what type of service you are looking to provide. According to research done by an ad agency called MDG, internet users prefer mobile browsers for shopping, searching and entertainment (Amazon, e- Bay, Google). But they prefer mobile apps for managing data, navigation and connecting with others (Facebook, Twitter).

Let’s take the example of a bank. Mobile banking usage is on the rise. Many banks are in a race to have a portfolio of apps developed on various platforms, which is an expensive affair. Most of the customers want to see their balances and conduct transactions on mobile. A bank could develop a mobile website with transaction capability rather than having an app on Android, BlackBerry, Apple etc. Once you have assessed the use of mobile web, your second step could be to venture into the world of apps. Big media publishers like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times prefer to offer a mobile website as an add-on to their existing subscribers, since it can be more easily integrated with their standard web content without having to customize individual native apps. These big publishing houses can afford to manage multiple platforms. Mobile apps are preferred by many developers v/s mobile web as heavier apps can run efficiently from the device’s internal memory. Thanks to the for pay-per-download model over App Stores that has encouraged many to take a plunge into this industry.

Mobile Website v/s Mobile App

Businesses can always look into building Hybrid apps. These apps utilize both web (HTML5) and native app technology. E.g. a mobile banking application can by hybrid as they typically store some content locally and some on the web. Hybrid apps vary technically but for a user it is just a normal app that they may need to download from a store.

A research conducted by Forrester says that companies should create a position called Chief Mobile Officer if you want the business to focus on mobile initiatives. Mobile is not simply another device for IT to support, it is a medium of broader engagement with your company’s products and services.

If your company ever wants to go mobile then remember that you will have to manage several platforms, depending on your budgets, strategy and customer needs. You man need to manage a Mobile Website for smartphones, feature phones and tablets. You will also need to develop apps for platforms like iOS, Blackberry, Android, and Windows.

It is important to recognize that we are increasingly moving towards a ‘multi-screen’ world, where businesses may want to reach out to their users across various media platforms. There is no right or wrong strategy on Mobile; it depends on how you want to engage your customers. So when are you planning to hire your Chief Mobile Officer?

The article was first published in Qatar Today magazine’s Dec 2012 issue.

One Response to “Are you confused between Mobile App v/s Mobile Website?”

  1. Victor Ries
    February 9, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Great blog..

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