Mobile App vs. Website: Moving Businesses Into 2022

According to Techjury, over one year, desktop internet usage has decreased from 55% to 49% whereas mobile users have seen an increase from 37% to 48% in 2021. The global internet population has reached 4.48 billion active users with over 4 billion people browsing on their mobile devices. 48% of traffic is mobile and 49% is desktop.

As the world is becoming increasingly mobile, let’s have a look at the differences between mobile apps and mobile websites and what’s better to choose for your business in 2022.

Mobile website

A mobile website is a certain number of web pages that are possible to access using your web browser. There are two approaches for developing mobile-friendly websites – they should be responsive or adaptive. The responsive approach means that the website has only a codebase and the pages stretch dependent on the screen size they are opened on. The website acts like it’s fluid. On the other hand, the adaptive approach means there are static layouts for different screen sizes and devices.

Understanding the definition of a website leads us to the main approach of having a website for your business – compatibility. You can let your customer open the website from any device they want, using any platform they want (iOS, Android, etc.). It doesn’t require additional installation. You can just tap the link and open the website using the default web browser. However, when using a mobile, you must search for it in the store and install it.

Updates can make a website look also exceptionally smooth and nice. When updating the codebase on the server, we have the latest version of the website everywhere. For mobile apps, this process is more complicated and needs approval from Apple or Google, and additional steps from users.

Having one codebase leads to another important advantage of developing a website – low price. For mobile apps, there are different developers for different platforms required. As a website doesn’t require any platform-specific work it can be developed only by one team of frontend developers.

We all use search engines to find some useful information. These search engines usually help us find websites and mobile apps are rarely displayed there. Websites are more optimised for search engines and if you want to let users find you more quickly, it’s better to use a website. Also, users can share it using a link.

Despite the picture of having a website looking great, it also has disadvantages. The website doesn’t always look good on every device and the user experience can be far from the desired. It`s impossible to perfectly adapt the website to all the devices and screen sizes. It is key to note that offline mode for a website is not possible so the website cannot be accessed without the internet.

Websites cannot fully use device capabilities in the way that mobile applications can. It doesn’t have access to device hardware that leads to different platform-specific limitations. For example, on an iOS website, you won’t have access to push notifications, Siri, Face ID, Touch ID, ARKit, Bluetooth, battery information. In Android, there are calls and SMS restricted, and you cannot get access to the calendar.

Mobile App

Having mobile apps gives a unique user experience. The fact that the user can interact with the app closer than with the website, and that the app is being developed for a particular platform gives more possibilities for UI/UX designers to be creative while designing the App. Mobile apps can also track customers’ behaviour which helps improve the app in the future to make it more user-friendly.

Mobile Apps are much more compatible than websites. You can use device-specific and platform-specific features such as push notifications, Siri, ARKit, etc.

Offline mode is an amazing feature that a mobile app can give you. If you think the user will access some features without the internet you should consider creating a mobile app for your business. A lot of users will be happy to continue using the app in the metro, trains, buses, or far in mountains.

Mobile apps perfectly work for promoting brands. For example, you can use push notifications to inform customers about something new and interesting happened with your business, give some discounts (like Costa Coffee), features (like IKEA and its AR-based app).

Just because the mobile app is platform-specific, the cost of it is higher. Usually, there should be two separate applications for Android and iOS. However, these days there are more tools to develop cross-platform mobile apps (for example Flutter). It can help decrease the cost of mobile app development.

The maintenance of mobile apps is more complicated than websites. There are always new versions of iOS and Android, and app developers should always check and update if the app looks and works properly on the new OS. Also, to keep users involved, it is likely new features will be brought to the app from time to time to keep it upgraded, which also requires additional costs. Updating the app usually takes much more time because it should be approved by Apple and Google. So, the latest version cannot be released as quickly as a website.

Below are some main advantages and disadvantages of website and app together.

Website

 

App

 

Compatibility Yes Greater
Maintenance Easy Complicated
Easy updates Yes No
Price Low Depends, but generally higher
Search engines optimised  Yes No
Unique UX No Yes
Offline mode No Yes
Device-specific compatible No Yes
Brands promotion No Yes

 

Conclusion

So, by looking at advantages and disadvantages, it’s easier to choose what is more suitable for your business. Ideally, I would suggest having both. In that case, you can easily make your website easy to find using search engines and leave a link to download the app and interact with your customers closer. But if you want to spend less money and you don’t require push notifications, offline mode or any other device-specific features, a mobile website is the best choice. Keep in mind that in 2022 mobile comes first and every website should be mobile compatible and have good accessibility.