After a very long break, today we are going to discuss a new (battle) topic, that is,
Battle 2017: Mobile Websites vs Mobile Apps. Which will Triumph?
This is a debate that has been going on for a while but it is still relevant. Everyone has their own opinion about which works better. Both have amazing features but none is near to perfection. Do you just need a website to display properly on your device? Is it possible for you to have a great online experience without the use of apps? Apps do have some benefits though. Having the app logo on your phone reminds you to use it. Sometimes you read something totally amazing but cannot recall which website you saw it on. Let’s look at the differences between the two and see who Wins the Battle this time around. Some experts believe apps are taking over while others feel a mobile website is enough.
Does anyone remember what cellphones were like back in the 2000s? The functionality on them was so limited. It was like having a smaller version of a landline telephone in your hand. Well, we have come a long way since then. Let’s look Mobile Websites and Mobile Apps individually.
The internet has become impossible to ignore in the last few decades. More and more of our web browsing are done on our mobile phones. When mobile websites first made it on the scene, everyone appreciated the convenience that it created. Today’s generation does not always spend their days in front of the computer screen but our mobile phones are always at an arm’s reach. Remember how browsing the internet had you sliding your screen to the side just to read the end of a sentence? Mobile websites were accepted by all as it allowed us to view the content displayed perfectly to any screen size. Designed specifically to be used on your smart phone, mobile websites are almost a necessity these days.
I find mobile apps to be a commitment. Like Benedict Evans puts it, “Do people want to put your icon on their home screens?” The answer for most brands is, “No”. More often than never mobile apps are not free and have to be paid for in order to be used. Having to spend money on something that does not bring me joy is a waste. Then why is it that we have so many apps downloaded on our phones? The reason I believe is that most of the time, they do bring joy. Examples of applications that first came out included, E-mail, Google Docs etc. Mobile apps have come a long way since then. Some of the best apps right now include, Uber, Spotify and Swift key. Apps have become part of our daily lives. With a mobile screen full of logos, it is obvious that mobile apps are growing in industry and popularity. Amazon makes more revenue through their app than their website.
Design Modo has an article titled Responsive design vs Mobile sites vs App where they talk about designing and building a good mobile experience via a smart phone.
Pros and Cons
As you can see both have their own sets of pros and cons. Let’s have a look at them.
Mobile websites pros
- Inexpensive – All you need is an internet connection to view the website.
- Works on all devices – Be it your iPhone, Android device or Tablet, the site adjusts to your screen.
- Easy to set up – More like, no setup required. Ready to use at any time.
Mobile websites cons
- No offline access – You would be unable to use the website without an active internet connection.
- Longer wait times – Depending on the website, and your internet speed, it might take a while to download or use the desired service.
Mobile apps pros
- Offline access – Being able to play a game on my mobile device without internet connection? Yes please!
- Less cluttered – This all depends on the design but most apps are less cluttered.
- Quick response time – A well designed app should have a quick response time and navigate between pages without loading for ages. It’s surely faster than a website.
Mobile apps cons
- Extra expense – All apps are not free. I don’t mind spending $10 on a monthly app subscription but if I can find the same information for free on a mobile website, you know what I’m going to choose.
- Requires a download – This is probably one of the most annoying negative sides of mobile apps. Of course, if the app is amazing, no one minds the download. I get so frustrated when I go through the trouble of downloading an app, only to find it crashes every time I open it.
- Considerable size – Dear Facebook, your iOS App is about more than 250 megabytes in size, can you please do something about it. *Swapnil’s low phone storage problem 🙁 *
We have now discussed the pros and cons for the consumer.
Let’s talk about Business
Nowadays, it is important for every business to establish a mobile presence. When making that decision, you need to know where to invest your money. No matter which one is better, every business needs a website that displays well on a mobile device. 80% of Internet users own a mobile device. This is a huge chunk of the market one could reach.
According to Smart Insights, if you are not able to reach your audience through mobile search or display, you will miss out on business opportunities. The consumer expects to have your website fit perfectly on the device they are using. Not every website owner has caught up with this trend though. I still find myself staring at text so small and having to zoom in, only to view half the page. This is unacceptable in today’s world and you are doing yourself and your audience a disservice. Having a mobile website setup is not a complicated process. Find an expert to make mobile website for your website. It is an investment that will pay off for sure.
For e.g. TechGlobule has a marvelous mobile site, you can read this article on your mobile again 😉
Benefits of going with a Mobile Website
- Instantly accessible. You just type in your web address. No downloading required.
- Mobile websites can be upgraded immediately.
- Mobile websites are easier and less expensive to create and maintain. Price is usually included when you design mobile website.
- Faster transfer of information.
- Setup is a breeze compared to an app. You basically need a domain and hosting.
Mobile websites are doing well.
Benefits of going with a Mobile App
- Works offline. You can read articles and listen to podcasts without an internet connection available.
- Dependent on the app design, it is usually less cluttered.
- You will have a direct marketing tool at your disposal.
- Build a brand. Every person who has downloaded the app will constantly see your little logo on the screen.
Many businesses are finding it costly to acquire new users.
What does the future hold? Predictions for trends in 2017?
- Responsive designs for different age groups. Online experiences should be different for different ages. A 10-year-old should have a great online experience and so should a 70-year-old.
- Novel scrolling features – NasaProspect.com are the leaders in this type of web design.*Most importantly*
- Improved weather apps. Hopefully these will include accurate storm warnings.
However, it always has been difficult to predict the future, but mobile devices are surely not going anywhere. They will definitely only get better. We hope that 2017 will take mobile websites and mobile apps to a totally new level.
Are you excited to see how these mobile websites and mobile apps will be improved in the future? What are some of your predictions for 2017? and which one do you think might win the Battle?
Give your ideas, opinions, and votes in the comments. 🙂
Guest Author Bio
Megan Grant is a content writer who works at FixMobileUsabilityIssues.net. Her life credo is “Be yourself, believe in yourself“. Her hobby is writing, reading, learning. Dreams of becoming big-name author and blogger.