Enterprise Mobile App Development : Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex

Responsive Website vs Native Mobile App

If your company is planning to establish your mobile presence, you will need to decide whether you want to create a responsive website, a native mobile application, or perhaps both. If money is no object, it’s highly recommended that you build both so you’re able to capture your entire mobile audience. However, for most companies, a decision must be made one way or another.

Responsive DesignResponsive websites respond to the user’s environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. As the user switches from phone to tablet to desktop, the website automatically changes to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities.

Native mobile applications, most commonly referred to as apps, are application programs that have been developed for use on a particular platform or device. They can interact with and take advantage of operating system features and other software that is installed on that platform.

The most important factor that will go into your decision is your audience. If you already have a website set up, using an analytics tool such as Google Analytics or Yahoo Web Analytics could help you determine what devices your customers are using to check out your site. If an overwhelming majority of your traffic is coming from mobile sources, your customers will probably appreciate a mobile app. Conversely, if the majority of your traffic is coming from desktop computers, building a mobile app may not give you the desired results.

A responsive website is the “one-size-fits-all” approach and will make your web presence accessible to a wider audience. Your customers will be able to view your responsive site on any device they choose from a single URL. Native mobile applications on the other hand, are exclusive to each specific operating system. Apps tend to be most successful with existing/loyal customers, while responsive websites allow for a more optimized experience that both new and old visitors can enjoy.

Mobile AppIf you’re a startup and need to generate lots of online traffic, search engine optimization is KEY. Responsive sites are great candidates for SEO, but mobile applications live in a closed environment and cannot be indexed by search engines. Though mobile applications can be found in app stores, most users will not look for your app unless they know who you are first.

Although API’s and code libraries are evolving, the only way to incorporate all of the features a smartphone currently brings to the table is to build a native mobile app. Also, compared to responsive websites, mobile apps are much less reliant on internet connectivity. Once you install an app onto your phone, it stays on your phone until you delete it. And though you may not be able to update the app without an internet connection, many features may still be available.

Responsive websites are the more affordable option since you’ll only need to build, manage, troubleshoot, update, and market one site. Though it may cost quite a bit up front making sure your responsive website looks great on every device due to browser/technology restrictions, you will be able to deploy updates and bug fixes quickly and efficiently as you do not need approval from an app store or have to meet other extensive guidelines. Certain mobile apps will require review and approval for every update, not to mention the initial release itself. This can be quite time consuming and drive up the cost.

Since each company has its own particular set of goals, there is no universal solution to the issue of responsive website vs native mobile app. In order to make a good decision for your company, as with many business decisions, learning more about your target audience is imperative.