Responsive website or Mobile App, a big question. The ever-increasing demand for Smart phones and tablets – to browse the Internet – over desktop computers has made it a lot more important for website owners to shift towards “mobile-first” solutions. Simply put, site owners need to make sure that their website can be accessed via mobile devices as well.
Keep in mind that the need to shift from desktop to mobile devices means that more focus should be placed on mobile first and desktop second. But, this doesn’t mean that you need to completely move from focusing on creating desktop designs, rather you need to ensure that your site should look and function equally well on both – mobile and desktop systems.
While several different approaches can be followed to create a mobile web presence, but the most popular approach is to create a responsive website. In fact, the popularity of having a responsive site increased even more with the release of Google’s mobile-friendly update.
However, many businesses are facing a dilemma: whether they should opt for a responsive website or a mobile application to keep up with the increasing demand for mobile-friendly content. Through this post, I would like to help you make an informed decision about choosing a responsive site or a mobile app.
A Brief Overview on Responsive Site and Mobile App
Of course, the first thing that you should know about is: what do we mean by a responsive website and a mobile app?
What is responsive website?
A responsive website is just like a standard website, you need an Internet connection to view the site. In addition to this, a responsive site contains similar features – like call-to-actions, navigation and several features – just like any standard (or traditional) site. What makes a responsive site different from a standard site is that the former can work on all the devices – be it a desktop or a mobile device. While a traditional website is primarily designed to work on desktop screens only.
A website with a responsive layout can adjust to any device screen, as well as, resolution automatically.
What is a mobile app?
A mobile app is, basically, a software that can be downloaded and accessed on mobile phones and tablet devices. Unlike a responsive mobile website, mobile apps cannot be rendered in a web browser. But, they can receive data from the web and even allows accessing that data in offline mode. There are many different types of apps, namely: native apps, web apps and hybrid apps. Each of these apps function in a different manner.
Responsive Site or Mobile App: What Does Your Business Need?
Well the answer to this question depends on your business goals. But, as a general rule of thumb, you should consider creating a responsive site than a mobile application. That’s because, mobile apps are built to serve some specific purpose. But, having a responsive site help you fulfill several needs.
No doubt, both responsive websites and mobile apps have their own set of pros and cons. But, below is a list of benefits you get to enjoy when choosing to have a mobile responsive website instead of an app:
A responsive site can be viewed across all screen sizes and resolutions, irrespective of which device or operating system (OS) is used to access the site. In contrary, a native mobile app is designed for a specific OS and its variants. Even though, you may choose to have a web app that can be viewed on different operating systems, but even then there is a possibility that the app won’t run on a new OS. This means that having a responsive website increase your chances of expanding your reach to a wider audience base.
With an Internet connection, responsive websites can be accessed immediately, while in order to view a mobile app it first need to be downloaded. Considering the growing impatience of users, chances are that the need to download an application could be annoying for some users and turn them away.
Google Recommends Using Responsive Design:
Responsive sites are said to rank better in search engines such as Google and others. In fact, Google recommends the use of responsive web design. Furthermore, as discussed previously Google recently launched an update that necessitates site owners to make their website mobile-friendly, and suggests using a responsive design for making websites optimized for mobile devices. And thus, a responsive website can help you attain better rankings on SERPs (search engine result pages).
Makes Sharing Easy
You can easily share a responsive website URL via emails or on social media sites like Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. On the other hand, you may find it difficult to share the mobile apps, especially when don’t contain any inbuilt sharing options.
The development cost of a responsive site is relatively lower compared to a mobile app. Especially, building a native app can be quite expensive.
So, Does That Means You Don’t Need a Mobile App?
If your target audience is interested in using your product in a personalized manner, then it would be better to develop a mobile app over a responsive site. For example, if your website is used by customers for playing games, or to keep a tab on fitness goals, weight, etc., then mobile apps are certainly a far better option compared to a responsive site.
Provide Access to Content in Offline Mode
In case your business requires providing content (and services) to users even without an Internet connection, then you should consider having a mobile app. That’s because, a mobile app allows to view content in the offline mode as well.
Better Access to Device Features:
A mobile application can be programmed, allowing integration with several device functionalities like a GPS system, camera, etc. However, a responsive site doesn’t allow integration with any such functionality.
At present, having a responsive website has become a necessity and this web trend is here to stay. And, based on the online reports that “the revenue sales of the mobile app market will hit $70 billion by 2017”, it makes sense to have a mobile app. Now, deciding whether you should opt for a response site or a mobile app is certainly a difficult choice to make.
Remember, if your business goal is more sales-driven, or you want to extend your business reach by sharing your valuable content on search engines, then opting for a responsive website is going to be a lucrative deal for you. But, if you want a product that is aimed at improving interaction, then it would be better to go for a mobile app instead.
Lastly, when planning to build a mobile app, be sure that it will help in generating good ROI. Avoid creating a generic mobile app simply because it will cost less than building a responsive site.
Tyler holt is a professional Programmer with major interests in web technologies of all sorts.he is currently employed with Xicom Technologies – the front runner in Magento ecommerce development services. And generated various aspects of modern technologies.