Why a responsive website is better suited to your client than an app
If you have been planning to make your business website accessible through mobile devices, you should decide on whether to make a mobile application, a separate website for the mobile devices or a responsive website. Mobile applications and websites have a similar appearance and to decide on one that will match your needs perfectly, you should consider a few factors such as your target audience, the available budget, the needed features, and the intended purpose.
Which are the main differences between mobile applications and responsive websites?
Before evaluating the benefits of a responsive website, you should understand how it differs from mobile applications. Both mobile websites and apps are accessible through handheld devices like tablets and smartphones.
Mobile responsive websites look like other websites. They consist of browser-based HTML pages, which developers link together for access through Wi-Fi, 4G, or 3G networks. The characteristic that differentiates responsive websites form the standard websites is that they are designed for small handheld displays and touch-screen interfaces. Responsive website designing is increasingly becoming the standard for websites that are mobile friendly and can scale to any device – from handheld smartphones to tablets and desktops.
Like the other websites, mobile responsive websites can display the data, text content, videos, and other images properly. They also provide some mobile-specific features like click-to-call and location-based mapping.
An app is an actual application that the user has to download and install in his/her mobile device rather than rendering it within her web browser. The user has to visit her device-specific portals like Android Market, Apple’s App Store or the Blackberry App World to find and download the application that will work with their device. Apps are able to pull data and content from the internet – similar to how websites work – or users can access the internet without the need for internet connection.
Why a responsive website is better
If your main goal is related to public communication or marketing, a responsive website should be your first choice. That is because responsive websites provide numerous benefits like broader accessibility, cost-effectiveness, and compatibility.
Users will access a responsive website instantly through the web browser on their devices – such as BlackBerry, Android or iPhone. On the other side, apps require download and installation to the mobile device before viewing the content. That can be a barrier between the first engagement and the conversion or action.
A responsive website will reach thousands of users across all types of devices, whereas an application will require the development of a different version for every device.
Lastly, responsive websites are more dynamic compared to mobile applications when it comes to updating content and flexibility. If you want to change your website design, you will just need to publish the edit once. When updating an app, you will have to ask the users to do the update.