There seems to be an app for everything nowadays. Mobile apps can be helpful to a business and its customers, but how do you know if it’s worth the investment to go mobile on top of creating a web application?
Understanding the fundamental differences between mobile and web applications is the first step in determining the best software solution for your business. Each application provides value in different capacities and demands its own set of unique requirements for design, development, and functionality.
Mobile apps are native to a mobile device’s operating system, such as iOS or Android. They do not require an internet browser and are designed for the user to accomplish a primary goal quickly and efficiently, with optional secondary capabilities.
The following are key points to indicate when it may be appropriate to build a mobile app instead of a web app:
The application will be used regularly and requires a high level of personalization. If your customers want ongoing access to information specific to them, pay a bill, view account information, or perform a distinct function, a mobile app could be the best option. For example, if a core business function for your company is scheduling appointments, an app could be developed that allows customers to view available time slots, schedule their own appointments, and receive push notification reminders.
There’s a need to access the mobile device’s native functionality. If your app requires the use of a smart phone’s camera, GPS capabilities, or needs access information stored on the device, it’s a good candidate for mobile.
Interactivity or gaming is a huge component of the app. Interactive applications such as games, apps that require local storage, or apps that feature social interaction capabilities are more effective when developed as mobile applications.
Offline access. Do your customers want access to information at the tips of their fingers – sans Internet connection? Insurance cards, appointment reminders, and documents are just a few things your customers may want to access while offline. After all, convenience is the name of the mobile app game.
There are several reasons why a web app might make more sense for your business:
There’s a need for immediacy. Simply put, there’s a difference in how a user accesses a web app from a mobile app. There’s no download required for a web app, making it easier to consume the content and use features.
Web apps are compatible by nature. Web apps can be accessed using any browser, whereas a mobile app requires a separate version to accommodate different operating systems on different devices. If your app needs to be accessed from any system, a web app might be the better choice.
The ability to update content quickly. Web apps are much easier to make content changes or roll out fresh design updates. These revisions are delivered without user involvement, making them available immediately Mobile apps require users to download and install updates on their device.
Sharing and collaborating matters. Since web apps are accessed through a web browser, sharing the URL link is easy. Users can direct audiences to the link from a blog, social media post, email, or text message quickly.
Easily managing data. If there’s a need to collect and manage complex data, a web application could be the best solution for your business. The ability to automate and organize the data specific to your company needs could prove extremely valuable by optimizing employee productivity and reducing manual efforts.
The first step in deciding whether to build a web or mobile app is knowing your business requirements and what your customers are looking for. Depending upon budget, it may even be beneficial to build both.
Need some guidance for building a mobile or web app for your business? Contact us. We’d love to discuss your project with you.