For years, the argument between online and mobile apps has raged on. In the internet market, desktop purchasing still has a significant value, but smartphone business sales are currently on the rise.
The world of web apps and mobile apps has grown to such an extent that the debate has shifted to specific online media vs. other online media.
Before coming to a conclusion and choosing sides, let us first weigh out both options by understanding the key differences between the two.
In layman’s terms, a web application or mobile website is a responsive website that responds to being seen on a smartphone and offers interactivity. They function in the same way that downloadable apps do, but are accessed via one’s internet browser. Being responsive here states that these applications can adapt or shrink down to the size of the device we are using to view them.
For Example, Google drive, Netflix, Microsoft office, and pocket.
- Functionality: Web apps are more versatile and offer a wider range of functions, including those specifically designed for mobile apps as well.
- Sustainability: these are self-sustainable i.e. they run on an active internet connection and do not require regular updating of features.
Apps designed for smartphones, tablets, and other small touch devices are known as mobile apps. They are installed and downloaded from an app store, and they have access to system resources. They are installed and operated on the device itself.
For Example, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
- Functionality: Mobile app users often get more limited functionality, as many of these apps are designed to serve a particular purpose.
- Sustainability: Mobile apps must be downloaded and installed before they can be used. They may also work offline. They do, however, necessitate the user downloading updates on a regular basis.
Because they are both mobile-driven, it is evident that both mobile and web apps appear to be excellent options. One needs to consider the company’s business purpose and, ultimately, the end goals to evaluate whether or not a web app or mobile app is appropriate.
Firstly, let us have a look at the different criteria that help web apps to outweigh the features of mobile apps.
- Vicinity or accessibility: Users can visit a web app via a browser on a variety of devices immediately at any given time. Apps, on the other hand, necessitate the user downloading and install the app before viewing the content or the application itself.
- compatibility: A web app can reach the audience on a variety of mobile devices, whereas native apps require the development of a separate version for each device type. Web apps can be operated on all devices having a stable internet connection.
- Shareability and outreach: A simple link of a web app can be used to share URLs between users. It has a significantly broader reach than a mobile app because it is available across platforms and can be readily shared among users as well as search engines.
- Cost-effective: a web app is comparatively less expensive or cost-effective to build than a mobile app as it requires fewer resources and labor.
- Time effective: along with being cost-effective, a web app is considerably time effective as well when it comes to both development and usage.
- Visibility: Because one can find pages displayed in search results and included in industry-specific directories, mobile websites are considerably easier for users to find. Apps are usually restricted to manufacturer app stores in terms of visibility.
- Lifespan or longevity: The usual shelf-life of an app is very short, thus unless your software is truly unique and/or beneficial, its longevity on a user’s device is uncertain. On the other hand, mobile websites are always available for consumers to return to.
Now, we ponder the different criteria that help mobile apps to outweigh the features of web apps.
- Customization or personalization: Mobile apps are designed in such a way that users can make essential modifications to the way they want to use them. Users’ experiences can be enhanced by features that allow them to save data, set preferences, and share media assets on social media.
- Interactive: apps such as gaming apps involving high user interaction are likely to provide an enhanced user experience than web apps.
- Native functionality: Even if web apps are getting better at accessing mobile-specific services like click-to-call, SMS, device libraries, GPS functions, and accessing a user’s camera or processing power, an app will still do so much efficiently.
- Offline capacity: mobile apps are capable of working and providing access to content offline locally. This is ideal for use in places with no internet access or wireless connection.
- Faster services: Mobile apps are quicker than mobile websites. The capacity of apps to save data locally and get the appropriate dataset promptly is a functional benefit as compared to web apps.
- Instant update notifications: The ability to send push notifications to consumers who have the app loaded on their smartphone is an intrinsic feature of apps, allowing app publishers to communicate directly with users. It keeps customers informed about new offers and forthcoming sale seasons that are relevant to their preferences.
Most web design and development companies would advise you to build a website first and then a mobile app later because this is the most cost-effective alternative. You will benefit from having all of your material displayed on a single website interface. Furthermore, upgrading content on a mobile app is easier than updating content on a website.
However, to make a decision or choice, you need to consider the following –
- The target audience of your company – their needs, interests, wants and goals
- Products and services offered by your company
- Essentiality of user experience for your products or services
- Importance or need of user interaction for the same – need for user engagement
- The popularity of a mobile app or web app in your venture’s niche
- Company’s budget to invest and develop either of them
As India transitions to a digital economy, all enterprises and start-ups are hard at work developing websites and mobile apps. But the question is, which one will help your company grow? The main concept is that in the future, everyone will have an Android phone rather than a laptop or other device, but people still prefer viewing the details in a larger screen display or interface in order to get a clearer insight and easier functioning.
Unless you’re launching a mobile-focused business, building a website first is the way to go. Rather than investing a major portion of your budget in the development of an app. Alternatively, you may work on making your website more user-friendly.
In conclusion, there are numerous factors to consider before deciding whether you should build applications or websites or go for the development of both. It is entirely up to you and your business plan.
Startxlabs, one of India’s top digital transformation service providers. Launched in 2014, Startxlabs aims in innovating a digital future by developing technology for the web and mobile platforms. From our beginning as a technology development company, we’ve tried to stay true to our core beliefs and to deliver exceptional services to our clients. Whether it’s people we work for or people who work for us, we value honesty, passion, and the desire to explore. We have expertise in website development, android app development, iOS app development, Flutter, React Native app development, UI/UX design, and marketing strategy. With the engagement of our highly technical team, we have delivered over 110+ projects providing a positive impact on the users.