Responsive web design vs. mobile app development

Responsive web design vs. mobile app development

Responsive Web Design is considered to be a good start for business giving it a mobile presence. Anyway, it shouldn't be viewed as the ultimate mobile approach. Before making up a final decision, an enterprise should take into consideration both options — Responsive Web Design and Mobile App choosing the technology option which best suits your business requirements.

In the previous articles, we have already described the importance of mobile solutions for your business, what way to select: independent freelancer or a team and the development process of creation beginning from idea to deployment to App Store and Play Market. It is all about mobile applications but many of us still can not decide what they need: just responsive web design or mobile app. Perhaps, one solution will be enough?

Related: Mobile Application Development: Freelance vs. Development Company

It speaks for itself that in today’s modern world you can hardly survive just with few advertisements of your services in newspapers or magazines. There is another idea! — а beautiful billboard! There are chances that people will take notice of your ads. All these methods once have worked and showed good results but not in current informational world.

Nowadays, you have to keep up with modern technologies as it can incredibly boost sales, retain loyal customers and also expand their reach. There is a stunning opportunity to realise it with the help of new approaches, such as: mobile application or responsive web design. Just decide on what will be the most suitable for you. Sometimes, both solutions are needed depending on your business.

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Mobile app, web design or both?

In the beginning, everyone who plans to develop a web-site or mobile app should understand that the first one is a largely informational resource, while the app can be more interactive and have more additional functions. Web-sites are fundamentally different from mobile applications.

Mobile and desktop/web site

If you create an application, you need to know what sets them apart from web-sites average. And if you are used to creating static pages without the use of JavaScript, you may have to be pushed to convert your web-site into mobile application. In such a case, is responsive web design a technology to support? There are some situations when responsive web-design have been made for you and there is no point in converting it into mobile app as you can make it just mobile friendly.

All web-sites are mainly used for information purposes, so in that case you do not need a mobile app. A classic example of such site is Wikipedia and similar, which was conceived solely as an information site. Often the best way to communicate are simple static web-sites. If your goal is to spread information about the product, service, the web-site is a good starting point. I believe that, in the early stages it would be good to concentrate on the perception: Does it appeal to the customer?

The user is not interested in technologies your site is built in: PHP, HTML and CSS, ColdFusion, or Perl. Users simply evaluate a site based on what they see. Also, your web-site can be an interactive one. It means that user is not a passive but an active member of the site. The client is looking for- press the button, fill forms, shopping and generally constantly working with keyboard and mouse.

In this case, a mobile application can serve as a great benefit to you. The standard of interactivity can be considered as a computer game. In the game, users are constantly interacting with the computer. A lot of shopping markets, that are developed in the Internet need mobile apps.

If you are dealing with spheres like Fashion, Medicine and Health, Travelling, Sales, Social Networks, or online Chatters then mobile app will be of great importance to you except website.

Web design pros and cons

When reading all above mentioned, let’s single out popular cases, it’s pluses and minuses using Web Design:

 Web design pros and cons

1. First of all, serving with informational purposes and allowing you to be perfectly fitted on the screen of your device. Examples are Blogs/Corporate Web-sites, News Sites and Media, Location Services. If you are connected to these spheres, a responsive web design should be developed. Meanwhile, it is not always necessary to check the entire responsive web design table of contents;

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2. Mainly, it is easier for you to administer a single web-site for all devices. A web-site is build once and can run all devices; A single URL and easy SEO. In this case, learning responsive web design with a beginner’s guide is unnecessary. If you have just one version of your web-site, it can easily improve your page ranking;

3. Fast control! In this case, you may not ask unknown software vendors to fix something as one person can do all this stuff, and it’s your provider;

Related: 7 tips to find the best software development providers for your project

4. Cost! You are likely to build a simple web-site which does not cost over the globe. They are cheaper than mobile applications but with less functions as it was above mentioned;

5. If you own a single web-site it is easy for you to control, administer, fix and so on BUT not for your clients or just simple users. The continuous evolution of smartphones can not forgive you such trick if you avoid mobile app of your web-site;

6. Loading! Sometimes your web-page can not be loaded on some old-fashioned devices with not updated system. Loading can take a lot of time on some browsers without opening. You have to be aware that all users have updated their browsers and systems;

7. Responsive Web-site can be really great and powerful solution in the first stages of your business but not the ultimate. I am sure, if you want to succeed in your business, you should not limit yourself just with single Web Design. Add more options to the users and create a native mobile app. Even if responsive web design seems the best of available options, different approaches are worth mentioning.

After thinking of all pluses and drawbacks of Responsive Web design, it is high time you investigated another approach Native Mobile Application. Like any other technology, web design has its disadvantages that can be improved by developing native mobile application. Anyhow, keeping responsive web design in a list apart from other solutions is unproductive.

Related: From idea to success

Mobile app pros and cons

Key Challenges in running business with Native Mobile App:

1. Native App is called a special software that is made for additional or special needs on your mobile devices. Considering the issue of responsive web design vs mobile development, please note that essential plus of these apps is their flexibility as they are developed for a particular operating system and can have any additional features;

2. Better and high-quality UI. Native applications are likely to be created with better UI than in Responsive Web design. If you are lucky enough to find an experienced UI designer, you will definitely succeed. Nevertheless, the subject may leave you hesitating about responsive web design vs mobile right choice. Let’s go ahead;

3. Possibility of working offline. Your application can work properly even offline that can be a major choice and leading point in your services. Operating without Internet connection, all needed info can be viewed and used at the same time;

4. Think out of the box! A mobile application is so special because you can think on the best features you would like to be in your app while responsive web design is restricted to just several. This is another area of concerns while comparing responsive web design vs mobile app;

5. Apps are always at hand, so it can easily increase user’s loyalty and become very helpful  for everyday use as most people around the world have smartphones and use it every minute;

6. Stay connected with your clients whenever you are. Apps can have chat wherever you are, besides you can communicate 24 hours a day;

7. Apps with push notifications can be given when new updates are available, so the users will be always informed with new information. GPS navigation and Bluetooth technology are likely to make exchanging the useful material easier;

8. Although native apps have a lot of good sides, it can be rather costly for you as it should be made on each platform: iOS, Android, Windows etc. It also requires fresh content and sometimes updated versions of the app.

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Mobile app/web pros and cons

All in all, first step is not the creation of Responsive Web Design or Native Mobile App but understanding of key challenges and importance of making your business mobile. Now, you can see all pros and cons and evaluate for yourself what is the best solution.

Sometimes you don’t need mobile app, as Responsive Web Design can be rather appropriate solution. In other cases you can hardly increase loyalty of your customers and boost your sales without Native Mobile App. All depends on what you would like to achieve with the help of mobile app or responsive web design as well as your budget opportunities.

After choosing the target audience and key points, it will be easier to make the right decision leaving responsive web design vs apps question behind.

Related: How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?