Nowadays, businesses and brands are adapting to mobile. But what does it mean to be mobile? Does it mean to invest in developing a mobile app or make a website friendly for mobile devices? Both terms refer to the use of a design that can be seen on any screen. However, in the first case, we’re talking about mobile application that requires downloading from App store/Google play. In the second, we mean responsive website design.
Many mobile development agencies face a dilemma when making the decision on a format for their smartphone-based/mobile products. Each of these solutions has its own benefits, and one is not definitely better than the other. When digging deeper in terms of functionality and quality, you’ll see that there are a lot of factors worth taking into account. In this article, we will try to determine which solution is better when it comes to web/mobile development?
A mobile application can be designed as a hybrid or natively, and mobile-friendly sites can be created as responsive or adaptive. But, in order to make things simpler, we’ll focus on native mobile applications and responsive websites. They both have pros and cons.
Responsive Web vs Mobile App
Generally, there are several differences between mobile applications and responsive web design. Mobile applications are specific products that become a popular choice for many companies that want to offer their customers a perfect experience. They are customized to each OS that feature unique codebases and designs.
Responsive design, on the other hand, generally means that a website is created specifically for mobile viewing, and it will adapt to whatever size of the screen the visitor wants. Such websites are often housed under different URLs (for example, m.website.com).
Advantages of Mobile Applications
- Brand recognition
The custom code used to create mobile application can relay data back to a company to help make future development decisions. Furthermore, a native app will put a business front and center on a smartphone of each user. Nothing beats mobile apps for marketing and brand awareness.
Mobile applications come with the optimized user experience. They usually have faster loading times than average websites as they are not overloaded with unnecessary elements.
Applications can support functions that are impossible with web-based HTML5 as well as integrate with other tools and features. Usually, they offer greater functionality than mobile-friendly websites.
Native apps are designed with mobile performance in mind. They are much faster, lighter, and provide better user experience.
- Offline working
Some mobile application has the ability to work offline. They don’t need full-time connection to the internet.
Although mobile apps feature many advantages in other areas, they are more expensive and take longer to build.
Advantages of Responsive Web Design
Creating responsive web design is the least that developers can do as almost all companies these days need mobile websites to stay competitive. Of course, building a responsive website is perhaps less fashionable way. However, there is a number of significant benefits of responsive web design:
Responsive web design is much cheaper solution when compared to building a native mobile application
It is much faster to launch a mobile-friendly website than to design a mobile app.
- One solution
Responsive website is compatible with all platforms, all devices, and all browsers.
However, the сons are obvious: you get what you pay for. It takes more time to navigate to a mobile-friendly website using a mobile browser. In addition, it usually suffers from the relatively low performance. Responsive web is not as functional and fast as native mobile applications.
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Which is Best?
So should you stick with a responsive web-based site or build a native mobile application? You know this is like asking if it’s better to travel by bike, car, or plane. It all depends on your needs and taste. So the more correct question would be: which solution is best for you personally?
Currently, many businesses have mobile-friendly websites. While mobile applications perform more effectively, not every company needs one to achieve its business goals. Native applications are extremely powerful for creating a perfect user experience, marketing, and brand awareness. In case if the price is an issue, you can easily avoid the investments in a mobile application. At the same time, these investments will pay off in the long run.