If you are planning to establish a mobile presence for your business or organization, do you want users to download (app) or create a mobile application for a mobile website or perhaps both? Mobile websites and apps are very similar at first glance and decide what suits your needs depend on many factors including the target audience, the available budget, the intended purpose, and the required features.

Businesses are already aware of the need to adapt to mobile. With more than 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today, the question is no longer whether you should adapt to products for mobile devices, but how to do it right. Both responsive web applications and native applications have their advantages and disadvantages and it is important to understand them in detail before committing to a particular development path.

What do people use more?

The use of mobile devices is growing very fast, so every business should be on mobile devices one way or another. Great solutions for mobile apps or responsive web.

Although the traffic on mobile‌ is heavy, it is not limited to apps. The decision to create a mobile website or app depends on your domain, business processes, goals, and other factors such as budget and expiration.

Pros and cons of mobile apps

The mobile app is software designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. Apps only work if they are installed and any changes you make require updates.
In general, mobile applications are developed for mobile platforms, with iOS and Android being the most popular. However, there are also hybrid and cross-platform applications that work on both platforms and use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to operate. The ability to create just one app for two platforms is one of the biggest advantages of cross-platform mobile app development.

Summarize the pros and cons of mobile apps for businesses.

Pros

a) Flexible and functional — you can run literally anything your business needs.
b) Access to mobile-specific features such as push notifications, geolocation, cameras, etc.
c) Ability to add attractive elements like gamification

Cons

a) Getting customers is a challenge
b) The high cost of development
c) Creating a high-quality app requires a lot of time

Responsive and adaptive websites

Despite the similarities, responsive and custom websites are not the same. Adaptive websites have a pre-defined look for each platform. Responsive Websites are designed to work on any platform because it is a custom CSS style sheet that makes the website look great on any device. So, whether you are accessing it from your PC, iPhone, Android, or tablet, your website will definitely be formatted.

First, it is flexibility. Responsive websites can be used on any device, be it a tablet, smartphone, or desktop. Any operating system and any browser should be able to provide them.

Since clicking a link to access your website is the only thing a user has to do, it is very easy to get new customers with a website rather than a mobile app. You can add lead magnets to your website and then receive emails from potential customers to promote your services or products through email marketing.
Some pros and cons are

Pros

a) Needless time to develop
b) Cheap to develop
c) Works on any platform and on any device

Cons

a) Is slower than a mobile app
b) Less convenient to use on the mobile device
c) Limited functionality without access to device hardware

Advantages of a Mobile Website vs. Native Apps

Whether your goals are primarily related to marketing or public communication, a mobile/responsive website is always understood as a practical first step in your mobile re-reach strategy.

Instant: Mobile websites are instantly available
Compatibility: Mobile websites are compatible across devices
Upgradability: Mobile websites can be updated instantly
Findability: Easily find mobile websites
Sharing: Mobile websites can be easily shared between publishers and users
Lifecycle: Mobile websites will not be deleted
Reach: Mobile websites have a wide reach
Time and Cost: Mobile websites are easy and inexpensive

When does the app make sense?

Despite the many inherent benefits of the mobile web, apps are still very popular and there are many specific usage scenarios where the app is your best choice.
Generally speaking, if you need one of the following, the app makes sense:

a) Interactivity / Gaming
b) Regular use / personalization
c) Complex calculations or reporting with visualization
d) Requires local operation or processing
e) No connection required

Pros of responsive design

a) This reduces the cost of production
b) You have cross-platform access.
c) No need to install anything on your device.
d) This reduces the time to market.
e) Content is more shareable.
f) Content is represented by Google and other search engines.

Cons of responsive design

a) This requires an internet connection.
b) You need to optimize content for mobile.
c) There is limited support for native device features.
d) It is not distributed through the App Store.

Conclusion

As mobile usage continues to grow worldwide, the “app vs web” question remains real scrutiny for companies looking to establish a mobile presence. If your mobile goals are primarily marketing-oriented, or your goal is to establish a broader mobile presence that can deliver content and manage it easily, share it among users and find it in search engines, then a mobile-friendly responsive website is the logical choice.

It is also important to remember that a mobile/responsive website and a local app are not mutually exclusive. Most companies have a mobile-friendly public website for their regular web presence, as well as a native app that can be downloaded to suit more specific needs. Ultimately, it’s about choosing the right tool for the job.