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App vs Mobile Website

2 September, 2012

The use of mobiles to access information about (or even buy) products and services is growing – and growing fast. YouGov statistics reveal that 46% of UK consumers operate from a smartphone, and 60% of this sector is comfortable with using mobile apps or mobile internet.
 
And yet of those surveyed, nearly half (49%) cited being uncomfortable using their mobile as a browsing device due to having difficulties in viewing websites on a mobile screen.
 
So that leads to the question, how do I allow my customer base to access my company information and products easily via mobile devices. And that usually leads to the answer, ‘I need a mobile app’ or ‘I need a mobile website’ or ‘I need something but I don’t know what’.
 

It’s OK, we’re here to help. Firstly, lets define which each is:

  • A mobile app – an application or tool that is native to the handheld device and is downloaded to the device to be used as and when needed
  • A mobile website – a website specifically optimised for viewing on a smaller screen and built with different interactions in mind (i.e. touch rather than mouse click)
 

Now the question is which one is right for you?

In most cases, we believe a mobile website is the better way to go. One of the main reasons is reach. With an App you either have to build one for every platform (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry etc) or risk alienating a large proportion of your market by not allowing them to use an app on their phone. Whereas with a mobile specific website, you are able to reach a wider range of devices and platforms with just the single website - as they’re not platform specific.
 
eConsultancy have written a brilliant article on ‘Ten Reasons to choose the web over apps’ - http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/6692-mobile-commerce-ten-reasons-to-choose-the-web-over-apps
 
We’re not saying a mobile website over an app is right for everybody (specific functionality may only be achievable in an app for example), but when we’re advising clients we tend to find that a mobile website covers all the functionality they require, is more cost effective and, ultimately, delivers the information their customer base requires.
 
To see a mobile site in action, why not navigate to www.pixelbuilders.com from your mobile phone and see how we present our information and contact details in a mobile friendly way and make use of phone functionality, such as one touch call, email and mapping systems.
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