Mobile Web vs. Mobile App

Categories: Living in NEPA, Technology
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Technically Living:

Smartphones

The world is going mobile. According to the U.N., 6 billion out of the world’s 7 billion people have access to mobile phones. But for many business owners, how to get a mobile presence is still a big unknown. Often, when we are asked at TR Technology Solutions about building a mobile presence, we find many people are not aware of the difference between mobile web and mobile apps.

Development, Maintenance and Platform

A mobile site is generally one site styled slightly different for different browsers and screen sizes; it is by and large cross-platform. Mobile apps, however, are not cross-platform, and require separate development efforts. So if you want an app to work on iOS, Android and Windows phones, all three need to be built and maintained independently, which means the cost goes up. Though the end-user experience can be worth it, the resources required will be greater.

 Release, Visibility and Installation

Publishing a website, mobile or not, is instantly accessible once live. Releasing an app requires compiling and publishing the app for download, usually in an app store, which sometimes requires a review. The time and costs to publish an app are a bit more.

You also need the site or app to be found. It’s equally as easy to search in Google for a site as it is to search for an app in an app store. Once found, there is another key difference. A site is not downloaded; it can be visited anytime the phone has an internet connection. An app does require an install, but then it is always accessible. Some content within the app may not function without an internet connection, but the app is present on the phone and at least partially functional.

 User Interface, Features and Performance

When it comes to creating a slick mobile experience that excels in form and function, mobile apps come out on top. With a mobile app you have more control. It takes more effort and costs more money, but you can create customized experiences that websites are not able to achieve yet. A native mobile app allows for specifically designed user interfaces that can take advantage of features of the device, such as a camera or accelerometer. As a result of being installed locally on the device, mobile apps have the capability to outperform mobile websites. Users can do more and have it run better, and this can translate into a great experience if it is designed well.

-Matt Artz, VP of Strategy & Operations, TR Technology Solutions.
Matt enjoys traveling, reading, music, yoga and meditation.